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Here are a few photos taken for our feature story “Fascinated by Fascination” in the current issue of Games Magazine. Last fall after Coney Island lost its Faber’s Fascination sign, ATZ first wrote about the Fascination Parlor on the south shore of Boston in “Where You Can Play Fascination Year Round.”  A sign in the window proudly proclaims that this arcade game, which combines the luck of bingo with the skill of Skee-ball, was brought to Nantasket Beach from Coney Island more than 60 years ago. In Coney, the game was once popular enough to keep three Fascination parlors flourishing — Faber’s, Eddie’s and Moe’s–but the last one closed in the 1970s and now there are none.

In August, we made the trip to Nantasket Beach in Hull to play Fascination for the first time and write about it for Games. The travel piece also delves into the history of Fascination, which made its debut in Coney, and the game’s inventor John Gibbs. At the heart of the story are reminiscences and photos related to Nat Faber’s Empire, which encompassed Fascination Parlors in Coney Island, as well as the Rockaways and Long Beach and Edgemere in Long Island.

“Fascinated by Fascination” is in the February 2012 issue of Games Magazine, which went on sale today, November 29. Copies are available at newsstands or may be purchased via Games website.

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Related posts on ATZ…

August 15, 2011: Games: Where You Can Play Vintage Pinball Year Round

April 13, 2011: Coney Island Arcade Debuts Cobra, Braves Loss of Arcade

October 6, 2010: Traveler: Where You Can Play Fascination Year Round

September 9, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Faber’s Fascination Goes Dark After 50 Years

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Fascination at Nantasket Beach, Hull, MA. Photo © James Young Art via flickr

Fascination at Nantasket Beach, Hull, MA. Photo © James Young Art via flickr

Last month, ATZ wrote about Faber’s fabulous Fascination sign going dark and being dismantled. The Coney Island arcade lost its lease after more than 60 years, a casualty of Thor Equities’ plan to demolish the historic Henderson Building. ATZ checked out a couple of Fascination parlors from East Coast to West where you can admire their splendid signage and play the game described as a combination of skeeball and bingo.

Fascination at Nantasket Beach in Hull, a seaside town south of Boston, was owned for 60 years by town selectman Leonard Hersch. “He bought the equipment from a Goldman in Coney Island in 1945,” said Jim, who has worked at the Fascination parlor for two decades. As we chatted with Jim on the phone, we could hear the din of the game parlor. Somebody won, and he interrupted our conversation to call out on the mike: “Give her five dollars!” That’s right, you can play for money in Massachusetts!

Jim told us: “Our lit sign passed away but we have a sign in big red letters.” In James Young’s photo at the top of our post, you can see all the signage on the front and how inviting it looks: How to Play Fascination: Bingo with Lights Regular Game… First Player to Light Five Lights in Any Straight Line Is the Winner… COVERALL Light all TWENTY-FIVE LIGHTS and you’re the Winner! Winning table remains Lit, all others go out. Win Cash Prizes!

Fascination. I can't believe I went 43 years without knowing this game existed!  Seaside, Oregon.  Photo © MaryDenise6 via flickr

Fascination. I can't believe I went 43 years without knowing this game existed! Seaside, Oregon. Photo © MaryDenise6 via flickr

Nantasket Beach was once home to Paragon Park, which closed in 1984. The 1917 Giant Coaster was dismantled and sold to a park in Maryland (now Six Flags Great America) and the property was developed into beachfront condos. All that remains of the boardwalk attractions are the antique carousel, clock tower and a few arcades including the Fascination Parlor. Richard Lawrence, who also operates the Dream Machine Arcade and a miniature golf course, manages the place. Today the Fascination parlor boasts two large screen TVs, so regulars won’t miss their football games when they play Fascination. Wine and beer are served as well as complimentary coffee and donuts. The Fascination Parlor is open Friday through Sunday year round. Check out the photos and videos of this local landmark on the website of the Hull Patriot Ledger.

The Fascination Parlor in Seaside, Oregon, dates back to the 1950s, according to owner Mark Utti. Now that summer is over, they’re open weekends only: Friday, 4-12 pm; Saturday, 11 am-12 am; and Sunday, 11 am – 8 pm. Here’s a fun video by Charlie MC of three friends playing at the Seaside Fascination in 2009. You may want to turn down the music if you’re at work.

Fascination, 189 Nantasket Ave #C, Hull, MA 02045, Phone 781-925-1900

Fascination, Funland Entertainment Center, 201 Broadway St Seaside, OR 97138, Phone 503-738-7361

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Related posts on ATZ…

September 12, 2010: Video: Coney Island’s Faber’s Fascination by Charles Denson

September 9, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Faber’s Fascination Goes Dark After 50 Years

February 25, 2010: Happy Belated Birthday to Coney Island’s William F Mangels

November 5, 2009: Museum Piece or Obsolete? Old Carnival Games, Stick Joints on eBay

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