Charley van Pelt portrait-Colorized.jpg

Charley Van Pelt

1921-2015

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1953 Charley van Pelt with his pals and

CHARLEy VAN PELT:

A LIFETIME SPENT

TAKING AND SELLING VIEW-MASTER REELS

cHARLEy vAN pELT:

A LIFETIME SPENT TAKING AND SELLING vIEW-mASTER REELS

Charley-van-Pelt-View-Master-Photographe
Charley van Pelt, View-master photographer in camera store
O'Hare Airport Chicago 2 - control tower
O'Hare Airport Chicago 2 - stewardess with meal
by Charley van Pelt
O'Hare Airport Chicago 2 - control tower
O'Hare Airport Chicago 2 - stewardess with maps
by Charley van Pelt
DR-7 Boys & Girls View-Master sample ree
DR-7 Boys & Girls View-Master sample reel with
Roy Rogers, Trigger another horse by Charley van Pelt
Panning for Gold at Knotts in the 1950s
Panning for Gold at Knotts Berry Farm, Anaheim, CA
in the 1950's by Charley van Pelt
Pan Am 1 reel by Charley van Pelt.jpg
Pan Am 1 reel by Charley van Pelt
A1561 Las Vegas daytime by Charley van P
A1561 Las Vegas daytime by Charley van Pelt
DS709MesaNSA103.jpg
2009 Charley van Pelt with Mark Willke at National Stereoscopic Assn July Trade Show Mesa AZ
by Susan Pinsky
Feeding the  dolphin underwater at Marin
Feeding the  dolphin underwater at Marineland of the Pacific by Charley van Pelt
2009 David Starkman Susan Pinsky and Cha
2009 David Starkman Susan Pinsky and Charley van Pelt at NSA July Mesa, AZ 2 by David Burder
Charley_van_Pelt_in_a_WWII_Stearman_like
Charley_van_Pelt_at_camera_show_by_Susan
1981 Charley van Pelt at home in Glendale, CA
by Susan Pinsky
2012 Charley van Pelt and his cat in AZ
2012 Charley van Pelt and his cat in AZ July
by Wolfgang Sell.
219 Los Angeles, CA_P4_PAR.jpg
219 Los Angeles, CA by Charley van Pelt
A1561 diver in Las Vegas, Nevada_by Char
A1561 diver in Las Vegas, Nevada by Charley van Pelt
Charley_van_Pelt_at_his_View-Master_sale
Charley van Pelt at his View-Master sales table NSA convention by Susan Pinsky
A-1811 Los Angeles Hollywood by Charley
A-1811 Los Angeles, Echo Park in Hollywood
by Charley van Pelt
A1561 Las Vegas, Nevada_by Charley van P
A1561 Las Vegas convention center, Nevada
by Charley van Pelt
A-1812 Brown Derby Los Angeles Hollywood
A-1812 Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, Los Angeles 
by Charley van Pelt
A 1941 Hollywood, CA_by Charley van Pelt
A 1941 Cinerama Dome, Hollywood, CA by Charley van Pelt
A 1941 Hollywood, CA by Charley van Pelt
A 1941 Brown Derby restaurant sidewalk view,
Hollywood, CA by Charley van Pelt
Charley van Pelt at National Stereoscopi
2009 Charley van Pelt at National Stereoscopic Assn July Trade Show Mesa, AZ by Susan Pinsky
Charley van Pelt Keynote Speaker Nationa
2009 Charley van Pelt, Keynote Speaker at National Stereoscopic Assn banquet, July Mesa, AZ 3
by David Starkman
A-1811 Farmers Market Los Angeles Hollyw
A-1811 Farmers Market, Los Angeles, Hollywood
by Charley van Pelt
59b Feeding the porpoise at Marineland b
59b Feeding the porpoise at Marineland in California
by Charley van Pelt
2012 Charley van Pelt in his yard in Jul
2012 Charley van Pelt in his yard in July in AZ
by Wolfgang Sell.
216 Knott's Berry Farm_by Charley van Pe
216 Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA mining for gold
by Charley van Pelt
216 Knott's Berry Farm 10 by Charley van
216 Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA by Charley van Pelt
David_Starkman_Susan_Pinsky_and_Charley_
2009 David Starkman Susan Pinsky and Charley van Pelt at NSA July Mesa, AZ 2 by David Burder
221 New Chinatown Los Angeles, CA by Cha
221 New Chinatown Los Angeles, CA by Charley van Pelt
Charley van Pelt with Mark Willke at Nat
2009 Charley van Pelt with Mark Willke at National Stereoscopic Assn July Trade Show Mesa AZ
by Susan Pinsky
Charley_van_Pelt_NSA_July_2009_Mesa_AZ_b
2009 Charley van Pelt, Keynote Speaker at the National Stereoscopic Assn. banquet speaking on his career, and life, traveling the world, photographing and selling View-Master images in July at Mesa, AZ by Susan Pinsky
219 Los Angeles, CA by Charley van Pelt.
219 CBS Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA by Charley van Pelt
747 Jimmy Durante Television Stars.jpg
747 Jimmy Durante Television Stars by Charley van Pelt
219 Los Angeles, CA_P5_PAR.jpg
219 Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA by Charley van Pelt
219 Los Angeles, CA_by Charley van Pelt.
219 NBC Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA by Charley van Pelt
67b Blessed Sacrament Church Hollywood O
67b Blessed Sacrament Church Hollywood Oct 1952
by Charley van Pelt
217 Knott's Berry Farm by Charley Van Pe
217 Knott's Berry Farm by Charley Van Pelt
D855-A Disneyland Tomorrowland by Charle
D855-A Disneyland Tomorrowland by Charley Van Pelt
Disneyland Frontierland 1 by Charley Van
Disneyland Frontierland 1 by Charley Van Pelt
O'Hare Airport Chicago - control tower,
O'Hare Airport Chicago - control tower by Charley Van Pelt
Pan Am 2 reel with two stewardesses by C
Pan Am 2 reel with two stewardesses by Charley Van Pelt
218 Knott's Berry Farm_by Charley van Pe
218 Knott's Berry Farm_by Charley van Pelt
D855-A Disneyland Tomorrowland 3 by Char
D855-A Disneyland Tomorrowland 3 by Charley Van Pelt
NY World's Fair 1964-65 Transportation a
NY World's Fair 1964-65 Transportation area reel 3
by Charley Van Pelt
1998 Charley van Pelt at Stereo Club of
1998 Charley van Pelt at Stereo Club of So CA Banquet with Sean and Chris Olson, and David Starkman
by Susan Pinsky
219 Los Angeles, CA_P2_PAR.jpg
219 Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA by Charley van Pelt
Charley van Pelt Keynote Speaker Nationa
2009 Charley van Pelt, Keynote Speaker at National Stereoscopic Assn banquet, July Mesa, AZ with his daughter 
by David Starkman
221 Los Angeles, Calif by Charley van Pe
221 Los Angeles, Calif by Charley van Pelt
Charley_van_Pelt_selling_to_David_Starkm
2009 Charley van Pelt selling to David Starkman and Sheldon Aronowitz at NSA July Mesa AZ by Susan Pinsky
218 Knott's Berry Farm by Charley Van Pe
216 Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA by Charley van Pelt
15B Las Vegas, Nevada_by Charley van Pel
15B Las Vegas, Nevada by Charley van Pelt
USORPortlandNSA1989July0043.jpg
1989 National Stereoscopic Assn convention in Portland, OR in July - Charley van Pelt on edge of 3-D audience
by Susan Pinsky
1964 New York Worlds Fair Phones Of The
1964 New York Worlds Fair Phones Of The Future 
2001 Charley Van Pelt at Stereo Club of
2001 Charley Van Pelt at Stereo Club of So Calif Sept showing new Lewis and Clark V-M Set by Susan Pinsky
2000 Stereo World Nov-Dec p 1 of Lewis a
2000 Stereo World Nov-Dec p 2 of Lewis a
2000 Stereo World Nov-Dec p 3 of Lewis a
1978_Reel_3D175.jpg
1981 Xmas card from Charley Van Pelt.jpg
1981 Holiday card from Charley Van Pelt to Susan Pinsky and David Starkman
1989 NSA Portland V-M panel 1st man, Cla
1989 NSA Portland V-M panel 1st man, Claude Baskett, Dave Hitchcock and Joe Liptak by Susan Pinsky
1989 Joe Liptak at View-Master factory a
1989 Joe Liptak at View-Master factory at work
by Susan Pinsky
1989 John Lawler with View-Master collec
1989 John Lawler with View-Master collection NSA
Portland OR July by Susan Pinsky
1989 NSA Hank Gaylord Susan Pinsky and D
1989 NSA Hank Gaylord, Susan Pinsky and Dave Hitchcock July Portland OR by David Starkman
1989 View-Master Factory, Beaverton, OR
1989 View-Master Factory, Beaverton, OR Aug reel-making machines with David Starkman and two employees
by Susan Pinsky
2002_NSA_Riverside_CA_Charley_van_Pelt_V
2002 National Stereoscopic Assn Riverside, CA Charley Van Pelt View-Master photographer by Susan Pinsky
A1563 Las Vegas, Nevada by Charley Van P
A1563 Las Vegas, Nevada by Charley Van Pelt
1989 View-Master factory Rich Dubnow, Jo
1989 View-Master factory Rich Dubnow, Joe Liptak and David Starkman by Susan Pinsky
Florence Thomas View-Master Christmas To
Florence Thomas View-Master Xmas Tour from Sawyer's reel No 7
1989 National Stereoscopic Assn banquet
1989 National Stereoscopic Assn banquet Norma Gruber, Cynthia Morton holding one-of-a-kind pair of  usable
View-Master Salt and and Pepper shakers handmade by Walter Sigg, and  Jean Poulot on right by Susan Pinsky
1989 View-Master factory workers editing
1989 View-Master factory workers editing film
by Susan Pinsky

