Pinball Wizards Find Den in Silver Spring

The Baltimore Sun on Sunday ran a feature on a little-known National Pinball Museum, which includes 50 machines, can only be visited by appointment, and is located in a building behind curator Dan Silverman's home on Cannon Road. It's one of those delightfully quirky agglomerations of kitsch that can only result from the tireless work of a near-obsessive.

Silverman, who owns about 800 machines but only displays a fraction of them, has mentioned that he would like to expand to a larger venue, and not just any venue.

He hopes to expand someday into a facility complete with a research library, themed restaurant (he's even got a name for it, The Flipper) and gift shop.

That may just be the loudest, most garish research library in existence. And if the meals in the themed restaurant don't come in three courses (with a chance to win extra ones) he's doing something seriously wrong.

Naturally, the revelation of this grand design has piqued the imagintion of , uh, one other person. This Silver Spring blog pointed to the long dormant Capri Theater as a possibility for the pinball supercomplex, even though the writer acknowledges it would be doomed to failure unless the theater's inclined floor is terraced.

And there are, of course, a number of problems beyond just that. After all, a space in downtown Silver Spring, even a long-neglected one, has a rent to cover. And while pinball history is sure to draw a few visits from the curious and rich people who feel a kinship with other obsessives, it's likely too confined a niche to get the repeat customers. Which is kind of a shame, because home consoles have basically eliminated video game arcades.

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