A Journey Through the History of Rock & Roll Pinball
Capt. Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975)
First off, props to Elton John for rocking the Canada hockey jersey and endearingly cheesy smile-and-point move in the Capt. Fantastic flyer. The machine pictured here was inspired by two 1975 projects involving John: his album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy and his role in the Tommy movie as a pinball kingpin who competes against the titular wizard. John appears on the Capt. Fantastic backglass (i.e., the non-playable panel art you see when first looking at a machine) as his disco-fied Where's Waldo character from Tommy, doing his damnedest to pull off the white bell-bottoms, sparkly red shirt, suspenders, beanie, ridiculous glasses, and comically giant boots ensemble. The backglass is easily the most striking thing about the Bally-made game, as its congested art also features a crowd of cartoon characters engaging in activities that were censored in later versions of the game. One woman gives the finger, another grips her breasts in ecstasy, a third reaches to grope a man behind her. By comparison, the table's playfield -- a splash of blue whose only other character-defining details are an image of piano keys and a few more depictions of Elton -- is totally benign.