Zoltar Gypsy and other Fortune Teller Machines
Shop for a Zoltar in three sizes of fortune teller machines.
Mechanical gypsy fortune telling machines have stood in corner stores and penny arcades for over 100 years, but Zoltar really made his mark on our culture in the 1988 movie Big. It was there on the boardwalk alongside young Josh Baskin that we learned with a dollar and a magic machine you could be as big as Tom Hanks. Zoltar delivered Josh a once-in-a-lifetime experience, ultimately helping him get back home no longer in a rush to grow up. Zoltar kept going forward, taking his new found pop culture fame to trade shows, boutique shops, and personal residences of the rich and famous. You can own a fortune teller (choose Zoltar or dozens of other characters) and even customize the clothing, cabinet, movements, and audio of your new fortune telling machine.
How are fortune teller machines made? Essentially there are four components: body, head, cabinet, and the fortune mechanism.
The chest or body is the center of the fortune teller. Zoltar or any character you choose has a wooden body built by hand in the good oleUSA. Piece by custom piece the body is built into the kind of manly (or womanly) chest you want a fortune teller to have. On the top is a circular swivel on which the head will be mounted. Later a rubbery neck will be built to make Zoltar look more human, though his actual neck that turns and supports his head is a one inch metal rod. Inside the chest cavity are the gears that make Zoltar's movements possible. This animatronic character gets its animation from the latest in 21st century technology: gears and pulleys. An electric motor starts the motion that gets the head, eyes, jaw, and arm moving. You can even add a breathing motion with a gear that moves the chest up and down.
The head is cast as a plaster mold to give it the features of a human face. This mold is used to shape the rubbery mask which will cover the internal workings of the head. Inside the head are lifelike eyes on a mechanism that moves them back and forth. The jaw also moves, opening and closing the fortune teller's mouth timed with the audio emerging from the cabinet below so it looks like Zoltar is actually speaking. Many of the fortune tellers have a beard to cover the gap in the jaw where the movement actually appears – if a beard is simply not conducive to the character's appearance, and latex mask is used to give a smooth appearance to the entire face.
The cabinet is truly a piece of wood furniture made by a real American carpenter. Three sizes of cabinets, from 24” to 33” in width, and 24” to 28” in depth. Cabinets are generally the same height, 77”, just the right size to fit through a doorway. Since each cabinet is made to order, you can get just your choice of wood and stain. Also there are several types of decorative moldings available on the top and side edges of the cabinet. This high quality wood cabinet houses your fortune telling machine in a piece of furniture that is as attractive as the Zoltar is interesting.
The fortune mechanism sits in the lower half of the fortune teller cabinet. That's where Zoltar's toenails, eye of newt, and a sprinkling of pixie dust make wishes come true. Kidding. Zoltar does not really grant wishes. Fortune telling machines are novelties. If you want your dreams to come true, work hard. Underneath Zoltar's torso is an open cabinet in the lower half of the cabinet. There sits a power converter, the audio flash drive, speakers, the stack of fortune cards and card dispenser, and the dollar bill acceptor which triggers the fortune teller's movement, audio and card fortune telling.
Zoltar the gypsy fortune teller is just the beginning.
Dozens of other characters available in the three cabinet sizes.
Custom characters built to your specs available too.