There is no one more iconic and influential across the pinball landscape than Chairman and CEO of Stern Pinball, Inc., Gary Stern. Home to many Hall-of-Fame game designers and programmers, Stern Pinball continues to lead the industry in innovation and design, serving digital, consumer, commercial, and corporate markets around the globe.
There are many unsung heroes behind the scenes throughout Stern Pinball’s history. It was an honor for Gary to personally induct both Shazade (Chas) Siddiqi and Tommy Grant into the Hall of Fame at this year’s Pinball Expo, held virtually October 14-17th.
Shazade (Chas) Siddiqi, a man well-known to the pinball community for his commitment to quality and service to his friends and customers, wore many hats throughout his storied pinball career. He started at Data East Pinball (predecessor to Stern Pinball) on the factory assembly line in 1992, working his way up to a position as a final tester. Through his hard work and attention to technical detail, Chas’s talent was recognized. He was transferred and promoted into the Technical Service department where his patience with customers truly shined.
Chas’s work extended above and beyond his roles and responsibilities, providing personal service schools with distributors to great acclaim. When times were tough for the entire industry during the 2008 economic recession, that didn’t stop Chas from rolling up his sleeves and doing whatever was asked of him to help keep the pinball ship afloat. He transferred back into the factory as a final tester until Stern recovered. Chas ultimately landed back in the Technical Service department where he again excelled.
“Chas was the definition of a true team player, an unsung hero in this industry. It’s bittersweet to be able to induct him personally into the Hall of Fame, forever enshrined in the history of Pinball,” said Gary. “He will forever be remembered here at Stern and now officially everywhere through the Pinball Hall of Fame.”
Gary Stern also personally inducted another legend, Tommy A. Grant, into the Hall of Fame. In 1932 in the very beginning of pinball, and what became “flipper games”, Tommy’s father Thomas Grant formed Advertising Posters. Led later by Tommy, Ad Posters created much of the game art on all types of games. Its staff of artists created virtually all pinball art though decades of style changes. Tommy’s Ad Posters and his later company, Technical Advertising Graphics, TAG for short (also Tommy’s initials), screened backglasses, playfields and plastics on virtually every pinball for decades, including many of Gary’s games.
Many art exhibits have displayed the different genres of pinball art, slices of Americana. Charles Bell and Wayne Thiebaud are among famous artists whose works have been inspired by iconic Ad Posters pinball designs. Their work has sold for millions of dollars at Sotheby’s auctions.
“In 1947 when my father Sam became a partner in the Williams pinball company, he worked and collaborated with Tommy’s father. It was fun for Tommy and I, like our fathers, to work to make great games together, in our youth and many years thereafter,” Gary stated. “It was an honor to induct my friend Tommy Grant into the Pinball Hall of Fame.”
Congratulations to both Chas and Tommy for this prestigious honor!