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Trip to Paris

I recently traveled to France to visit serious pinball collector, Raphael Lankar.

Mr. Lankar’s Paris Pinball Museum is just outside the center of Paris. I put it in quotes because it is actually more of an “Arcade.”  He has collected a very extensive collection of mostly Gottlieb Woodrail and Wedge Head Pinball games, but there is a smattering of Williams, Chicago Coin, Exhibit Supply and other companies represented as well.

Mr. Lankar was a pinball operator from the 1950s to the 80’s. He had games in over 400 area bars, eating establishments and similar facilities.  As in the United States, pinball in Paris had its heyday during the 1950s & 60’s. But it has significantly waned, and according to Mr. Lankar, “Pinball in Paris is DEAD.”

Mr. Lankar was motivated by a desire to relive his youth, when the games he tried to buy were too pricey for him to own.  Now that he is older, “wiser” and wealthier, he is able to own the games of his youth. They are lined up one after another in many rows, without any  information about them. Unfortunately, they are not open to the public and can be seen only by appointment.  So the excitement of an active arcade is not there either.

Many of the games are in excellent condition. Others are being transformed to that condition by a single tireless employee who does the work full time.  He has a steady hand and a very good mechanical mind, and he does a very good job.  Unfortunately Mr. Lankar’s philosophy seems to be “Make it New.”  What I mean is that he replaces any part on the playfield that is not perfect.  So there are new bumper caps and skirts, and new plastics and posts, if available.  The games have an incongruous appearance because the patina of the game is there, but the parts are bright and shiny without a trace of yellowing. A piece of history should not be over-tampered with. That is one man’s opinion.

But all in all, it's still the only place in France that has this number of pinball games under one roof.

The trip was worthwhile in many ways: to see what others are doing with “Pinball Museums” throughout the world, to meet other pinball collectors, to see how games are being restored and to expand people’s knowledge of our The National Pinball Museum. Networking is critical to our establishment and survival.

Paris Pinball Museum website >>





Go Figure

"Why do people in ship mutinies always ask for 'better treatment?' I'd ask for a pinball machine, because with all that rocking back and forth you'd probably be able to get a lot of free games."
—Jack Handy

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