"I considered Charley one of my closest friends. His death is a devastating blow. A giant in the field of 3-D and a wonderful person. As I tear up over his passing I am happy to know he will always be remembered through his many contributions to View-Master." - MaryAnn Sell 

Charley_van_Pelt_with_his_friends_Wolfga

"Sorry to hear this. I appointed Charley as my VP when I was president of the LA stereo club. He was a good photographer and good man." - Steve and Anna Berezin


"RIP Charley. A wonderful man that I was lucky to have met at NSA." - George Themelis


"We lost a great friend. Wonderful guy to work with. He will be missed." - Dan Shelley


"Charley helped me through the process of working with the View-Master factory when I produced the Branson, Missouri View-Master set. Sad to hear about his passing." - Van Beydler


" Charley was a great guy. I always looked forward to chatting with him at the trade show. Very sad to have lost both him and David Lee this week." - Les Gehman

" I didn't know him well, but he was always so fun and cheerful to talk to at the conventions. He will be missed." - Randy Ridings 

" He was admired and loved by many." - Larry Ferguson


"Just about the nicest man. Such a joy to be around." - Cassie Kaufman


" Charley was a great friend to many of us. This is a great loss to the 3-D community."

- Larry Moor

"Our condolences to the Van Pelt family and friends." - Gretchen Gruber Harmon

"Knowing Charley enriched our lives in so many ways for many, many years. We met in the early 1980's when we were still getting started, but his warmth, knowledge, generousity, and friendship will always be treasured by both of us in our hearts."

      - Susan Pinsky and David Starkman

 

2009 David Starkman Susan Pinsky and Cha
2009 David Starkman Susan Pinsky and Charley van Pelt at NSA July Mesa, AZ
 by David Burder

Longtime View-Master® photographer Charley Van Pelt passed away on Feb. 24, 2015 at the age of 94.


Several of Charley's acquaintances posted remembrances upon hearing the news.

"For those of you who never got to meet Charley, I want to give you a bit of his history. He started as a View-Master salesman in 1947 and also became one of the main View-Master scenic photographers.

 

He later ran the scenic division and kept it going as a private contractor long after the company had given up. A large percentage of the images in the scenic packets, especially the blister cards of the USA, were his images. He, like most of the View-Master photographers and artists, are the best known yet unknown 3-D legends. People know the work yet have no idea who created it." - Wolfgang Sell

Charley_van_Pelt_with_his_friends_Carol_
Charley van Pelt with his friends
Carol and Eddie Bauer

View-Master Memories  Paperback – Third printing Jan 2007

Told by well known collectors Mary Ann& and Wolfgang Sell along with long time View-Master employee Charley Van Pelt. Nowhere else can you find the information included in this book.

Excerpts from this excellent, comprehensive book on the history of View-Master from Sawyer's through GAF, and the variety of owners. Used with permission from the authors. To order the "View-Master Memories" book directly contact Mary Ann Sell at: msell@cinci.rr.com

THE PHOTOGRAPHERS:

  by Charley Van Pelt

The View-Master system had been conceived, designed, refined and put into final blue print form. The machinery to manufacture View-Master viewers and reels had also been designed and was being constructed. 

 

While this was going on, thought was being given as to the 3-D pictorial subject matter that would be offered. Because Sawyer's had extensive distribution in National Parks and
other "scenic" areas, this became the obvious first thrust. The product lines would compliment each other, and utilize experience and talent already in place. 

 

Their immediate need was to build a "scenic" 3-D library, in color, as fast as possible. No such material could be purchased from independent photographers -- it simply didn't
exist! The company would have to create their own 3-D library "from scratch".


View-Master photographers would travel the world, from downtown Portland to Antarctica, around the world and nearly everywhere along the way. We didn't go to the moon but we did
manage to obtain some great 3-D pictures from the surface and on the way.


Our photographers would see the exotic
countries, their interesting peoples, their cities, their treasures and natural wonders. They would have a wide range of experiences -- some life threatening. They would rack up an astounding
number of air miles and would produce the world's largest and finest collection of stereo color pictures.

Bill Gruber would occupy a unique position among "THE PHOTOGRAPHERS", he was an
excellent stereo photographer, but his time was mainly occupied with developing the "hardware" for the View-Master system. He did contribute some of the early scenic stereo
pictures, and later on, major releases such as "Holy Year, Rome",  "Oberammergau Passion Play", "Canonization Of Pope Pius X", "Aircraft Carrier in Action", and others.

 

Bill also felt that View-Master 3-D pictures would be a good educational tool and contributed his wisdom in the development of the "Visualore" Series. His more serious work can be seen in the Mushroom Series, Medical Atlas
and Chinese Art publications. More on Bill Gruber and his work is detailed elsewhere.


