The Pinball Blog. The Machines. The People. The Events. The Addiction! Pinball Heroes: Industry Interviews.

Saturday 24 January 2009

Pinball Heroes: Mystery Guest

When we started this Pinball Heroes thing, it was a smoke-screen to snare a particular industry legend. One man, whose contribution to the pinballing community stands head and shoulders above any other person alive. A product so unique, so innovative, so essential, that whatever the cost, whatever the lengths, whatever the stress, we'd find our man and drag him kicking and screaming to be one of our Pinball Heroes. Nervous moments passed while we waited for a reply from his people and finally, seconds later, the deal was done and we'd got him!

The Product? Pin Footies.
The Man? Bryan Kelly.

The Pinball Blog. So you're Bryan Kelly, CEO of Pin Footie Enterprises. When did you realise you could turn lumps of old wood into something so incredible?

Bryan Kelly. My second love, after pinball, is woodworking. I came up with the idea for Pin Footies for use in my own gameroom. I simply liked the wood look under the legs. I never thought about mass producing them until I started receiving numerous requests for them from guys who saw them on my gameroom picture site. Roughly 2000 Footies later, the rest is history.

TPB. I noticed when playing a machine fitted with pin footies (cherry) that the machine was slightly higher than I was used to. Could you make some "shoe footies" of equal height to get things back on the level?

BK. Funny you mention shoe Footies. Because of the popularity of Pin Footies, Pin Footie Enterprises has faced some competition over the years. A good example is from Rick Swanson and his now defunct Swanson Industries. Here are two examples of his prototypes.

Not to say I haven’t tried new things myself.. Here’s a little something I came up with to try and corner the female market.Needless to say, that idea’s been put on the shelf.

TPB. I've heard the US government are considering a multi-billion dollar bail-out of Pin Footie Enterprises. Couldn't you just cut down some more trees?

BK. I’m not sure who you get your inside information from, Nick, but there’s no bail out necessary. In fact, Pin Footie Enterprises has expansion plans in the works and may even go public.

TPB. I bought a job-lot over of Pin Footies over to the UK and they're not exactly selling like hot-cakes (although the dog is quite partial to them as a chewy toy). This might partly be down to the fact I don't remember where I put the box. Do you think the UK guys just aren't stylish enough to 'get' the whole thing?

BK. Sorry, Nick, it’s not my fault you UK guys have no taste for the finer things in life. You also forget, there are a multitude of uses for Pin Footies. Here are just a few from my good friend Jesse.

TPB. Away from pin footies, I hear you tinker with the odd pinball machine or 2. Tell us more.

BK. My true pinball passion is the restoration side of things. I do enjoy playing them, but I spend about 90% of my pinball time in the shop. For me, there’s nothing like taking a routed machine and making it look like new.

TPB. And the Bryan Kelly restoration video? Coming to "all good video stores near me" anytime soon?

BK. I should give you a little history of the videos. I have a good friend, Chris, who owns his own landscaping business. Living in Minnesota, he has nothing to do in the wintertime. Besides pinball, another passion of his is video work. He came up with the idea of doing a series of restoration videos, so last winter, he videoed me doing a ground up restoration of a Medieval Madness. It took us about 4 months and he ended up with about 18 hours of footage.

The problem now is, all the editing has to take place, and anyone who’s done any of this will tell you, it’s the most time consuming part of the process and takes the longest. As it turns out, Chris has had other commitments this winter, and hasn’t been able to work on it. As much as I’d like to get them done, it looks like it won’t be until next year.

TPB. A ship lost it's load of 1500 tons of timber along the UK coast on the way to your Russian rivals Pin Footski Enterprises. Police are investigating after Oak flavoured round holes were found in the ships hull. Anything you'd like to share?

BK. The FBI’s investigation is still ongoing, so I’m not at liberty to say anything at this time.

TPB. I've heard the delay in the remakes of Medieval Madness is due to a technicality with the size of the levellers not fitting the existing pin footie template. To the people that paid their deposits, and are waiting for these issues to be ironed out, what do you have to say?

BK. Again, the FBI’s investigation is still ongoing, so I’m not at liberty to say anything at this time.

TPB. Although I voted in your favour, Steve Ritchie just pipped you to the post as guest speaker for the UK Pinball Show in 2009. Organisers thought his bar-tab would have less of an impact on show funds. Why should we consider you in the future?

BK. I don’t quite see what the problem is. I would think the attendees would be more than happy to kick in an extra buck or two to cover my bar tab. I mean really….do you honestly think they want to hear from some over the hill, older than dirt pinball designer like Steve Ritchie or hear about the inner workings of Pin Footies Enterprises?

TPB. I've asked everyone else, so you might as well have the same. Can you sum up pinball in one word or sentence.

BK. There’s nothing else in the world like it.

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Many thanks to Bryan for being such a great sport. Get yourself over to Rec.Games.Pinball to meet other equally strange people!

Normal Pinball Heroes service will be resumed shortly....


The Pinball Blog

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Anonymous said...

enjoying all the interviews but this one was different class A+
Mike C

Admin said...

Cheers Mike, I have the easy part of it, questions take me a few minutes, some of the answers have been proper long! Glad you're enjoying them, more at the weekend. Nick