The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Magic Of The Past …

Recently I bought Otis a Viewmaster.Yes, the old-school, red plastic, binocular thing where circular slides transport you to different places and Worlds.

When I was a kid, I bloody loved it.

I remember traveling around the World via Viewmaster.

The first time I saw the Taj Mahal was on there.

The first time I visited America was on there.

The first time I watched wild animals in their natural habitat was on there.

Of course this was a very long time ago, so it was probably more because of nostalgia than anything else that I wanted Otis to have one.

And you know what … he loved it.

Despite being a fully fledged member of the digital age, that piece of old school – with no virtual reality, moving pictures or interactivity – captured his imagination.

He told me stories about all the fish he went swimming with.

Who all the dinosaurs were and what they were doing.

And how all the wild animals were friends and liked playing in dirt.

Don’t get me wrong, the technology of today is an amazing thing to help kids learn and explore, but the beauty of Viewmaster – like the beauty of all great igniters of imagination, from books to even the odd ad – is that it allows people to impose their own will on the images and stories they see and hear … allowing them to go to places only they could ever imagine.

In essence, igniting others imagination allows them to ignite possibilities in things that are all around us and for me, that’s super exciting and why I’m so glad a toy created in 1942 still has a valuable role the lives of kids in 2018.


25 Comments so far
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i know you bought that cheap shit toy so you had more to spend on some wifi gadget bollocks for yourself. youre fooling absolutely fucking no one campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Rob

for $1000 a month. cash. brown paper bag.

Comment by andy@cynic

made me dig out our cynic viewmaster pr bollocks. did absolutely fuck all for us but still fun. shows what the ad rags knew about anything.

Comment by andy@cynic

I always wanted one of those. Do you have a spare one?

Comment by DH

I do David. I’ll bring one with me next month.

Comment by George

That would be great. Thanks G.

Comment by DH

The quality of your blogging never ceases to amaze me.

Comment by John

I see what you did there.

Comment by DH

Not hard. Even Stevie Wonder could.

Comment by Rob

Little known fact – as with so much consumer technology, the Viewmaster had its origins in the adult entertainment industry.

Comment by John

that explains campbells adoration of the plastic.

Comment by andy@cynic

Given you need 2 hands to operate it, it’s not hard to see its fatal flaw for viewmaster porn.

Comment by DH

That is disturbing on many levels.

Comment by Rob

Open world imagination is something very close to my heart. Too much of today’s technology is built to only offer freedom within their story frameworks which is why viewmaster and the chopsticks story app are far more interesting to me. Both of these offer just enough to ignite kids imagination as opposed to offering so much they are immediately tethered. Nice post Robert and an excellent purchase.

Comment by George

This explains the email you sent to the department.

Comment by Pete


Comment by George

you fucking nerd. but chopsticks is fucking good.

Comment by andy@cynic

I think you’ll find I told you about the Chopsticks app. It’s awesome and I desperately wanted Disney to work with them when we were launching their park in Shanghai. They didn’t. And in the end, we didn’t work with Disney after years of work with them. Chopsticks is the only positive I have for that time.

Comment by Rob

you only found the fucking thing so dont sound like you created it.

Comment by andy@cynic

Of all the toys I had as a kid, I not only remember viewmaster but I remember it fondly.

Comment by Pete

is it because you were looking at doddsys adult entertainment disc?

Comment by andy@cynic

I believe one of the reasons Viewmaster has remained relevant through generations is because of its power to ignite imagination rather than dictate what it should be. A true classic though I am unnerved by John’s revelation as to its origins.

Comment by Lee Hill

It is interesting that it still is around when it’s basically the same product it was from inception. It can’t all be nostalgia – it has to affect people the same way to make them want to keep passing it on. That in itself is an amazing achievement.

Comment by Rob

A child’s mind is the greatest bit of technology ever created.

Comment by Marcus

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