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July 2, 2010 - August 1, 2010

Pinball Style: Drama and Design is an exhibition with commentary on clothing styles in pinball art from the 1940’s through the 2000’s. Curator Melissa Harmon looks at dramatic and historical context with a touch of fashion police humor.

GALLERY IMAGES

BUBBLE: Light and Curvy

BUBBLE: Light and Curvy

1939 Genco

Artist unknown. 

Wearing 30’s pageboy hairstyles, smooth as blonde syrup, these dancers carefully hold their bubbles. 

Burlesque stripper Sally Rand invented the bubble dance in the

1930’s. She said “I wanted a balloon sixty inches in diameter made of a translucent material.” Thick rubber target balloons used by the military were the biggest ones available, so Sally hired some experts and had a big pink bubble made to fit her perfectly, hiding only what was necessary.

SHOOT THE MOON: A Tranquil Future

SHOOT THE MOON: A Tranquil Future

1951 Williams

George Molentin

The blonde, brunette and redhead pay no attention to the flaming rocketships, as they languidly dream. Backless glowing gowns give them a vulnerable beauty.

Designer Jean-Louis debuted a special strapless evening gown, with a very low back, in 1946. Worn by Rita Hayworth in the film Gilda, the gown had a plastic framework with three stays under each breast.

CONTROL TOWER: Uniformly Stylish

CONTROL TOWER: Uniformly Stylish

1951 Williams

George Molentin

A pillbox is not a place to store pills, but a round building full of machine guns to hold off the enemy. That’s the origin of the name for the pillbox hat, worn by the stewardess on the right. The year is 1951, and we have just won World War II. American manufacturing is geared to produce large quantities of war clothing, and so it is natural to adapt the patterns and uniform designs to civilian wear, making for a snappy sportswear ensemble worn by the woman in red.

LOVELY LUCY: Lucy and Desi

LOVELY LUCY: Lucy and Desi

1954 Gottlieb 

Roy Parker

Lovely Lucy is a knockoff of I Love Lucy, which first aired in 1951. The CBS network did not want Lucy’s TV character to be married to a Cuban bandleader because “it would not be believable”. Lucille Ball said “What do you mean nobody’ll believe it? We are married!” The ruffled and patterned Cuban attire is influenced by Flamenco styles of Southern Spain as well as Afro Cuban and French Creole Fashion.

BIG BEN: Bespoke Tailoring

BIG BEN: Bespoke Tailoring

1954 Williams

George Molentin

Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster set the scene. Tailored English suits give the companions in purple and green an air of authority. They seem to be conferring about the Angelina Jolie look-alike whose seductive attitude and relaxed clothing sets her apart from them. 

Bespoke tailoring is a precise system of British pattern making developed by the Savile Row tailors. Bespoke became the benchmark for decades of fine suit design in England.

CUE TEE: Sweater Girls

CUE TEE: Sweater Girls

1954 Williams

George Molentin

1940s and 1950s actresses such as Lana Turner and Jane Russell wore tight sweaters to emphasize the bustline. Pedal pushers worn mid-calf were a new invention.

Good times and fun are happening as the boys watch the busty

beauties. The demure player in the foreground has an impossibly narrow waist.

The patterned linoleum and the chrome and plastic dinette chair are totally fifties.

ROCKET SHIP: Immigratin’

ROCKET SHIP: Immigratin’

1958 Gottlieb

Roy Parker

If you’re going through customs on a new planet, y’all better have your best bedroll and Louis Vuitton suitcase with ya.

John Batterson Stetson was an Eastern hat maker who moved West and designed the Ten-Gallon hat in 1865. The original material for a ten gallon hat was felt, made with a high content of beaver and rabbit fur. Here in the Texas of the future, the hats, and everything else are made entirely of Wub fur.

ROCKET SHIP: Damaged Matrix

ROCKET SHIP: Damaged Matrix

1958 Gottlieb

Roy Parker

A transparent helmet and gold neckplate upgrade the funny sleeves and lavender bodice of the little astronaut’s uniform. Something has gone wrong with the space-time continuum, and people are dissolving. Fifty years of pinball play, and the paint begins to peel. 

Please donate to the Pacific Pinball Museum to restore these damaged beauties!

STARJET: Retro Future ipods

STARJET: Retro Future ipods

1963 Bally

George Molentin

Beautifully fitted bodices with faux vests and diamond shaped collars are all the rage in the Starjet set. 

Starjet is artist George Molentin’s accurate prediction of the future, with big-haired spacegirls proudly holding their ipods. It’s uncanny! How did he know there were going to be ipods?

But why aren’t we all flying around in outer space already? In really cute outfits. That’s disappointing.

CAMPUS QUEEN: Harvard or Yale?

CAMPUS QUEEN: Harvard or Yale?

1966 Bally 

Attributed to George Molentin

The upscale Ivy League students try to look casual in textured fall sweater sets. In the 60’s, Burberry clothiers introduced new knitwear designs in wool and cashmere, and it became fashionable to wear multiple patterns in the same outfit. But the young man is definitely trying too hard with his red, white and blue directional stripes. Maybe he is feeling guilty because he got a college deferment and did not have to go to war in Vietnam.

