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Bootleg Elevator Action cpo

Another collector tipped me off about a Willis Elevator Action overlay for sale at the Eldorado Games website. I bought it because I had never seen the Willis version before, only the bootleg Spy Agent version. Well, I still haven’t seen one because this overlay is a bootleg.

EA cpo

How do I know? There are lots of reasons, the first one is that Willis never copied existing work. I can only assume that because of licensing agreements they were forced to create new art for each piece they reproduced. Take a look at my artwork page if you want more proof. Similarities exist in some cases, but not direct copies. Another reason is the quality. This cpo is printed on some cheaply backed material, not the industry standard 3M stuff. It is also missing the manufacturers text, copyright info and die cuts which were standard on Willis reproductions.

While I was disappointed that this wasn’t a Willis overlay, it is still a unique piece. The one thing that struck me in particular are the odd, ragged black borders. Now the original Elevator Action cpo had rough borders, as you can see in the last image, however they weren’t as bad as this. It almost looks as if an original cpo was pulled from a control panel, ripping it on the edges. Then a photo was taken with one of those giant bellow cameras. Cutting edge back in the 80’s, this piece of equipment would allow a silk screen company to make screens directly from a giant photograph. A little touch up and removal of the Taito logo and bingo, you’ve got an unauthorized copy! Seems like a lot of work just to make an overlay. This one gets added to the archive. (Taito control panel image courtesy of KLOV)

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