Friday, March 26, 2004

Coin Operated TV Benches (From the Lost Artifacts of Popular Culture series)

Hey, remember the 80s? Um, wait, no, remember these? They used to be everywhere: plastic benches, usually three or four seats attached together, with small black and white televisions attached to the seats. You'd put a quarter in the slot and get 10 minutes of entertainment.
I guess I remember them at bus stations and the like but haven't seen one in person in ages. My friend Paul says he's seen them at the Minneapolis Airport. Who manufactured them? Are they still in business? How come E-Bay doesn't have any for sale?
When I lived in Japan, I occasional stayed at a Minshuku, which is more or less a bed and breakfast but is much more fun. Usually, the family that owned the minshuku would have a TV in the room that operated on 100 yen coins but that might be the last time I say something even remotely resembling what I'm talking about.
A while back I had a flashback to those Magic Fingers devices that were present in every cheap hotel from here to Dubuque. I searched E-Bay and found a ton of them! How come these TV benches are nowhere to be found? I even did a Lexis Nexis search and couldn't find an appropriate match.
Any leads, send 'em my way.

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