Friday, January 9, 2009

The Star Trek Pinball Machine

(Click on all images to view large-sized.)

Back in the laste 70's, Bally created a Star Trek pinball machine, which boasted terrific artwork. I remember just standing and gazing at it as I waited in the corner convenience store for the bus to arrive... I never played it, I didn't care for pinball, but the back panel painting made me salivate.

Below are some close-up images of the various parts of the machine. Put in a quarter and score!

In 1979 the machine was updated by the same artist with new ships, uniforms and characters, based on the original art. The back panel art is what was mainly affected... almost everything on the rest of the machine stayed the same, except for changing the generic crew-woman to Illia. This is the one seen the most and remembered fondly by fans of the time. First is the original flyer advertising it to store owners...

And the new, updated artwork, still on of the coolest images of the original crew ever painted. Dynamic and exciting! How I wish they would have sold posters of just that artwork...

And below ia a picture of the playing field...

Below is an ad from Starlog Issue #24 for their contest to win the ST pinball machine, plus other prizes.

Unrelated: Below is a drawing I did that got published in the New Eye Studios catalog during a fan art contest. It was actually the first one they ran.

The new midshipmen find out that James Tiberius Kirk lives up to his name.


Anonymous said...

Always love seeing that gorgeous pinball machine artwork. I think I havbe only ever seen the TMP version, and I was always impressed with how the artist got all the uniform details right. A lot of the licensed stuff in the 70s and 80s were pretty cavalier about the details but this guy took the time to get the details right and its a much nicer piece for his efforts. But somehow I never managed to see the original series version before today. Thanks for sharing!

Also, I spent many fond and greedy hours in the late '80s and early '90s, pouring over catalogs from New Eye Studios, Starland, and Star Tech, ink pen or highlighter in hand. I used to eagerly await new catalogs in the mail in the ancient times before eBay and online retailers. I took advantage of the drop in interest in Star Trek that's happened over the last few years and picked up a lot of the stuff in those catalogs that I used to lust after - the '70s era Star Trek poster magazines, a set of the twelve photonovels, the hardcover first printing of the Star Trek Technical Manual, the original mimeographed Bjo Trimble Star Trek Concordance, all stuff that was way out of my price range as a kid, I was able to get for a song because the bottom fell out of the Star Trek collectibles market. Thank you, Rick Berman! :)

As always, thanks for the great blog!

Frederick said...


Thanks for commenting. You're right about the accuracy. He mamanged to make ST:TMP look exciting! :)

Sounds like you caught up on the 70's goodies real good! I bought all the items you mentioned one at a time as they came out, and still have them. I hope that interest in Trek grows again due to the new movie.

Maybe by the tim I'm ready to let go of some of it and sell it, the demand will be up again. But I don't see me wanting to sell it any time soon. It' too valuable to me for the memories!

Admin said...

Cool. The first of THREE Star Trek Pinball machines! This one, then Star Trek 25th Anniversary then finally Star Trek: The Next Generation - which is by far my favourite - and I'm not a trekkie (sorry!). Nick

Fresca said...

These are so fun. I'm not a pinballer, but I'd play a Star Trek one. Will you post the other 3 Nick (above) refers to? Ah, maybe I'll just google around and find them.
Thanks for your fun blog!

Admin said...

The pinball you mention is a 1979 machine from Bally. Then there was Star Trek 25th Anniversary 1991 from Data East. Finally was Star Trek the Next Generation from Williams Pinball in 1993 - easily the best of the 3 in my opinion!

kathy said...


Rick said...

LOL I remember the STARLOG contest for the STTMP pinball machine. I actually entered art for it and what a horrible image it probably was. I forget who won it and I wonder where the machine itself is now? I could probably look it up. This is such a great site of STAR TREK memories. Keep up the great work.


It's June 2011, and I recently bought the Bally Star Trek pinball machine, my 1st.

When I got it the condition was very good. Compared to other one's I've seen that have seen better days mine is in overall great condition.

I saw your site during the month I was doing research into the machine and prices. I do believe your site had a big impact on the final purchase. The Star Trek Bally is to me, a piece of Trek history.

signot said...

I recently just acquired a star trek pinball machine from my Uncle. I fixed most of the issues, but I'm still unable to get the playfield to light up. Lamp driver and voltages going to the lights seems good. I think it's a ground issue.

Any advice on where I could start checking the board to get this working? The game is great and is so much fun to play!

Please fire me an e-mail with suggestions, greatly appreciated!