Shoot the Bear
Shoot the Bear was one of the first articles I wrote for GameRoom Magazine.
Denis Dodel, the original publisher of the Pinball Trader, saw my advertisement for a Bear and happened to find one in his travels. Sight unseen, I bought it and he delivered it. It was in exceptional condition. This was one of my first restorations of something other than a pinball machine.
The amplifier in the game uses tubes to boost the output of the photocell inside the bear. The boosted signal is sent to a Thyratron relay tube which triggers the score relay.
One day I was discussing some problems I was having, understanding the performance of the circuit, with my father. He suggested I bring the circuit to him and he would try and help. I returned and we sat for a couple of hours while he dissected the circuit. He did not help much that day but suggested I return again and he would try and help again.
I returned a couple of weeks later and he showed me a book. It had the same circuit as the Seeburg Amplifier in it. He showed me the cover. The book was Electronics, by Elmore and Sands, National Nuclear Energy Series! He wrote the book!
My father was a scientist at Los Alamos and helped build the first atomic bomb. At the end of the war, he stayed and help declassify some of the electronics used to build the bomb and various instrumentation. The circuit for the 2050 Thyratron was included in his book.
I like to think that life has come full circle. He helped design and publish the circuit that was discovered by the engineers building the Rayolite systems. His son, me, is now specializing in the restoration of these same games.
Best of all, it is really fun visiting him and having him teach me stuff...