I've been on the lookout for one of these for many years...
Like many people I take a daily gander at http://www.craigslist.org/ with the hope of finding some local coin-op deal. I however have not had any luck on free items they just never pan out.
Mine is a long story but suffice it to say MANY stars were in alignment when I found a free add listing "Children Movie theatres". I scrolled right past it the first time but the wheels of my mind were turning within seconds. I went back and clicked only to see the photos (found at the right) and IMMEDIATELY knew what they were! I couldn't believe it...
The ad had only been up a few minutes and here I was, one of the first callers. It turned out the people listing them (Bettina and Dan (THANKS AGAIN!) were charged with the quest of cleaning up and disposing of someone's estate as there were no local family members. Instead of just dumping them Bettina and Dan were kind enough to work with myself and a number of other local collectors to preserve these great old machines from ending up in a dump.
Thanks to some further preservation mindedness I am able to share with you, via the following link, an original sales packet the owner would have received with their purchase of cartoon theatres. (So that others my enjoy it as well, please right click and save the following link; you WILL want to read it again.) Kiddierama Theatres sales packet (2.46 MB) It's a hoot to read ideas such as... the machine is a "babysitter" for parents and "It is not uncommon for women, or high school students to operate and service these theatres." Wanna invest and make some money; got $50,000? There's some great 1970's location photos included AND don't forget your "Investment Guarantee" certificate.
A few items of note to add... The former owner/operator of these machines was Gene Defore under the business name of RAMA-FORE Kiddie Theatres. It seems there's a good chance I could have sat in one of these particular machines as a kid. I did however receive one projector shipping box with Gene's name on it but it had been shipped to an Arizona address. My most distinct memory of these were at Holiday Village North in Fridley.
Glutton for more? See below...
As of right now my machine is un-restored, a full restoration will wait until after my game room project is completed. I currently have only one original film cartridge with still needs repair to function correctly; it does feature three Walter Lantz films Witch Crafty , Get Lost , and Salmon Yeggs .
Here are the machines as they sat for probably twenty years or more...
Gene's business card that was affixed to the booth.
This is the super 8mm projector that makes the magic happen... it's a Videotronic Super 8 Compact and possibly slightly smaller then a "regular" version. It does not have an internal speaker but rather an output jack for one. It plays Super 8mm film with magnetic sound that is contained in a cartridge much like an 8-track. It is my understanding that later versions of the booth were offered with some from of video playback and sold as Mini-Kiddierama.
The built in screen "tents" out from the body, which is then butted up to the window in the booth. One cartoon is played per quarter.
The guts of the machine consist of the projector, a coin mech, and two relays.
Some signage found with the machine.
If you've read down this far and really want to see a crappy video of a working unit, here's mine via YouTube... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_uzzPGr0k0
I will add more as my project progresses but for now you can waste more of your time viewing other pages at http://www.billyseven.net
or if you have questions, comments, or additional information to contribute please use the link below