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Jukebox Question for Those Who Remember


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It was some months ago I watched I'll See You in My Dreams on TCM, and tonight I watched the Poverty Row production of Swing Hostess from PRC in 1944 on YouTube. In both movies, there was a form of a jukebox, but rather than people inserting their coins and the machine manipulating the chosen record into position to be played, none of the records were stored in the actual jukebox. Instead, the customer got on a telephone to an office building staffed entirely by women in a room with a library-like collection of records. The woman answering the phone would then take your request, seek out the record you wanted, and when she played it you could hear it through a speaker in your jukebox.

Did anybody use this service? And were any of you as rude with the women who played the records, which both movies seem to assume was the natural way to treat them?

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Never used them.  One system was called Multiphone and based out of Seattle.  It was most popular on the west coast.  There may have been similar systems elsewhere.

They were essentially dealt a death blow by the introduction of the 45 rpm record and the march of technology.  Multiphone's advantage over the more common jukebox in the era of 78 rpm records was the size of its available library of songs.   Multiphone users could select from 170 or so titles.  Until the 45 came about, juke boxes were really limited in the number of records they could store.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/history/seattles-original-streaming-music-service-was-launched-in-1939/281-43af8319-7d6d-487a-897d-818cfa838fb4

Multiphone went out of business in 1959.

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Somebody once went into that "Pawn Stars" shop and tried to sell one, but they turned it down.

THIS guy had better luck with his.  ;) 

Sepiatone

 

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Thanks for the info, my fellow posters! Now, I have another question. I did some reading on Wikipedia about PRC, and it said that Poverty Row films were often shown as the "lower-billed" feature alongside the major studio feature everybody came to see, but it didn't say what the order of screening was. My own life experience comes from rock concerts - the act you want to see comes out last. You've got to sit through Wang Chung or the Romantics before the Rolling Stones or the Eagles come out. Did it work like that in the movies as well? You got your PRC or Chesterfield or Majestic picture first and then your MGM or Paramount or Fox film? Maybe with a Mickey Mouse in-between? And when did they show cartoons anyway in the old days? When I was a child in the '70s, it was always before the feature. But I just watched a 1946 film called Heartbeat on YouTube, in which Ginger Rogers tries to pickpocket Adolphe Menjou whilst sitting next to him in the movie theater. He catches her in the act just as the movie's ending and is ready to take her to the authorities, but she says, "What about Mickey Mouse? Don't you want to stay and watch Mickey Mouse?" and I'm like, "What the heck? In the '40s they showed Mickey Mouse after the feature?" Clarification please from anyone knows.

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2 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Thanks for the info, my fellow posters! Now, I have another question. I did some reading on Wikipedia about PRC, and it said that Poverty Row films were often shown as the "lower-billed" feature alongside the major studio feature everybody came to see, but it didn't say what the order of screening was. My own life experience comes from rock concerts - the act you want to see comes out last. You've got to sit through Wang Chung or the Romantics before the Rolling Stones or the Eagles come out. Did it work like that in the movies as well? You got your PRC or Chesterfield or Majestic picture first and then your MGM or Paramount or Fox film? Maybe with a Mickey Mouse in-between? And when did they show cartoons anyway in the old days? When I was a child in the '70s, it was always before the feature. But I just watched a 1946 film called Heartbeat on YouTube, in which Ginger Rogers tries to pickpocket Adolphe Menjou whilst sitting next to him in the movie theater. He catches her in the act just as the movie's ending and is ready to take her to the authorities, but she says, "What about Mickey Mouse? Don't you want to stay and watch Mickey Mouse?" and I'm like, "What the heck? In the '40s they showed Mickey Mouse after the feature?" Clarification please from anyone knows.

I thought the same thing, that the typical order was newsreel, short/serial (or both), cartoon, B-picture and then the top-billed feature.

It was common practice to "sit-through" in those days (even when I was a kid), so that if you entered the theater somewhere in the middle of the whole thing, you'd "sit through" the next showing until you got to the part where you came in.  Maybe Ginger was wanting to sit through until they saw Mickey?

