Steve brings life to Who rocker's pinball

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Pinball wizard Steve brings life to machine played by Who rocker

EVER since he was a young boy Steve Tribe's played the silver ball.

From North End down to Southsea he reckons he's played them all...

But there's one pinball machine which the 39-year-old really wanted to get his hands on.

And that was the one which The Who's Roger Daltrey played by intuition in the 1975 film version of the band's rock opera Tommy.

He said: 'A couple of years ago that dream came true when it turned up in London in a terrible state.

'I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw it,' said Steve, from North End, Portsmouth.

'I recognised it immediately as the one Roger Daltrey played in the film - a 1967 Gottlieb's Kings and Queens.'

The Ken Russell-directed film has gone down in Portsmouth folklore - not only because it was shot in the city and surrounding area, but also because South Parade Pier burned down during filming.

Steve added: 'I grew up loving pinball. I left school at 15 to get a job at South Parade Pier so I could work with them and now I can't get enough of them.'

So is his home like an amusement arcade? 'Not really. I've only got 50 at the moment. It was about 100!'

Now filmgoers will have a chance to see the machine which Daltrey played in the scene shot for the film at the Kings Theatre, Southsea, in 1974.

Tommy is being shown again on September 25 at the Kings as part of the fifth Portsmouth Film Festival and the pinball machine will take pride of place in the foyer.

Steve said: 'I can remember the fire. My dad rushed in telling me about it and took me to the seafront to watch it.

'It's ironic that I ended up working on the rebuilt pier with machines which played such a key role in the film.'

Elton John also played a specially-adapted pinball machine in the scene at the theatre, a Captain Fantastic model with a keyboard attached to the front.

'That's the next one I want to work on and restore,' said Steve. 'I'm not really interested in playing them even though I started playing when I was so small I had to stand on a box. It's the mechanics that really turn me on. Making all those buzzers and bells work again.'