Monday, January 15, 2018

ROBBLG #689 Scratch it Off My Bucket List

Scratch another item off my Bucket List.

A 1974 AMI Rowe 45prm Stereo Jukebox!

Yes My Dears, it's the latest thing!. A box that plays vinyl 45 rpm (revolution per minute) records- 100 records, 200 songs (playing both sides), through four stereo speakers. Of course, not all the early 45's were stereo so monaural is the best one can expect at times. What next?
Will someone invent a transistor radio that needs no plug, just a small 9 volt battery.
My head is spinning.

Backing up a bit, I have been wanting a Jukebox since Jezus was a choirboy. I have fond memories of jukeboxes in the 50's and 60's. Back in "Old Home"- Orillia, Ontario, the Hasty Tasty-which is still up there on Laclie Street, had a jukebox shoved between a booth with red, vinyl-padded seats and the diner counter itself. It just fit neatly under a window. We'd ply it with nickels and dimes. Sooner or later the owner- a brash, thin lady in a white uniform- with the nametag displaying her name-"Madge", over her left breast and frilly diner hat sitting on top of her dark tight curls, would march over and simply pull the machine's power cord from the wall.
"Hey!"- we'd yell, "That's our nickels and dimes in there!"- or 3 plays for a quarter.
"Tough!"- she'd say as she twirled on her working gal heels and headed back to the kitchen.
"Ahhh Jeez..."- we'd all go.

Another favourite Jukebox was one out at Tudhope Park- also in Orillia, Ontario. This was back in say 1961 when Barnfield Point was a campground. There would be Saturday Night Dances in the wooden-floored, quonset hut style dance hall. The music was provided by an old Wurlitzer. The kind with the coloured lights and booming bass speakers. The building is still there but a rowing club uses it as a clubhouse these days. The snack bar was at the north end of the hall and provided pop and goodies- at a price of course. I remember coloured spotlights highlighting the dancers as they shook, shaked, twisted and did The Maddison to 45's stacked in that Old Wurlizter. Nothing like a hot summer night and the latest "sounds" that we normally heard on radio stations CKEY, 1050 CHUM or our own CFOR.

Other restaurants and diners had small juke boxes at each table where you could flip through up to a 100 titles or more. Sometimes you'd slip a quarter into the slot to hear three songs while you waited for your burger and fries- with gravy of course. Maybe you'd wash it all down with a Cherry Coke- not Pezzie as the waiter at the Golden Dragon used to tell us.

Ahhh...such memories. At certain times the owner of the restaurant would have the speakers set so low you'd have to lean over the table and press your ear against the silver speaker just to hear your favourite song and get your 8.33 cents worth!

This AMI Rowe I have is built like a tank. Heavy like a tank too. We were not without problems- the Mister and I, carrying it into Palm Villa. I had hoped it would sit along a media room wall on our lower level but alas it was just too massive. So, it's sitting in a corner in our Great Room. I am hoping the juxtaposition of antiques and chrome allow it to fit in.
You know- "Feng Shui."

It cost me just under a thousand bucks and I can only hope it lasts for a long time. Think about it. It's 44 years old now and the plays- according to the counter, are in the hundreds of thousands.
Florescent tubes light up the front, the sides and of course the all-important song titles- typed very badly, on the little paper sheets that allow you to view the song titles. A couple of smaller GE bulbs are burned out on the upper front but the "Playing Your Selection" light as well as the selection numbers you punch in on the keypad are still there. Just to the right of the "number now playing" is a panel that tells you to insert nickels, dimes and quarters in the slot- depending on how many tunes you want to hear. This feature is shut off, although I was thinking of turning it back on to allow guests to our home to insert thousands of quarters so I may recoup my costs.
Yes, I guess.

Once I order a new needle and cartridge from, I will begin to place my own 45's in the 100 slots available. I have close to a thousand all in very good condition. Many worth a buck or two from collectors but I have never been able to part with them. Records are like a diary. I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when certain songs play.

I even have a supply of those little cardboard-like pages where I'll type the titles and artists of my 45 vinyl collection dating from about 1962 through to about the 1980's.
How nice!
I sure hope I can get an ink ribbon for my old Underwood typewriter to make it look authentic. For those of you who don't know what a typewriter- or Jukebox, is, you'll have to do a Google search!

My 45's are the real reason that this AMI Rowe is sitting in the Great Room. My 45 collection has been stored in file boxes for almost 40 years and I thought it would be a neat way to play the old vinyl for at least the next forty!