By Taylor Sterba
Larry Richling is a family man and alum of Creighton Preparatory, who runs Hollywood Candy with his sister, a Marian alum, and his wife. The trio usually collaborate with each other on new projects, but the pinball museum has primarily been Richling’s brain-child. “He has worked on the pinball [museum] pretty much on his own…” said General Manager and sister, Michele Gifford. Richling has also hired technicians to aid in the development of the pinball machine museum.
Richling has always been a collector, starting with Pez candy dispensers which became the foundation of Hollywood Candy. Any antique you see in his store is something he has acquired over his years of collecting.
When a seller approached Richling with an extensive collection of 35 pinball machines, he could not pass up on the opportunity. He said that these pinball machines tied in to the store extremely well and they had the perfect place to showcase them in the back by the movie theater inside Hollywood Candy.
Construction began in mid-February and has gone smoothly and quickly with workers filtering in and out putting up lights, making sure the machines work, and finishing the prep before customers arrive.
On the first week of May, Richling is hoping to officially open his collection of pinball machines, which he calls, Hollywood Pinball-Arcade Museum to the public. The front end of a retro car doubles as the registration desk with a pinball machine enclosed where the hood should be. The $15 entry fee earns you a punch card for an hour of unlimited play. Although it is a little pricey, the punch card eliminates the need for a pocketful of change and being hit with the reality that you’re out of money when you reach into an empty pocket.
As you walk in, the reflection from the small disco ball makes red and blue light dance around the room. The antique pinball machines illuminate players’ faces with a yellow light while pings and rings of metal pinballs echo as they ricochet off assorted number of themed bumpers and point multipliers.
Each game has its own theme, ranging from famous television shows that are still well-known, such as “The Simpsons,” to various entertainment destinations, such as “The Isle” and the “Flying Circus.” It doesn’t matter whether you pull a red or black lever to send your marble on an adrenaline-filled journey, you are sure to ricochet from game to game in an attempt to play them all.
Whether you are there on a date night with your significant other or to beat a top score, the smile won’t leave your face.
Plus there is no need to worry about feeling overcrowded as there are plenty of alcoves filled with various antiques and collectibles available for peruse and purchase while you wait for the crowd to dwindle. There are also candies ranging from smooth chocolate to sour gummies for you to indulge in while you explore the colorful world of Hollywood Candy and Pinball Arcade.
So pull into one of many metered parking spaces and give Richling a “hello” before you start making your way through all of the pinball machines.