Saturday, April 23, 2016

View-Master Views

Cartoons and comic books weren’t the only media where you’d find little adventures of the great early Hanna-Barbera characters. You’d find them on View-Master reels as well.

When I was a kid, it took a little bit of getting used to seeing Huck and Yogi in a 3D-like setting after watching them running around flat on TV, but the layouts of the reels are really enjoyable and the craftsmanship is something to marvel at. Eventually, View-Master went to drawings instead of what I guess were little sets but they’re still good.

Could Hanna-Barbera have pulled off, say, a seven-minute Huckleberry Hound cartoon in stop motion, with designs like you see in the View-Master frames? Probably. After all, Gumby was airing at the same time as the original Huck show. And since someone will mention it if I don’t, there was the very imaginative dream sequence in Flintstones on the Rocks where Carlo Vinci’s animation in The Flintstone Flyer was a partial inspiration behind a really fun piece of stop-motion work, arguably the best part of the whole show.

Some of these have been posted here before. They’re provided courtesy of Scott Awley, Dom Giansante and Eric Steadman. I believe Scott went to the trouble of cleaning up a couple of these frames. This is not an attempt to post all the H-B reels but, yes, a fully-restored set of the frames (maybe in a book) would be nice.


9 comments:

  1. I can't find it now, but there was a website that showed these 3D figures and how the scenes were created for View Master. It had some behind the scenes shots showing the artists setting up the individual scenes and gave perspective to the size of the figurines. I always preferred these View Master reels to the photos or film strips that were manipulated to look like 3D. Good case in point was the original Peanuts set of reels which used 3D figurines compared to the Charlie Brown Christmas reels which used screen grabs from the cartoon.

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    1. www.cartoonresearch.com/index.php/view-masters/

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  2. Marvelous. The designs of the Flintstone characters immediately reminded me of George Pal's Puppetoons. It's interesting to think one of Pal's former model-makers might have had a hand in these. I wonder...

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  3. Fred and Wilma are about to receive something much, much worse than bird droppings on their vehicle in that last image.

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  4. I cannot for the life of me find or figure out how to scan View Master reels. Anyone know?

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  5. I do believe my family owned the Huckleberry Hound and Quick-Draw McGraw reels pictured here. I'm not sure if they still exist in my family's possession due to the passage of time and events.

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  6. Unfortunately, those View Master reels were pretty fragile.

    So it's great to have these preserved. There are quite a few that were not included in the last View Masters post. The picture of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm under water is one that didn't get posted before, as well as the meeting between Yogi Bear and Mike Angelo.

    Up until a couple of years ago, there was a wonderful website that collected many of the View Master booklets and had them available online for viewing.

    Our whole family spent hours enjoying these Hanna-Barbera scenes as well as numerous others. They weren't all for kids, because there were some on then-current news events such as the moon landing, and dozens of travel packets detailing places around the world. Gift shops used to carry View Master packets themed to the local area, wherever one happened to be. There was a Space Needle View Master packet available at the Seattle Center, to name one example.

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  7. I believe my old View Master is still in a closet at Mom's somewhere. The slides are long gone. Looks like there was some restoration on the above. They look great. We had " The Grand Canyon ", " Colonial Williamsburg ", and if memory serves, my oldest brother had " Huck ".I would love to have them, now.

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  8. There is a fascinating blog by Brian Sibley about View Masters at this link:
    http://briansibleysblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/journey-into-third-dimension.html
    Brian states, “Much of the art work in the early years was by Florence Thomas, whose models were carefully hand sculpted…” He goes on to say, “Florence Thomas' assistant was Joe Liptak who went on to be one of the best View-Master artists, creating the models for most of the Disney sets.”

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