I loved the old View-Master gadgets and reels — it was pure magic to look into one and see the parts of a picture, whether cartoon or photograph, stand out from the background. I had no idea how they did it, and I wished somebody would invent something that would make the real world look like that.

When I was at BYU (fall semester, 1979, Humanities 101, Norma Brown — I’ll never forget it), I thought I was hallucinating one day when for a brief instant the professor popped away from the blackboard and looked momentarily like she was part of a View-Master picture. It scared me, and I don’t think I heard a word of the rest of the lecture.

When I was 30, I switched to contact lenses from the eyeglasses I’d worn since I was 6. The first lens went into my eye there in the office, and magically the world turned into a View-Master reel. The doctor popped away from the wall, the instruments on the table developed curves and bulk and arranged themselves at different distances from my chair. For the first time in my life, I understood what three dimensional meant, and realized that the rest of you saw the world that way all the time, every day, “which thing I never had supposed.”

I wasn’t around in 1956 when these advertisements were printed, but obviously I’m not the only fan of View-Master magic.

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