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  • Writer's pictureGrant Guy

Musée Mécanique

From the private arcade amusements collection of Edward Zelinsky, the Musee Mecanique was born.

There are more than 300 antique coin operated amusement machines here, so start saving your quarters now (or there is a change machine by the front door.)

Although there are some fantastic vintage pinball machines here, the main attractions are the other coin operated “amusements”.

Here you find everything you never knew you needed to see.

A diorama of an amusement park, where all the rides will start to operate, a piano that will start to play, and so. many. marionettes that will jiggle up and down for a quarter (look tor Susie the can-can dancer — some may say Susie needs to retire, but to us, she is the best)

Some machines are “peep show” style, with a curtain that will only rise once your quarter is inserted. One will reveal a garden of gnomes spinning on a lazy Susan, another a ballroom full of dancers twirling around.

Every kind of arcade amusement is here, from hand cranked music boxes to modern video arcade games (which are the least interesting things you will find). There is a mechanical fortune teller, a love tester, and a photo booth.

And don’t miss 6 foot tall “Laffing Sal” - the creepiest thing EVER.

The walls are decorated with ephemera from long gone local fun houses, most prominently, “Playland”, where many of the machines were first located. There are also some great vintage photos of the Fishermans Wharf boardwalk, which is where Musee Mecanique is located.

Musee Mecanique is open 7 days a week and admission is free.


Northern California #2 - last visited August 2021

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Oct 27, 2022

"Laughing Sal" was a mainstay at Euclid Beach Park in Cleveland, Ohio, the most wonderful amusement park ever. (Landscape architecture by Frederick Law Olmstead, original rides that were said to have inspired Walt Disney, unique taffy and white popcorn balls that are still being sold in Cleveland and by mail.) Sal WAS creepy, and crowds would stare at her. I wonder if this is where she ended up?

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