Other Sawyer's personnel "pitched in" and took many of the early stereo pictures -- Fred Mayer, Sr. and Al Gettman, who were salesmen on the Pacific Coast. Ladd Goodman, also a salesman, took many of the original pictures. He would later wear two "hats" as export manager and photographer. There may have been 3-D work done by "outside" photographers, but we have no information, if that was the case. The biggest initial load would fall on the shoulders of Harold Graves --
his story continues.*    *(see further on)

CHARLEY VAN PELT ON
CHARLEY VAN PELT:

I include myself under "The Photographers" section -- by default rather than design. When I was handling the Western scenic accounts during the GAF period, I saw a need to be able to take 3-D pictures on occasion.

Above: I appear here in my capacity as stereo photographer. ​The place: Bellingrath Gardens, Alabama. The year: 1947. The camera: a Stereoflectoscope.

Sometimes I would be at a scenic location when weather conditions were absolutely beautiful, from a photographic standpoint. Also, there were times when one or two 3-D pictures were needed to up-date, but didn't warrant a trip from Portland by the "Pros". I also saw opportunities to open new scenic accounts with a 7-scene, Single Reel Package.


So, I traded some of my sample merchandise for a Stereo Realist 3-D Camera, and later on a Busch Verascope.

Much to Fred Bennion's annoyance, I
developed quite a few single reel accounts. I realized that it was not highly profitable and to some extent, a nuisance. However, I reasoned that this would get us a new scenic ustomer who would buy other View-Master  merchandise, as well as our other scenic merchandise -- Pana-Vue Slides and GAF film and cameras.

Fred, being the nice person that he was went along with me and was also a great help in making suggestions to improve my photography.

View-Master/Ideal decided that they no longer wished to maintain an inventory of "Scenic" View-Master titles. Effectively, this would have pretty much eliminated my job, and means of making a living. Jerry Nudelman was kind enough to work out an alternative plan. I could be a manufacturer's rep and VMI would run scenic merchandise (View-Master and Pana-Vue) on a custom only basis. They would keep inventory long enough for me to get a  distributor set up who would carry scenic stock to serve the small and intermediate size scenic accounts. Jerry Nudelman, Mr. Thaler and others "bent over backwards" to be fair and help me get started. I only wish the opportunity had arisen years earlier.

Charley van Pelt with his twin Konica 35
2002 Charley Van Pelt NSA Riverside CA
by Gary Schacker 

Other favorite subjects are the animals at the San Diego Zoo/Wild Animal Park and Los Angeles Zoo. The animals are almost human at times. Some like to have their picture taken, others resent it. I didn't care much for the alligators at St. Augustine Alligator Farm -- I was up close and they didn't look too friendly. Animal photography is always a challenge; it requires a lot of patience and, sometimes, a lot of film.

For sheer beauty it's hard to beat our National Parks, especially Yosemite and Grand Canyon. Quite a few of my shots are sprinkled throughout these sets, as well as other National Parks: Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Mesa Verde, Crater Lake, Sequoia, Great Smokies and others. Many of the "classic" shots never change -- we are still using 3-D pictures taken by Fred Bennion, Cliff Bond and even Rupert
Leach.

There is also beautiful scenery in the lesser known parks and monuments. Canyon de Chelly is very unique and beautiful. Also, White Sands, Muir Woods, Redwoods, Mt. St. Helens, 

Painted Desert, and others.
 

The cities make interesting subjects, too. I especially enjoy the skyline shots at twilight. Cities look their best at that time of day. San Francisco and Seattle are among the most beautiful. I have also photographed in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Washington D.C., 

Sacramento, Las Vegas, San Antonio and, recently, Portland, OR -- Home of View-Master!

Historical sites are impressive and leave me with a feeling of awe, just being at the spot where history was made. Kennedy Space Center, Mt. Vernon, Monticello, The California 

Missions and State Capitol, and Scotty's Castle in Death Valley are among the locations that I have photographed in

3-D.

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty were both interesting challenges, mainly the weather and just getting around New York City (no thanks!). I did have one close call -- I was scheduled for a Sunday 10:00 a.m. helicopter flight around the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan. Because
of poor weather I canceled. Later a radio news flash announced that this same helicopter had gone down in the East River, with one fatality. The good Lord was with me that day! By Tuesday, the weather was fine, but I wasn't sure I wanted to ride in a
helicopter, but I did and got a fairly good hyper stereo shot.

 

Theme Parks are fun -- I've photographed Knott's Berry Farm, including Camp Snoopy with my grand children, Magic Mountain, Great
America, Marineland and others. The wax figures at Movieland Wax Museum do not photograph very well -- the flesh tones look artificial. When I photographed Queen Mary (the ship) and the "Spruce Goose" I made a special "out take" shot with me sitting in the co-pilot's seat next to Howard Hughes (a wax figure).

Other interesting photographic experiences were: Durango & Silverton Railway, Mission San Xavier (beautiful at sunset), Meteor Crater, Monterey Peninsula. Trees of Mystery, Denver
and Colorado Springs Areas and the LA
Natural History and Page Museums. Wolfgang Sell and I recently photographed the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH for two new packets.

This covers most of my 3-D photographic experience and places I have been to do View-Master work. I have enjoyed it very much and look forward to doing as much more as
time and the good Lord will allow. My travel time, which has run as high as 120 days a year, is split between selling and photographing. One without the other would be pointless. It takes some of both to keep scenic accounts active and happy. 

 

An impartial look at scenic View-Master sales would show an interesting fact -- many scenic accounts are selling as much or more View-Master merchandise as they ever did! It's
frustrating to me, because there is so much more potential for scenic View-Master growth and expansion, but I m only one person.

In 1996, Six Flags introduced a special
"Tweety" face viewer. This was something new in the scenic line. The face was developed in China and assembled at the View-Master plant in Portland.

 

In 1999, Finley-Holiday became the official supplier for new scenic reels. We are working closely together to develop new titles and update older packets. New, updated reel cards have been produced with modern-day graphics. A new series of "museum" titles is in the works for release in the not too distant
future.

 

As Charley sees it: "Scenic" View-Master business is very good!"

THE FORMATIVE YEARS
1939-1959
By Charley Van Pelt

The 1939-1960 period saw the evolution of View-Master Stereo Pictures: from
conception and introduction through a spectacular growth period to a 
dram- atic decline. Some thought this was the end, others had faith and saw it as just a beginning. In retrospect, certain basic principles were taking shape. Some  future management would take note; others would ignore the "lessons of history".

In July, 1938, Harold Graves was on one of his many sales/photo trips. On this
particular trip he would visit Oregon Caves National Monument. He was in the process of taking a picture of some deer who had wandered onto the grounds. Harold was just about ready to take his picture when a young man, also taking a picture, stepped into his field of view. The young man's name was William Gruber -- the idea he described would be known around the world as "View-Master".


NOTE: I sold my first View-Master Viewers and Reels in 1939 while working as a clerk at Sandy's Camera Shop in Spokane, Washington, and became a Sawyer's View-Master Salesman in 1947, shortly after the end of WW II. I will tell the View-Master Story as I saw it, from the marketing point of view, and also, the company
in general, from as much research as I've been able to come up with.

SAWYER'S VIEW-MASTER,
THE FORMATIVE YEARS
1939-1959

After Harold returned from his trip, he discussed his meeting with Bill Gruber, with Sawyer's management.

