Looff's Lite-A-Line – Long Beach, California - Atlas Obscura

Looff's Lite-A-Line

The creator of the carousel's bingo-pinball hybrid survives in California's oldest gaming establishment. 

56
288

Most famous for building Vandeveer’s Bathing Pavilion Carousel, the very first carousel, Charles Looff went on to create a number of other amusements including the odd gambling game kept alive at Looff’s Lite-A-Line.

Originally built in 1941 for Looff’s Pike amusement park in Long Beach, California, Lite-A-Line combines the tactile mechanics of pinball with the random number selection of bingo. Players use a pinball-style plunger to fire a ball up a track where it falls randomly back down one of a number of lines, which are in turn chosen by a caller to be winners, as in bingo. Bets generally begin as small as $1 and pay out around $15 making it a low enough stakes game for the average player.

After The Pike was closed in 1979, the Lite-A-Line games were preserved and moved inland to new locations until finally settling into their current location in 2000. In addition to the historic game, Looff’s Lite-A-Line also acts as as a museum remembering The Pike and some of Looff’s other attractions. The displays contain vintage signs, historic photographs and even a restored roller coaster car. 

While the Lite-A-Line game has been upgraded to use modern swipe cards and other such gambling standards, the game is played much the same way it was in 1941. Even though his many parks may have closed Looff’s amusements have a special way of standing the test of time.  

Atlas Obscura Trips

City of Secrets: Underground in Los Angeles

On this an insider’s journey into the City of Angeles, we'll discover the murals and art of the famous Arts district with a resident artist, clink glasses at an underground speakeasy, and hike through hidden ruins with a suspicious past, all in pursuit of the less angelic side of the City of Angels.