“Joy Land” Penny Arcade on Baltimore’s “Block” (1943)


April 1943. “Baltimore, Maryland — a street scene. Light Street.”
Photo by Marjory Collins for the Office of War Information, via Shorpy.com.  View full size.


Baltimore Arcades Thrive as Crowds Try To Keep Dry

(The Billboard, “Amusement Machines”, 7/31/1943)

Showers and rain have proven to be big assets to the Penny Arcades. Last Sunday (11) when servicemen, war workers and others started earlier in the day along Baltimore’s so-called “Indoor Coney Island” or “Great White Way,” jammed the Penny Arcades at the fall of the first shower. The intermittent showers which continued thruout the afternoon and evening made those out for a holiday decide on amusement at the arcades.

The staccato of gallery shooting filled the street as the crowd was herded into the arcades to escape getting drenched. Innumerable bells on pinball machines tinkled. There was laughter and shouting.

Men in uniform, war workers and others were in the heavy majority at the arcades. They had their pictures taken in the automatic photo-machine booths, tried their skill on aerial gunnery games and in some instances matched their ability at the shooting galleries.

Rain Boosts Collections

The manager of one arcade said the rain does not bother us; in fact, it helps boost collections. The crowded arcade indicated he was correct. All machines were being used, and the arcade money changers were kept busy.

It really was a Roman holiday, so far as the arcades were concerned. It was not difficult to understand the arcade operators’ assertions that business was exceptionally fine for the day, and that showers and rain serve to boost the arcade business.

Principal arcades in this sector include the Fair Grounds, Joy Land, Penny Land and Playland, all of which shared in the land-office business.

This entry was posted in "The Block", 1940s, Roadside Attractions, Vices. Bookmark the permalink.

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