The Pinball Hall
by Jim Schelberg, Publisher 
Pingame Journal

The Pinball Hall of Fame is the realized dream of Michigan native Tim Arnold. For many years, Tim's Pinball Pete's arcades were leisure time musts for students attending the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and for the residents of Ann Arbor and East Lansing as well. By the early 1990s Tim's focus had changed. He sold his interest in the arcades to his brothers and moved, with his wife Charlotte, to Las Vegas to pursue a new dream. His collection of nearly 1000 pinball machines moved with them!

<i>Tim (center) shows some visiting collectors his "tennis court games."</i>
Tim (center) shows some visiting collectors his "tennis court games."

<i>Plastic sheeting is ready to protect against the rare Nevada shower.</i>
Plastic sheeting is ready to protect against the rare Nevada shower.

<i>Games are in Tim's 10,000 sq. ft. "shed" <br> ready to be set up to host fun nights.</i>
Games are in Tim's 10,000 sq. ft. "shed"
ready to be set up to host fun nights.


I remember visiting them shortly after the move. The memory of hundreds of pinball machines, on end, packed onto Tim’s tennis court is still vivid. The court, to this day, has not felt a tennis ball, but it did make a perfect place to store the games!

Eventually they  were all moved into a 10,000 square foot building next to the court and for the next dozen or so years the cream of this collection (along with some vintage arcade games) was made available to the public on a few magic evenings a year—Fun Nights.

The goal of these Fun Nights was to spread the joy of pinball but also to raise money through raffles for local charities and to grow the LVPCC building fund so some day the public Pinball Hall of Fame could be born.




<i>You were invited ... </i><br> <i>... you played the games ...</i>
You were invited ...
... you played the games ...



<i>... met the Colonal and friendly staff ...</i> <i>... and gathered for a raffle featuring cool pinball related prizes including the use of any pinball game in the collection for one year!</i>
... met the Colonal and friendly staff ... ... and gathered for a raffle featuring cool pinball related prizes including the use of any pinball game in the collection for one year!


While contributions to the raffle was optional, most people bought at least a few dollars worth of tickets, many 20, 50, often 100 or more. The random, but very welcome, $5,000+ check would appear from time to time. People would also donate items for the raffle. Magazine subscriptions, posters, T-shirts, pinball parts, books: anything a pinball enthusiast might like. But while we all bought raffle tickets and did what we could, the driving force was and is Tim.

These Fun Nights were planned, organized and funded by Tim and Charlotte. The games were Tim's. They provided the snacks, the electricity and facilities for the scores of people who showed up. And remember, this was their HOME. It all took place in their back yard! They even opened their guest bedrooms for out of town crew members and the odd pinball magazine publisher who usually attended from back home in Michigan. It took determination, focus and a LOT of understanding, especially on Charlotte’s part, to pull the events off for those many years! But they could not do it alone. There was a small but fiercely loyal band of volunteers, some local and some who traveled, who spent days in preparation before each event. Volunteers like Hippy, Hopper, Smiley Robert, Ugly Mike, Old Harold and others were all there to help.



<i>Part of the crew for the last Fun Night<br> in the "Big Hit Shed." <i>Rows and rows of games now located in the PHOF!
Part of the crew for the last Fun Night
in the "Big Hit Shed."
Rows and rows of games now located in the PHOF!

<i>Tim (right) with PHOF <br>right hand man, Mike "Hippy" Clark.<i/>
Tim (right) with PHOF
right hand man, Mike "Hippy" Clark.



Tim would buy pinball games, spend days in restoration and then deposit the entire proceeds of a sale into the LVPCC building fund account. He placed his own games as well as other money-makers on location around the community and the profit went into the fund. He would travel to pinball shows around the country conducting raffles and selling pinball-related items including videos that were self produced or made and donated by others, all in support of the Hall.

His dream became a reality when the Pinball Hall of Fame was opened in a store front of a strip shopping center. Things went well but there was still one more step to take and that was the move from the rented restrictive confines of the center to a free standing, much larger building owned by the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club.  

Now that dream has become a reality, and you can share in the fun. Come see what the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club has created! It’s just down the from the “Strip,” on the famous Tropicana Avenue, across the street from the Liberace Museum,  and of course you don’t have to just look … you can PLAY!

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