Gottlieb’s Flying Carpet

Gottlieb's Flying CarpetThis is the backglass for a 1972 pinball game that I found on the porch of the The White Elephant Shop in Essex, Massachusetts.

When I was growing up, we spent two weeks at Swift Beach every summer, and I spent a certain amount of time at the penny arcade there. Everyone called it the “penny arcade” but of course you couldn’t do a thing with a penny. Like so much about Swift Beach in those days, the name was an anachronism, a reference to the good old days the older people were always talking about.

When I was younger, the arcade seemed like a noisy and scary place, and the pinball games, with racy artwork like this, were exciting but also repellent. But by the time I was eleven or twelve, I went there every evening, just hanging out, watching people play pinball, and playing a bit of it myself. I didn’t exactly like it there, but I couldn’t stay away. I found the noise and the crowd overwhelming, and I was terrible at pinball, but I really liked the technology of the games, all those knobs and flippers and lights and sound as the ball bounced and rolled around.

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