Celebrating half a century in the amusement industry, and 42 years as the world’s leading supplier of shooting arcades, Paul Whittaker spoke to Coinslot about founding Pan Amusements, and what the future holds.
Pan Amusements, one of the world leaders in supplying and manufacturing electronic shooting galleries, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
In an exclusive interview with Coinslot, founder and director Paul Whittaker explained how the company was formed, the success half a century has brought, and how Pan is still shooting for the stars.
“Pan are known for their shooting galleries,” said Paul Whittaker. “We’ve sold them all over the world,over 1000 galleries to over 50 countries, and they’re still as popular as when I first saw them in 1978.”
“I was working with Whittaker Brothers (which my father founded in 1946) at the time, but they were older directors and I was 25, and as you do, you think you can have the world.”
“I saw shooting galleries in America, in Orlando – this was 42 years ago – and I thought they were great.
Bringing the idea of shooting galleries back to the UK, Paul Whittaker began producing the machines for which Pan has become famous in 1979.
“You can find our galleries all over,” said Paul Whittaker. “In general theme parks,arcades, FECs, retail sites and more. We supplied 300 single sideshows to Chuck-E-Cheese and over 300 three player sideshows to other customers. The biggest gallery we ever made was a 32 gun wild west gallery with 123 targets for Parque warner in Madrid which is now over 18 years old and still making excellent revenue today.
“Last month we launched the Three-Gun Sideshow upgrade, and that went to EAG with improved animation, artwork and lighting. It’s proven a popular machine over the years first launched in 2010 and the new version is already flying off the production line. Also launched at EAG was the single player Monster mash gallery with its cartoon design and catchy tune it’s a real graveyard smash !
“Using simple gameplay that the whole family can enjoy a Pan gallery offers a great variety to any venue from just cranes, pushers and video games with great reliability rapid payback they are a timeless piece that everyone loves to play.
With Pan still setting the bar for high quality and widely-popular galleries, you could be forgiven for thinking the firm may have grown from one man’s vision into a faceless, corporate entity.
However, with the company operating out of Austerlands Mill, Whittaker’s own in Oldham, the company still retains its independent, family feel – something Whittaker is keen to see continue for the next 50 years.
“One day I will probably retire. When that happens, Paul Adams who has been with Pan for 38 years will take over.”
“Having said that though, I’m 75 and I haven’t got bored of it yet.”