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.”
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.