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.