View-Master advertising for Talking View-Master
The first talking View-Master was introduced in 1970.
A Talking View-Master reel, showing the small audio disc wwhich is attached to the View-Master picture disc.
The system is simple. The View-Master reel has an attached, free-running, plastic audio disc. When inserted in a special viewer, the audio disc and the pictures have to be aligned by pressing a button. A bar is pressed to start the recording. There is a sound clip for each picture - the sound stops at the end of each clip. The operator then advances the picture and restarts the audio commentary.
Talking View-Master viewer
The battery-operated viewer is bulky and awkward to operate. Early models are two-tone beige; later ones are red, white and blue.
How to use the Talking View-Master viewer - a reminder from the top of the viewer
The design is very simple, with a simple plastic speaker which gives poor sound quality.
A later viewer, in bright blue plastic, had more sophisticated sound reproduction; this version is uncommon.
There were less than 150 Talking View-Master sets introduced; compared with the number of silent reels and packets, this is a very small number.
A Talking View-Master set
Each set comprises three talking View-Master reels and a booklet. They are packed into a storage tray and protected by a cardboard sleeve.
Inside a Talking View-Master set, showing the reels and booklet
Titles varied - there were educational titles like "Numbers and Names," travel sets like "New York City" and "The Holy Land," and a lot of TV and cartoon titles, including "The Aristocats," "It's a Bird, Charlie Brown," "Flipper," and "The Six Million Dollar Man."
A different Talking View-Master packet, containing five reels
A talking View-Master projector was available in the USA but this item was never imported into the UK. It did not provide stereo projection.
An improved version of the system was introduced in the 1980s. This did not sell well and examples of reels and viewers are hard to find. In this version, the picture reel and the sound disc are position one above the other on a rectangular card.
A later attempt to introduce sound used easy-to-load cartridges, doing away with the need for the user to synchronise sound and picture.
Completely different approach to Talking View-Master using a cartridge. This example is dated 1997.
The new system is easy to load/unload