Vader View-Master Revisits the Vintage

Vader View-Master

The Darth Vader View-Master uses technology from a long time ago in a toy that doesn’t have to be so far, far away. [Image shared by Geek Gift Guide]

Kids these days may not even know what a View-Master — let alone a Darth Vader View-Master — is, but they can’t be blamed for living in a technological wonderland built from the stuff of which dreams were once made.

Once upon a time, 3D (three dimensional) entertainment was what you got when you stepped outside to look at the landscape immediately surrounding your house. If you were extreme, you’d take the family out to the Grand Canyon in your covered wagon and have a look there.

And then somebody hit on an idea that could make the images on specially modified 2D postcards appear to be 3D with the use of a clever little device called the stereoscope. This really cut down on traffic accidents caused by people gawking at scenery in the middle of the street, and fatalities resulting from rubbernecking along narrow canyon trails while trying to steer covered wagons.

Fast forward a few decades, and this technology was perfected into what would become known to generations of wide-eyed youngsters as the View-Master. To be honest, I don’t know if today’s generation has been desensitized to the wonder to be found by peering through what’s essentially a pair of binoculars into a reel of slides designed to trick the brain into thinking it’s seeing 3D images. I can only say that, like Chris Pirillo, I grew up in the ’70s and thought the View-Master was still pretty cool — in spite of having movies and television at my disposal.

But if I’d had access to a Darth Vader View-Master? Yeah, I’d probably have peed my Toughskins with genuine excitement.

What’s So Cool About a Darth Vader View-Master?

One might wonder what a Darth Vader View-Master has over other, not-as-cool View-Masters. Here’s the short list:

  • It’s a View-Master that looks like Darth Vader’s face. Well, the mask over his face, anyway, so you can decide which version of Anakin is hiding under there rather than letting George Lucas decide for you.
  • It’s got three reels that compose a 21-image story.
  • The Darth Vader View-Master is officially licensed, so you know you’re not getting the production value of the public access cable Star Wars movie that you and your cousin videotaped in the fourth grade.

Whether you want to show your kids what all the View-Master excitement is about, relive your youth, or you are a kid who’s just curious about the hoopla, you can get your own Darth Vader View-Master today!

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Our resident "Bob" (pictured here through the lens of photographer Jason DeFillippo) is in love with a woman who talks to animals. He has a fondness for belting out songs about seafaring and whiskey (arguably inappropriate in most social situations). He's arm-wrestled robots and won. He was born in a lighthouse on the storm-tossed shores of an island that has since been washed away and forgotten, so he's technically a citizen of nowhere. He's never killed in anger. He once underwent therapy for having an alien in his face, but he assures us that he's now feeling "much better." Fogarty also claims that he was once marooned along a tiny archipelago and survived for months using only his wits and a machete, but we find that a little hard to believe.

  • 3D’arth Vader

    Robert, I suggest you do a little research into stereoscopic 3D. Your reference to a ‘specially modified 2D postcard’ is totally off the mark. Stereo imagery does not ‘trick the brain into thinking it’s seeing 3D images’. The brain/eye system actively integrates the divergent images of a stereoview into a three-dimensional image, in EXACTLY the same way it does when you observe the world with the naked eye. If you close one eye, the world is FLAT. Three dimensional viewing is only possible when each eye sees a different point of view and that is what stereoscopy provides.

    • http://robertglenfogarty.com/ Robert Glen Fogarty

      Thanks for the comment! Your explanation is much more interesting than my limited understanding of stereoscopy — I (and I hope others have) learned something new today. Cheers!