jukeboxes have been professionally rebuilt/restored
and include a full one year parts warranty.
We ship worldwide.
Don Muller created JUKEBOXES UNLIMITED ® in 1971 while program director
drive disc jockey (Don Daro) at the #1 radio station (KMEO AM/FM) in
It didn't begin
as a hobby but was rather intended as a vehicle by which Don hoped to
buy a radio station of his own. In the late 1990's Don and a
well-known rock singer nearly purchased a 50,000 - watt AM station in Los Angeles for $250,000. The
performer's manager backed out. The station later sold (1-20-06) for $43 million.
mechanical background came from building hotrods in the late '50's
and early '60's. Such as dropping V8's in Model 'A' Fords.
In 1966 he
graduated from the Don Martin School of Radio and Television
Broadcasting Arts and Sciences in Hollywood with an FCC First Class
Radio and Television license. He then engineered at numerous
radio stations to provide his electronics background.
The fact that he
was pioneering a new industry (that of reconditioning jukeboxes for
sale to homes) brought international attention to the fledging
company. Hundreds of articles and numerous TV interviews
From the start,
Don wrote, produced and performed his own commercials for radio and
TV. What started in his Phoenix living room quickly expanded to
bigger and better stores as well as repair facilities as the years
JUKEBOXES UNLIMITED ® was selling more than just jukeboxes. In
fact the company business card read: "Anything that takes your
money". In 1976 you could find on display in the Metrocenter
Shopping Mall store in North Phoenix, old and new:
… and much more
As word of this
unique business echoed around the country via articles and features in
print and on TV, other enterprising folks opened stores of their own.
The phenomenon had begun to spread. All the networks had already featured Don and his business, which was then
picked up by the wire services and thus newspapers all over the world.
But before it
really caught on and jukebox operators were still naive as to the
value of their old equipment, Don would contact several of them over
the phone. He would learn what 'goodies' they had and negotiate prices. Then he'd arrange to go get
In the days
before JUKEBOXES UNLIMITED ®, operators would "dispose" of
to keep it out of the hands of upstart operators. They would
strip jukeboxes of amplifiers and
speakers and destroy the cabinets.
In Los Angeles an
old operator told how he used to haul complete 1946 "1015"
Wurlitzers up to Mulholland Drive (the mountain dividing Los Angeles
and San Fernando Valley) and push them off into the canyons.
The 1949 Seeburg
100 selection jukebox made all other brands obsolete since they played
no more than 40 selections.
Operators who had
economical warehouse space tended to hang on to the
"prettier" models rather than toss them out. Yet they
still didn't know what they were going to do with them in the
Then Don came
along and offered to "clean out" their entire building for
cash. In the early days (1971-1975) he'd by a 1953 Seeburg
"C" for around $5 to $7 dollars or a Wurlitzer 1080 for $125.
So for $800 to $2000, he would fill a 40-foot semi while freeing
up operator's buildings.
In the desert
areas of the Southwest Don found warehouses full of immaculate, rust
free jukeboxes. Hundreds of them at a time. Don got his license
to drive big rigs and headed out to fill 'em up with
Don learned early
on that when a unit was heavier than the others, it was probably full
Often times it was silver!
The first large
buy of items was from Prescott Music in Prescott, AZ. Most were '40's and
'50's AMIs with a few Wurlitzers from the '40's. After
getting back to Phoenix, Don discovered an "Out of Order" note
taped over the coin slot of a 1946 Seeburg "Trashcan" jukebox.
When he removed it he realized it was written on a café receipt for a 5-cent cup of coffee
and dated 1953. Upon opening the front door the cause of the problem was obvious. The entire
coin chute was full of silver. The best part was that the
jukebox had been setting "unused" since 1953. It was
agreed to selling Don all his old stuff as long as Don hauled away all
the old 45's and spare parts. The jukeboxes and slot machines
were stored for years right under the Palace Hotel across from the
Another time in
Gallup, NM the operator made Don's guys also take the stupid gumball
machines stored in an abandoned meat locker. He had acquired
them when he bought the route.
interesting part was that they weren't full of gumballs, but
polished agate key chains. Don's guys soon learned that the
ones empty of agate were instead full of quarters.
operator insisted that Don also take a few hundred chrome Seeburg 3W1
wall boxes. Don had no idea what he would do with them and left
As he and his
crew sat having dinner at a diner on the outskirts of town a truck
with its headlights aiming high came down the highway and pulled in to
the parking lot next to one of Don's trucks.
When Don got out
to the parking lot later he found that the operator had filled his
truck with the wall boxes. Eventually Ed in the shop came up
with the idea of converting them into lighted telephone directories
with 110 - volt ac transformers.
In those days you
could buy a fully reconditioned 1954 AMI "F" 120 from JUKEBOXES
for $125 with a year warranty.
One day in 1972 a
wealthy doctor called Don to ask what the balance was on the jukebox
his 15 - year - old son had just bought for $125. When Don explained
it was paid in full the doctor invited him to his home where upon the doctor handed Don a check for
$1,000,000 to be a 49% partner along with 3 other doctors. Don declined.
