January 04, 2010

Nothing like starting off the year with some bad news: we’ve been sitting on this story for awhile now, but thanks to a flood of information from readers, it’s time to report on some sad disappearances. Photochemical photobooths all over California have been disappearing left and right, it seems. Booths in venerable locations, where they’ve been for years, have recently been sold or replaced by digital booths, much to the chagrin of local photobooth enthusiasts.

Starting up in the Bay Area, the outdoor booth at the Bancroft Clothing Company in Berkeley has disappeared. Thanks to Holly for letting us know in December of 2009. Victoria wrote in with some more details this week:

I was then made aware that they had plans to have their photobooth hauled away that week! This was terrible news as this was the last chem-photo booth in the east bay. Now I have to got to San Francisco to do any photoboothing. Not to mention this was a color booth making it even more of a loss. The manager I talked to told me that it would get vandalized and just didn’t make much money which was why they were getting rid of it. 

Second, in Santa Cruz, the four photobooths at the Casino Arcade are now gone. They began disappearing in early 2009; thanks to Dennis and to Victoria for the updates.

Next, the beautiful Model 11 photobooth (and its slightly less beautiful in comparison companion) at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. Barbara let us know about their disappearance in June of 2009; my call to the gift shop there didn’t yield any clues as to where they’d moved to, but they were replaced by a digital booth, which seems like a bit of an insult considering the location.

Closer to home here at West, we’ve lost two photochemical booths in Hollywood, the last two to survive in recent years. First, the booth at Lucky Strike Lanes. Thanks again to Dennis for tipping us off to that change; I’d visited it not two weeks before it left, and it seemed like it was in fine shape, turning out great-looking strips. Sad indeed. Just down the street, Tiny’s K.O., home to the great-looking photobooth that sat outside in their entry way, closed down, and the booth was put up for sale. The booth rarely worked, and we never got a chance to put it to use.

Thanks to Dennis, Holly, Barbara, Alison, Ricky, Victoria, Steve, and everyone else who wrote in to let us know about these booths. 

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