Mutoscopes Keep on Flippin' in San Francisco

By Christine U'Ren

This is the third part of Christine U'Ren's series on early movies. Read parts one and two.

But what was it like to be in one of those raucous phonograph parlors, back in the 1890’s? Well, if you’re anywhere near San Francisco, you can find out for yourself by visiting the city’s own Musée Mécanique on Fisherman’s Wharf. Founded by Edward Galland Zelinsky and now operated by his son Dan, the museum boasts “the world's largest (over 200) privately owned collection of coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines in their original working condition.” And here’s the kicker: you can play them all yourself!

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