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Berea College
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Dolly Parton Pinball Machine in the Appalachian Collections   Tags: appalachia, appalachian artifacts, appalachian identity, material culture, stereotypes  

The Appalachian Center's 1979 Dolly Parton pinball machine and its backstory—one Appalachian woman's wrestling with fame, her image, and her mountain identity.
Last Updated: Jul 24, 2014 URL: http://guides.berea.edu/dollypinball Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Artifact 2013.10.1 Dolly Parton Pinball Machine

Appalachian Center's Dolly Parton Pinball Machine

This Dolly Parton themed pinball machine is artifact number 2013.10.1 in the Appalachian Studies Teaching Collection of the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center in Berea, Kentucky.  

 

Log of Maintenance and Repairs

2013.10.1 is a living artifact.  We have elected to maintain this artifact in playable condition, which requires some regular maintainence and repairs.  This is unusual becuase we generally try to freeze an artifact in time, not doing any repairs or restoration.  

  • 2013 Jun - At acquisition mahine was in playable condition, but many lights were burned out, three drop targets were broken, one was badly damaged, ectifier board connectors were in very poor condition with evidence that there had been a fire there.  The playfield and box were very dirty.  A doorbell button had been attached near the coin door and wired to simulate a coin drop and add credits.  
  • 2013 July - Replaced all playfield rubbers, including: flippers bands, upper playfield stop, all rubber post caps holding plastics in place, and shooter tip. 
  • 2013 july - Removed all old No.47 light bulbs and replaced with No.44 as reccomended.  Cleaned some sockets.  Three bulbs still did not work and showed no power at the socket.  Component failures on the lamp board suspected.  
  • 2013 July - Removed old, dead, leaking ni-cad battery from MPU board.
 

Provenance of Artifact 2013.10.1

This machine, serial number EDP5414, was built on September 25, 1979 at the Bally factory in Chicago. During its commercial life, it was owned by the Venco Amusement Company of Bland, Virginia. Venco probably placed it in bars, convenience stores, gas stations, or arcades. When its commercial life was over, it was sold into home use. It had at least two home-use owners. The last owner lived in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. He bought it for his family because his wife was from Dolly Parton’s hometown, Sevierville, Tennessee.  The machine was purchased by the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center at Berea College in June 2013.  It was placed in service in the Gallery in August 2013.  

 

What is "Provenance"?

Provenance is the literal history of one specific artifact, such as who owned it, when it was made, and where it came from.

 

Signing on Dolly Parton

Bally, a leading pinball machine maker, had a successful series of machines based on celebrities including singer Elton John, daredevil Evil Knievel, hockey star Bobby Orr, and the rock group KISS. Bally Executive Tom Nieman wanted a machine he could sell to country/western-themed bars.  In 1978, Bally approached Appalachian-born country music star Dolly Parton to license her persona for a new pinball machine.  Parton agreed, a contract was signed, and design work began.  This began an interesting process of determining how Parton would be portrayed in the artwork on the machine.  Click the "Story" tab above to learn more.  

About This Guide

This guide is based on the summer 2013 Dolly Parton Pinball Machine project.  Appalachian Center Curator Christopher Miller did the research, developed the content, and is designated pinball repairman.  Student Jonita Horn assisted with research.  Student Curatorial Assistant Caroline Hughes added additional information and produced this guide during fall 2013.

Collection Curator

The Appalachian Studies Artifacts Teaching Collection is under the care of the curator in the Appalachian Center.  For additional infomation, or to access the collection, contact the curator.  

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Christopher Miller
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Based in the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center,
Office: 859-985-3373
Also serving as Associate Director of the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center
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