Pinball Champ must have made quite impression when it hit the scene in ’77. While there were certainly handheld pinball games around by that time. It appears that Coleco was aiming for the teenagers when manufacturing this home version. Although it must be said that Pinball Champ wasn’t the only table Coleco was producing at the time.
That Fonz pinball table was released back in December of 1977. Just a few weeks in fact after an TV ad for Pinball Champ was released. Around the same time Coleco was also producing Super Shot as well as UFO Electronic Pinball!
Here is something to keep in mind, friends. It was in 1976 that New York City repealed the pinball ban. A law that had been in place since the ’40s. As tables were seen as a form of gambling. As was proven when an undercover patrol officer on March 6, 1948 arrested a cigar store owner after playing on a pinball table in his establishment. The reason being cited as having “Unlawful possession of a gambling machine.” If you want to know even more – make sure to follow this link to the History Channel.
William P. O’Brien taking a sledgehammer to seized pinball tables. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)
It was a dark time for pinball fans to be sure. While what most of us consider pinball wasn’t released until 1950, with Gottlieb’s Spot Bowler. The basic premise of pinball has been around since the 1700s, such as with Billard japonais!
As I have previously said, there were pinball games for kids by the time Pinball Champ was released. Just not quite as sophisticated as what Coleco was offering at that time. Although having said that I did in fact find a video for a 1965 Riverboat table by Marx.
Yes, it is indeed May the 4th and we totally know what that means. It is time once again to celebrate what has commonly been referenced as Star Wars Day. Although if we are being totally honest – most fans of the franchise consider May 25th to be the actual day of celebration. On the other hand, it’s easily understandable why the joking use of the iconic “May the Force be with you.” gained traction. It is in fact rather catchy and illustrates the fun that exists within the community, especially when it produces the likes of Arrested Development: Star Wars, right?
Arrested Development: Star Wars actually hit the internet on May 2nd. Produced for the Star Wars YouTube channel. Furthermore it was debuted on the popular Star Wars Show, where Ron Howard happened to be a guest. Of course he was on to discuss his upcoming film Solo: A Star Wars Story, due to hit theaters on May 25th.
During the show the celebrated Director and star of Happy Days was given a special quiz. Entitled Han(z) or Fonz, Howard was asked a series of questions to see if he could determine which icon they applied to. Obviously the entire thing is a skit, meant only to be humorous. Ron getting schooled leads to him attempting to make up for his score by delivering an abbreviated narration for Star Wars: A New Hope. Resulting in Arrested Development: Star Wars!
I probably should add that if you are interested in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story. The interview on the Star Wars Show is certainly more than a fluff piece. Ron Howard really gets into what attracted him to the story as well as the characters. Moreover, you will also get a chance to see Ron and George Lucas hang out at the Falcon’s Dejarik Board!
So go ahead and set aside about three minutes of your time and check out Arrested Development: Star Wars!
Also since this is Star Wars Day you can check out all of the sweet, sweet merchandise being offered.
Seriously, the amount of items and products being offered is far, far too many to list here. So instead I am including this link to the official Star Wars site where you can check out all the stuff yourself.
I love the Sunday newspaper comics and have for a long time. Full of comedy, there are so many strips to choose from. I especially liked the superhero newspaper strips. My grandparents always had bundles of them in their garage, from their delicatessen. I usually got to read them before they returned what didn’t get sold.
In 1979 there were comic strips about the World’s Greatest Superheroes, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Brenda Starr. Whoops! Skip the Brenda strip. Although, it was sort of fun. Kind of adventure/soap opera.
The superhero newspaper strips would offer full page colored posters for promotion. Just cut ‘em out and slap on your walls! Of the strips offered, my favorites were Hulk and World’s Greatest Heroes. The popularity of the Superfriends cartoon, Spider-Man cartoon and live action Hulk shows, was driving the demand for the strips.
“The World’s Greatest Heroes” strip started in 1978 and ran until 1985. Artists George Tuska and similar styled Vince Colletta were among the names working on the strip. It focused on Superman in its last years, scrapping the huge roster of characters.
“The Incredible Hulk” strip started in 1978 and ended in 1982. It followed the basis of the big green guy’s television show, a wanderer trying to lay low while figuring out a cure for “hulking out.”
Stan Lee and Larry Lieber started the strip off on it four year stint. Then, Lieber did both writing and art. Lieber eventually handed off art duties to Rich Buckler. The “Spider-Man “ strip started in 1977 and is still in daily papers today. Stan Lee wrote the bulk of the series and artists featured are John Romita Sr. and Larry Lieber, who is still working on the strip.
Imagine the glee of finding stacks and stacks of these strips along your grandparents garage wall. You have nothing but time and a rainy afternoon to read this glorious stuff!
Honorable mentions for Superhero Newspaper Strips go to “The Phantom” and the “Star Wars”…
Friends, the other day, Tom Berges of I Grew Up Star Wars uploaded something very, very special. Perhaps mind-blowing could be considered just hyperbole until you realize the facts. In 1977 a group of ten-year-old’s got their hands on an 8mm camera, they decided to make a sequel to Star Wars. Which is how the Imperials Strike Back came into being in 1978.
The children featured in The Imperials Strike Back started making this short film in 1977. It took two years for them to complete. Driven with nothing more than the absolute love of the first Star Wars. Of course as with most children, they also had a heaping dose of can-do attitude. Which is certainly evident in the special effects on display!
When I contacted Tom, I offered him first crack at writing this post. While I was itching to make this post myself I didn’t want to take any thunder from I Grew Up Star Wars. I feel that his site’s overall point of being, to share and celebrate the love of Star Wars is being honored with this post however.
It has been 35 years since the makers of The Imperials Strike Back have seen the short film. In addition to that it has been digitized and even has some familiar music in place. I do not know if it was originally silent, I assume so, but subtitles have been added.
Seriously, the heart and love on display with this nearly 22 minute fan film is breathtaking. If you are anything like me you will not only have a big smile on your face by the end of it. But maybe a few tears in your eyes as well at how much love and work was put into the short film. The force is certainly with those who were responsible for this. Obviously as it is with Tom for being so kind to let us share this now. Now be sure to visit and join the fun of I Grew Up Star Wars when you get a chance.
Enough of my gushing. Sit back and enjoy The Imperials Strike Back!