0807 Tom Nieman

Card Details

  • Card ID:
    0807 Tom Nieman
  • First Name:
    Tom
  • Last Name:
    Nieman
  • Tags: Pinball Expo Hall of Fame Pinball Industry Superstars of 2014
  • Other Notes:

    Issued at the 2014 Pinball Expo in Chicago, IL, on October 18, 2014.

    As recounted by the late Pinball Historian Russ Jensen: “Tom Nieman worked for Bally about 14 years, and was involved during the 1970's with "third party licenses." Being involved with the licensed themes like "Tommy," Wizard and Captain Fantastic. Tom thought "there must be a better way to market a pin." He said that he thought you should introduce "personality" into a game as a "hook" to attract players. Using music, being an avid fan of "The Who," Nieman contacted Columbia Pictures who he said was "an easy sell," but selling the idea to Bally was somewhat harder. Bally in turn allowed "The Who" to use its' company name in the song "Pinball Wizard." After meeting the Columbia representative in New Orleans to finalize the deal, Tom said Bally gave Columbia six machines, plus another 12 to be used in a "promotional pool." Artist Dave Christensen then created the art "basically blind." Tom stated that he had a "great time" promoting the game (which for decades beyond has influenced the success of the whole industry through the concepts of licensed marketing).” Tommy might be the Pinball Wizard, but it is Mr. Nieman who is the Pinball Hero, joining the Pinball Expo Hall of Fame on October 18, 2003.

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