By 1975 JUKEBOXES
UNLIMITED ® had expanded to include a large retail store in a major
shopping center, as well as a 5,000 square foot shop where 5 mechanics
rebuilt "Anything that takes your money".
In 1976, Don
looked to move the operation to where folks had more "disposable
income". His research shown the residents of fashionable
Brentwood (near Santa Monica) CA to be a perfect fit.
In September of
1977 JUKEBOXES UNLIMITED ® opened its first store in the Los Angeles
Each Friday evening Don would head out to Phoenix with an empty
pickup. On Saturday morning
he’d meet the mechanics at the shop to quality check what they had
rebuilt the previous week.
finish the products and load up the 1964 FORD F-100. Then Sunday
afternoon Don would head back to LA loaded with goodies for the West
LA store. Eventually a 50,000 square foot refurbishing facility
was setup in Ladera Heights, near LA, and all operations in Phoenix
were closed down.
Sadly, none of
the mechanics wanted to relocate to the "rat race" of LA.
Yet one of Don's neighbors decided to move his family as did Don.
After a time,
great mechanics were found and paid well in LA. The first
mechanics in Phoenix started
at $1.25 per hour in 1971. The mechanics in LA started at $9.00 in
Most of the
Phoenix mechanics had never worked on jukeboxes before coming to
JUKEBOXES UNLIMITED ®. Most of the LA mechanics were from
Mexico and had extensive backgrounds in
jukebox as well as other electro-mechanical repairing.
The West LA (Wilshire
Blvd) location proved a goldmine for celebrity clientele.
Immediately The Playboy Mansion contacted Don to rebuild Hef's 1946
Wurlitzer 1015 that had been purchased
from a competitor only 6 months prior.
Don Henley, Glenn
Frey, Mick Fleetwood, and Lindsey Buckingham were just a few of the
early customers. Soon after, Steve Martin, Doc Demento, Dean
Torrance, Dave Mason, Bill Bixby and many other entertainers learned about JUKEBOXES UNLIMITED ® 's nifty
One day Johnny
Carson walked into the store and pulled a folded up JUKEBOXES
UNLIMITED ® coupon ad from his wallet. It was 2 years old and
referred to a Seeburg 3w1 wall box that the shop converted to
telephone directories. There was one left. He bought it.
Glenn Frey would
frequently bring in his friends to sell them on buying jukeboxes.
Once The Playboy Mansion had learned Don could fix just about anything
they had him there all the time. Needless to
say this was a wonderful time for JUKEBOXES UNLIMITED ®.
In 1978 there
were 18 stores selling jukeboxes in the LA area and Don told his wife
he'd put them all out of business. At one point he hired away
all the mechanics from a competitor. Then as he prepared to eliminate the last remaining store, G.A.M.E.S., it closed
Don will tell you
two things helped his company succeed then as it does today. One
is extensive knowledge of the product and the other is a
"fun" attitude. Don always jokes with his customers.
He says it makes them laugh and feel more comfortable.
By the end of
1979 rent at the 50,000 square foot repair/warehouse facility had
climbed from 9
cents to 13 cents a square foot and the Wilshire store was now at $2.
It was in 1978
that Don began trying to convince Pacific Bell that he didn't like
to have his large
display ads placed under the heading of "PHONOGRAPHS COIN -
OPERATED" in the Yellow Pages.
He deemed it misrepresentative since he set his jukeboxes on 'free
play' for homes.
At the end of
1979 he got a call from PacBell headquarters in San Francisco telling
him that the new 1980 phone book for Los Angeles would be their first
two part book and that for the first time a slang word (JUKEBOXES) would be used as a new heading. PacBell
said the rest of the country would soon follow.
In 1980 Don
decided to relocated to well known Sepulveda Blvd. in Van Nuys in the
San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Space was only 65 cents a
foot and once again the shop and store were combined.
This combining of
facilities was what Don preferred. This way a potential customer
could be walked back thru the shop to see how things were rebuilt.
At this time
JUKEBOXES UNLIMITED ® was contacted by Sega Corporation of Japan to
sell their retired jukeboxes. They were the largest jukebox
operator in the world and had 100 mechanics working around the clock
refurbishing machines exclusively for JUKEBOXES UNLIMITED ®.
completely rebuilt by SEGA Japan's mechanics, prepared for shipment,
placed on a pallet and loaded in containers to be shipped to the USA. The
total cost per box to JUKEBOXES UNLIMITED ® was amazingly low and
During the early '80's JUKEBOXES UNLIMITED ® might have been the largest jukebox
retailer in the world selling 850 to 900 units (mostly to homes) each
year. Once again Don wrote and ran innovative TV and print advertising campaigns that brought in
thousands of customers from all over the state.
In September of
1980 Don purchased the entire parts department of the J.P. Seeburg
Sales Corporation (Seeburg Jukebox Company or SMC Seeburg
Manufacturing Company), 1500 N. Dayton, Chicago. (See story in the
"In the news" section of this site).
At the end of
1984 Don decided to close the last retail store and devote more time
to developing jukebox party rentals. Thus JUKEBOXES FOR RENT ® was
The story of the
company's years following will eventually be compiled. Stay