Monday, July 25, 2011

i admit to peeping in the past

in my blogpost on lovers' haunts and peeping toms i mentioned that those guilty of peeping on love-making couples at places like macritchie reservoir park, fort canning park and other popular spots were mostly old men and teenage boys. in that post, nowhere did i give any indication that i was also a voyeur.

i must confess here that when i was in my teens, i was also into peeping, but only occasionally, and when the opportunities presented themselves. i always did it on my own. as the lighting was not very good, i usually did not get a good look at what i was supposed to see. some of the time i had to rely on my imagination to decide what was actually going on.

although it happened nearly half a century ago, i can still show you where i did my peeping and how it was done.

this was the type of machine where i did my peeping. actually, those machines on which i watched some of the black-and-white images were not so sophiscated; they were improvised home-made machines which made use of the same principle.

the operator of the peep-show machine would come around on his bicycle with the machine strapped onto it. if i remember correctly, we had to pay 5 cents to view a filmlet on some cartoon show. of course, there was the more sleazy kind where you could see some images of scantily clad women or even of a naked woman running around.

this peep show machine shown above is called a mutoscope. in some places, they call it the 'what the butler saw' machine. it is a simple form of motion-picture machine in which a series of views, exhibiting the successive phases of a scene, are printed on paper and mounted around the perphery of a wheel. the rotation of the wheel brings them rapidly into sight one after another, and the blended effect gives a semblance of motion.

this type of machine which could have been found in an arcade was coin-operated but the viewer had to turn the handle continuously to watch the show. in the uk, this machine was called 'what the butler saw' because one of the most viewed shows had this title. the show was about a butler peeping through a key-hole to watch a woman undressing.


Peter Stubbs said...

I well remember these machines at amusement arcades and on piers at coastal towns in the UK - also some 50 years ago

yg said...

hi peter stubbs, i came across this machine when i was having a meal in a restaurant in melbourne. it reminded me of the peep-show machine that was around in s'pore in the 50s and 60s.

nww said...

More than 20 years ago, I was in San Francisco and they had peep shows called 25-for-25. It means you a quarter(US$0.25) to peep for 25 seconds.

yg said...

mr ng, i believe if you had wanted to continue watching, you would have to put in more quarters.

Chris said...

I would like to see this machine next time I'm in Melbourne perhaps. Do you recall which restaurant you saw this peep-show machine in? Chris

Chris said...

Oops, forgot to add my e-mail details for response.

yg said...


it is in the pancake parlour restaurant in a building complex called 'the village' at glen waverley.