PEEKING INTO THE PAST: Was pinball in Pittston amusement or gambling in 1954?


Peeking into the Past - Judy Minsavage



The Exeter Little League and Ladies Auxiliary held a field day for league players. A photo was taken of those attending. Some players and organizers pictured are Tom Scholato, Sean Pace, Dave Modlesky, Roy Gilley, Dave Urban, Henry Buczynski, Michael Hatrak, Ed Brown, Jim Breznahan, Carl Pellegrini, Robert Switzer, Richard Rom, Stanley Abromavage, Jim Minchak, Ron Koskey, Jim DeGraba and Ann Paluski. Managers were Frank Mirabelle, Ed Janoski, Joe Pegllegrini, Jack Morinello, Glen Switzer. Ladies of the Auxiliary were Vicky Stochla, Mary Ann Switzer, Aggie Abromavage, Rose Lukash, Regina Lepore, Mary Alice Mazzarella, Josephine Hatrak, Pauline Jeffrey, Carl Reedy, Ann Paluski, Josie Modlesky and Betty Kovalcin. Can you identify anyone? Call us at 570-991-6403


Sunday Dispatch file photo


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    Did You Know

    “As a memoriam to those who served in the Spanish-American War, an honor roll listing the names of the 322 persons who served in this war and in the Philippine Insurrection was erected in the front yard of the First Baptist Church at 14 Water Street in Pittston on May 11, 1943. John F. Toole was camp commander at this period. John C. Kehoe underwrote the expense of construction of the marker as a memorial to his brother, Michael Kehoe, who served in this war.”

    Published in the Bicentennial Special Commemorative Edition of the Sunday Dispatch, July 4, 1976.

    1954 – 61 years ago

    A ban on pinball machines was in effect in Pittston. Parents complained to city officials the machines were being used by children for gambling purposes. Police Chief Patrick O’Brien ordered his officers to remove all machines from business establishments in the city. Two weeks later the machines were returned to several establishments “over the heads” of Pittston authorities. A battle was forming as owners contacted their attorneys to fight the issue claiming the machines were used only as amusement devices. The decision in Pittston would have far reaching effects as similar problems existed throughout the state of Pennsylvania. In the 1940s, cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago had already banned the devices as they were labeled games of chance and not skill. The ban remained into effect until the 1970s. Did you play pinball? What was your favorite game? Call us at 570-991-6403.

    The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “Do you believe there is any truth to the statement, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?” Helen DeVirgilio answered, “A man eats a good meal, he is inclined to forget about his girlfriend. What is a girl who doesn’t know how to cook supposed to do? I’m not going to learn until after I get a fellow.” Mary Marko of West Pittston added, “The average man is not content with just having his stomach full. A nice little loving once in a while and a display of affection is needed to find the way to his heart.”

    1964 – 51 years ago

    Plans for the dedication of the $90,000 Dupont Borough building were underway. The building, which ran into some difficulties during construction, was completed with government grant money. The most painful conflict was one between the unemployed coal miners of Dupont and the building’s designers. With the end of deep coal mining in the aftermath of the Knox Mine Disaster and the dwindling use of coal as a main heating source, the livelihood of many Greater Pittston area residents was threatened. To satisfy the aging miners, plans were changed to substitute a coal furnace, but shortly before the installation was to take place, Dupont Mayor Joseph Troynacki announced the building would be erected with the originally planned oil furnace. According to consumer websites, oil production is currently suffering the same fate as coal did in this time period, with the ever increasing use of natural gas.

    “A Hard Day’s Night” starring The Beatles was playing at the Comerford Drive-In. “Some Like It Hot,” starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon was screened at the Midway Drive-In. Alfred Hitchcok’s “Marnie” was playing at the American Theater.

    Bob Barbieri and Nick Volpetti made their debuts as local high school football coaches. Barbieri took the reins at Pittston High School and Volpetti was at the helm at Exeter High School.

    1974 – 41 years ago

    Barbara Ann Coyne of Exeter joined Wagner’s Fuel in the Exeter Little League. She could only keep statistics and serve as a bat girl until a ruling in 1974 by the New Jersey Superior court led to the admittance of girls into Little League programs and allowed them to play. Coyne wanted to be part of the team so she registered with the league even before the rule passed. Managers of Coyne’s team decided to use her as a pinch hitter. Some young fellows were not happy with the move and threatened to turn in their uniforms as soon as Coyne started “seeing action.” The threat wasn’t realized and the team finished with a 16-2 record.

