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Storied: San Francisco

Sep 20, 2022

It can get really loud inside Musée Méchanique.

Walk in the place and you're immediately transformed, in both time and space, to another world, another era. The magic almost slaps you in the face, hitting all five senses at the same time. And you can't help but feel the nostalgia coursing through your veins.

In Part 1 of this episode, meet the arcade's roller-skating owner, Dan Zelinsky. Dan traces the history of the place back to his dad, Ed Zelinsky. Ed started his penny-arcade machine collection in 1933, but the story is complicated, filled with twists and turns that involve New Orleans and P.T. Barnum.

We talk with a couple of tourist visitors to Musée Méchanique who found the place thanks to some cameos in The ​Princess Diaries. Then Dan shares the story of how he acquired the infamous "Laffing Sal."

Photography by Michelle Kilfeather