This Saddens Me

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We now live in times in which we say goodbye all too often.

We’re saying goodbye to jobs we’ve held for years; co-workers  and friends who’ve been laid off.  We’re saying goodbye to entire corporations and our homes, cars and nest eggs.  We’re saying goodbye to entire ways of life.

So, it would stand to reason as we creep perilously close to a Depression the likes we’ve not seen on more than 78 years,  that we would also have to say goodbye to old friends that help comprise many of the memories we have from childhood.

(Starring Henry Fonda, Jodie Foster and I do believe the brunette kid is a very young Christopher Knight, TV’s Peter from “The Brady Bunch”.  Anyone else think so?)

So, Viewmaster take your last click; the talking version, utter your last words and 3-D slides,  go trash bound, the way of the Kenner Give-A-Show Projector slides…

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Amber LaPointe’s introduction to one of the country’s greatest tourist attractions came from small square pictures on a white wheel.
 
 
 
“It was like you could look into a world away,” said the 28-year-old from Toledo, Ohio. “My only image of the Grand Canyon was from the View-Master.”
 
 
 
The iconic reels of tourist attractions, often packaged with a clunky plastic viewer and first sold to promote 3-D photography, are ending their 70-year run after years of diminishing sales.
 
 
 
Collectors like Mary Ann Sell of Maineville, Ohio, are dismayed.
 
 
“The whole summer I was 5 years old, before I went to school, I traveled the world via View-Master. It was great, and now kids won’t have the opportunity to do that,” said Sell, 57, who owns upwards of 25,000 scenic reels.
 
 
 
Scenic discs are no longer a good fit for the Fisher-Price division of toy maker Mattel Inc., a spokeswoman said, and the company stopped making them in December. Fisher-Price, based in East Aurora, N.Y., will keep making better-selling reels of Shrek, Dora the Explorer and other animated characters, said spokeswoman Juliette Reashor.
 
 
 
Peering at images shot from the top of the CN Tower in Toronto or the rim of the Grand Canyon could induce vertigo, they were so vivid. Elvis Presley’s “jungle room” at Graceland is on a reel, and Mary Tyler Moore used the toy to check out vacation spots on her eponymous TV show.
Mark Finley, general manager of View-Master scenic reels distributor Finley-Holiday Films, insisted the souvenirs – which inventor William Gruber debuted with backing from a postcard company in 1939 – still can appeal to children.
 
 
 
But Clinton Brown of Columbus, who will turn 4 on Sunday, gave the View-Master that his mother, Karina, bought him a clear thumbs down.
 
“It’s boring,” he said, his mother’s fond childhood memories notwithstanding.
 
 
 
Toy industry analyst Sean McGowan with Needham & Co. said View-Master has been in decline since its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s.
 
“That’s not what the kids are looking for in the back seat of the car,” he said. “They’re looking for a DVD that plays on the back of Daddy’s seat.”
 
Based on its limited shelf space in stores, McGowan estimated View-Master brings in less than $10 million a year, compared with overall revenue of $5.92 billion for El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel in 2008. Finley said the shops at Yellowstone National Park typically sell 8,000 View-Master sets each year for up to about $13 each.
 
 
 
McGowan found the scenic discs’ cancellation sad but not surprising.
“When I was a kid, everybody I knew had a View-Master, so you could sell (the reels) everywhere,” said McGowan, 48. “Hardly anybody has it anymore.”
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 Damn contemporary kids!!!  
Don’t bitch and scream at me please, because  I’m well aware of  changing times, safety precautions means kids can’t tear out on their bikes on a Saturday morning and not come back until the street lights are on.  I also know about the incredible technology involved in toys.  But even so, I think many of today’s kids are sadly, quite clueless in manyways.  
Entertainment is brought to them; they wouldn’t know how to seek it out (without a keyboard or joystick at their fingertips) if their lives depended on it.
That saddens me, too.
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7 comments

  1. You know, Laurie, I have been thinking about this state we are in and I am wondering if it is something that we as a nation had coming to us. Even though the hierarchy may be to blame, I think that we most of us(who have held jobs and “obtained”)actually needed a wake up call. Maybe we should all look at our lives and what we do have and not want more or better. At least, for the time being. I always wanted bigger and better and boy I tell you what, I am thankful that I do have a home that I can afford and am able to pay our bills. It would be easier and less stressful if there was more money saved but whose fault is it? Now, when a person is laid off and cannot find a job and then there is income-then that is an entirely different matter. It could happen to anyone at anytime. I pray that this economy and country can get back on track, but if we don’t change some basic greed and restless behavior, then I am not sure that it can be fixed very easily. This is striclty an opinion about my own situation and I do feel very badly for those whose lives have had to completely change by no real fault of their own. The guilty, unfortunately are not the only ones to be punished. Maybe saying goodbye to some things can bring a hopeful hello to others.

  2. I’m guilty. I bought my son thousands of dollars of video games when he was in jr high-high school. I thought I was being a generous mother because since he was my only son (had 3 daughters) he was outnumbered. He didn’t play with dolls nor did my daughters play any of his games.

    Growing up, we weren’t allowed to come inside until the street lights came on. That meant we had to use our imaginations to play. Now it’s all done for the kids by technology. It’s such a shame. I never had a view master-Laurie always wanted those types of toys-but I enjoyed looking through it, seeing beautiful pictures of outdoor scenes or cartoons.

    I just became a first time grandmother. I wonder what my granddaughter will be exposed to.

  3. I totally agree. I grew up with a viewfinder and I am so thankful that it was well-cared for and my mom kept it. Now my children can enjoy it too. Like the previous poster, I wasn’t allowed to come in until the street lights came on. It makes me so sad to see the world my kids are growing up in today. More than anything, it saddens me that my kids can’t play outside like that, just isn’t safe anymore. Sometimes I wish I were about 40 years ahead so that I don’t have to watch my own kids grow up in the world like it is… but guess that just means it would be my grandkids. Such a shame.

  4. LK: I showed my 10 year old recently my double Star Wars LP. I pulled it out and gingerly held it up and asked her if she knew what it was. She said, “nope” I then told her it was a record and it was the way I listened to music as a kid and that a small needle ran across it to make it play. She said, “that is stupid, cd’s are much easier to play and IPODs are even easier.”

    there was an short pause and then she said, “You are kind of old.”

    Time to buy the Corvette, ditch the family and start drinking heavily I guess.

  5. I loved the Viewmaster.

    “That’s not what the kids are looking for in the back seat of the car,” he said. “They’re looking for a DVD that plays on the back of Daddy’s seat.”

    I don’t have a back seat but if I did it certainly wouldn’t have a DVD player in it. If anything there would be a note saying “tough shit . . . look out the window”.

    As kids, being inside during the day would have felt like punishment to my sister and our friends. By the way Laurie, I think you’re right about that being Christopher Knight. It looks like him to me only less icky than he was later on in the show.

  6. LK: I am only fifteen, and I entirely agree. I am the youngest of my family, and I have become a sort of sponge, absorbing my older brothers and sisters ways of life. They all sit inside and hang around on technology, so I did too. They all got individual TV’s for their rooms, and their own CD players and iPods, and so have I. Right now I am sitting reading this article on my own laptop, which practically every kid my age has, and I’ve got to say, every time I sit here and look at the screen, I feel myself sinking, knowing that I could be doing so much better. I could be living, out there, in the real world, using my imagination. But no, I’ve grown up restricted, sheltered in the world built around me by my family.
    I think it’s about time I shut down my various technologies, and went and got some sunshine.

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