Tom Corbett ViewMaster Reels


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The transfer of Tom's adventure to a webpage is only a shadow of what the adventure looks like in "reel view". The importance of this small slice of TC history should be shared with others who are not lucky enough to own the original and I hope you enjoy the effort. This page has been a dream of mine for a long time and without the help of fellow cadet Elliott Swanson it would not have materialized. Elliott has done an excellent job of capturing the pictures from the Viewmaster reels. Thanks Elliott.
Cadet Ed


First a little history about the company that brings the adventure alive.View-Master® has a long and successful history. The first View-Masters'® were manufactured by Sawyer's Inc. in Portland, Oregon. The stereo viewing as we know it today was invented in the late 1930's in Portland, Oregon by William Gruber and Harold Graves, president of Sawyer's. Sawyer's was the nation's largest producer of scenic postcards in the 1920's and it would seem the viewer was an excellent extension of the two - dimensional cards.

The reels were sold in department stores across the country and are still being produced today. The company has become an international product with Sawyer's selling out to General Aniline and Film Corporation (GAF) in 1966. The company then went into a limited partnership in 1981 to Arnold Thaler who reversed a negative decline in the product. Mr. Thaler purchased Ideal Toys who was purchased by TYCO who is the current producer of View Master Products. An interesting history and well documented on the Net.

Thanks to the following sites for the background information on the View Master Company®.

A Different View of the World
and an excellent article by Bob Greene, a syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune.


The following adventure by our favorite space cadet is an excellent example of the adventures found with Three Dimensional viewing. The reels are well done and contain a few milestones in the Tom Corbett Universe. If you haven't seen the reels in "living" 3-D you need to get a copy for a "reel" thrill.

The adventure consists of three reels of 21 stereo Kodachrome pictures without an overall title. However, there is a title for each of the three reels in the story:

  • Reel A-The Moon Pyramid
  • Reel B-The Red Planet
  • Reel C-The Mystery of the Asteroid
  • There is no author mentioned for writing the TC adventure but Florence Thomas is credited with creating the scenes. Much of the science facts in the story is consistent with theories and known facts of the time period and some of the language found in the story reflects the type of language found in material reviewed by the Tom Corbett series science consultant ,Willy Ley.

    Several examples of such review include... escape velocity of 9.7 miles/sec (Reel A Scene 3), "slingshot" effect using the Sun's gravity to send the Polaris to Mars (Reel B Scene 1), electronic brain (Reel B Scene 5), 30 days to cover 100 million miles at a top speed of 100 miles/hr (Reel C Scene 1).

    Several scenes have historical significance in relation to the TC universe.
    Reel A Scene 6- Tom has his first "solo" landing on the moon.
    Reel B Scene 3- Atmosphere Stations to convert Red Oxides into breathable air. Appears in G&D book.
    Reel B Scene 5- Roger Manning, the Math Wizard.
    Reel C Scene 1- Size of Polaris - 500Ft
    Reel C Scene 7- Dr Dale finds clues to a faster-than-light drive. A reference to one of Dr. Dale's accomplishments in other media sources.

    Thanks View-Master® for an excellent Space Opera adventure. If anyone has any other information or comments about this adventure,please feel free to contact the Academy. Now enjoy the adventure. Cadet Ed

    Start the Adventure
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    Reel 1
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    Reel 2
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    Reel 3
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    View-Master ® Sawyer's Inc., Portland, Oregon. Copyright by Sawyer's Inc. 1954
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