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.