Butler

WHAT THE BUTLER SAW

  

On a visit to Paris, circa 2009, I came across a type of machine I had never met before, a 9.5 version of the pier-head "What the Butler Saw" machine.

 

Butler01     Butler01a     Butler01b

I have to say from the start that, if that pic is really meant to encourage the punter gawdelpus! (All these pictures were taken in the back of a hatchback, the machine having already been sold and on its way out, so I was lucky to be able to snap some pix. I have done my best to remove unwanted background.) And no, that label on the can does not mean what you think. What the right-hand picture does not show is that the lamp resistance, removed from under the machine, is fixed to the front of the cabinet just below the screen. The general crudity of the whole thing suggests local entrepreneurs knocking up a few for their own use.

 

Butler02     Butler03     Butler04

 

This shows the basic set-up. The Baby has been fitted with a special short-throw lens and tilted well back, to show the picture onto the rear wall of the cabinet. The film is in a continuous loop, feeding from the centre and back to the outside of the roll of film. The guidance of the film is very crude (and if you ever saw a Baby with a slot cut in the front of the film chamber, this may be why). A coin activated timer switches on lamp and motor, for a pre-set time, presumably adjustable by the dial bottom left of the first pic.

The story does not end here, however. They did it again, but with a Kid.

Butler05     Butler06     Butler07


In fact, these are two different machines from the Cinémathèque Française equipment stacks, the second machine being the third pic, showing a view as from the screen. It seems there are no lengths to which some men will not go for a bit of titillation, or to make money out of it.

Some years later I had the opportunity to take pictures of a similar machine in the shop of Alain Gomet; here are a few pix. The pic on the machine looks a bit better than the one above.

 

Butler08     Butler09     Butler10     Butler11