thrift store finds: viewmaster and vm reels (part two!)

This is a continuation of last week’s Thrift Store Find. Go read that before you read this.

I wanted to write a little more about the collection of ViewMaster slides I bought but this presented a problem. I had no way to accurately capture pictures of these slides! I am sure there exists some means by which ViewMaster reels can be brought to the Internet, but I’m not aware of those processes. I had just about given up on the idea altogether when the thrift store fates intervened and I found this beauty at a rummage sale.

A View Master projector!

This things eats C batteries for breakfast but it’s a decent enough means by which to show off some of these reels. I think I paid $3 or $4 dollars for this beast but it was worth every penny if I can show my dozens of readers some of the wonderful images View Master chose to favor its’ fans with. The projector is a big flashlight with an automatic View Master slide attached – pull the lever and the image changes.

The slides in this plastic baggie can divided into two groups… two epochs, if you will. The newest of them are all mostly Disney related reels for cartoons popular in the early 1990’s like Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

…and Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers, an animated show Disney syndicated in the early Nineties.

I was a pretty big fan of Rescue Rangers and I remember wishing there were more toys made for the cartoon as a kid.

Also included in this random collection were a bunch of older Disney reels for the original Disney shorts. Things like Donald Duck and Winnie the Pooh are well represented here, but my favorites of the lot is the sizable number of old Mickey Mouse reels. My favorite Mickey short is included, The Brave Little Tailor.

I love the sound the pumpkins make as they roll down the giant’s mouth in this cartoon. I know that’s a weird thing to remember about a cartoon but it always stuck in my mind.

I guess whoever owned these VM reels was trying to diversity because s/he also had a couple of Sesame Street reels, including a complete retelling of the Sesame Street movie Follow That Bird. I remember seeing Follow that Bird in theaters and thinking it was pretty dismal… and I must have been like five years old. Not a ringing endorsement for a flick. The plot is that Big Bird gets adopted by another “large” bird family and then kind of devolves into a chase movie.

Sadly, my favorite kind of ViewMaster reels are woefully underepresented in this collection. While a lot of children’s VM reels are of traditional two dimensional animated cartoons, ViewMaster also released a lot of reels done in a kind of stop-motion style, with fully rendered sculptures. These reels really showcased how pretty the ViewMaster could make recreating vistas and scenes. The only reel in the collection that comes close to replicating that is this one of dinosaurs fighting each other.

You can really see the wear and tear on those slides, but they’re truly awesome.

The second group of ViewMaster slides I found were all travel reels. ViewMaster was originally created for adults as a means of either recreating vacations or giving reluctant travelers the opportunity to experience new vistas through the magic of steroscopic technology. Most of these are cool, but not worth a ton of commentary. One of my favorites is the series of slides taken at Niagara Falls during the wintertime.

…or the reels highlighting the state of Kentucky, starring this fashion plate, hand-crafting Louisville Sluggers:


The absolute worst of the lot is the ViewMaster reel highlighting the great state of Georgia. It illustrates about a half dozen of America’s failings during the middle part of the 20th century, all in five or six slide projections.

Exploiting women!


The majesty of pesticide!


I mean… it kind of bums me out to end of that image.




One Response to “thrift store finds: viewmaster and vm reels (part two!)”

  1. Monique Santillan Says:

    what thrifstore and where did you find this I am in serious need of a viewmaster for a class i’m taking

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