Fecking Awesome Kidhood Treasure: The View-Master

During my really young years, when it was just my Mom and me (aided by my seemingly ever present Aunts) we didn't have a lot of money, and so most of the toys I got, unless it was Christmas, or a birthday, came from garage sales and second hand stores.  I'm not saying this is the reason I love antiques today, but I will say I was instilled from the beginning with a love of things that had stories long before they came into my happy little hands.  And because of the garage sale finds, I got a lot of toys and treasures that that had gone out of fashion by the random whim of kids.  And sometimes we happened on an absolute treasure, like a View-Master, complete with a carrying case and multiple individual sets of View-Master "reels" that the person before me must have taken some time to collect, and purchased individually would have been more than we could have reasonably spent on toys for me.   

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the View-Master, it was a kids own personal slide show.  I would hold it up to my eyes and disappear into a 3 dimensional world starring the Flinstones, Bugs Bunny, Bambi, all the characters of my childhood.  I would click my way through an entire story and then view the whole story again, soaking up the details of the world.  There were little booklets that went along with the reels, and if you wanted you could stop and read the story as you clicked along, but I rarely did that, preferring to make up my own stories.

 I used to spend hours flipping through the different reels, of which there were two kinds.  There was the kind that looked like an animated drawing (eh) and the one that looked like a three dimensional world, like the characters might look if they were real.  It was the latter style that I went back to again and again, because it made me feel like I might be able to step right inside that world.  There was more care, more craftsmanship put into them, more life.

The advent of home video made the View-Master relatively unnecessary, but back in the day...magical.  It reminds me of what Ray Bradbury said about lack inspiring imagination, and it's true.  Limits inspire us to to do things we never would consider if we had everything at our beck and call.

Stereoscope, the precursor to the View-Master

I never really thought about how they made those View-Master slides back in the day, but I happened upon some pretty amazing pictures that show the process, and I can only imagine that this was a pretty delightful job to have back then, or would have been to me, and I'm awfully  grateful to the people who made these photos and allowed me to escape into this lovely little world for awhile.