We interviewed Rob Berk, the man behind Pinball Expo for Pinball Heroes a few weeks ago, but Rob doesn't work alone. His partner in crime is Mike Pacak and The Pinball Blog tracked him down and pestered him with our questions.
Some of the questions were the same as we asked Rob, partly because we didn't know that both of them would reply and partly because it saves any serious effort on our part!
The Pinball Blog. So you're Mike Pacak, co-founder and organiser of the fantastic Pinball Expo. What do you do when you're not sorting out the event?
Mike Pacak. Well for 21 years from 1975 until 1996 I ran a chain of 76 game rooms here in USA. Since then I buy, sell, and operate games and parts. I visit many amusement parks each year as well.
TPB. I hear you've got a few flyers stashed away, anything else you collect?
MP. Well I have more flyers and schematics and manuals than anyone on earth. I also have over 700 pinball machines, 200 arcade games and over 100 jukes as well as thousands of translites, hundreds of backglasses and playfields. I have 18,000 sq feet of crap here!
TPB. I organise the UK Pinball Show and normally by the end of the weekend I'm sick of the sight of the damn machines. Do you normally have a pinball sabbatical after each Expo?
MP. No, Expo runs smooth has for 24 years. I also put on a show here in Ohio now for 5 years and attend several other shows too.
TPB. Expo is 25 years young this year, did you ever imagine when it started you'd reach such a milestone? Anything you're particularly proud of?
MP. No, never did think it would go this long. I am proud of the many good friends I have made over the years. I look to Expo as a large family reunion.
TPB. Anything in 2009, you're particularly looking forward to?
MP. Well at this point we are concerned if Stern will still be around come Expo time. Without them Expo will be very different! TPB. I've heard through the grapevine that some of the industry legends have extreme 'rider' requests. Crates of beer, hookers, winnebagos and even a dwarf dancing crew. How far will you go to get the guests that the people want to see and hear?
MP. Well, that is generally true about operators and trade shows, but not a collectors show like ours. We just try to treat people right and they usually help us.
TPB. Surely it's about time Gary Flower was replaced as host for the fireside chats?
MP. No, he does a good job.
TPB. Are you much of a player? (I'm talking about PINBALL!)
MP. Yes not too bad. I belong to a league here in Ohio
TPB. Other than Expo are there any must see events or places around the globe?
MP. If you mean pinball-related the Allentown Show & Chicagoland Shows are a must
TPB. Finally, can you sum up Expo in one word or sentence.
MP. A place to hang out and meet anyone that's ever had anything to do with pinball and play over 200 machines.
Thanks to Mike Pacak for taking the time to answer my questions - even if I wasn't quite able to drag him down to my level!
The Pinball Blog