Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I'd Watch ViewMaster... of the Universe. Maybe.

hr/photos/stylus/96886-view-master_341x182.jpgDreamworks is making a movie based off of the old ViewMaster toys. Seriously.

You may remember ViewMasters as well as I do, but for our younger readers, let me explain what ViewMaster was. I hope our older readers will enjoy the memory lane stroll.

ViewMaster was a crude plastic toy that you could look into and into which you put a white wheel with slides (slides are hard copies of pictures that you can project onto the wall.) Then you turned the wheel with a plastic switch and viewed the images one after the other. Often, these images in succession, would tell a story. Other times, they would not. they'd just be a bunch of related pictures.

These ViewMasters had many limitations, such as:
  1. A very limited amount of pictures (I think it was 12) were available for viewing.
  2. It was just a bunch of pictures. It had no sounds or music or moving images or anything that helps tell stories.
  3. You could accidentally load the slide at the wrong place, thereby ruining any surprises in the story. (One saving grace, you only had 12 pictures, so the stories weren't interesting enough to be "ruined.")
  4. If you put it in facing the wrong way, the pictures appeared backwards. This was confusing.
  5. If the wheel got bent, you couldn't put it in the ViewMaster. And you couldn't really just View these pictures, sans Master.
  6. You looked like a doofus while using them. (Think RecSpecs + What people thought virtual reality glasses would look like)
So why did we use them? One reason only. And I think this reason is the most perplexing thing about this movie... We used them because - they were the best we had. It was ViewMasters or books. Those were the story telling toys we were privy to. It was the best we had if we weren't watching TV.

But you know what's better than ViewMasters? Everything in the world that exists now. Ipods fix all the problems we once had with ViewMasters. (Yeah, I'm going to leave the idea of Ipods as a modern ViewMaster out there.) Digital cameras do more than ViewMasters!

So they are making a movie about a crude device that was replaced by portable movie players. I wonder if it will be played only on AM radio.

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