Friday, March 20, 2009

Bye Bye View-Master

Sad news from earlier this month: “View-Master 3-D discontinues scenic travel series” (link).  Frankly, I’m surprised they were still producing the reels at all. It seems they will still make cartoon versions (Dora anyone?), so the format is not completely dead, yet.

An undated (I’m really starting to hate that) early advertisement for View-Master Reels of Disneyland. The packets shown are the 1955 versions and that Tomorrowland building looks all wrong so it may be from 1955, does anyone know?

I've been collecting View-Master's way longer than vintage tickets, but realizing I could never collect ALL the View-Master reels (and not really wanting ¾ of them anyway) I decided to try and collect all of the “Talking View-Master Reels”. They come in these large boxes and contain 3 talking-reels and sometimes a booklet. Unlike the tons of variations of regular Disneyland reels, there is only one Disneyland talking version, it came in a couple different boxes, but from what I can tell, the reels are the same.

The cover to the little booklet is not the same size as the box above (why does blogger do that to my scans???) It’s the size of one of the reels. Oh, this set is undated too but most likely from the first run of “talkies” in 1970/71.

"The good old days"

The front of “Reel 1”; scene 1 starts at the entrance of course!

After collecting almost the entire Talking View-Master series, I came to a startling realization; the quality on these things stink!  As you can see, the little record is attached to the back of the reel. This causes a couple serious problems; (1) the little record is clear, but it totally cuts down on the light since it has to shine thru the record and (2) that little record wobbles and groans on the plastic spindle, making for demonic sounds from the player. Here's a link that shows how the viewer/player works (link).

I’ve got something else lined up for Souvenir Saturday tomorrow, but I’ll try and record and post the sound from some of these Disneyland Talking View-Masters, it will make you laugh or cry.


Katella Gate said...

I had the standard silent ViewMasters when I was a kid, but oddly, none of Disneyland (How did that happen?

The talking versions passed me by... when they came out, I was already moving on to cars.

Major Pepperidge said...

I am a big-time Viewmaster fan, mostly Disneyland, but lots of others too! One of the greatest "toys" (although it did not start out as a toy) ever.

I still my talking Viewmaster viewer from when I was a kid, and perhaps 8 packs. One drawback to the talking versions is that the packs take up so much durned room. And you are right, the sound quality was pretty terrible! I think I've read that they did a different kind of talking VM later, wonder if it was an improvement?

Yellows said...

Ooh, I had that Disneyland talking reel! Maybe it's still packed away somewhere!

Anonymous said...

Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch.

"It’s not a matter of how well the pig sings, but that it sings at all."

Rob said...

First, let me say what a great blog you have. I am a fairly new collector of view-master (mostly focused on the Disney Parks at the moment). I recently acquired the Disneyland set you have pictured however I think the one you have is a later edition as mine is packaged with only the three reels and no booklet.(bummer) I currently do not have a talking view-master viewer so I am looking forward to hearing some of the 'demonic' sounds it makes. :-)