Morgana Fortune Teller Film Restoration


I was sitting in a Starbucks about to finish my double whipped, half latte, caff, decaf blend with a squirt of whip cream when a shady character wearing a bowler and trench coat sat at the small table next to me. I thought it was unusually hot for such a coat and unusually out of fashion for such a hat. The man had no coffee and had entered alone. When I turned up my cup to savor that final droplet of coffee I noticed a rustling out the corner of my eye. When I lowered my cup the man was gone and on the table in front of me was a manila envelope which had been taped all around. A red magic marker scrawled in the exact center, Morgana. Not wanting to cause a scene or draw attention due to the unusual package sitting conspicuously on the table, I slid it under the table to see what it was. I was not Morgana and did not know who she might be, but the package was obviously left for me. I rushed as casually as possible to my car to see what this mysterious package might be. Upon tearing the envelope asunder I removed a dirty gray plastic cartridge. As I rotated the plastic box I saw one side had a film strip feed through it. I eased the ancient visual media out and held it up to the light. There, glistening in the morning sun, I saw a face I never thought I would see. It was Morgana, the Fortune Teller! Oh, and a Costco DVD conversion of the video fell out too.

Morgana was a fortune teller coin-op that appeared in the early 1970's. No one knows the real date because there is no information on this game other than the flyers. It was released by Bally as a giant box version and by Bacchus(look up that name, it was also used in an episode of the Smurfs) as a single player version. My guess is the big box was the older model. These games had a Styrofoam head which was white with no face and a projector with a film strip. When you inserted your coin it would trigger the modified projector to play one segment of the film revealing a fortune projected on the head to make it look like it was alive.


You can see the restoration of this ancient film in the above video.

The original film was converted to DVD video at Costco. The conversion process altered the sound and slowed it down. Apparently the original film may have played faster than standard film which made it slower when converted.

The video, as is common with older film from the 1970's, had a strong red tint from age. The conversion voice was pitch shifted much lower due to recording at a slower rate and the quality was much worse.

I was able to correct the video by using a white balance tool. Video touch-up is not my specialty but I can throw a bunch of filters on a video until it looks the way I want. I wanted it to look better but not too good. I wish I could have pulled out the green of her eyes more but it was never like I wanted. I also adjusted the black level to make the background truly black.

I fixed the voice pitch. As you can hear in the original film shown on a wall the voice was normal on the film. I thought she needed to be more spooky so added an audio phase filter to the voice.


You can easily see her eyes reading a script and see the reflection of the script in her eyes too. It is surprising how little effort went in shooting the film part when it is really all people see of the game.

It is a very unusual fortune teller. I hope to build my own version someday.














Thank you SO much for putting up the film restoration on Youtube - this to me is the holy grail of coin-op machines! I first became aware of Morgana in Italy in 1978 when I was 8 years old (now 42) and I would put a lira or two in the machine every night and couldn't be dragged away from it!. Opposite our hotel was a smallish arcade and standing outside were 3 machines. On one side was a helicopter training game in which you had to fly the copter over and through obstacles using one lever - I never did complete the game in the time alloted. Then there was the obligatory parrot in the cage which dispensed a plastic egg containing a gift, and next to this was you-know-who. Now my memory of Morgana is as follows: This was the one player game and I am sure this version had a completely black cabinet, and around the window frame inside were cobwebs and plastic spiders. On the left was a dial with the 12 signs of the zodiac, and you turned the dial to your birth sign, and on the right were 2 inlaid glowing hands which you put your hands on. After Morgana spoke, a small paper scroll would come out of a flap and you opened it to reveal more about your fortune. I saw another Morgana in Brighton several years later and was hoping that it would end up in the Mechanical Memories Museum, but as far as I recall, don't remember seeing it there. They did have the large cabinet with the skeletons popping out from the gravestones, and you had to shoot a certain point on the skeletons so they would fall - the gun wasn't working that great when I went! I am very into vintage amusement machines, particularly the cabinets that have moving figures such as the  'Haunted Bedroom' and 'The Beheading of Anne Boleyn' among others.