Ted’s Photobooth Story

Cheryl and Ted

One of the more exciting, and for me, unexpected aspects of being a blogger is the amount of enthusiasm and generosity that comes to my inbox out of the blue and from all around the world. I have recently started following a blog by Ted Strutz of Friday Harbor, Washington State in the San Juan IslandsUSA. The blog is called TedBook and has some very amusing conversational short stories that I encourage you to check out. Ted emailed me the above photos and the following history a couple of days ago –

When I lived in Chicago in the 80’s and early 90’s, there was a bar called the Rainbow Club.  It was quite large with a big horseshoe shaped bar, booths, tables and a stage, maybe a dance floor.  They played 33 LPs on a phonograph.  Kind of an artsy place.  There was a photo booth as well.  It was very popular, and I would imagine they made almost as much money off that thing as the booze.  I think it was a buck.  I’m sure they have quite a few strips that were left behind.  It was a lot of fun.  Of course that was one of the first places we took out of town visitors.

Anyway… I guess it was 1988 or so when an old girlfriend came from Sacramento to Chicago to visit me.  I had been there for two years, and although she was ‘the one who got away’ we had stayed friends.  I took her to the Rainbow Club, as it was close to the Wicker Park neighborhood where I lived and a fun place to go.  My daughter and her friends hung out there a lot, and that’s how I was introduced to the place.  I didn’t go there that often, except when people came to visit so we could do the photo booth. It is interesting to look at people in these strips and how they react to what the other person in the booth does.  It’s kind of a mini play sometimes.

We had a good time on her visit, and I eventually introduced her to a friend in Sacramento who she would later marry.  They had two kids and are still married.  I was a good matchmaker.  Interesting to note there are two backgrounds… one with photo strips, it looks like, maybe to show people how to use it, and a curtain. My other strips all have the curtain. I would say that the first one we did is the one without the curtain.  For that reason, and in the first photo Cheryl is posing with her reflection as it was the first thing she saw.  She always did ‘duck lips’ when looking in a mirror and my two tiny daughters would copy her when looking in a mirror.  They still laugh and talk about her when they do it now. The bottom of one of the strips has the corner torn off.  Those were fun times.

When I saw your blog, it reminded me of that time and I went and found them.  I have 7 of them and a strip of my daughters when they were little kids… they are in their 40’s now.  The last time I was in a photo booth, was with my mother about 5 years ago shortly before she died at 90.  We had gone to the movies and she wanted to do it so she would have a picture of us two together.

Thanks so much, Ted, for sharing your photobooth memories and your photos. Thanks to Cheryl, too.

18 comments
  1. Mike said:

    Well written, Ted. I believe that if I ever got into a photobooth with Cheryl I might not have ever left.

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  2. Reblogged this on TedBook and commented:
    I was honored to be a contributor to Katherine’s fascinating blog. I hope my friends will take a look and enjoy her work. If you have any old strips around, thing about sharing them with her… and the world. Now I have to figure out how to tell Cheryl I did this… but judging by the first comments, I don’t think she will mind.

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  3. Nice work, Katherine. I think your blog is a fabulous idea… and such fun. But it can also be serious… as evidenced by your post on May 6th entitled ‘Cleaning Experiment’. Also… You comments on Tattoo Man #3 after that were hilarious… I have to go find the Woman Eating a Banana. I think the couple may have been sharing a sub sandwich or hero… what do you call them Down Under?

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    • I cannot eat wheat anymore (damn it!), so am out of touch on that. If you buy a sandwich from a Subway restaurant they call them subs, I do know that!

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      • Well they were called Subs long before Subway, because they were in the shape of a submarine. So they are really deli sandwiches. I did see that delightful strip of you eating a chocolate delight.

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        • So I guess that is why they called the chain Subway? I hadn’t really realised that eating in a photo counted as provocative (yes, eating a banana or sausage in a photo, I get that!) but my male readers have been very interested in that post. He he.

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  4. Ted these are probably the most photogenic photo booth photos I’ve ever seen. Great story too! These have become all the rage now at weddings and proms. I attended a dance with my son when he was a sophomore in high school and we took part in the fun. The best part was seeing how we made the same crazy expressions without even knowing it!

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    • Hi Ted’s friend. Aren’t they a gorgeous couple? Photobooths at weddings and parties are very big here (Australia) and in Ireland, too. Most of the booths are digital but there are one or two companies that still use the old chemical booths which would be my preference. I’m sure Ted will see your musings. Thanks for your comment

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    • Cheryl reminds me a bit of Amelie from the movie. She has a cheeky gorgeousness about her that made me think of the film and of course there are a lot of photobooth photos in it, too.

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  5. gretafrancis2011 said:

    The girl is ok. Ted is the one I think is really gorgeous!

    Hi Katherine. Great to see you blogging again. Hope to get time to review your recent posts later today. Best wishes

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    • Nice to hear a girl’s thoughts on the pics, Greta. I think he looks very cute, too. He is certainly a nice person.

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