Project: For Amusement Only Floor Mural-1995
Dimensions: 11' x 17'
Medium: Enamel Paints with Gymnasium Sealer Varnish
Location: Formerly at 1010 Grayson, Berkeley

Since I first played it as a child in Guerneville arcades in the early 1960s, pinball has been a part of my life. During the period from the late 1970s to early 1990s, I had been continually searching for machines out on location in public places, with almost no success. Silver Ball Gardens in Berkeley had been one of the few surviving places where I could get my pinball fix, and I loved the classic "Tommy"-themed mural on the wall, near the steep and narrow staircase leading up to the second floor.


I met Jim and Judy Tolbert almost by accident, one day in 1991, as they were closing down "For Amusement Only" storefront on Ashby Ave. Jim was about to rent a massive warehouse space on Blake St. in Berkeley, where I later played and purchased many machines. In 1995, Jim was in the process of downsizing his business once again, and asked if I could paint a tribute piece to pinball on the floor of their new showroom on Grayson St.

Jim had written one of the standard books on the subject, "Tilt", back in the 70s, was fluent in all aspects of pinball art, repair, and history, and suggested that I create a playfield on his floor, with artwork elements drawn from no less that 7 different machines. I drafted a sketch and, while they were away on vacation for a month, I painted the floor.  Unfortunately, painting on the floor had aggravated my chronic back issues. A few days after I finished the mural, I found myself unable to walk, and spent 8 days in bed. My chiropractor told me that I'd come very close to spending the rest of my days in a wheelchair!  Apparently, three different spinal injuries had simultaneously occurred. Over time, amazingly, she put me right, and I want to offer my ongoing thanks to Dr. Deborah Shick.

Unfortunately the floor hadn't been nailed down to the joists properly, which led to cracking along the floorboards. This would be my first and only wood floor painting.


Eventually, the Tolberts sold business and then sold the building to some attorneys, who promised to have me repaint the floor mural. Instead, when the property traded hands, the new owners destroyed the floor, taking it out with a circular saw and throwing it away! One of the neighbors grabbed a section out of the dumpster and basically held it for ransom as they traveled around the country, contacting me periodically with e-mails, saying they "still had that chunk of the floor mural for sale". Please....


Moving on, today I'm still involved in the hobby, and have been on Alameda's Pacific Pinball Museum Board of Directors for over 10 years. We have over 500 vintage machines to play, and another 700 in storage/on display. Check it out at