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2 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

I thought the same thing, that the typical order was newsreel, short/serial (or both), cartoon, B-picture and then the top-billed feature.

It was common practice to "sit-through" in those days (even when I was a kid), so that if you entered the theater somewhere in the middle of the whole thing, you'd "sit through" the next showing until you got to the part where you came in.  Maybe Ginger was wanting to sit through until they saw Mickey?

Do you know if it was the same order for Saturday matinees and regular showings? Only reason I ask is from the way my mom talked when I was a wee lad, or at least as my not so reliable memory recollects,  it was the newsreel, serial chapter for the matinee/comedy short or travelogue for regular evening  showings, cartoon, main feature,  undercard movie.  The main/undercard might be switched for matinees since they were just keeping the kids occupied basically.

Like I said though I was just a very young tyke and she was just making small talk that I picked up on while playing with my Hot Wheels. Plus she grew up in a small town in the Appalachians so movies probably didn't match up the same as it did with them fancy pants Flatlanders and their high fallutin' airs. 😏

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When I was growing up in the 50's most theaters in my city ran continuously from 12:30 in the afternoon with the last show ending about 11:30 at night. They always wanted the last feature of the night to be the main one so when working the schedule out the theater manager sometimes had to to start the first show of the day with the feature or possibly the second-feature depending on the running times of each to make it all work out.  While it was a hard and fast rule that the main feature was always shown last each night, there wasn't a strict policy on which one started the day.

To complicate things even more, here in New York State there was an old law still on the books that movies couldn't be shown on Sundays before 2:00 making that schedule   different from the weekday schedule. So  the day and the the time you went to the theater actually determined what movie you saw first.

Of course, within a few years that law was repealed and by then most theaters had gone to a single feature policy anyway.

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19 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

"What about Mickey Mouse? Don't you want to stay and watch Mickey Mouse?" and I'm like, "What the heck? In the '40s they showed Mickey Mouse after the feature?" Clarification please from anyone knows.

Back in 1965 my big brother took me to the movies to see HELP! on a Saturday afternoon while our Mom was working. In between showings of HELP!, there were 2 or 3 Bugs Bunny cartoons and the cycle repeated all day. I suspect this allowed time for rewinding the reels.

My brother & I were there all day for repeated viewings of everything. We finally left at 6pm, the theater closed and reopened at 7pm for the "evening" feature.

As for MULTIPHONE jukebox system-a revelation to me! I have owned & restored several jukeboxes and only kept the bulbous chrome Seeburg wall box unit.

s-l400.jpg

Regular wall boxes (the remote unit) are worth about $300. $3,000 for the Multiphone unit?? The antiques market has dropped to practically nothing, no one wants "things" any more.

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As I remember about going to the movies as a kid;

Most showings at the Park theater were double billings unless a feature was a long one( such as Ben-Hur, Lawrence Of Arabia and such)  then it would be the only movies shown for whatever it's run was.  Usually a cartoon or two, and a couple of previews, but local advertising never became a reality until about the early '80's long after the Park theater quit showing first run Hollywood movies and started showing porn.  (late '70's).   And the double features were a lot like rock concerts in that the first movie wasn't the "main" feature you wanted to see.  One example---

When A HARD DAY'S NIGHT finally came to the Park,  it was preceded by some year old Frankie and Annette beach movie.  Which halfway through it the girls in the audience started loudly chanting, "We want the Beatles!"  until the theater cut that movie short and showed one preview and then started the Beatles' movie which of course, nobody heard any of throughout.  ;) 

And even thought it too was considered a long one, they showed both THE BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ  and HELL IS FOR HEROES on the same bill.  But of course, "Birdman" wasn't as long as the previously mentioned "epics".

Sepiatone

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CD jukeboxes killed the nostalgia of the whole thing.  It was nice to see the machine go through the motions to select a record, grab and play it.

