I was so delighted to find another one of the coin operated machines that made such an impact on my as a little kid. When I was a youngin' I loved me some puppets. I was obsessed with puppets and hoped to one day become a professional puppetter. Well, that didn't happen - but I've always had a special place in my heart for puppets. One of my favorite things to stumble upon in an arcade back in my youth was a machine that let you push buttons and opperate a marionette. Marionettes were like the cadalac of puppets to a kid with no money. It wasn't until I was in the fourth grade that I ever laid my hands on a marionette, but before then the coin-op puppet machine was just about the next best thing.
The machine consisted of a puppet on a stage, his mouth was controlled automatically to lip synch with a song, but through four buttons you could control the left and right hands and feet. I found one of these machines recently in my off-beat travels. I was thrilled that it still worked. My kids thought I was crazy for being so obsessed with such a simple concept, but 15 seconds after I dropped the quarter in the slot, the kids were pushing me out of the way to have a go at it. I was glad to see it brought good old fashioned smiles to their faces.
One of the feet didn't work but it was still great to see the machine again, Here's a video I took:
There were several different versions of this idea floating around arcades back in the day. I remember this one most vividly along with one only found at Walt Disney World (and I assume Disneyland) which featured a marionette of one of the bears from The Country Bear Jamboree. Good times!