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One of the most frustrating things about almost every pinball game is the gap between the two flippers. No matter how good players are, they will always run into a frustrating situation where all they can do is look on helplessly while the pinball shoots right between the flippers to end the turn.

In 1966, the prayers of many pinball players were answered when Bally released Bazaar, a game that presented a unique solution to the flipper gap problem.

Bazaar introduced ‘zipper flippers’, created by Bally designer Ted Vale.

If the player hit a bumper marked ‘U’ with the ball, these specially-configured flippers would move together and completely close the gap between themselves allowing the player to keep the ball in play without having to worry about slipping through the flippers  . . . at least for a while.

The flippers would split apart when the player triggered another game function and would remain apart until again triggered by the lifesaving ‘U’ bumper.

Bazaar’s unique zipper flippers helped make it an arcade hit. Bally took note and continued to use zipper flippers in games throughout the early 1970s, the most popular being the pinball fan favourite, Fireball.