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The Jukebox Counsellor


Monday, December 15, 1997

December 1997
Page 22-23

This article briefly describes one of our long-time subscribers, Anthony T. Ballato, Esq. from Long Island, New York, who loves to practice law and more so to find and play the “mighty Wurlitzers” and other musical/coin-op collectibles. Anthony has been collecting golden age jukeboxes, wind-up phonographs, antique radios, music boxes and related machines and goods for as long as his legal career, which now spans a decade.

Even a 1957 Chevy Nomad (2 door wagon) was acquired to transport the larger machines, but soon restored to show quality, then reserved for auto shows. Alas, transporting new finds often remains a task entrusted to others. “It all started with the cover of the November, 1986 Sharper Image catalog, which depicted a rendering of the beautiful Marilyn Monroe and one of Antique Apparatus’ bubbling jukeboxes…! still have that catalog sealed in plastic and remember how I instantly had to have one of those machines. Well one became fifteen or more plus speakers, victrolas, etc., etc.”

Anthony fondly recalled and remarked “I caught the jukebox bug while in law school and the hobby has with vintage music lessened the stresses of bar exams and my litigation practice ever since then.” Reminiscing of simpler times in America with songs that told a story by real musicians has a peaceful effect indeed. jukebox1
Anthony’s first jukebox purchased months later was one of Glenn Streeter’s (founder of AA and now Rock-Ola Co. owner) reproduction bubbler’s (W 1015 repro) purchased from Ed Cadmus of the Nostalgic Music Co., New Jersey.

Ed has become a friend and since sold numerous jukes and speakers to the attorney and his legal associates. Anthony was most impressed that Glenn Streeter personally returned his call and met with him at one of the “Philly Shows” years ago, and he was so impressed by the quality and value of the AA machines that his letters to J.C. were published in 1987 and coined the phrase referring to Glenn’s reproductions as “the real thing.”

jukebox2 The most played and favorite machine in Anthony’s collection is the 100/CD AA model 91 (W71 repro) that is connected to a sound system that plays throughout the house and even poolside. The first “classic” machine purchased was a mint original Wurlitzer 700 purchased from John Johnston of Brooklyn, New York.That machine was restored one day per week during the grueling ten week (12 plus hour/day) non-stop study for the New York and New Jersey bars as an escape from reading and studying.
A number of other antique machines were later acquired from collectors and John Papa of the National Jukebox Exchange.

The Jukebox Counsellor also clearly recalls reading an article that was posted on the walls of a Long Island coin-op vender entitled “A Beer Tastes Better in a Bar”, which described the circumstantial effects upon the mind (i.e. the same beer really does taste better in some places than others), but then went on in detail as to how records sound better in a jukebox, which they do by reason of the visual effects of the jukebox on the mind and the technical compatibilities of the record, stylus, amplifier, etc. Shortly after reading that article, Anthony was given a steamer trunk of old 45s that a former luncheonette owner saved for decades the dusty old records with many unknown titles were cleaned and played one by one on an expensive and sophisticated home system. The good records were then set aside and loaded into the AA Bubbler. Surprisingly, and in confirmation of the article, the records really sounded better on the $5,000 jukebox than the $10,000 system including or bypassing the time-delay, powered sub-woofers, etc. Anthony would love to find a copy of that article and would much appreciate anyone having more information on same to call him. “Since my house is overflowing with Rock-Olas, Wurlitzers, Seeburgs, Victrolas, Sonoras, Philcos, etc. I have (by virtue of my wife’s suggestion!) moved some of the prize machines to my law office in Massapequa, New York where clients, and even adversaries, are entertained by the musical masterpieces of days gone by”, fondly remarks the collector-attorney.

Anthony also well recalls the advice and telephone assistance freely and gladly given by Rick Botts of Jukebox Collector, Steve Loots of Victory Glass Co. and Richard Greisberg of New Jersey. “I also made a number of good friends and even some clients during my juking and collecting”.A trip to Georgia years ago was topped off by a meeting with David Brenner (not the comedian) and tour of his beautiful home and impressive collection. jukebox3
Anthony keeps a photo album of great collections, and David’s is proudly followed by the Stone Mountain Museum collection of nickelodeons, band organs, etc., etc.Remaining to be seen are those larger collections from fellow members of the Musical Box Society. My favorite (legal) cases are those involving fellow collectors where I can combine my knowledge of the antiques and law to assist my friends in their business needs or disputes. “Next to settling a personal injury lawsuit (i.e. finally getting paid after years or hundreds of hours of work), I enjoy talking to fellow collectors about new finds and common interests…” says Anthony. Please feel free to call him at (516) 541 -9080 or write to him at 5476 Merrick Road, Massapequa, New York 11758 regarding any legal and/or collectible matters, (p.s. he is always looking for a good Mills Panaram or Violana and the unusual to add to the collection).