Jack Guarnieri is the founder of Jersey Jack Pinball.
Around the Playfield with Jack Guarnieri
The Start Button: How did you first get into pinball?
I was a kid about 12 years old and I played a game at the local beach club in Brooklyn. I loved it.
The Plunge: What was the first pinball machine you bought?
When I was 20 years old the owner of the same beach club I went to when I was 12, asked me if I wanted to put games in the club to revenue share. The old operator was retiring. The first game I bought was as an operator and it was a Bally Wizard for $1,250.
The Skill Shot: What is your best pinball achievement or favorite pinball moment?
I’d have to say the creation of The Wizard of Oz Pinball Machine. I was intimately involved in every detail of the game and it’s my absolute all-time favorite game. Seeing people play the game even today brings my personal favorite pinball moment.
Good Shots, Bad Bounces: What is your favorite and least favorite pinball machine?
I love every pinball machine. Some people say Popeye is terrible because you can’t see the playfield but even a “bad” pinball machine is better than no pinball machine.
The Wizard Mode: What is your dream theme you’d like to see made into a pinball machine?
I can’t say, we may be working on it now.
The Tilt: What is the dumbest mistake you’ve made in pinball (mishap moving a machine, messing up trying to fix a machine, etc.)?
I was working on a Taxi Pin at Mott Street Arcade in NYC many years ago. I removed the backglass and it was so greasy it slipped out of my hands and smashed into a billion or more pieces. It was a pain for me to replace it but I did at my own cost.
The High Score: Describe the pinball hobby in one word.
Match – Next Game: Where do you see the pinball hobby in 5-10 years?
Bigger every year for many many years to come. This is the start. Of course I’d say that, I believe that or else I would have never started a Pinball Manufacturing Company!
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