    Danny Lipperini of Pittston kept his fingers crossed that his buddy Evel Knievel would survive his attempt at jumping the Snake River Canyon. Lipperini met Knievel when he was a guest of Dan Lipperini Sr. at the Giant’s Despair Hill climb. Knievel “drove his new Cadillac to the top of the Despair.” As he hit Devil’s Elbow, Knievel smashed the front of his car, “taking a part of a pole back down to the bottom of the hill with him.” Knievel’s attempt to jump across the Snake River Canyon in the Skycycle X-2 rocket was unsuccessful.

    The Exeter Little League and Ladies Auxiliary held a field day for league players. A photo was taken of those attending. Some players and organizers pictured are Tom Scholato, Sean Pace, Dave Modlesky, Roy Gilley, Dave Urban, Henry Buczynski, Michael Hatrak, Ed Brown, Jim Breznahan, Carl Pellegrini, Robert Switzer, Richard Rom, Stanley Abromavage, Jim Minchak, Ron Koskey, Jim DeGraba and Ann Paluski. Managers were Frank Mirabelle, Ed Janoski, Joe Pegllegrini, Jack Morinello, Glen Switzer. Ladies of the auxiliary were Vicky Stochla, Mary Ann Switzer, Aggie Abromavage, Rose Lukash, Regina Lepore, Mary Alice Mazzarella, Josephine Hatrak, Pauline Jeffrey, Carl Reedy, Ann Paluski, Josie Modlesky and Betty Kovalcin. To see if you recognize anyone in the photo, log on to psdispatch.com and click on Peeking Into the Past.

    The Exeter Little League and Ladies Auxiliary held a field day for league players. A photo was taken of those attending. Some players and organizers pictured are Tom Scholato, Sean Pace, Dave Modlesky, Roy Gilley, Dave Urban, Henry Buczynski, Michael Hatrak, Ed Brown, Jim Breznahan, Carl Pellegrini, Robert Switzer, Richard Rom, Stanley Abromavage, Jim Minchak, Ron Koskey, Jim DeGraba and Ann Paluski. Managers were Frank Mirabelle, Ed Janoski, Joe Pegllegrini, Jack Morinello, Glen Switzer. Ladies of the Auxiliary were Vicky Stochla, Mary Ann Switzer, Aggie Abromavage, Rose Lukash, Regina Lepore, Mary Alice Mazzarella, Josephine Hatrak, Pauline Jeffrey, Carl Reedy, Ann Paluski, Josie Modlesky and Betty Kovalcin. Can you identify anyone? Call us at 570-991-6403
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_EXETER-LL-FIELD-DAY-1974.jpgThe Exeter Little League and Ladies Auxiliary held a field day for league players. A photo was taken of those attending. Some players and organizers pictured are Tom Scholato, Sean Pace, Dave Modlesky, Roy Gilley, Dave Urban, Henry Buczynski, Michael Hatrak, Ed Brown, Jim Breznahan, Carl Pellegrini, Robert Switzer, Richard Rom, Stanley Abromavage, Jim Minchak, Ron Koskey, Jim DeGraba and Ann Paluski. Managers were Frank Mirabelle, Ed Janoski, Joe Pegllegrini, Jack Morinello, Glen Switzer. Ladies of the Auxiliary were Vicky Stochla, Mary Ann Switzer, Aggie Abromavage, Rose Lukash, Regina Lepore, Mary Alice Mazzarella, Josephine Hatrak, Pauline Jeffrey, Carl Reedy, Ann Paluski, Josie Modlesky and Betty Kovalcin. Can you identify anyone? Call us at 570-991-6403 Sunday Dispatch file photo

    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_Miss-Judy-1-.jpgSunday Dispatch file photo

    Peeking into the Past

    Judy Minsavage

    Did You Know

    “As a memoriam to those who served in the Spanish-American War, an honor roll listing the names of the 322 persons who served in this war and in the Philippine Insurrection was erected in the front yard of the First Baptist Church at 14 Water Street in Pittston on May 11, 1943. John F. Toole was camp commander at this period. John C. Kehoe underwrote the expense of construction of the marker as a memorial to his brother, Michael Kehoe, who served in this war.”

    Published in the Bicentennial Special Commemorative Edition of the Sunday Dispatch, July 4, 1976.

    Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage

    Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage

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