Fortune teller machine

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A fortune teller machine at Musée Mécanique
An electonic fortune teller and love tester manufactured in the mid-1990s.

A fortune teller machine is a type of amusement, which upon receiving credit gives out a card with a prediction of the reader's future. They could be found in penny arcades, and can be seen in modern video arcades and amusement parks.

One unique machine, perhaps the only extant version in the world, survives in a museum in Virginia City, Montana. It features a recorded voice and eerie animatronics. "The 100-year-old fortune teller was an extremely rare find. Instead of dispensing a card like Zoltar, the Gypsy would actually speak your fortune from a hidden record player. When you dropped a nickel in the slot, her eyes would flash, her teeth would chatter and her voice would come floating from a tube extending out of the eight-foot-tall box." Reportedly, magician David Copperfield tried to buy the machine from the Montana State Historical Commission for two million dollars.[1]

In media[edit]

  • In the 1988 Penny Marshall film Big, the main character, a child who wishes to be big, uses a magical wishing machine very similar to a fortune teller machine that turns him into an adult. That machine was referenced in "Fortune in Flames", a second season episode of the reality television series Pawn Stars.
  • In "The Honking", an episode of the animated TV series Futurama, the main characters, wishing to learn about a curse that has afflicted Bender, consult with a fortune teller machine, which, like many of the other machines of the 31st Century is sentient.
  • In the eleventh and final series of Big Brother (UK) and the Ultimate Big Brother series, a fortune teller machine named Bob Righter (an anagram of Big Brother), was present in the main living area of the house. In the first few weeks of the series, after an eviction, the machine would tell a good or bad fortune to one of the current housemates. However, in a twist it was actually the evicted housemate who decided who would receive the good or bad fortune.

See also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Various fortune teller machines at Musée Mécanique in San Francisco:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Volz, Matt (August 29, 2011). "Rare find discovered amid town's Old West kitsch". Virginia City, Montana: The Associated Press. Retrieved August 29, 2011.