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– View-master sets
Jamie Drouin

view-Master was introduced in 1939 at the World's Fair and was an immediate success. It's inventor, William Gruber, was an avid hobby-botonist and saw View-Master as an important resource for use in the sciences. Although many science related reels are still produced today for leading institutions, it is the View-Master's popularity with children that ensures its continued success. Almost from its beginning View-Master reels have highlighted popular television shows and movies, and Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's puppet programmes, with their attention to detail, lush colours, and 'willing actors', were an obvious choice for the format. The following is a list of all known available View-Master reels made relating to the Anderson's Supermarionation shows.

View-Master reels were originally sold as 'singles' in a uniform, one-color envelope. These were sometimes supplemented by a small story-folder which elaborated on the narrative implied by the seven images and the brief captions printed directly on the reel. Beginning in 1950, View-Master reels began to be packaged in three-reel sets, including a more elaborate picture envelope and a 16 page booklet. Aside from minor changes in the outside design, View-Master remained in the same packaging until 1982, when the dreaded 'blister-pack' and 'gift-pack' were introduced.

As well as the aforementioned there were a few short-lived variations to the line. The large 8x8" story-folder was available in Europe from approximately 1970 to 1978, and the 'Talking View-Master' was introduced in the early 1970's. Not only was the bulky 'talking' viewer difficult for children to manage, but the reels were next to impossible to insert and the sound was less than inspiring. Even with these problems, the range of 'Talking View-Master' reels and viewers were produced until 1981.

the Thunderbirds logo
The story and photos were made exclusively for this set, and of special interest is a look inside the Hood's secret base. These are some of the nicest examples of stereo-photography I have ever seen. A 16 page booklet is included.
the three reels packaged separately in a blister pack
package B453, Tyco, 1992
the Thunderbirds Viewmaster gift set consisting of three reels and a viewer
package B453, Tyco, 1992 Thunderbirds
alternative packaging
A wonderful re-issue of the photos from the original View-Master set! These were available in both Europe and Canada as a three-reel 'blister-pack' (left) or as a 'gift-set' (above) which includes a standard red viewer, the three reels, and a display box.
text ©1996 Jamie Drouin
edited and limited to Supermarionation