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Photography by Steve Double

Pinheads in Oddball Places

Inside the electromechanical underground.

By Dale Dougherty

MICHAEL SCHIESS / LUCKY JU JU

Seventy-five years ago, in the city of Alameda on the San Francisco Bay, an amusement park called Neptune Beach was a rival to Coney Island. Now all that’s left of it are some postcards hanging in the Neptune Beach Amusement Museum, also known as Lucky Ju Ju Pinball.

In this oddball headquarters, 20-some pinball machines crowd a two-room space that shares an off-street entrance with a beauty salon. Proprietor Michael Schiess calls Lucky Ju Ju an “Arcadium,” short for Arcade Museum, but it’s also an art ...

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