Did you and your friends entertain yourself with the Fisher-Price Movie Viewer? Tell us all about it in our section as we tip our hats to this toy that was well before its time.
Taking things to the next level, Fisher-Price released a Theater Viewer in 1978, so you could finally watch cartridges with friends, thanks to a backlit screen. They sold respectfully but certainly not at the levels of the original handheld version. Another interesting tidbit about the handheld viewer is that it would find its way into the hands of a number of adults. Up and coming filmmakers learned that it wasn’t very hard to open the cartridges and replace Bambi with their own 8mm movie clips. They could then distribute the devices to promote their films. Even they thought the Fisher Price Movie Viewer was pretty darn cool.
I have the larger one that could project onto a wall, though mine might need a brighter bulb (super bright LEDs anyone?) and a new reflecting mirror internally, and I also have the hand held one. There was even a movie viewer from another company featuring clips from the 6 Million Dollar Man and of course its film cartridges didn’t work with the Fisher Price one. Interestingly, there are long and short versions of the Fisher Price film cartridges. This toy is matched in coolness only by the tiny Sneak Previews toy that used a single AA battery and played short film clips at a respectable and consistent frame rate, and the Voltron Japanese anime circular cartridge among the 6 clips I still have for this toy.
It’s no surprise that a device as magical as this would come from the toy designers at Fisher-Price; they already had plenty of experience when it came to creating innovative optical-based toys for young children. The Movie Viewer, geared for 3-10 year-olds was a simple but nifty device.
|#463 Movie Viewer Theater (1977-1985)|