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Monday, 25 April 2011

Horrorscope: 1960s arcade machine

(The first of direct posts to this blog)

I came across this eBay auction, from seller kenyatabks, for an old ad. for a 1960s toy showing scenes from old horror films. (The ad refers to 'full edition films'. Anyone expecting full length films would, I suspect, have been disappointed.)

What a fantastic toy! It was gloriously retro even then - showing scenes from old films on a device of even greater vintage that had been popular on seaside piers and in amusement arcades in the early years of the last century.

Typically the entertainment on offer would have been mildly risque, with one title, What the Butler Saw, being synonomous with these machines. The last time I saw one was at the Science Museum in London, before those in charge decided in their widsom to close down its film and photography section and ship it all to Bradford. Possibly MOMI (the Museum of the Moving Image) in London had one too, but that coincidentally was closed down at about the same time supposedly as a temporary measure, pending redevelopment of the South Bank site. (The BFI never reopened it and the decision remains controversial. Describing it as an act of cultural vandalism, may sound like a cliche, but it seems a fair assessment given the unique nature of the museum).

There is more information about the Horrorscope and a rather nice picture here. I wonder if any more 'films' were available?

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