The two images, below, are all that remains of a concept we called, “Gumball Games.” Some might feel that just two drawings are not enough to merit their own page. Nonetheless, I still believe the idea was great. Ironically, it happens that even these two photographs were rejects. I rescued them, with the aid of Photoshop, from a box of slides that were underexposed and cast aside, but, miraculously, not thrown away. Originally, there were more drawings in the presentation, depicting a whole series of variations. Each was mounted on illustration board, protected by a cover sheet. One variation that I remember was called, “Piggy Bank Pinball.”
The premise was straightforward, and if I do say so myself, quite clever. The idea of a savings bank in the form of a candy vending machine was not a new one. These, supposedly, encouraged children to save their money by delivering a piece of gum or candy, every time they saved a penny. Our invention carried the concept one step farther. The gumball, instead of just appearing, would first become the ball in a pinball machine. In “Gumball Pinball,” the player could enjoy the game as long as their skill would allow. And then, the gumball would drop through a hole, and be ejected into the cup below.
This variation is called, “Gumball Basket Ball.” Here, the play continues, until the player successfully shoots the gumball into the hoop. Then the ball goes down a chute and out into the cup.
I really loved this concept! Alas, it did not love me back. Perhaps, because the presentation was only a series of drawings, without a working prototype, it fell between the cracks. I have no idea what became of the original presentation. In fact, I’m not certain it was ever shown. It was on the verge of being outdated, thirty years ago. Nonetheless, throughout my childhood, pinball machines were commonplace. And when these drawings were created, I believed that they were still well known. But in this electronic age of computers and video games, pinball machines have become obsolete, or at best, antiques. This concept, alas, wouldn’t stand a chance of happening today.
All Original Toy Concepts, Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
This Land of Lost Toys project is, indeed, a work in progress. Just now, when I thought this page was already finished, I was looking through a box of stuff, returned to me by Kiscom, years ago, and I found another Gumball image. This one is in the form of a Kodachrome color print. It confirms something that I thought that I remembered, namely that the original Gumball presentation was lost. The image quality of this print is awful. I’ve done the best I could to improve it, with the aid of Photoshop. Studying these images, now, I realize from the copyright notice, in which my name is not included, that this project was done relatively early. In those years, Kiscom, attempted to keep my identity a secret, as they hoped to create the illusion that they had a vast design staff at their disposal, not just one guy, little me, yours truly.