All felt that Gruber's idea had great merit and would fit in well with their "scenic" post card and album line.
 
In late 1939, enough viewers and reels had been produced for the first regular sales of the product to begin in Portland. The View-Master  introduction to the rest of the world, however, came when it appeared at the New York and San Francisco World's Fairs in 1940. Public response to full color stereo in this new format was so positive that by 1941 a thousand
dealers around the country were selling all the viewers and reels that Sawyer's could produce.

THE WAR YEARS

Sawyer's sudden new growth was cut short by World War II. Shortages of film, plastic and paper would have crippled the operation and possibly ended View-Master's existence if the
army and navy hadn't recognized the visual training potential of View-Master's convenient viewers and stereo images. Between 1942 and the war's end, about 100,000 viewers and
5 to 6 million reels were ordered by the military -- assuring the plant a supply of raw materials and maintaining an active work force to help prepare for post war production.


With the end of the war, the public demand for viewers and reels exploded -- having been kept alive by limited reel production and advertising. By 1946 there were "stacks of requests" from stores asking to become View-Master dealers, but none had been added
since 1942 because production couldn't even satisfy the needs of the original 1,000 dealers. Two new buildings were added to Sawyer's downtown Portland operation and new automated machinery was installed for increased production of reels and viewers. The
company incorporated in 1946, an export department was established; and personnel grew to 150 people. At this point Sawyer's was still one of the leading producers of postcards and photographic Christmas cards in the
country but the expanding View-Master line was soon to put an end to these operations. As early as May, 1946, plans for creation of a View-Master stereo camera for amateur use
was announced to the press. That same year Stereocraft Engineering Company was established as an associated company to design and produce just that kind of totally new consumer product as well as specialized
manufacturing equipment for Sawyer's. 

 

That year also saw the introduction of the Model "C" viewer -- the first to allow insertion of reels without having to open the front of the viewer. Over the next 10 years this solid dependable device was distributed around the world in the millions and served as the basis for the design of all standard models to follow.

The marketing philosophy was a continuation from earlier days -- the highest of business ethics. Produce the best possible product at the fairest possible price. Be honest and
reasonable with your dealers. Respect the employee and treat him well and fairly. Sawyer's believed in "Fair Trade", which grossed some 40% profit for the View-Master dealer. Employees were part of a "profit sharing"
program, with 15% of before taxes profit set aside for this purpose. Employees were also covered by good health, life insurance and retirement programs. Dealer relations and
employee moral were excellent. View-Master also had excellent consumer acceptance -- the formula for success was complete! A unique product and a unique company!

The View-Master viewer was packaged in an attractive box, reels were sold singly. The dealer kept his reel stock in brown cardboard boxes, with index cards as separators later on, a 3-section leatherette covered wooden tray was offered.


We also had a plastic library box and the very fine View-Master S-l projector to sell along with Viewers and Reels. 
 

Joe Leslie was Sales Manager with a force of five salesmen -- Al Gettman (Northwest) Fred Mayer Sr. (So. Calif.), Fred Mayer, Jr. (No. Calif.) Arnold Samuelson and Ken Downing (New
York). There were also distributors in other areas (Colorado, New Mexico, New England, etc.) The largest distributor was the Three Dimension
Company covering the Midwestern states around the Great Lakes. The rest of the country was pretty much unrepresented.


This is where I come in -- I worked at Sandy's Camera Shop in Spokane and Portland (Pre World War II) and Portland after the war. It's fair to say that I "knew" View-Master from the
beginning. As a matter of fact, I have the first dollar I earned from Sawyer's - a $1.00 check, which I have never cashed. It was commission on the
sale of an S-1 View-Master Projector.
Sawyer's was anticipating expanded
production and was embarking on a program to add salesmen. Al Gettman arranged an interview for me with Joe Leslie and Harold Graves. The Good Lord was with me and I got the job -- exactly what territory, I didn't know.
I spent a day with Al Gettman on the "Mt. Hood Loop" learning sales.

Another day each with Tom Dixon and Al Gettman learning stereo  photography, went with Harold
Graves on a quick trip to Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver, B.C.
and also spent time with Joe Leslie. 

Then, one day in July, 1947, I was given the keys to a new, sporty, red Studebaker Champion -- the first newly designed car of the post war period. I was also given two shoe boxes full of 3 x 5 inch file cards with store names and addresses -- dealer prospects that
had been wanting to buy View-Master for the past several years. I was also shown a map of the U.S. There was a pin at Scotts Bluff, Nebraska and one at Key West, Florida -- and a lot of pins in between!

Joe Leslie said "goodbye, good luck, we'll see you back here for Christmas". For the next five months, the typical sales call went like this: I introduce myself as the View-Master Salesman
-- the prospect has two questions: (1) "Where the hell have you been?", (2) "How much do I have to buy?". So much for "hard sell".

Kurt Rathman was hired that fall and covered much of the remote Inter Mountain territory until we both ended up in 1949 with "permanent" territories -- he in Cleveland and me in Chicago. In the meantime we are both
traveling vast areas (me, Texas East and Kentucky South) We are opening accounts as fast as we can. We are also training -- Kurt trains Ed Mayer Jr. and I train Keith Graves and Cecil McKenzie in Florida. Meanwhile, back at headquarters, production is coming along fine. An excellent monthly
company publication is launched in April, 1948. It was called "View-Master Dealerscope" and was sent to all View-Master Dealers and Sawyer's employ-ees, It covered Dealer activities (win-dows displays, etc.) as well as employ-ee news (births, deaths, arriages. etc.).

Dealers and employees got to know each other, and it made for excellent relations. The first issue announced the end of View-Master rationing.

From their photo-finishing days, Sawyer's was a prominent member of the "Master Photo Dealers and Finishers Association" the only
photographic trade organization in the
country. Sawyer's View-Master was always an exhibitor at the large annual trade show as well as smaller regional shows.

The first such show was in Cleveland, Ohio in October, 1948. The center piece of the booth was a 7½ ft. replica of a View-Master Reel. Each of the scenes was an 8"x 10" color transparency. Planning wasn't too good; the
display was too big to be shipped from
Portland in a standard railroad boxcar. A special oversize car had to be sent, at
considerable extra cost. It did attract attention -- especially when the reel advanced -- the noise and vibration felt like a small earthquake.


It was also the year that the Cleveland Indians were in town and won the World Series (or maybe it was a pennant). Bob Hope was a part owner; McKenzie and I ran into him in the
hall -- "Mac" offered Hope a drink from a bottle of Ballentines Scotch he was carrying -- Hope laughed and said he would have to "take a rain check". He was a good sport. There was a
big group of young lady autograph seekers in the hotel lobby they thought I was Peter Lawford (from a distance).

In January 1949 I moved to Chicago. This same year, Sawyer's eliminates most distributor agreements and takes steps to fill territory vacancies. Sawyer's Pictures (no relation), New
England Distributors disbands and Harold Sawyer and Jon McIntyre come to work as salesmen for Sawyer's View-Master.


