You know the other day I was watching a great doco movie about pinball called ‘Special When Lit’ that came out last year and it really brought back a lot of fond memories. Mr. Rockbrat and Cowboy Col spent many hours playing pinball in the late 70’s and right through the 80s. Two places we used to hang out were Fonzies at Collaroy (they used to have this HUGE pinball that required two people to play it. I used to think it was pretty cool to put coins in the jukebox and play ‘Mexican Radio’ by Wall Of Voodoo back in 82) and also the Fun Pier at Manly. Mr. Rockbrat was quite the pinball wizard, and his pinball talents developed to the point that I recall more than once in the late 80’s watching Mr. Rockbrat play pinball in some pub and consistently winning free games with quite a crowd gathered round watching his exploits. At the Fun Pier, I remember the ‘Playboy’ machine and also ‘Centaur’ and a bunch of old 10 cent machines like ‘Ten Pin’. My favourite machine though was ‘Flash’. Can’t remember why though. In today’s day and age, you can download games and play games against total strangers on the net. Well that’s all well and good, but there was nothing quite like playing pinball my friends. There’d be a pinny at every milk bar or take away. The Fun Pier though was really the cool place to go. The Manly Fun Pier started life as a cargo wharf at Manly Cove in the 1850s. In 1927 the cargo wharf was closed and in 1931 it was reopened as the Manly Amusement Pier. Manly’s Fun Pier had two slogans, being ‘Built for fun in’31” and “Seven miles from Sydney, a million miles from care.” This park sat alongside the ferry terminal at Manly on its own wharf. The park included an aquarium, a ferris wheel, merry go round with different animals, ghost train, octopus, mexican whip, tumbling house, mirror maze, indoor mini golf, train ride, cha cha and others. Sadly, by 1989, its days were numbers and it was pulled down, and Manly lost one of it’s icons, so that another yuppie could now be accommodated in a shiny new apartment. (The Manly Hotel suffered a similar fate a couple of years later). During its life, the Fun Pier saw a number of renovations (including a substantial renovation in 1980/81). At the time of its alteration in 1980/81, attractions included: The shark aquarium (the entrance of which was a large shark mouth), dodgems, ghost train, wax museum, fun castle, Ferris Wheel, merry go-round, the Octopus ride, the Space-Walk ride, miniature train ride, tumbling house and slide, and the Mexican Whip Ride. I have many fond memories of the fun pier, and it was a great place to perfect your pinball skills. I remember walking through the fun pier and stepping over some cracks or small holes on the wharf floor and seeing the ocean below. Go check out ‘Special When Lit’. Maybe you have a memory of your pinball spent youth or favourite amusement centre you’d like to share?