NORTH VANCOUVER — There’s a new pinball wizard in the land, although the title is very much in dispute.
White Rock resident Eden Stamm played for 40 hours at the Lamplighter Public House, between Tuesday and Thursday morning, ostensibly beating the current Guinness record of 28 hours.
But a North Vancouver man says the real record is almost twice as long, and it was set in 1984.
Pat Riccardi, a charity event promoter and former owner of Right On Submarines and Amusements on the 200-block of Lonsdale, said the record still belongs to Alex Hunter who played for more than 76 hours in April 1984.
Hunter’s marathon in the back of Right On Submarines attracted fellow competitors, news media and visitors from across the province.
“It was just an exciting time. Pressure was building and we were wondering, ‘How long can this guy play the game for? How long can he go? What’s he made of? Is he taking drugs?’ No, he was very pure. We watched him like a hawk,” Riccardi said.
Riccardi said he’s received a deluge of calls and emails from North Shore residents who remember Hunter’s marathon since Stamm’s attempt began.
“I don’t know how this guy can claim the record,” he said. “Alex played for 76 hours and 33 minutes.”
In 1982, Hunter played for more than 68 hours, which was also highly documented.
Riccardi said he got in touch with Hunter, who now lives in Abbotsford, for the first time in 30 years to let him know. Hunter too was irked that his title might be usurped. The ordeal was an incredible feat, he said.
“I don’t remember half of it. At one point, I thought I was in the church basement. I don’t know where that came from,” Hunter said. “Delirium set in.”
Immediately after the marathon, Hunter did a TV interview, which he scarcely remembers.
“I just remember going home and sleeping for about three days,” he said.
But, despite widespread media coverage in 1984, Guinness says the record was 28 hours, not 76:33.
“All record holders must apply and provide evidence of breaking the record. It seems Alex Hunter did not apply for the record because unfortunately he’s not listed in our database,” said Tavia Levy, Guinness World Record marketing executive.
Both Riccardi and Hunter expressed shock that the 1982 and 1984 records were never considered official.
“I did it right to the letter,” said Riccardi, who handled all the promotion and correspondence with Guinness. “They stipulated that it was no problem, that we had the record and that was it.”
Damon Holowchak, director of marketing for the Donnelly Group, which owns the Lamplighter, said he was contacted by other marathon pinball players claiming longer records during the attempt, but he was meticulous about following the official guidelines required for a Guinness record.
“We had five cameras. There were a dozen witnesses available, three timers and clocks going. All of this evidence needs to be filed and handed in.
It’s simple,” he said. “(Riccardi) can talk to Guinness. His dispute is definitely with them if he’s got it.”
Hunter, now 60 and not playing the silver ball anymore, said as far as he’s concerned, the original record stands, even if it’s not official.
“To be honest with you, it didn’t bother me in the least bit until everybody started coming to me and saying, ‘What are you going to do?’ Honestly, if the guy can do it, do it. I’m not impressed.”
And, Hunter noted, his pinball marathon was a charity event, which resulted in thousands of dollars being donated to B.C. Children’s Hospital and Variety Club of B.C.
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