Save Tillie... Beyond the Palace
PALACE PHOTO BOOTH DONATED TO SAVE TILLIE

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 pbjcrane@erols.com.

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