A Fistful of Pennies

six shooter found at Musee Mechanique My lust for
old coin-operated machines began as a little girl going to pizza parlors, local carnivals, and Chuck e Cheese.

Since then, I always stop dead in my tracks for vintage pinball machines, Zoltar style fortune tellers, skee ball, coin-operated pianos, mechanical carnivals, record-playing jukeboxes, penny cartoons, black and white photobooths, and pretty much any old automated machine that takes coins. When I get an itch to find these mechanical beauties I usually head to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Arcade which has many good oldies. Then I run over to the best roller coaster in the west, the Giant Dipper.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The other day I came across a young boy named Caine Monroy who took this love for arcades to a deeper level. He created his very own arcade out of cardboard boxes. He used his old hot wheels and toys from Shakey’s Pizza to use as prizes that kids could buy when they gathered enough tickets. To see the whole story unfold watch this video, Caine’ s Arcade by Nirvan created by his first customer, Nirvan Mullick!


My favorite arcade is the Musee Mechanique located on Pier 45  in San Francisco. This place is a dream come true! Grab a fistful of quarters and watch the player organs, the band of chimps, and the carnivals come to life before your eyes. These antique penny games were collected by Edward Galland Zelinsky , many of which came from Playland at the Beach San Francisco by the Cliff House.

If these delights enchant you, you may also like the film King of Kong: a fistful of quarterswhich is a documentary about a novice King Kong player vying for top score.


Share via email

About Adult Services

The Adult Services blog account is comprised of Librarians who are part of the Adult Services work group at the Library. Together, we have expertise in baseball, books, cats, cooking, cycling, dogs, food, gardening, patents, personal finance, small business resources, social media, technology, and much more.

Follow Us

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply