Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Word: Mazuma

I have spent a lot of time, for reasons I cannot explain, looking at ads for pinball machines from the 1930's.  It takes up hours of my day but the machines are so wonderful and the ad copy is so compelling that I want to spend all the money that we don't have to buy them.
One of the better machines, made in 1937 by the Pacific Manufacturing Corporation, was called Mazuma, a word I'd never heard before.  The ad, meant to entice arcade owners to buy the machine, reads as such:
"Mazuma!  BIG Mazuma!  Stacks and stacks of glittering coins for you.  Coins that pack up big cash boxes...overflow into cabinets...pour out like jackpots when you make your collections!  Mazuma means Money to you!"
I went to the OED and, yes, Mazuma is slang for money.
I also found a great line from B. Burgundy's Toothsome Tales 33: "It came to pass that he annexed himself to a mammoth mass of mazuma."
So, if you're looking for a magician's name or a comic book villain, I offer The Great Mazuma.


Scott Garson said...

my first research paper, in high school, was called 'The History of Pinball.' I xeroxed a photo a NYC mayor LaGuardia pushing over a pball machine in a staged hissy fit and pasted it into my paper. The guy who taught that class--History, I think-- was rumored to have a metal plate in his bald head, a fix for some kind of war wound. There would have been scars if that was true, wouldn't there? Anyway he liked my paper.

Anson Mountain said...

I just found that photo. The best part was the caption, which read, "Mayor LaGuardia of New York destroys a pinball machine as startled onlookers scattered out of his way." The onlookers must have scattered very quickly because the machine hasn't even tipped over yet and all I can see are two bored cops and some guy, hand on hip, thinking, "I guess it takes two hands for Mary LaGuardia to tip over a ballyhoo machine. Pathetic."

A metal plate in your head is a complication for hair restoration. Pretty much, you have a plate in your head, you're not going to get hair restored in that spot.

Scott, I wish that your entire history paper had been that photo of LaGuardia pushing over the pinball machine.