Sunday, February 17, 2019

[YouTube] Fisher-Price Movie Viewer & Theater

In 1973 Fisher-Price released a toy called the Movie Viewer. Users place a plastic movie cartridge into the device, hold the handle with one hand, and turn a dial with the other. When looking through the eye piece a short movie with no audio can be seen at variable speeds that depend on how fast the dial is turned. It is similar to a View-Master, only with moving images instead of still frames, and like a View-Master light is needed to make the image viewable. The Movie Viewer was quite popular among families and in 1978 Fisher-Price released the Movie Viewer Theater that plays the same cartridges. With the Theater multiple people could watch a cartridge together either on the built-in screen or by projecting it onto a wall or other screen. To view cartridges on the Theater it needs to be plugged into a wall outlet to power a light bulb; viewing cartridges still requires a dial to be turned manually.

It appears the original cartridges were released all the way up to 1987 with characters licensed from Disney, Sesame Street, Peanuts, Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes, and Marvel Comics (all Spider-Man). Most of my cartridges are Disney, though I have a few Sesame Street and a couple Looney Tunes. The stickers that identify the cartridge sometimes dry up and fall off so I've lost a few of the labels and won't provide photos of those but I'll drop a link here to This Old Toy which has a variety of pictures for most of the cartridges and Viewers. I also have a duplicate cartridge that is still in the original packaging, however, the packaging lists a different cartridge than what is in the box. It's likely the packaging and pricing changed throughout the years as well; the price tag on mine says it cost $2.99 at Bradlees. Unfortunately, I'm unsure of the original price of the Theater but I'd guess in 1978 it would possibly be in the $30 range.

The items do look a bit dirty in the photos despite wiping them down. I think many are permanent marks as these are items dating back 40 years and were used a fair amount when I was younger.

Movie Viewer

Movie Viewer Theater


Above I mentioned that the original cartridges were released as late as 1987 and I said original because Fisher-Price is currently selling a Movie Viewer in its Classic Toys line that includes two new cartridges. The new cartridges are basic movies about letters and numbers as it wouldn't able to sell the original cartridges without re-acquiring all of the licenses. However, you can buy the old cartridges used and then grab a new viewer to enjoy them. 

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