Save Tillie... Beyond the Palace

Thanks to the generosity of a couple from Vermont, Save Tillie has acquired the photo booth that operated at Palace Amusements for more than thirty years. One of the most popular coin-operated machines of all time, it produced a vertical strip of four different black & white photos in two and a half minutes. This machine was a perennial favorite of couples, who would often sneak a kiss behind the curtain while their pictures were being taken. The owners of the Palace installed the photo booth in the late 1950s, and it continued to operate there through the final summer of 1988.

Soon after the Palace closed, the photo booth was moved to Sandy's Arcade and Amusements on the Asbury Park boardwalk, and eventually was sold. The  couple that  bought  it  rented a truck and moved the machine 329 miles  north  to  Vermont. They installed it in their small art store named "Folkheart," where it became an instant success.  For  nearly  fifteen years the  Palace  photo  booth  operated  at  two different  Folkheart  locations  in Vermont, first in Burlington and later in the tiny mountain town of Bristol.  In 2003  the  strobe  unit, which  powers  the  flash tubes, stopped working. The owners  sent  it   out  to  be  repaired,  but it was returned in the same broken state. A second attempt to repair the strobe made  the  situation  even worse, a  different  individual  took  the   unit  and  promised  to fix it, but instead he disappeared. Unable to operate without this component, the  photo  booth  sat idle for three years until Folkheart went out of business at the end of 2006.

Before vacating their store, the owners of Folkheart contacted Save Tillie and  kindly offered  to  donate  the   photo  booth  to  the  organization.  On December 28, 2006 Save  Tillie  members  Dan Toskaner, Frank Saragnese, and  Mary  Lynn  Purcell drove  to Vermont with a large trailer to rescue this valuable  Palace  artifact.  Despite some  dust,  grime, and a large spider web inside  the camera window, they found the machine to be in remarkably good condition. The exterior oak and white/gold speckled Formica is completely intact.  The illuminated  script   "Photographs"   sign still  sits on top. In recognition of its history,  someone stamped a small Tillie face next to a handwritten $2.00 sign. Best of all, beneath a sheet of plexiglass on the outer graphic  panel  there  is  a  homemade  collage  of very old photo strips. The owners of Folkheart confirmed that these strips were already there when they bought the booth, which  means that  they were taken in Asbury Park.  Save Tillie  is hoping that  some of  the  people  in these photos can be identified.

The photo booth is currently in Rye, New York, where it is undergoing a professional restoration. A new strobe unit will replace the missing one, the cabinet will be thoroughly cleaned, and all of the internal mechanisms will be overhauled and adjusted. In the future Save Tillie hopes to return the photo booth to operation at a public place in Asbury Park.

If  you  know the  identity  of any of the people in these photos, please let us know by writing to

Save Tillie
Beyond the Palace
Roll your mouse over the photo to see who we've identified so far. EMail if you can identify anyone else, and thanks for your help!