BAND WAGON: Showgirls Wear Candy

BAND WAGON: Showgirls Wear Candy

1966 Bally

Attributed to George Molentin

The characters in Band Wagon are a fantasy of candy and cake icing - yummy! Bob Mackie, the famous costumer, could have whipped up these outfits. Ultra feminine accessories such as the blue and pink lacy necklaces with chains which hold up the bodice of the gown, and the slim gloves with ruffles at the top, complete the look.

OP POP POP: Is She a Pop Artist?

OP POP POP: Is She a Pop Artist?

1968 Bally

Christian Marche

As she throws paint by the bucketful, the artist is well dressed for the occasion. The double row of buttons and hint of pleated bustle gives the skirt a bit of military tailoring and a conservative touch. Layered haircut, geometric jewelry and shoes, the pointed geometry of her legs and arms brings order to the wild scene. 

Op Art, Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism and Psychedelia are all referenced in Op Pop Pop. Pop Art is considered one of the last Modern Art movements. Because of her technique, the pictured artist is an Abstract Expressionist like Jackson Pollock.

PADDOCK: The Horsey Set

PADDOCK: The Horsey Set

1969 WIlliams

Christian Marche

Holding her thoroughbred’s rope with long white gloves, she unsuccessfully keeps the horse from eating her friend’s hat. Their hats are very chic, especially the hexagonal one. Hats and white gloves are traditionally worn at the Kentucky Derby race held the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville,

Kentucky. The happy horse is a study in curved lines and planes.

ASTRO: Green Girl and Her Pet Robot

ASTRO: Green Girl and Her Pet Robot

1971 Gottlieb

Gordon Morison

Skin is in! Green, or whatever color you want. So is having your own pink and orange robot as a fashion accessory.

In the 70’s, the US space program took off. Designers and artists such as Paco Rabanne, Betsey Johnson, Pierre Cardin and Andy Warhol made clothes from space age materials such as these studded metals and plastic insets on artist Gordon Morison’s chubby robot.

KLONDIKE: Yahooee!!

KLONDIKE: Yahooee!!

1971 Williams

Christian Marche

Here’s Klondike Sam as a fashion icon. This ol’ bronco ridin’ prospector is dressed for success. His stash of gold nuggets is safe in the bank of Alaska, and he has come back to the mine to get some more. His western duds are suitable for leisure or settling grievances with his rivals. When he’s not being thrown by his pink patterned pony, his hand made boots fit marvelously in the stirrups.

OXO: O My Xosh!

OXO: O My Xosh!

1973 Williams

Christian Marche

Green hair and blue hair predate current punk trends. The green haired girl’s studded bell bottoms stabilize her as she reclines into the X’s. The blue haired girl wears reversed red polka dots of different sizes as she grabs the O and X.

The models are slightly amused and show no stress and strain as their bodies are bent tic-tac-toe to create the design.

STAR POOL: Drama on Green Felt

STAR POOL: Drama on Green Felt

1974 WIlliams

Christian Marche

As rivalry between the women unfolds, the shooter’s fabulous wide lapels and red sleeveless sweater vest dominate the scene. His hairstyle copies French movie stars like Jean Paul Belmondo. His opponent, with the Coco Chanel haircut holds a pool ball in her palm. Is she cheating? Why is she showing the ball to the brunette? What’s going on here?

BIG BEN: Mods and Rockers

BIG BEN: Mods and Rockers

1975 WIlliams

Christian Marche

Big Ben, the great bell of the clock in the tower at the Palace of Westminster in London has been a symbol of reliable and steady British culture. The fashionistas lounging below Big Ben, are London youth who rebelled against old boring Britain and began to dress flamboyantly. They were called Mods (for Moderns). Mod clothes had old fashioned Edwardian tailoring combined with wild patterns.

The Rockers were leather wearing motorcyclists who hated Mods.

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC: Legendary

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC: Legendary

1975 Bally

Dave Christensen

Wearing slim short cuffed bellbottoms, suspenders, a star splashed shirt, wool stevedore’s cap, and huuuge boots, the pinball wizard looks FANTASTIC in this ensemble.

American cartoonist R. Crumb drew large booted people in the well known Keep on Truckin images of 1968, which were echoed in the Yellow Submarine animation by the Beatles, and now here in Tommy, in which Elton John is the pinball wizard who loses to the “deaf, dumb and blind kid who sure plays a mean pinball”.

LASERCUE: Lorica Segmentata

LASERCUE: Lorica Segmentata

1984 Williams

Pam Erickson

Lasercue is a big bad weapon made to zap those balls around the table. The hunky guys are outrageously dressed for their game. The players wear body armor based on the fanciest Roman design called lorica segmentata, overlapping plates. The helmets combine a Meiji Era Japanese design with a brainlike accessory on top.

Curated, photographed, researched and written by Melissa Harmon.

Pacific Pinball Museum

1510 Webster Street

Alameda, Ca 94501

(510) 769-1349

info@pacificpinball.org

HOURS:

TEMPORARILY CLOSED

MONDAY: CLOSED for Game Repairs

TUESDAY - THURSDAY: 11AM - 9PM

FRIDAY & SATURDAY: 11AM - 10PM

SUNDAY: 11AM - 9PM

CLOSED: 

Mondays, 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day, 

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