The stories on this page are of general interest. Most are pinball related of course but others show life in general during the war period.
Pinball Trains Hero?
March 22d issue of Life magazine carried the story of Al Schmid, the marine who killed 200 japs on Guadalcanal before they put him out of action with a hand grenade. One of the pictures accompanying the long story shows Corporal Schmid at a bar during one of his week-end leaves from the hospital where he is currently being treated. The caption says "He had 50 beers coming from playing pinball machines before he joined marine corps."
Pinball Wind Vane
Thanks to pin games and a boy's ingenuity, Technical High School in Springfield, Mass., has a anemometer wind vane that tells not only the direction of the wind but its velocity as well. According to a feature story in The Springfield (Mass.) Daily News, the meteorology classes are enjoying their complicated gadget now and not after the war because one student who does electrical work after school did an emergency job on some pinball machines for the Becker Novelty Company.
He knew his classes needed relays to connect the vane on the roof with an indicator in their classroom and with another one in the main hall of the school. Working on the pinball machines, he thought the relays in them took an awful lot of punishment from the public, so why couldn't they be hooked up with the wind vane. Becker Novelty Company heard of his idea and forthwith donated four machines to the high school so the student, Albert Gauthier, could put the relays into a remote-control panel. When a city electrician hooks up the rest of the job, all the students can watch eight electric lights change as the wind changes and note the speed of the wind on another instrument. The Daily News story mentioned that Gauthier works regularly for the Melody Phonograph Company after school and on Saturdays, servicing radios and repairing juke boxes.
What with dehydrators from slots, reported here some time ago, and now wind vanes from pinballs, looks as if the products of American coin machine manufacturers are becoming to the industrial field what soybeans are to nutrition.
Inspiration for one of dancer Eleanor Powell's numbers in her new movie, Sensations of 1944 was a pinball machine. One Hollywood columnist we caught in Chicago Daily News said she and electrician Phil Braun dreamed up the novel idea and worked on the setting for six weeks. Every time Eleanor (she's the ball) gracefully hits one of the "pins," it lights up. Yeah, but who tilts the table?
More Women Seen in Arcades; Most of Them Prefer Pinball
I found this to be a very interesting story. Too bad the trend discussed did not carry through for another 50 years or so.
BALTIMORE, March 18. - There has been a noticeable gain in women arcade patronage here. This is another indication of how women are steadily "usurping" the place of men in many activities. This is felt to be but a logical trend in view of the war conditions.
It is pointed out by operators that woman patronage for a long time had been a rarity at local arcades. The number of such patrons is still nothing to write home about, but the fact that it is beginning to make itself more felt is indicative of a trend in that direction. Of course there is some skepticism as to how this patronage may shape up.
For the most part, women patrons accompany male companions, although unattached women patronize these establishments. Local arcades which present an inviting outward appearance supplemented by an attractive interior attract the feminine contingent. With some renovating and improvements other arcades, it is pointed out, could attract more women patrons than they have.
While some women try their hand at the pistol ranges, in the establishments which operate them, the majority of women show a partiality to pinballs.
Arcade operators here hope that the feminine trend will continue, as they believe this will help to invite additional male patronage.
Pin Game To Be Featured in Pic On War Hero's Life
Here's another story on war hero Al Schmid. Anyone ever seen this movie? What game was featured?
PHILADELPHIA, April 8. - A pinball machine will be highlighted in the forthcoming movie, This Love of Ours, starring Johnny Garfield. The picture is based on the life of Sgt. Al Schmid, local marine hero, who lost his eyesight and won a Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism during the early fighting days on Guadalcanal.
Vincent Sherman, movie director for Warner Bros., arrived here last week to gather background material for the movie. In company with the marine hero, he visited all the places in the city where Sergeant Schmid spent his time before going in uniform and getting credit for bagging 200 Japs on Guadalcanal in August, 1942.
Among the places Sergeant Schmid took Sherman for the background material was a taproom in the Tacony section of the city. Here, the marine hero revealed his popular pastime was in playing the pinball machine. And so the pinball skill of the marine hero will be incorporated in the movie.
Update: The actual movie name ended up being called The Pride of the Marines. Thanks to Dennis Dodel for pointing this out. Information on the movie can be found here.
Distributor Comes To Aid Of Sailor by Offer Of Three Pin Games
CHICAGO, July 29.- Thru The Billboard, the appeal of a sailor for amusement machines to be used by his shipmates aboard the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga, received prompt action from Ben Axelrod, Olive Novelty Company, St. Louis.
Axelrod reports his company has already written Yeoman John Helquist, c/o United States Fleet Post Office, offering three pin games.
In the July 29 issue of The Billboard, Helquist's letter asking for contributions of amusement equipment, was published. Axelrod says all that is necessary now is for the seaman to indicate the place he wants the games shipped and that Olive will send them immediately.
Yeoman Helquist had been appointed by his commanding officer to take charge of equipping a recreation room for enlisted men aboard the warship, and any other coinmen interested in supplying amusement equipment can address: John Helquist, Y2/c USNR, c/o Fleet Post Office, New York, N.Y.
War Revenue Shown State by State in Federal Tax Report
The following list of coin-op tax revenue tends to show the distribution of equipment in service by state. As you can see for 1944, revenues were up, with the following states paying over $1 million in taxes (in order):
For comparison, following are the bottom 6 in taxes collected:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 9. - Federal tax collections on coin-operated machines for fiscal years ending June 30, 1943, and June 30, 1944, by states, as follows:1943 1944SSR Alabama $83,514 $57,599 Arizona 69,035 124,989 Arkansas 75,986 89,966 California 857,819 1,382,188 Colorado 72,065 106,646 Connecticut 108,133 145,278 Delaware 18,930 20,861 Florida 172,694 312,585 Georgia 169,410 382,674 Hawaii 27,352 41,649 Idaho 175,576 303,422 Illinois 676,194 1,429,713 Indiana 275,883 516,697 Iowa 218,369 373,217 Kansas 135,410 244,724 Kentucky 201,895 372,944 Louisiana 441,203 946,643 Maine 24,066 35,928 Maryland 288,572 466,996 Massachusetts 138,704 179,850 Michigan 310,819 374,884 Minnesota 489,830 793,677 Mississippi 174,627 346,877 Missouri 170,356 200,526 Montana 73,969 199,651 Nebraska 71,043 141,166 Nevada 173,070 352,478 New Hampshire 35,601 38,391 New Jersey 149,162 214,522 New Mexico 40,774 35,860 New York 426,059 700,933 North Carolina 43,052 94,686 North Dakota 21,964 47,503 Ohio 690,958 1,219,467 Oklahoma 23,972 48,024 Oregon 233,018 422,313 Pennsylvania 633,184 1,435,476 Rhode Island 29,509 43,020 South Carolina 41,225 87,112 South Dakota 23,253 60,227 Tennessee 84,825 124,420 Texas 360,366 726,404 Utah 86,721 168,089 Vermont 13,759 23,099 Virginia 96,557 194,505 Washington 648,306 1,086,529 West Virginia 163,273 291,957 Wisconsin 847,160 1,288,962 Wyoming 99,829 171,132
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