When Dave De Angelis watches television, he scans the corners of the screen: There's a Seeburg Disco jukebox in "Archie Bunker's Place," a '40s Wurlitzer Bubbler in "Cheers," a Seeburg "Trashcan" in Rosie's Bar on "M*A*S*H" and a Seeburg C on "Happy Days."
"If people would pay attention, they can notice these things," says De Angelis of Rockville's Home Amusement Company, which has hundreds of such jukeboxes for sale. The sprawling showrooms, in which gleaming antiques are mingled with upstart video games, amount to a jukebox museum. And you needn't stretch the meaning to see that some jukeboxes are works of art.
"We have 75 to 100 jukeboxes on the floor at all times, and an inventory of a couple of hundred in storage," says De Angelis. "They start at $350 for a late-model Seeburg or United, and can go as high as $5,600 for a Wurlitzer Victory."
The Victory, otherwise known as Wurlitzer Model 42, stands tall in a nook assigned to '40s-vintage jukes. It sports a wood-and-glass cabinet, but no metal or plastic -- which would have detracted from the war effort. It was produced from 1942 to 1945. A vision in dark polished wood, with nicely carved doodads and frills, it's a campy, magnificent beauty.
"We refurbish all our own jukeboxes," says De Angelis. "A regular piece from the '50s or '60s might take a week of work. But one of these models from the '40s, with all this wooden cabinet work, might occupy us for four to five weeks. The Victory is the biggest jukebox we have."
Next to the Victory is Wurlizter 1015, called the Bubbler and a jukebox classic. It was, in its day, the most popular model -- and an example is on display in the Smithsonian's Museum of American History. With its plastics and bubble tubes coursing with water, it was Wurlizter's signature creation.
Says a magazine advertisement of the era, framed and hung on the wall: "Nothing will spur vacationists to send the home folks glowing reports of the wonderful time they are having like the fun at resorts where there is Wurlitzer Music."
In other rooms, there are other voices: the Seeburg P147, poised like a spaceship on Buck Rogers' launch pad; the Seeburg KD200, replete with late-'50s tailfins; and the 1947 Rock-Ola Model 1426, incandescent as a teenage dream. HOME AMUSEMENT COMPANY -- At 11910 Parklawn Drive in Rockville, open seven days a week. 301/468-0070.