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Tiki Central Forums » » Collecting Tiki » » Aku Aku - 1960 Stardust Slot machine
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Aku Aku - 1960 Stardust Slot machine
AkuAku
Member

Joined: May 06, 2007
Posts: 6
From: Perth - Australia
Posted: 2007-05-06 01:55 am   Permalink

Hi, I just purchased a rare slot machine that once belonged to the Stardust Hotel and was specially made for the Aku Aku room. It was made by the Jennings Slot Machine Company. It's hard to tell in it's current paint but it's a giant Tiki head - you pull the right ear for the handle - too crazy! The award card is original and shows that the jackpot paid on three symbols showing the giant Maoi heads outside the restaurant. I fell in love with this goofy machine but I now need to figure out how it was originally painted so I can finish the restoration the previous owner started years ago. I know that at least a few other have survived but I don't believe they have original paint either. Does anbody happen to have an image showing the interior of the restaurant with these machines on location!? There must've been a stand that went with these as well. This machine was found as an empty cabinet in a Nevada rubbish many years ago and luckily was salvaged to live on. Thanks, AkuAku








 
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MrBaliHai
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Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 804
Posted: 2007-05-06 07:28 am   Permalink

Wow! What an incredible find, and how sad that it's been painted over. I hope that whoever defaced it with that horrible repaint job is roasting in a special hell designed for thoughtless morons.

If you can't find the original design documented anywhere, you might want to take it to a professional antique restoration service. They may be able to remove the most recent layer of paint and reveal what's underneath without damaging it.

Good luck!

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[ This Message was edited by: MrBaliHai 2007-05-06 07:38 ]


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MrBaliHai
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Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 804
Posted: 2007-05-06 08:22 am   Permalink

By the way, a little googling turned up this article in a back issue of Loose Change Magazine:

"Fruitless Search for World’s Ugliest Slot Machine Leads to Stardust Gem AKU AKU’s nickname is "Tiki God," but any way you look at it, it’s the World’s ugliest slot machine."

The article itself isn't online, but you should be able to order a back issues from the
magazine website.
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11243
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-05-06 09:05 am   Permalink

This is indeed one of coolest historic Tiki finds I have seen for a while! I wish I could help you, I have only one Aku Aku interior, it's in the Book of Tiki on page 121, and it does not show the machines, I never even knew these existed. Maybe the color was like the original Eli Hedley Moais outside, stone grey (flecked?).

I also am afraid that any old photos that might have existed have disappeared with the recent tearing down of what was left of the place. I think Mr Bali Hai's suggestion makes the most sense, check with specialists on how to reveal the original layer of paint.

Here's a nice exterior I scanned from a recent room key card--The Moai getting leied:



 
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VampiressRN
  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 5797
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2007-05-06 09:24 am   Permalink

Welcome to TC AkuAku, what an amazing first post. Congratulations on your purchase. It is not real obvious that the machine is a tiki head until you look at it from that semi side angle. Such a clean, simple design, it will be good to know what the original paint colors were. Thanks for the great pictures, keep us posted on your journey back to originality.
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tikipedia
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Joined: Aug 25, 2004
Posts: 490
From: San Diego
Posted: 2007-05-06 10:14 am   Permalink

There is a magazine called 'Loose Change Magazine', which discusses gambling in Vegas.

The abstract for the May 1997 issue reads, in part:

"May 1997 - Fruitless Search for World’s Ugliest Slot Machine Leads to Stardust Gem AKU AKU’s nickname is 'Tiki God,' but any way you look at it, it’s the World’s ugliest slot machine."

You can
purchase a copy of this magazine for $5.50, plus $2.95 s/h. This article may be able to provide you with a lot of backstory around your really neat find.
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MrBaliHai
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Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 804
Posted: 2007-05-06 2:17 pm   Permalink

AkuAku: I've sent an email with a picture of your machine to Bill Kurtz, an expert on arcade mechanisms and the author of several excellent books on pinball and slot machines. He's a super-knowledeable guy and if he can't produce an original photo of the machine, I'm sure he knows of someone who can.