The Three Dimension Company splits off and goes on to become a major manufacturer of slide projectors under the leadership of Henry Bohm. Bob Brost retains a business interest but
is hired to manage the Sawyer's warehouse in Chicago. The T.D.C. salesmen are hired by Sawyer's -- Mickey Nebesni and Nick Kavouras
in Chicago and Walt Riggs in Texas.
I am welcomed to Chicago with a giant
snowstorm the day Mickey Nebesni and I make calls in the "Loop". On the way out of the "Loop"; heavy traffic, dark, cold and a foot of fresh snow, I get a flat tire. Only place to change tires is one of those small "islands" on
the north side of the Michigan Avenue bridge. At least we did get some orders.
We had our first National Sales meet-ing in Portland April, 1949; actually, it was "International" -- the Canadian Salesmen joined us for some of the major sessions. Now that we had plenty of merchandise to sell, the main discussions were on ways to  increase View-Master business.


Our emphasis was on getting View-Master dealers to create window displays using the few show-cards banners and posters that we had at the time. We also encouraged them to
use their imagination and include maps, globes and other travel pieces. Dealer advertising was also on the agenda, View-Master sold well and dealers got good response from their ads. We had a good selection of ad "mats" and were willing to work
with our dealers to build good promotions.


Salesmen always like to go back to their customers with a new product.
This year we had something great to show -- the View-Master Junior Projector, with a retail price of $9.95. The response was fantastic and kept the View-Master momentum going.
We also had a steady flow of new View-Master reel subjects to offer -- U.S. Travel, Foreign Countries, Animals, Indians and the new Children's subjects "Brought to Life" in realistic
tabletop sets. The Christmas Story and Fairy Tales were especially well received. Also new were the "Bible Stories" -- photographed by Rupert Leach in the Holy Land. 
From initial response, management knew that
they had a "hot" product that was destined for success. They also knew that the location at 735 S.W. 20th Place would shortly be inadequate and had been planning for some time to move to a new location that would allow for continued expansion. 

In September, 1950 ground was broken at Progress, Oregon, close to Beaverton and some 12 miles from downtown Portland. The new plant would be a series of single story buildings; connected by covered walkways (it
sometimes rains in Portland). Bill Gruber insisted that as many trees as possible be left standing. The setting was almost like a park.


The number of employees increased rapidly to some 300 by 1952. Well-being and good moral was always a consideration of management. They backed civic participation and Sawyer's usually had very good
metropolitan league teams in softball, golf, table tennis, bowling and other activities. The 1950-51 years were a period of continued sales increases. New View-Master titles were continually being added. Bill Gruber's beautiful stereo photography at Holy

Year, Rome and the Oberammergau Passion Play, along with other U.S. and Foreign scenic titles were released during this period.

There was also beautiful new tabletop work -- The Easter Story and more Fairy Tales. We also saw the first of the Licensed Characters -- Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry and Woody Woodpecker.
On TV the Cowboy Stars were  extremely popular -- Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Cisco Kid & Pancho and the King of the Cowboys, Roy Rogers.

There were winners and there were losers -- "Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer" broke all records. "Tarzan of the Apes" with Lex Barker didn't make a lot of friends -- in one scene, to
protect a small chimp, Tarzan attacks Numa the Lion with a knife. The picture was used in posters and in our National Ads. I don't recall that too much of a fuss was made, but it
wouldn't be a good idea today. All of the new releases were outlined in the Dealerscope newsletter keeping both employees and retailers informed about product development.

Store windows were a good way to bring customers into relatively low traffic camera shops. We now had a good selection of showcards, posters and banners.

A giant 17" View-Master Reel was added to the assortment -- later, a matching giant Model "C" View-Master Viewer. Both were revised from
time to time and were used for many, many years.

Many of our best display ideas came from our Dealers -- they devised various types of lighted counter displays. It took us awhile, but we got
the idea and came out with our own version.

Until then we only had a cardboard counter unit that held a View-Master Viewer and list of reels.

Our new DS-27 View-Master counter display had a lighted panel with a demo viewer and would hold 1200 reels. It would be very popular and effective, and would be in use for
many years.

This sales case was featured in the DR-1 demonstration reel distributed by Sawyers. Included on the reel was a picture of Harold Graves.

As sales increased, our National Advertising budget also increased. The theme was generally "Travel" in the Spring/Summer season and children's subjects for Fall and Christmas.
Color ads were run in Holiday and National Geographic with "Travel" themes and in "Post", Parents, Coronet, Readers Digest and later on-
- Look and Life. The themes were "Learning is Fun", "For All the Family", "Come to Life", "Exciting Gifts" and others. The total ad
"impressions" for 1950 exceeded 100,000,000. Another good dealer idea was window "look in" displays. View-Master viewers would be attached to the inside of their store windows so
that people could look in and see how View-Master stereo pictures ''Come to Life". Sawyer's developed their own version, which was widely used for many years.

A "by-product" of View-Master advertising in Coronet Magazine was a display and merchandising contest conducted by the magazine. The contest was open to all dealers
of all products advertised in Coronet. Sawyer's ran ads in the magazine for several years and encouraged our View-Master dealers to enter the contest.


In 1951 our dealer, Mr. John Graves (Graves Drug) of Roundup, Montana (population 2,852) won the Grand Prize. He won $1,000 from Coronet and Sawyer's was so pleased that they brought Mr. and Mrs. Graves to
Portland to be entertained royally --

We'll show those big corporations and their big city-slicker dealers!

With View-Master sales on the increase, the well known Department Stores would regularly run View-Master ads -- many in full color for the
Christmas Season. They always proved effective and profitable.

Television was in its relative infancy but was not a practical means of advertising View-Master nationally. However, most TV Stations had their
own local children's "hero". It was the custom at the time to "barter" mer- chandise for free TV airtime. Sawyer's advertising/promotion department made up special  "packages" of View-Master viewers and reels to be used for prizes and "give aways" on TV shows of this kind. The program developed into a very good way of getting "exposure" and would be especially effective when the local View-Master dealer would "tie in" with his own advertising on the pro- gram. That also made the station happy.

One very successful program, which ran for four years was Tommy Bartlett's "Welcome Traveler" N.B.C. Network Show from Chicago. View-Master products were shown fre-quently. The sales force had grown to 17. Our May, 1950 sales meeting took place in Portland. The Eastern Sales-men converged on Chicago and
boarded the Union Pacific "City of Portland" for a two night, one-day trip. We had a private car -- all ''roomettes'' and "bedrooms". We had special dining car seating with delicious meals
-- prime mid-west steaks and fresh strawberries taken on at Omaha. We were treated like royalty!

The "Roomettes" were perfect for the many poker games -- two or three people inside, one sitting on a suitcase in the aisle doorway. Cecil McKenzie used the location to his advantage -- he would "hold" a good card or two from various hands and "stash" them next
to the metal door molding -- out of sight of the other players. Whenever he needed a certain card to fill out his hand it was right there at the door molding. "Mac" won quite a few hands
until he held out too many cards. The deck got thin and the other players got wise -- that's when the game ended.

Our meeting followed the usual format with continued emphasis on View-Master display and advertising.

The new model "C" viewer and light
attachment would be introduced, as well as new reel titles. For the first time, the new 3-Reel Packets were offered. This was soon to become the "standard" for View-Master reels. Sales meetings are always a good time for the salesmen to renew friendships and swap sales stories -- we always left in good spirits and well motivated.

The new Sawyer's plant in Progress was nearing completion. Expected moving date was October, 1951. Everyone is looking forward to the change from the cramped downtown
Portland location. From the "you can't think of everything" file -- Joe Leslie's office had a small closet with medicine chest and washbowl, it was so narrow that you could only wash one hand at a time. A minor inconvenience.

