The more things change. . .
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
What goes around, comes around.
Don’t chuck your wide necktie with the hula girl painted on it because it will come back in style.
“Harry, my around and around honey,” says Dearest Duck, “you don’t have a wide tie with a hula girl.”
“My Duck,” say I. “There’s a rack of wide and wrinkled ties at the back of the bedroom closet, tucked in behind the dusty garment bag holding my Sunday suit…”
“Which you haven’t worn in decades,” says Dearest Duck. “Nevertheless...,” say I.
B’ys, Dearest Duck is correct in saying I don’t have a hula girl tie. I once saw a real hula girl though, when we were in the Sandwich Islands for Daddy’s Boy’s wedding. And I would’ve bought a handpainted souvenir tie, hula girl all a’jiggle, if Dearest Duck hadn’t slapped my wallet hand.
“Harry, do you truly intend to talk about wide ties and hula girls?”
“I don’t, my Duck. Mostly I want to talk about View-Masters.”
“View-Masters?” says Dearest Duck. “Toys, not ties?”
You see why Dearest Duck ought not attempt humour, eh b’ys?
Even before Confederation pupped, Mattel had marketed the View-Master, arguably, its greatest toy.
The View-Master was not a toy. It was a marvelous stereoscopic device [!] that allowed … well, viewers to experience virtual reality…
… especially Roy Rogers and Gene Autry — guns blazing — in realistic 3D format two inches in front of their eyeballs.
View-Master reels — film chips embedded in plastic — handy the size of CDs, were inserted vertically into the View-Master’s face and the device was held like binoculars. Cranking a wee lever on the side shifted the scenes.
Of course, Mattel would not market a product that was just a toy. Certainly not.
As well as being a toy of the finest caliber, the View-Master was also an educational device.
Youngsters and adults could travel the world via View-Master reels. There was more to see through the View-Master panes than rootin’-tootin’ cowboy heroes.
When I was a bay-boy, although I had a brand new Christmas View Master and a couple of cowboy reels, an old feller up the road had a View-Master nearly as old as Sir Chucky Wheatstone’s prototype stereopticon (1838). And he had two boot-boxes stogged with vintage [?] View-Master reels.
Sometimes, if I lugged in his wood and filled his woodbox, I earned the privilege to use the View-Master with the old feller hovering to smack me if I mistreated his treasures.
“Mind you don’t get fingerprints on them reels,” he said each time I made a selection.
Hold on a second, b’ys, while I shut my eyes and reflect…
… yes, there’re the pyramids and images of street-sweepers brushing water off Paris street at dawn …
… and — sssh, don’t tell Dearest Duck — vivid 3D Hawaiian images of swaying hula girls so real and visibly undulating that they’re the stuff of bay-boy fantasies.
“Harry, you day-dreaming again?”
“Indeed, my Duck. Indeed.” Last week, Pop’s East Coast Girls rushed my Lay-Z-Boy, so excited they nearly upsot my Tension Tamer.
“Pop, look,” they said, waving swim-goggles within clunking distance of my spectacles. “Going swimming?” said I. “What?”
“Goggles,” said I, steading my mug.
“Pop, these are VR Viewers.” Looked like fancified swim goggles to me.
Pop’s girls proceed to educate. They demonstrated how the goggles opened and allowed them to clip an iPhone into the faceplate. They strapped the apparatus to my noggin and snugged it against my face, being surprisingly careful of my glasses.
“Watch what happens when this button is pushed.”
I assume one of the girls pushed the button a second before Tyrannosaurus Rex nearly yomped my head off.
“Some real, eh Pop?”
Some real. And not just a toy. Also an educational device.
Pop’s girls activated an app chock-a-block with information regarding penguin migration.
“Like a View-Master,” I said when the girls freed me. “What?”
And you know what, b’ys? Mattel is marking a brand new View-Master; its version of the VR Viewer.
And you know what else? I watched Mattel’s promotional video and couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a scene from the Sandwich Islands featuring a whole slew of lei-swinging … “Harry!”
Thank you for reading.