 

When the movie "Tron Legacy" (2010) was released to DVD, it had a scene where Flynn's son went into his old arcade, turned on the power and the song on a jukebox started "Separate Ways -Worlds Apart" by Journey (1983). Never heard that one before but loved what was played in the movie.  I purchased a mint 45 on Ebay and by surprised it came with a jukebox label.  Talk about owning something that connected to the film!  Like to add it's a Canadian made 45

 

 

Edited by hamradio
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5 hours ago, hamradio said:

Never heard that one before but loved what I heard.

Never ... heard ... before ...

That's the one with the video where the band strolls around a deserted construction site, like one  you would see in a chase scene from a '70s cop show, and air-play instruments for the whole song! None of them are holding any actual instruments, mind you. They're just air-playing imaginary instruments. This is the video that miraculousuly caused Beavis and Butthead to momentarily cease their nervous laughter and for Butthead to solemnly intone, "This ... is horrible."

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16 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Back in 1965 my big brother took me to the movies to see HELP! on a Saturday afternoon while our Mom was working. In between showings of HELP!, there were 2 or 3 Bugs Bunny cartoons and the cycle repeated all day. I suspect this allowed time for rewinding the reels.

My brother & I were there all day for repeated viewings of everything. We finally left at 6pm, the theater closed and reopened at 7pm for the "evening" feature.

As for MULTIPHONE jukebox system-a revelation to me! I have owned & restored several jukeboxes and only kept the bulbous chrome Seeburg wall box unit.

s-l400.jpg

Regular wall boxes (the remote unit) are worth about $300. $3,000 for the Multiphone unit?? The antiques market has dropped to practically nothing, no one wants "things" any more.

I've been to plenty roadside diners that had one of those inside each booth, mounted on the wall or divider.  In later years of course it was just for show, only the lights were connected if anything.

The antiques market was blown off the hinges by Ebay and shows like American Pickers and Pawn Stars.  One of my friends has been fixing up his place for many years and walks around quoting everything in sight in terms of dollars spent, versus dollars saved, like an auctioneer.  It is a mindset.

It would be great if we could go back to the point where people just found this old stuff discarded on the roadside and picked it up only to restore it and maybe preserve some history.

As for right now, most people I know are stocking up on essentials, emergency items, and getting things done around the home that need to be done.

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12 hours ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

The antiques market was blown off the hinges by Ebay and shows like American Pickers and Pawn Stars.  

Not really. It's just made a larger divide between the educated & beginners. The severe downturn in the market for antiques first blow was the economy. People only buy trivialities when there's "funny" money around. The second big blow is finding out boomers were the last generation to care about nostalgia. Boomer's kids don't want to inherit Dad's collection, they just sell it off, usually for less than half of what Dad paid for it. 

12 hours ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

It would be great if we could go back to the point where people just found this old stuff discarded on the roadside and picked it up only to restore it and maybe preserve some history.

Well, I'm still rehabbing discarded items, usually a quick flip since I know what's popular these days. Most of my wall/juke boxes were purchased from vendors going out of business in the 70's-80's. No one wants them today. Too big/heavy.

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1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

Not really. It's just made a larger divide between the educated & beginners. The severe downturn in the market for antiques first blow was the economy. People only buy trivialities when there's "funny" money around. The second big blow is finding out boomers were the last generation to care about nostalgia. Boomer's kids don't want to inherit Dad's collection, they just sell it off, usually for less than half of what Dad paid for it. 

Well, I'm still rehabbing discarded items, usually a quick flip since I know what's popular these days. Most of my wall/juke boxes were purchased from vendors going out of business in the 70's-80's. No one wants them today. Too big/heavy.

Yeah, I meant the TV shows and Internet once brought it to the center of attention, not the other way around.

But that sounds interesting too.  I wasn't aware of what may be a current or upcoming trend, that you see firsthand right now.

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56 minutes ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

Yeah, I meant the TV shows and Internet once brought it to the center of attention, not the other way around.

But that sounds interesting too.  I wasn't aware of what may be a current or upcoming trend, that you see firsthand right now.

Those "picker" shows along with Antiques Roadshow just perpetuate misinformation. I never saw so many fakes or crazy inflated values on those shows. Also they NEVER mention restoration costs so by time they come to my shop it's the deer in the headlights reaction.

