When I was a small boy in Anaheim, California, life always meant that after sundown, no matter the worries, you could go to the corner of your street and watch fireworks from the nearby Matterhorn at Disneyland. Heading back from a grandparents house could mean a stop to watch the Dancing Waters in front of a hotel. Some weeknights we'd go and meet Dad across the street from his work for pizza at Shakey's where a guy hammering on a magical musical machine would play a cacophonous version of 'Popcorn' if requested.
It was the 70's in SoCal and every establishment for miles around Disneyland tried to get an entertainment hook for locals and tourists. Not unlike the Oughties in most cities when it seemed even banks had someone spinning discs for the clientele, Orange County had car salesmen with safaris in the back lot, mock gold rush storefronts on clothing stores, garbage bins in the shape of animals in every park and burger joint, model train sets running around the ceilings in steakhouses, and tigers chasing the Jackson Five in pancake joints.
'Popcorn' by Hot Butter was on a yellow vinyl 45 my older brother had that I'd love to play over and over, not realising what an important cog this piece of music was in electronic music history. I just liked it. A lot.
The magical music machine briefly was a boat until it somehow found a home and play at the medieval themed Shakey's pizza parlour Across The Road From Dad's Work for a few years in the 70s. The machine, its proper name being the Kaleidocosmicorgrig, was (or is)
'35 feet in length, 12 feet tall, weighs approximately 2 tons... a contrivance of pedals, keyboards, pulleys, mousetraps, electrical wires, wind machines, magnets, bellows, fishing weights, stovepipes and bicycle wheels, arranged so as to control a parlor piano, 30 tuned bottles, 13 10-foot tuba pipes, a fine bass drum, 2 tambourines, a mariachi marimba, a wooden xylophone, Swiss glockenspiel, castanets, maracas, wood block, cymbals, bonkers, zonkers, and taxihorn'
(as well as a slide projector) and was played by its inventor Mr Nick O'Lodeon. He even had an album for sale 'Nick O'Lodeon Plays Actual Music On His Kaleidocosmicorgrig
' and it's as awesome in recording as it was live.
When I was 7, we moved further up north, where there were no fireworks every night, no fountains of the rainbow, and the only organ playing was at church. The Hot Butter 45 survived the move however and as far as I'm aware is still in a cabinet at my parent's house, waiting to be slapped on a turntable.