GO WEST YOUNG MAN

I did! In the spring of 1952, I was transferred to the San Francisco and Northern California/Nevada territory.

The new View-Master Personal Stereo Camera was just being introduced. It's appearance had long been anticipated and initial orders started to come in, but once the "pipeline" was full, sales started to lag. To build interest and "create" sales our sales effort was aimed at the dealer and "selling" his sales people, by encouraging them to use the camera "Personally". They could buy a Personal Camera with their name engraved on it, for a
much reduced price. 

We also held "Factory Demonstrations" in camera stores. The "draw" would be, getting your picture taken free, in 3-D! It would be
mounted in a special Personal Demo Reel with six promotional scenes and one open pocket (reels DR-4 and DR-5). The finished reel would be returned to the dealer, who would notify the "prospect". When they came in to pick up the special reel the dealer would again demonstrate the Personal system and try to make a sale. In most demo promotions we would take 25 to 50 3-D pictures.

George Patton bought a View-Master Personal Camera. He was so "sold" on it that he applied for a job at Sawyer's. He was hired and put in charge of Dealer Training Programs. He  prepared complete manuals on the camera and accessories and traveled the country conducting Dealer meetings. He also attended various consumer photo shows with a special display to demonstrate the Personal
Camera, Stereo Projector and  accessories. No one was more dedicated than he was.

Personal Camera national advertising
appeared in all the photographic magazines. Sawyer's retained Lee Green as a publicist. Lee was located in Hollywood and had many of the stars pose with the camera. These pictures
would show up in various publications. You would see Jane Russell, Groucho Marx, Roy Rogers and many other stars with their View-
Master Personal Stereo Camera.

The Personal Stereo Camera system was exceptionally well engineered and had many novel features for its time. I use it to this day and enjoy looking at family pictures taken 50 years ago -- compared to ordinary snapshots,
the 3-D pictures are priceless.

In spite of our enthusiastic efforts, sales were disappointing. Prices were reduced drastically and the system was gradually discontinued, although the stereo projector was kept for some time and the European Mark II was
offered some years later. Until May, 2000 Personal Reel Mounts continued to be manufactured and sold in fairly good quantities indicating that many of the cameras are still in use.

There were several reasons why the Personal Camera did not achieve wide spread success. For customers who bought stock reels at 35¢ each, $139.50 was a pretty expensive camera. The View-Master System was not
considered "standard" (it wasn't), so most photo industry emphasis was directed to the Realist, Kodak and other similar brands. We did not have our accessories available at the time
the camera was released. The flash unit was not ready, the Stereo Projector followed a later and the focusing high magnification viewer was not ready until two years later.

Probably the biggest "blow" to Personal Camera sales, and stereo cameras in general, were the terrible  3-D movies of that period. Ironically, the 3-D movies were supposed to help sales of 3-D cameras. But, with friends like that, who needs enemies? To Hollywood, TV was a minor irritant but, suddenly, with better and better programming and convenience, TV was killing the movie industry. People were staying home in droves.
Hollywood had seen the popularity of stereo cameras and assumed that 3-D Movies would be the answer so they rushed into 3-D productions. The stories were horrible and projection was worse -- that did it! 3-D movies were "down the drain" and stereo cameras, including the Personal, along with them.


View-Master reel sales were only damaged "on the edges". We applied the "if you can't beat them, join them" principle. If it was popular on TV, we would offer it in View-Master 3-D. That
theory would prove itself over and over again through the years and would give View-Master many great selling titles. We were continually releasing new material. The U.S. and foreign travel list was being greatly expanded. The
Cowboy Stars were doing well -- more and more tabletop subjects were offered. New fields were being explored -- the Circus, Baseball Stars, Movie Stars, Miss America Pageant and others.

One title really fooled us -- "The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II". It was released in the Spring of 1953.
We thought it would sell fairly well -- but 1,500,000 in a short nine months! That broke all records! No other
subject was even close! "The Coronation" plus Personal Camera sales, such p     of nearly $7,000,000 in 1953.

Under this agreement, I would have all "scenic" accounts in the U. S. except for Disney and a few other exceptions. My Western scenic accounts were in pretty good shape, as I had been calling on them regularly for the past several years. The Eastern scenic accounts
were another matter. GAF had lost all interest in View-Master. Most of these accounts had not been contacted for some time. When I went on my first, of many, seven-week Eastern trips, I found quite a few who were not carrying scenic View-Master and did not want to put it back in. However, most agreed to do so, but only if we would update the 3-D photography. That's when I had to become a serious 3-D photographer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, I bought a pair of Konica FT-1 35mm cameras, with 28mm, 50mm and 135mm lenses, plus other accessories. I was a Konica rep at the time. I couldn't afford Nikon 

equipment. The Konica cameras have been great! Whenever the "update" question came up, I was ready willing and able. 

 

Since then, I have taken many 3-D pictures and have been in many interesting photo situations. On one particular "after hours" session at Universal/Hollywood, I was one of
several photographers shooting "Conan, the Barbarian". The set had a water-filled moat and one of the photographers stepped too far back and ended up in the water. He and his
expensive camera were soaked, but shooting went on as if nothing had happened.

On the "King Kong" set at another Universal session, we were shooting a "Helicopter Crash in Flames". We kept asking the technician to repeat the crash action -- we asked one time too many -- this time the helicopter really burst
into flames. It had gotten too hot! Luckily, there were several large fire extinguishers available, and the studio fire department was there almost immediately. We were shut down
for that night, but by then I had gotten all the shots I needed.

Everything happens to me at Universal! While shooting the "Jaws" shark attack on a tour tram, I accidentally stepped into a photo electric beam. This shut the ride down, instantly, and I was standing there red faced, in front of a tram full of tourists until a technician showed up and restarted the ride. 

That's bad enough, but 45 minutes later I do the same thing again. This time, the technician suggested that I take the rest of the day off! I oblige.

Sea World Parks are among my favorite
assignments. They are constantly changing the shows and adding new exhibits and upgrading the grounds and buildings. When shooting the new subjects I also take my 3-D cameras to existing shows in the hopes of getting a better shot of "Shamu'', the dolphins,
sharks and other subjects. It's a real challenge to get a Killer Whale shot at the "peak of action".

I also enjoyed photographing the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, and the Newport Mansions in Newport, RI. In both cases, I worked "after hours" and was given assistance to help place lights and to move furniture. The
estates and mansion interiors and exteriors are beautiful and are wonderful subjects to photograph, especially in 3-D.

The first nine View-Master 3-reel packets were released in 1950. Since then, we have been in a transition period with more and subjects being produced  in the 3-reel packet format and fewer in the single reel style.


The first packet covers were simple line art, in one or two colors, sometimes printed on colored stock.
As volume increased and printing was done "in house" more attractive cover art could be used. A standard format evolved in 1956.

The center illustration could be one or two color line art and later on four-color litho. The copy had provision for
main title, sub-titles, category, contents
and logo. The 21 titles were listed on the back. This style would be used for several years.

GAF%20VM%20packet%20A637%20HersheyTown%2

Television was in its relative infancy but was not a practical means of advertising View-Master nationally. However, most TV Stations had their
own local children's "hero". It was the custom at the time to "barter" merchandise for free TV airtime. Sawyer's advertising/promotion
department made up special  "packages" of View-Master viewers and reels to be used for prizes and "give aways" on TV shows of this kind
The program developed into a very good way of getting "exposure" and would be especially effective when the local View-Master dealer would "tie in" with his own advertising on the
program. That also made the station happy.

