Friends, working with the Projectionist, I certainly have developed a love for film itself. As well as a desire to fill the Retroist Vault with all manner of coin-operated amusement machines. The other day while checking out some older gaming magazines I came across a British jukebox. This of course was an 80’s jukebox that played music videos. However this it turns out is not in fact a new idea. Case in point the Scopitone Jukebox!
I did my very best to try and find some footage of those British video jukeboxes. Sadly I couldn’t find a single video. It did lead me though to a much earlier version of the device. The Scopitone jukebox. A 60’s coin-operated amusement machine that showed music videos, on 16 mm film.
Now to be truthful, it wasn’t just working with the Projectionist all these years that made me fall in love with film. I have obviously mentioned on various podcasts as well as posts that film has always been intriguing to me. The Scopitone jukebox is something entirely different than I’ve ever seen before though!
While the Scopitone jukebox reels can obviously be considered a precursor to what we would call the music video. While being low budget they still managed to attract all manner of popular singers. Neil Sadaka, Nancy Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, and Julie London to name a few. I particularly enjoyed the 16 mm reel featuring The Exciters singing Tell Him while visiting…a local zoo?
Now when a patron inserted their quarter into the Scopitone jukebox and selected which song they desired. Within the machine a rotating mechanism would spin to the correct 16 mm film selection. Then an arm would swing down with the projection mechanism, the light would be bounced off a mirror to be displayed on the screen.
Ready to see the Scopitone jukebox in action?
The 16 mm film reel that is displayed in the video is of Joi Lansing, singing Web of Love!
Had enough football yet? Of course you have! Modern media beats everything to death. But just in case you needed even more football action than you can find on ESPN and the Networks, Retroist friend Mr. Sweet and I got together to talk about the not-nearly-loved-enough classic 1977 film Black Sunday. Black Sunday is about a terrorist attempt to attack the Super Bowl by detonating a blimp on the unsuspecting spectators. It stars Robert Shaw, Bruce Dern, the Pittsburg Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, the deputy from Halloween 2, the voice of KITT, the girl from Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny, and President Carter. Watch in on Netflix Instant, then listen to Mr Sweet’s and my insightful commentary, which you can find here.
Did you know you can see some of the best movies from our childhoods on YouTube in their entirety? They are
When I told you about the Smart Aleck’s Guide To Halloween Specials at the beginning of the month, I said they mentioned an ABC movie called The Midnight Hour which I never got the chance to see. I also said I had been looking for it but couldn’t find it. I remembered that sad fact yesterday and so gave YouTube another chance. And thank goodness for new content because there it was, the full movie. It was chopped into four parts, sadly, but it was all still there. And what a great movie it was. Well, it was great for the nostalgic factor anyway. This is something that just oozes with the spirit of the mid-80s and something I would have loved if I had seen it back then. I’m not sure today just how I missed this one, but I’m glad I got to see it now. And if you would like to see it as Halloween draws to its midnight hour, I’ve posted all four parts below.
A couple nights ago, I remembered something from my early, early days of TV. Seriously, it was one of my earliest TV memories. Two couples were having dinner at night when one of the ladies says that one of the men had made inappropriate advances at her. We keep Retroist.com clean, so I won’t state it the way she did, but it was pretty funny, which is why I have remembered it all these years and why my normally clean-mouthed family would quote it from time to time during my childhood. I’m pretty sure that I had seen this movie on HBO, which meant that I hadn’t seen it at my house since we didn’t have HBO. I was also pretty sure that the rest of the movie featured a bunch of wacky things happening to this one guy who was accused of making the inappropriate advance. I wasn’t sure that was enough to go on to find the film. Turns out it was. The inappropriate advance was so distinctive that I found the film immediately. It was Neighbors from 1981.
Neighbors is exactly what I remembered it being: a series of wacky events that happen to one pretty straight-laced guy over the course of one night and the next day. What I hadn’t remembered is that it stars Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd . Dan Aykroyd with blonde hair and blue eyes, which is really weird. It also has a very young and beautiful Cathy Moriarty. The movie is basically a collection of these wacky events, which are funny enough, I guess, but also somewhat disturbing. In fact, though it kind of has a happy ending, the movie was too disturbing for me to really enjoy. In fact, the only part I really thought was funny was when an old tow truck driver calls Belushi a bad name and punches him in the gut.
You might like it, though, so if you want to check it out, head on over to Crackle where you can catch it for free. But if you do watch it, please remember to keep your inappropriate advances to yourself.