Finally...after years of collecting mid century moderne furniture, it's finally come around in popularity right now with the younger set. All pop culture design swings between "natural" and "modern"- clothing, colors, even building/housing styles. Also the state of the economy (war) influences the pendulum swing.

It's why when someone asks me if that antique is worth $40,000 my answer is always, "You've got to like it enough not to care. Like a house, the market could change - would you be OK if you were stuck with it?"

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Ya know, before the invention of the jukebox, early man was required to change his own records...

6ee3867afffcf166552b4a0de5693785.jpg

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23 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Ya know, before the invention of the jukebox, early man was required to change his own records...

6ee3867afffcf166552b4a0de5693785.jpg

So the turtle has de-evolved not having a top spinning shell.  ;)

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The Autofono, which sold at Breker for $130,800, is the only known surviving example of the first jukebox.

446_copyright_2016_by_Auction_Team_Breke

 

Hobart C. Niblack patented the apparatus that automatically changed records in 1918

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When I wasa kid, an Uncle of mine had an old jukebox like this one.  Wasn't working at the time.  I mean the sound wasn't.  But the other moving parts did.  He died many years ago and I'm not sure what my cousins did with it.  I always thought it was cool.  

Sepiatone

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26 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

When I wasa kid, an Uncle of mine had an old jukebox like this one.  Wasn't working at the time.  I mean the sound wasn't.  But the other moving parts did.  He died many years ago and I'm not sure what my cousins did with it.  I always thought it was cool.  

Sepiatone

 

More likely  bad tube(s) and / or transformer.  In either case will need to be recapped (capacitors replaced)

Could replace the amplifier if one didn't care to change it's authentically

rockola.png

Tubes left to right - preamp, 2 push pulls to power speaker and rectifier.

 

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On 7/24/2021 at 9:14 AM, sewhite2000 said:

It was some months ago I watched I'll See You in My Dreams on TCM, and tonight I watched the Poverty Row production of Swing Hostess from PRC in 1944 on YouTube. In both movies, there was a form of a jukebox, but rather than people inserting their coins and the machine manipulating the chosen record into position to be played, none of the records were stored in the actual jukebox. Instead, the customer got on a telephone to an office building staffed entirely by women in a room with a library-like collection of records. The woman answering the phone would then take your request, seek out the record you wanted, and when she played it you could hear it through a speaker in your jukebox.

Did anybody use this service? And were any of you as rude with the women who played the records, which both movies seem to assume was the natural way to treat them?

I believe you're referring to another Doris Day musical 1949's My Dream Is Yours in which she plays a record hostess who answered phone requests (rather than 1952's I'll See You in My Dreams, where she played composer Gus Kahn's wife).   Doris certainly had her share of "Dream" titles in the movies!

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7 hours ago, hamradio said:

 

More likely  bad tube(s) and / or transformer.  In either case will need to be recapped (capacitors replaced)

Could replace the amplifier if one didn't care to change it's authentically

rockola.png

Tubes left to right - preamp, 2 push pulls to power speaker and rectifier.

 

The electronics are going to be straightforward and easy enough...  I'd be more interested to see the mechanics - nothing like a Hammond tone generator in there, but some custom parts nonetheless and the associated PM to go with it. 

I know I have to replace the rubber belt on my vacuum cleaner every so often for optimum results, so there's that... 😁

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8 hours ago, hamradio said:

 

More likely  bad tube(s) and / or transformer.  In either case will need to be recapped (capacitors replaced)

Could replace the amplifier if one didn't care to change it's authentically

rockola.png

Tubes left to right - preamp, 2 push pulls to power speaker and rectifier.

 

When I saw your description of this, Ham...I immediately thought of..."tubes to the left of me, preamps to the right, here I am...stuck in a speaker with you!"....🙄

This thread brings back memories.  My parents owned a tavern, and the jukebox was my introduction to music.  I was always taking quarters out of the cash register to play songs I liked.  It was always fun when the 'record man' came by every 3 months to change out old records and replace them with newer songs.

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