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