One very successful program, which ran for four years was Tommy Bartlett's "Welcome Traveler" N.B.C. Network Show from Chicago.
View-Master products were shown frequently. The sales force had grown to 17. Our May, 1950 sales meeting took place in Portland. The Eastern Salesmen converged on Chicago and
boarded the Union Pacific "City of Portland" for a two night, one-day trip. We had a private car -- all ''roomettes'' and "bedrooms". We had special dining car seating with delicious meals
-- prime mid-west steaks and fresh strawberries taken on at Omaha. We were treated like royalty!

We also held "Factory Demonstrations" in camera stores. The "draw" would be, getting your picture taken free, in 3-D! It would be
mounted in a special Personal Demo Reel with six promotional scenes and one open pocket (reels DR-4 and DR-5). The finished reel would be returned to the dealer, who would notify the "prospect". When they came in to pick up the special reel the dealer would again demonstrate the Personal system and try to make a sale. In most demo promotions we would take 25 to 50 3-D pictures.

George Patton bought a View-Master Personal Camera. He was so "sold" on it that he applied for a job at Sawyer's. He was hired and put in charge of Dealer Training Programs. He  prepared complete manuals on the camera and accessories and traveled the country conducting Dealer meetings. He also attended various consumer photo shows with a special display to demonstrate the Personal
Camera, Stereo Projector and  accessories. No one was more dedicated than he was.

Personal Camera national advertising
appeared in all the photographic magazines. Sawyer's retained Lee Green as a publicist. Lee was located in Hollywood and had many of the stars pose with the camera. These pictures
would show up in various publications. You would see Jane Russell, Groucho Marx, Roy Rogers and many other stars with their View-
Master Personal Stereo Camera.

The packets and displays were a good
merchandising combination but they were a "nightmare" for the salesmen. Damage to the packets, and missing reels was a constant problem. We even had a special "replacement" order form so that we could send clean packet envelopes and missing reels with the dealers merchandise order. Do you think the dealer "refurbished" his stock when his order arrived? NOPE! -- we had to do it all over again the next time we called. A lot of valuable selling time was used up doing "housekeeping" chores.

View-Master National Advertising was moving away from magazines to TV. Prior testing proved it to be practical. In 1954, a very popular TV host was Arlene Francis -- her "Home" show was a perfect place to tell her audience about the "Entertaining and Educational" values of View-Master. Florence Thomas, with some of her exquisite models, was a guest on one show and presented Miss Francis with a model in her likeness. The "Home" TV show was the central  piece of the View-Master Fall/Christmas Ad campaign in 1954 and 1955.

Pinky Lee was another popular TV personality. He had a very highly rated Children's TV program. We designed a promotion around a "Pinky Lee Fun Reel". It contained scenes of new View-Master releases and a 3-D shot of
the star. It was free with the purchase of a regular View-Master Packet. This was the first of a fully coordinated "Promotion" as opposed to, just advertising and hope the consumer would respond. The free "Pinky Lee Fun Reel" motivated the kids to drag mom to the View-Master dealer, which would "create" a sale.


The promotion also motivated the dealer to tie in by taking adjacent TV commercials, run local newspaper and radio ads, and put up window and point of sale displays. We were learning to "make it happen", not just "let it happen".

Meanwhile, back in Portland. the new plant was in full operation; things were humming along smoothly. An "Open House" had been held for the general public -- nearly 5,000 visitors took the tour.

In early 1953 Sawyer's had completed installation of modern, state-of-the-art Kodachrome processing equipment. In fact, it would run at nearly twice the speed of Kodak machines. We would run over 6,000 feet of 16mm film per hour - that would make a lot of View-Master reels! Previously, exposed film was sent to the Kodak lab in San Francisco. The new equipment would save considerable time. This was only the second Kodachrome processing facility, outside of Kodak, that had been permitted. 

Sawyer's dealer and trade relations continued at the highest ethical standards. In spite of hundreds of consumer requests weekly to buy View-Master reels direct, Martha Roberts would return the request, and frequently money, with a dealer list and a friendly and polite "sorry" letter. Our dealer appreciated this policy. 

 

"Fair Trade" continued to receive Sawyers' full support. Fair Trade Laws varied from state to state, most requiring only one dealer to sign the agreement, which would then "bind" all other dealers within the state to adhere to the manufacturers retail price schedule. 

Legal costs to enforce compliance caused many manufacturers to simply drop their "Fair Trade" programs. Sawyer's policy was simple (if you honestly believed in "Fair Trade"). Require an agreement from ALL View-Master dealers and any new customers taken on. It worked beautifully, small retailers appreciated the guaranteed 40% and "price cutters" had no
problem signing the agreement and
accepting the very good profit, in fact, they were our best outlets because of their traffic, of "price cutting" image.

Sawyer's employee relations were great! Working conditions in the new plant and "profit sharing" checks made every one happy. Also, working to build a great product produced a sense of pride. Moral was at its peak! BUT, there were signs that the future was not all that rosy!

1954—THE SALES GRAPH PLUNGES!

1953 was a record year -- thanks to the nearly $1,000,000 in "Coronation" View-Master sales. This partly hid sales drops elsewhere. The Personal Camera program was o  but represented very little profit. 
View-Master sales were declining in the conventional photo outlets and "discount" merchandising had not yet begun to take shape in the publics mind. We had not fully adapted to this new way of r    sa  time, servicing View-Master racks.

Joe Leslie resigned as Sales Manager March, 1954 and was replaced by Larry Vukelich in 1956, Harold Graves resigned December 31,1956 and Jim Kelly became President S    ng with a new Standard and Deluxe Gift Box.


The 1954/1957 period was one of great
uncertainty. There were changes at the plant -- today it is called "down sizing". In the field, we struggled to maintain a reasonable level of
View-Master sales. New titles were added, the new model "E" viewer and light attachment were introduced, along with a new Standard and Deluxe Gift Box. 

