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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tonight: The History of Pinball, Gaming, and Vice in Portland

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, May 8, 2012 at 5:40 PM

You guys know Joe Streckert—he of Game of Thrones recaps and tellings of our state's history by way of explosions—but did you know that he also manifests his passion for local history as a guide for Portland Walking Tours? Unless you're a tourist or entertaining one, you've probably never experienced Joe in this mode. But this evening he's presenting a special lecture on the topic of pinball's origins and Portland's history of vice for the latest edition of Stumptown Stories—a setting far less embarrassing for those of us residing within city limits:


Learn all about the old forms of gambling like punch-cards, fan-tan, pinball, slots, and the attendant controversies and scandals that surrounded them. Hear sordid tales of Portland vice! Discover the history of pinball! Before the reforms of the 1960s and 1970s, Portland was a very different kind of town. It was more industrial, less progressive, and in the mid twentieth century, awash with gambling. Coin machines, punch cards, and games of various sorts operated all over town, and the racketeers who ran them worked hand-in-glove with a corrupt police force. In the late 1950s, though, the whole system came crashing down.

Now, despite that unfamiliar glowing orb in the sun, head down to the underground Jack London for the 7:30 presentation for a break from UV-gorging (you don't want to give yourself wrinkles, now do you?) over a vice-inducing cocktail or two. You might learn something!

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