"Somedays I sit and wish I was a kid again…" Ahmad
Photo by Pamela Evelyn .
Few things make us feel as good as childhood memories. If you grew up anytime in the last 50 years you surely know the simple joy of glimpsing into an imaginary world through the heft and well constructed bulk of a View-Master. The range of slides to choose from are endless and in an instant (with a good source of light) you can be whisked away to a land of animated characters or the sights of the worlds greatest landmarks, all captured in astounding visual quality.
I have two of the original Bakelite pieces and a handful of slides which I leave out for my guests during dinner parties and get togethers. If you can host a party with good food and beverage that's one thing, but if you can invoke the feeling of youth in your guests, then you are a host of a valuable magnitude. First introduced to the public at the New York World's Fair, it didn't take long for units to sell, and they brought with them a pure form of escapism, it may have been a stagnant image but it was alive enough when animated with thought. Nowadays we have the luxury of enjoying a 3D movie in the comfort of our own surroundings, or we gather in a theatre and join in a communal experience as the big screen jumps to life right in front of us.
Back in the day though, View-Masters were the pinnacle of larger-than-life entertainment and for more than nostalgic purposes; they could be found in almost kids toy trunk. I mean growing up as kid myself, I used to love reading comic books, but what better way to see you favourite illustrated hero beat the bad guy, then in frame after frame of in-your-face action? Each click of the squeaky plastic slider brought you deeper and deeper into the created universe in front of you. Dinosaurs, underwater creatures, even the mystical kingdoms from our favourite and most celebrated fairy tales, were all there for the taking and it empowered our imaginations. I'm glad to see things haven't changed that much, if anything they've advanced our senses to be adept to more information, but sometimes it's the simple things that offer us happiness, and whats more celebrated than a slice of simplicity from the old school life and the days of pure innocence?
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