Sunday, April 22, 2012

View-Master: Requiem for a Malph

In the early 80s, I had the pleasure of receiving a lovely red View-Master from my parents. It was one of those old school toys that I still can't believe I had. It's delightfully archaic in our smartphone world and yet the View-Master still thrives. For the uninitiated, a View-Master is a device for viewing 3-D images embedded on a paper disk. Every disk contains seven image sets. One simply inserts a disk into the viewer, clicks the handle and a new image is displayed. It's a camera/binocular/slide projector rolled into one handy, kid-friendly device.

My brother received a reel of Scooby-Doo images for his View-Master and I received a Happy Days reel for mine. My reel featured a set of images from "Requiem for a Malph" an episode from Season 5 (1977). In a nutshell: Ralph tries to steal the cheerleader girlfriend of a star college football fullback and somehow ends up in a boxing match with the beefy fellow for the fair maiden's honour. I recall a series of boxing images and a dejected Ralph at the end. Happy Days was in its heyday back then and I was indeed delighted to have a View-Master version of said schlock. It was like stepping into another world, albeit briefly. A wonderful distraction.

My old View-Master, replete with the saga of Malph, remains on my list of toys I wish I never parted with.

Happy Days - Requiem for a Malph (1977):

 

80s Commercial for The Classic View-Master:





source: eBay





Source: eBay



Source: eBay





source: fisher-price




9 comments:

  1. I completely loved View Masters. I had one myself, dating from the late '70s. I remember I had a set of disks with images from Disney World, and another one with Buggs Bunny/Road Runner cartoons on it.

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    1. Ah, I bet the Disney and Bugs Bunny disks were lots of fun. We only had two in our home and I just watched the heck out of them! Surprised they didn't rip apart. :)

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  2. Good piece, Chelly--I owned one of these too, begged my parents to get me a "talking View Master" in the early 70s, I just remember it coming with discs of Redstone National Park, Washington DC & the Apollo moon landings--it was more trouble than it was worth though, the thing was noisy--turned out simpler was best! Anyway, it appears they're still going strong; my six year old niece owns one & it makes me laugh to see her sitting on her bed with that contraption held up to her face, clicking away. :)

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    1. It's amazing that kids are still playing with it. Love that. I never heard of a "talking View Master" sounds cool but I can see how the constant noise could have been irritating. So good to hear from you Doug! :)

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  3. We had one of them when I was a kid (70s) I remember some Woody Woodpecker reels made with really good colourful models.

    My son I think had one in the early 90s - no idea where that is now - maybe it was just our old one my Mum had given him

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    1. Ah Woody Woodpecker. I'm surprised as to how many different reels there were and the longevity of the toy is pretty amazing.

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  4. I wish that I could magically get this back for you. I do still have mine along with the reels of Sleeping Beauty, The Rescuers, Scenic Wonders of America, Yogi Bear/Huckelberry Hound and the Muppets. My brother kept the reels but not the actual View Master which seems odd, but I guess he'll have to use mine if he really wants to see his Star Trek reels. Mom wrote our names on them with permanent marker. Ours are from the late 70s. It's cool seeing a commercial for this.

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    1. Aw, thank you so much Lara. :) Wow, I love that you still have yours with the reels intact. The commercial was a great find. I was really happy to see it. Takes you back doesn't it? :)

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  5. I remember owning a red viewmaster in the 90’s and the paper disk we had were scenes from The Little Mermaid and Mary Poppins. My grandma kept it from me and my sisters so we would only get to use it when we would ask her. I guess that’s a good thing because she was able to preserve it up to now!

    Francesca Slone

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