When Oscar's Classic Diner reopens in Jefferson City next month, one new item inside the renovated space will have customers dancing in their seats.
Owners Kurt and Lisa Mankin found themselves a restored jukebox to go in their new building, which is being rebuilt after a Jan. 31 fire destroyed most of the previous restaurant.
The couple spent time last week learning how to work their 1952 Seeburg Select-O-Matic 100 jukebox after winning it at auction. The jukebox will fit the '50s- and '60s-themed diner. The Mankins found the item while trying to collect decor after most of their memorabilia was destroyed in the fire.
The previous owners of the jukebox, Kansas couple Roy and Connie Seichepine, drove the jukebox to its new home here in Jefferson City. Roy rebuilt the classic music player after finding it in an old hen house several years ago. In order to restore it and get it to work properly, Roy bought and used several dozen jukeboxes for parts. The unit operates off tubes instead of transistors, items that are getting harder to find, he said.
The Seichepines brought the jukebox to the Capital City as part of the bid agreement. Roy said he was happy to do so because the jukebox had become a big part of his life.
While visiting with the Mankins, Connie showed Lisa the proper way to load the 45s into the jukebox to match up with the correct label. After loading the machine, the Mankins and Seichepines tried out the old jukebox, giving new life to the classic diner. One more piece to the rebuilding puzzle was complete when that jukebox began to play. The Mankins are anxiously preparing for their grand reopening and said they're looking forward to seeing their customers again.
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Julie Smith, News Tribune photographer, contributed to this article.