I'll update you when I hear back from him.
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Bay Park Buzzy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2006
Posts: 2855
From: West Bay Park, San Diego, CA
Posted: 2007-05-06 2:59 pm   Permalink

A little cleaner scan of Bigbro's picture


 
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ZuluMagoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 26, 2002
Posts: 469
From: Denver, CO
Posted: 2007-05-06 6:28 pm   Permalink

Here is the only photograph I have from the interior of the Aku Aku. I got it from an old Stardust brochure that I have. It looks like this shot was taken form the casino lobby looking into the restaurant. I bet those slot machines were right on the other side of that wall.





I have one other resource that I can check.
Mr. Tommy Wong is here in Denver and I have been wanting to stop by and visit with him again during the last year, this will give me a good chance to go. He was the head chef when the Aku Aku opened, he may remember something about the machines when I show him a picture. See my previous (highlighted thread) for the story about Mr. Wong.


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hewey
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 14, 2004
Posts: 4278
From: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 2007-05-06 7:58 pm   Permalink

Great find Cant wait to the resto
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arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1299
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2007-05-07 09:36 am   Permalink

I don't care what anyone says, that's the coolest slot machine I've ever seen. When you figure out the original colors and repaint it, please post new photos.

 
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AkuAku
Member

Joined: May 06, 2007
Posts: 6
From: Perth - Australia
Posted: 2007-05-07 10:46 am   Permalink

Hi, well... thank you to everyone who took the time to reply to me!! You guys rock. Just to let you know I'm a specialist coin-op machine restorer and have been all my life. My parents were machine operators before I was born in '69 and they were also antique collectors, so we always had a crazy house. I started restoring machines on the school holidays from about 10, then left school at 16 in 1985 to start full time.

I've discovered many original finishes hidden under newer paint, though from my first quick look at these castings it did appear they were stripped first. I only purchased the machine on Sat afternoon, along with 8 other unrestored machines, and as I'm busy working for another collector at the moment I've had no time to investigate the machine very much *** I just went to take some more photos and quickly noticed that there is old grey paint over-spray on the interior of the rear wooden case! I also noticed that there is newer wooden side veneeer added afer the grey paint was applied. So this says that someone decided to renovate this machine at a later date with the red/blue paint and wooden sides to look like most standard slot cabinets. Imagine a row of 20 of these things painted up completely stone fleck grey!!!! Awesome


I also noticed that there's a hole for the overflow of coins in the base of the cabinet. So once the front jackpot has filled up the excess coins would normally flow into the base of a machine into a cashbox. But with this hole the coins had to drop further into a sub-base of some kind. So there was definately a matching stand for this machine, but what???????

I have come across one image of another Aku Aku machine that was sold at auction in 1989. While it does have a theme to it you can't tell that it's a head, so I don't believe it's right either. It has a random jungle camo background with some stylized shapes next to the nose. I found that photo in a 1989 Loose Change by chance a week before I found the machine, (having never known the thing existed, how's that for synchronicity?!) I was instantly interested in it as I'm a fan of Tiki design/culture.

As the machine was originally found without a mechanism I was very lucky that it still has it's original award glass, because this shows what the reel strip symobols once were. The previous owner found the correct 50c mech for this machine but it obviously has the standard fruit symbols used on most normal machines. I have a kick arse photo printer so I can make my own replacement strips using the award glass as my template.





 
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Dr. Shocker
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 17, 2004
Posts: 375
From: Ventura
Posted: 2007-05-07 11:17 am   Permalink

what a fantastic find

 
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TikiJosh
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 01, 2005
Posts: 735
Posted: 2007-05-07 1:13 pm   Permalink

Very cool looking machine. The award glass is fantastic. I have to agree-- a row of these, all side by side would be quite a sight!
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AkuAku
Member

Joined: May 06, 2007
Posts: 6
From: Perth - Australia
Posted: 2007-05-07 10:38 pm   Permalink

Hi again, forgot to mention in the previous posting that the Loose Change magazine article from 1997 was partly written about this surviving machine. I only just got to read the article today and it claims that less than a dozen were made. Only two surviving machines are pictured, mine and the one I've shown above that was auctioned in '89. The article claims that the other example is how they were painted, but they don't say how they know that. Anyway it does have a larger photo of the other machine so if I can find out it was like that for sure I'll have something to base mine on. Thanks, AkuAku.

 
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