The View-Master slides of our youth were beautiful works of art
These 17 classic View-Master slides will take you back — and into another world.
Top image: Hanna-Barbera / dangerousminds.net
In 1939, the inventors of the View-Master introduced their gizmo at the New York World's Fair. People could slip slide wheels dotted with 14 color images into the device to stare into seven stereoscopic visions of another world. Initially, the View-Master was marketed as a tourism souvenir, an interactive postcard.
In the 1940s, the Unites States military purchased 100,000 View-Masters to utilize in training, and a decade later consumers could purchase a special camera to make their own View-Master slides. Sawyer's, the Portland-based company that manufactured the View-Master, was sold to General Aniline & Film in 1966, and the new owners saw the potential for a hit toy. Soon, GAF began offering licensed View-Master reels featuring popular television shows, Disney characters, Hanna-Barbera creations and more.
While most of the TV tie-in slides were screen captures from the series, the cartoon adaptations and fairy tales were created with elaborate miniature models. Peering into the View-Master was akin to a fantastic diorama, made with the craft and composition of stop-motion animation. At last, kids could see Charlie Brown, Donald Duck and Fred Flintstone in three dimensions. You might forget just how beautifully made these scenes were.
Thankfully, there are invaluable resources on the internet that preserve the View-Masters of our childhood. We gathered most of these from View-Master World and Lance Cardinal, and you should check out their sites for many more images. There is also a robust collectors' market online, at sites like 3Dstereo.com. Without further ado, let's dig in.
Donald Duck looks just as wonderstruck to see Chip and Dale in 3-D.
Peanuts characters come to life.
Pebbles Flintstone gets into a bit of trouble.
Snow White is lost in a picturesque forest.
Peter Pan has the kids suspended in midair.
Pooh was another character in a tricky ballooning situation.
Alice needs to drink the potion to make her small.
Jurassic Park before Jurassic Park.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World no longer exist, but they did in View-Masters.
It's "the city of the future," as seen in this collection from the New York World's Fair of 1964.
Jack reaches the top of the beanstalk.
Barbie's family (here's dad and Skipper) trotted the globe in "Barbie's Around the World Trip."
Wile E. Coyote plummets into a canyon, in what looks like an abstract painting.
Look out! It's Dracula! These could actually be quite scary.