Star Trek Talking View-Master Reels

A few weeks ago while walking through a local comic book store I stumbled across something I had never seen before — talking View-Master reels.

Talking Viewmasters, according to the official View-Master site, were first released back in 1970. The original model, shown below, required two C batteries. Unlike normal View-Master reels, the talking View-Master used two reels: one for the pictures, and a second for the audio. Each slide provided between 10 and 20 seconds worth of audio.

From the website: “These viewers are notoriously unreliable and give unpredictable performance.”

A second, internally lit version of the original viewer was released a few years later. The line was dropped in 1981, but reborn again in 1984. A much more modern version of the talking View-Master was released by Tyco in 1997. Tyco’s version runs off of AA batteries and, instead of requiring a second disc, gets its audio from an imbedded microchip.

On eBay, it doesn’t appear the original talking View-Master viewers are very expensive (between $10 and $15). If I can pick one up inexpensively, I may go back and pick up those talking Star Trek reels. I am sure they are … fascinating.

Rob O'Hara

I'm into old video games, old arcade games, old computer games, writing, photography, computer/network security, and of course, the 1980s!

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7 thoughts on “Star Trek Talking View-Master Reels

  1. Badwolf says:

    Found a butt-load of ViewMaster reels at a local Goodwill about a month ago and have been enjoying them no end. These are the standard fare, National Parks, Museums, Caverns, Historic sites, etc. They are all in their picture sleeves, and those that are labeled as having booklets have them. I had a ton of ViewMaster reels when I was a kid (including a talking ViewMaster unit that DID NOT EVER WORK RIGHT) and they disappeared at some point. My daughters had ViewMaster reels, and I’m sure we still have them somewhere, but they’re all modern stuff.

    I do have, for those that care, the Buckaroo Banzai 3-reel set, but it didn’t come in an envelope, just a plastic bubble pack.

    I recommend picking up the reels, but don’t expect anything amazing. The down side, of course, is that these “talking” ViewMaster reels won’t work in the standard viewer.

    They probably won’t work in a talking viewer, either, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Cool find, Flack.

  2. Drahken says:

    I vaguely recall having one of these when I was little. I remember having to hit the “sound bar” to make it play the sounds & having 2 discs sticking out of the top. I know I had several VM discs, but the only one I can actually remember was a scooby doo one, with the snow monster.

  3. Great post as always, Flack. Someday you will have to take me shopping in your neck of the woods, the stuff you find is fantastic.

    @Badwolf Friend, you need to scan some of these booklets and such. Share them with us! For what it’s worth I have the Buckaroo Banzai reel set as well, my Wife got it for me one Christmas…I was very torn on if I should open it or not but my desire to see Buckaroo through my View-Master won out. :)

  4. Always wanted one of these when I was younger. I had a buddy who had one and as a fan of film strip tech, I thought it was amazing. He thought it was boring.

  5. plcary says:

    I bought six talking viewmaster packs a few months ago. Got them home and all the audio disc parts were missing. The good news is you “can” view the reels in a regular viewmaster if they are missing the audio discs! Still fun to look at after all these years.

  6. Drahken says:

    Yeah, I used to have a talking one & regular one side by side, and would use the image wheels in whichever was convenient.

  7. Like I said, the talking discs were a complete shock to me. Never heard of or seen one before.

    I remember when I was a kid my grandma went on vacation to Yellowstone. When she came back we asked her if she had taken any pictures and instead she had just bought a View-Master reel — she said they were better than any pictures she could have taken, and they were in 3D to boot!

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