"he had wandered into the Penny Arcade on Royal Street"

Penny arcades were first developed in the late 19th century and were mostly seen in temporary settings such as amusement parks or travelling fairs. They grew in popularity throughout the 30s and 40s and included a mixture of games for amusement such as bagatelle or pinball, and, where the law allowed, low-stakes gambling machines like one-armed bandits.

The arcades also featured novelty machines including fortune-telling automatons, crane grabbers and booths where aspiring pop stars could cut their own records on cardboard discs. In 1947 or 1948, Tennessee Williams and some friends used one of these recording booths at Pennyland on Royal Street in New Orleans to produce a number of discs that included singing, conversation and comic parodies of Williams' most famous plays.