February 19, 2011

We’ve got two new additions to our ever-surprising, ever-growing catalog of photobooths in movies and television. This section, along with the Photobooth Directory, was one of the earliest parts of this website, and it’s still one of the most interesting and oft-updated. 

I watch a lot of movies as part of my job, as well as a fair number of trailers as of late, and for the first time, last week, I was watching a trailer for a film I’d never seen (or even heard of) and out of the blue, I spotted a photobooth! My colleagues probably wondered why I shouted “Hey!” in the middle of the screening, but then again, most of them know about this site, so they probably weren’t too surprised. The film was a mostly forgotten 1971 comedy starring David Niven, Virna Lisi, John Cleese, and Robert Vaughn, called The Statue.

Niven plays Alex Bolt, a Nobel prize-winning linguist who spends more attention to his work than his wife, a sculptor played by Lisi. As a way of exacting her revenge for a life of neglect, she sculpts an 18′ tall statue of her husband for display in Grosvenor Square, but gives the statue another man’s appendage, so to speak, and tells her husband it’s not modeled on his. 

Bolt then spends the rest of the movie trying to find the man who provided his wife with the life model for that particular part. He uses a photobooth, one of the only ways to get a photo taken without anyone else seeing the results in those days before digital, to take a set of photos of his own to compare against. It’s not a terrific film, but the pleasure of seeing the strait-laced Niven stripping down in a photobooth in a groovy teenage arcade is pretty funny.

We also received a tip from our friend Jeff, the man behind the Art of Waiting contest we helped out with last year, that a photochemical booth made an appearance in the background of a recent episode of “The Chicago Code.” His eagle eye was right; after freeze-framing on the photobooth in the scene and comparing it with every booth we have listed in Chicago, we confirmed that the scene was shot at Skylark, home to this photobooth. I thought the bar looked somewhat familiar; I had visited there in 2005, at the end of a very long day visiting 17 photobooth locations around the city. Upon closer inspection, you can see a piece of paper on the door that reads “Skylark” as the police enter the bar; when they leave, though, a larger sign above the door reads “McGowan’s Pub,” in line with the plot centering on Irish mob criminal activity.

Brian | 9:05 am | Community, Movies, TV

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