vmdealer.jpg
model%20C%20and%20library%20box_edited.p
dr74%20reel%20title%20shot%20resized%20t
Harold Graves & his wife with Helen Smit
Harold Graves and Beulth Graves with Helen Smith by Gordon Smith 1950's taken with View-Master Personal camera
1978 Doris Stoner at GAF View-Master fac
1978 Doris Stoner at GAF View-Master factory in
Beaverton, OR by Susan Pinsky
1989 John Lawler's View-Master projector
1989 John Lawler's View-Master projector collection NSA Portland OR July by David Starkman
1989 View-Master factory workers process
1989 View-Master factory workers processing film
by Susan Pinsky
Christmas Tour from Sawyer's no. 7 only
Christmas Tour from Sawyer's no. 7 by Charley Van Pelt
1989 NSA Portland, OR Aug Hank Gaylord,
1989 NSA Portland, OR Aug Hank Gaylord, other VM man, Jean Poulot and David Burder  by Susan Pinsky
Pinky Lee don't get into cars with stran
Pinky Lee don't get into cars with strangers reel
by Charley Van Pelt
1989 NSA Portland Clarence Romrel John D
1989 NSA Portland Clarence Romrel, John Dennis
and Susan Pinsky by David Starkman
Disneyland Frontierland 1a by Charley Va
Disneyland Frontierland 1a by Charley Van Pelt
1989 National Stereoscopic Assn banquet
1989 National Stereoscopic Assn banquet Al Sieg
and Norma Gruber at table by Susan Pinsky
1989 View-Master Factory, Beaverton, OR
1989 View-Master Factory, Beaverton, OR Aug Susan Pinsky and Gary Evans by David Starkman
Tomorrowland Disneyland House of the Fut
Tomorrowland Disneyland House of the Future
DR-4 View-Master stereo camera album & S
DR-4 View-Master stereo camera, reel album and StereoMatic 3-D Projector
2011 Charley Van Pelt Stereo Club of Ste
2011 Charley Van Pelt Stereo Club of Stereo Club April
by Susan Pinsky
1989 NSA Portland, OR Aug Dave Hitchcock
1989 NSA Portland, OR Aug Dave Hitchcock, Susan Pinsky, David Burder and David Starkman by David Hutchison
DR-1 Self service Reel Sales Case promo
DR-1 Self service Reel Sales Case promo reel
2012 Charley van Pelt in his office in A
2012 Charley van Pelt in his home office in AZ July
by Wolfgang Sell
1989 View-Master Personalities on panel
1989 View-Master Personalities on panel NSA Portland OR July by David Starkman
1978_Karl_Kurz_with_Norma_Schofield_Grub
1978 Karl Kurz with Norma Schofield Gruber 2 Portland OR by Susan Pinsky
1989 View-Master factory man with Pepper
1989 View-Master factory man with Peppers Ghost machine by Susan Pinsky
1989_NSA_Portland_OR_Aug_viewer_testing_
1989 View-Master factory tour during NSA Portland, OR
Aug viewer testing device by Susan Pinsky
Firestone Seat Covers 1952_P2_PAR.jpg
Firestone Seat Covers 1952 by Charley Van Pelt
Pan Am 2 reel_P2_PAR.jpg
Pan Am 2 reel by Charley Van Pelt
01_Charley-van_pelt 12x18jpg.jpg
03_Charley-van_pelt_page3_12x18jpg.jpg
02_Charley-van_pelt_12x18_page_2jpg.jpg
P7100013.JPG
Charley_&_Helen_van_Pelt_in_Arizona_with
Lewis and Clark reels and book by Charle
P7100014_edited.jpg
dr74%20reel%20title%20shot%20resized%20t
VM%20model%20B%20blue%20viewer%201A_edit
fredbennion3[1].JPG
1978 Susan Pinsky and Fred Bennion with his 27 year
View-Master employment plaque by Marilyn Felling
Stereoscopic Range Estimator boxed set.j
legal library display in the kitchen.jpg
Wooden_S1_View-Master_by_David_Starkman.
Wooden S1 View-Master by David Starkman
DR-4%20Starred%20in%20View-Master%20ster
DR-4 Starred in View-Master stereo - with Gorden Smith
2009 Charley van Pelt Keynote Speaker Na
1987 Kathy Yarrison with the View-Master Travel Guides
by Susan Pinsky
DR-4 Starred in View-Master stereo - all
DR-4 Starred in View-Master Personal stereo slide cutter
Gordon Smith's mom on the right with 2 f
Gordon Smith's mom on the right with 2 friends or family members by Gordon Smith 1950s with View-Master Personal camera
DR-5 Starred in View-Master 3-Dimensions
DR-5 Starred in View-Master 3-Dimensions 
Sawyer's%20Inc_edited.jpg
Sawyer's Inc. 1961 Annual Report for Stockholders DR-40 image of product line
Knotts Berry Farm VM personal reel by Ch
Knotts Berry Farm VM personal reel by Charley van Pelt
Sawyer's%20Inc_edited.jpg
Sawyer's Inc. 1961 Annual Report for Stockholders DR-40
Kona Hawaii airport by Gordon Smith 1950
Kona Hawaii airport by Gordon Smith 1950s with
View-Master Personal camera
2010_personal_collecton_of_3D_goodies_by
2010 personal View-Master collection of 3D goodies
by David Starkman
Helen & Gordon Smith, inventor of the Vi
Helen & Gordon Smith, inventor of the View-Master Personal Camera and TDC Vivid cameras in a living room
in the 1950's
DR-3 View-Master Stereo Family 1954 prom
D855-B Disneyland Tomorrowland by Charle
D855-B Disneyland Tomorrowland by Charley Van Pelt
DR-3 View-Master Stereo Family 1954 promo reel
Crazy Horse by Charley van Pelt.jpg
Crazy Horse by Charley van Pelt back.jpg
1978 Susan Pinsky standing in front of G
1978 Susan Pinsky standing in front of GAF View-Master factory by Marilyn Felling

"VIEW-MASTER MEMORIES" Review

by Sheldon Aronowitz

View Master Memories, by Wolfgang and Mary Ann Sell and Charley Van Pelt is the most comprehensive book on the history of View Master, from its inception to the present day. 

Mary Ann and Wolfgang Sell are recognized as the authority on View Master history and have a collection of View Master far beyond any other. Charley Van Pelt worked for View Master as a photographer from the 50's until his retirement a few years ago. No other book even comes close to covering even a fraction of the information contained in this book. You will learn how the idea of View Master came to its inventor, William Gruber, and how it was taken from an idea to a real product. 

This is a real American success story. If this was all the information contained in this book - you would get your money's worth - but that is only the beginning. View Master is one of the longest produced toys in the world and is an American icon. 

View Masters have been around since 1939 and are still going strong! One would have a hard time finding anyone who does not know of View Master or even someone who has not owned or used a View Master. The book will explain the corporate history since 1939, the employees who developed the product (artists, writers, etc.), the mind boggling amount of products and titles produced throughout the past 68 years, etc. 

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Not only is this the authorative book on View Master, but I do not believe there has been another such book about any other product line or company. This is a must have for collectors and non collectors alike. For those who do not collect View Master - there should have been a warning on the cover - "Beware- after reading this book you will become a View Master collector!" 

It is written in easy to read style in a logical sequence. Much of the information in this book is not available from any other source. Even seasoned View Master collectors will be amazed to learn about vast array of View Master products such as the World War II military training reels to help soldiers identify enemy planes and ships, about the View Master commercial applications (which is still going strong), about its use in science and medicine and education, about the many books using View Master reels, etc. View Master is not just a toy. 

You will not be able to put this book down once you start reading it. An amazing book and a great value.

1981 Michael  Aronowitz, 6 years old,
with his dad's rare motorized
View-Master Display
View-Master Memories Book by Wolfgang an
Excerpts from this excellent, comprehensive book on the history of View-Master from Sawyer's through GAF, and the variety of owners. Used with permission from the authors. To order the "View-Master Memories" book directly contact Mary Ann Sell at: msell@cinci.rr.com
Colliseum Sports arena Los Angeles CA VM
Colliseum Sports arena Los Angeles CA VM reel
by Charley Van Pelt 

With sincere and deepest thanks to Mary Ann and Wolfgang Sell for generously sharing remarkable fragments of this View-Master story. The entire saga is a piece of the story of America in the late 1940's, '50s and '60's. It is utterly fascinating and well documented.

I recommend this book to anyone who finds this story of interest. You will enjoy the rest of this 302 page book thoroughly. 

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