A word synonymous with shenanigans, malarkey, silly-buggers, tomfoolery, antics, hijinks, and brouhaha.


By Bally

Released: March, 1932

Designed By: Raymond T. Moloney

Ballyhoo was the first pinball created by Raymond T. Moloney, who would later go on to found Bally. This game was easily the biggest seller in the pre-war era, and in fact, perhaps of all time, with a production run of 50,000 units. There was even an advertising slogan for the game - "What'll they do through 32.... play Ballyhoo"!

Ballyhoo was created before the flipper and pop bumper eras, with the playfield being very simple. It consisted of metal pins, and a small number of scoring pockets. The player would launch a ball using the plunger in an attempt to make it fall into scoring pockets.

Machines sold for $16.50 without legs ($15.50 in lots of 5, $14.50 in lots of 10), and $19 with wooden legs ($18 in lots of 5, $17 in lots of 10). It could be either as 7 balls for 1 cent, or 10 balls for 5 cents to play.

At the top of the playfield was a "Bally Hole", with no pins around it. All of the scoring pockets had a ring of pins around them, with only a gap at the top to let the ball in. The upper right and upper left had small pockets worth 100 points, upper center was a 250 point pocket, with a free play hole right below it, and 200 point pockets in the middle on the left and right sides. Lower center had a 400 point pocket. At the bottom left and right were 300 point pockets, and bottom center was a 500 point pocket. At the far bottom were two outholes, worth no points.


By Bally

Model No: 497
Released: June 2, 1947

The second game released by Bally with the Ballyhoo name was a simple one-player flipper and pop bumper using pinball. Scoring was via lights in the backbox lighting up numbers on the backglass. The scoring was rather simple, with a set of lights at the top to represent 100,000 - 500,000, and a set at the bottom for 10,000-90,000. Thus the maximum score was 590,000.

The playfield had two diamond-shaped bumpers in the upper and lower centers. There were kicker holes straight above, between, and straight below the diamond bumpers, with also two holes horizontally next to the diamond bumpers, at mid level. There were three pop bumpers at the top left and top right, in a vertical line, with the middle of the three offset toward the outside. There were flippers at the bottom, but no outlanes or inlanes - the flippers were just setting in the playfield.


By Bally

Model No: 854
Released: March 14, 1969

Designed By: Ted Zale
Art By: Christian Marche

Yes, a third game with the Ballyhoo name under Bally. This one was a fancier pinball game, more resembling today's pinballs, and was 4 player. The game used reel scoring, and the backglass showed a simplistic circus scene.

The playfield was simple. The plunger lane led to the top of the playfield, where there were three rollover lanes, and a kicker hole to the left. The kicker hole and rollovers led to a set of three pop bumpers. There's a kicker hole on the left center of the playfield, and it appears a kicker above it that the player can bounce the ball off of into the hole.

There are no inlanes, but there are outlanes. The kickers above the flippers are five-sided.

There was a special edition of this machine produced for Germany.

The Internet Pinball Database,

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