Scopitone: the Visual Jukebox of the '60s

In the 1960s, music videos were shown in coin-operated machines from a French company called Scopitone. Strange and somewhat exotic visuals were added to pop songs to draw viewers to the machines, which were introduced to the US in 1964. Collector's Weekly talked to Scopitone film collector Bob Orlowsky, who not only gives us the history of these "visual jukeboxes," but also shares some of the videos from those days. Link

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I grew up in the 60's in Los Angeles and they had one of these music *movie* jukeboxes (no such thing as a music *video* in the 60's) in the bowling alley cafe where my parents bowled in a league every Friday night. We kids used to sneak into the cafe to watch some of the music movies other people played because it was not only new and 'groovy', they were in vivid color. We never saw anything on film in color outside of the movie theater. We didn't even own our first color television until 1970 because we couldn't afford it and none of the people we knew had color television.

When us kids managed to beg and plead our father into playing just one music movie for us, which was a rare treat indeed, my Dad would huff and grumble about having to drop a whole .25ยข into the 'infernal contraption' (as he called it) because it was so darned expensive. It cost the same as a full gallon of gasoline for Pete's sake!

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