Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 3D, Miami Beach & Charles Phoenix


With 3D all the rage today many people forget that the first ubiquitous mass consumer experience with the technology was with View-Masters.  Introduced in 1962, one could view seven 3D images as they spun around on a paper disc creating lifelike reality inside the mouse hole of two eyepieces. The earliest View-Masters featured popular tourist attractions like this one of Miami Beach, where I first started buying these.


When I was young my parents drove to Miami Beach from Detroit twice a year.


We stayed at the Carlyle Hotel.


I bought every Viewmaster reel of Miami Beach I could find because the Deco architecture drove me so batty. When I had my first hit record I immediately bought a house that reminded me of Miami Beach.


A frequent visitor to my house is Charles Phoenix, one of my best friends and Kitschmaster General of vintage slide shows and books featuring insanely on-the-nose location and human examples of living wheels of brie.  The last time he came over, Charles gave me a lesson in how to bake one of his signature Cherpumples, a cake with three pies stuffed inside of it.  As soon as I get done editing the footage we shot I will post our instructional film.


Something like the Cherpumple with M&Ms bubbling out of the pepto -bismolian-pink frosting and utensils at rest would make an excellent 3D photo if only we had the right camera.


Yesterday, I went downtown with Prudence Fenton, Nancye Ferguson and Jim Burns and saw Charles’ first ever all 3D retro slide show.


We learned a lot about how 3-D photography and View-Masters came into being.


We saw a lot of families in the 50′s learning how to not only use their View-Masters but make their own 3D reels.


Of course, you won’t be able to see anything clearly because you don’t have your 3-D glasses on. As opposed to this slide from Charles’ show featuring an attractive threesome with a very clear view of the LA freeway when it was built in 1960 standing less than 10 feet away next to oncoming traffic.


I hope to have a clear view of the week ahead of me although it could go either way. I could feel like an outsider…


… or I could choose to see the world in super enhanced, bigger than life 3D.


Thank you, Charles for an excellent afternoon and thank you View-Master for putting 3-D in the palm of our hands.


Categories: Architecture, Clothes, Creativity, Detroit, Fashion, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, People, Photograph, Place, Toy

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