With the rising use of iPods and iPhones and other iStuff, it’s a wonder that people even remember the good ol’ times of throwing quarters in a pinball machine, pulling the plunger back and firing a chrome ball, then trying to deftly use flippers to force it through the highest-scoring gates, causing lights to flash and sounds to bellow. Those were the good times. And, thankfully, they’re still are alive and well in Las Vegas, thanks to the boundless passion and energy of a pinball wizard extraordinaire.
In one of the longest-standing and best kept entertainment secrets in Las Vegas, on Tropicana Avenue off Pecos Road, sits a 4,500-square-foot Pinball Hall of Fame museum containing more than 200 pinball machines from the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Opening in 2006, the business is owned by Tim Arnold, 53, and is operated as a non-profit venture, with the excess quarters donated to the Salvation Army and other charities. Arnold just wants to have others to enjoy his collection and not keep the machines stored in some dusty warehouse.
Now, the equally great news is that within the next 90 days the museum plans to be moving to their new digs that will nearly double the size of the current pinball edifice, enabling Arnold to showcase up to 1,200 of the finest pinball machines in the land, while being closer to Las Vegas tourists.
The Clark County Planning Commission recently approved the use permit for relocating the museum. Arnold will soon upgrade the 8,662-square-foot building at 1610 E. Tropicana to meet county code and then he’ll be moving his objects of affection and adding to his pinball family.
The Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club, of which Arnold is the president, purchased the building in November, 2008 for $1.24 million– that’s a whole lot of Pinball Love from a guy that bought his first machine in 1970 for $200.