owners thank their lucky stars for Don Muller, the sole
local practitioner of the nearly lost art of jukebox
repair. He is warm, gracious and all smiles,
reminding one of Dr. Teeth, the rambunctious leader of
the Muppet band the Electric Mayhem. And he has
one of the largest vinyl-record collections in the
the past 33 years, Muller has been on call, servicing,
repairing and renting jukes personally through his San
Fernando Valley–based company, Jukeboxes Unlimited ® (in
Arizona until 1977). Not only is he the man Steven
Spielberg, Hugh Hefner and Island/Def Jam Records rely
on to keep their machines in working order, he’s
pretty much the only man in town to call when your
jukebox is on the fritz. Why? In 1978, there were
18 stores selling jukeboxes in the L.A. area, and by
decade’s end, Muller, now 61, had put them all out of
business. He’s also responsible for getting the
first slang word (Jukeboxes) its own heading in the
Pacific Bell yellow pages.
mass manufactured products of today, jukeboxes were
built to last. "A ’54, ’55 Seeburg will run
forever, if you keep it lubricated. I just
serviced a ’51 that this fellow inherited from his
folks. He remembers dancing to it with his
grandmother in her living room when he was a toddler.
It hadn’t been serviced in 50 years! Now
that’s a quality product."
now rents about 250 jukeboxes a year for house parties,
office parties, bar mitzvahs and themed events.
Customers can choose from, among other models, a flashy,
stereo Rockola, an original ’55 Happy Days Seeburg or
an authentic replica of the colorful 1946 Wurlitzer
1015, known as the "Bubbler." And they
can customize the playlist from Muller’s collection of
9,000 45s — everything from Al Jolson’s
"California, Here I Come" to the orchestras of
Gene Krupa and Tommy Dorsey, from ELO and Neil Diamond
to Pink and Incubus.
for his massive vinyl library, Muller keeps it
meticulously housed in a specially built,
1,600-square-foot building behind his house. With
over 400,000 45's, 10,000 LP's and "somewhere
between five and 10,000" 78's, he treats his vinyl
with as much care as the 11 jukes in his home.
"Jukeboxes are like The Benny Hill Show," he
says. "There’s nothing bad about
them." —Skylaire Alfvegren
Muller (818) 366-9400, www.jukeboxesunlimited.com