Mattel subsidiary Fisher Price, the current owner of View-Master, has announced it will no longer make the reels of scenic locations. Such is the passing of yet another piece of Americana. View-Master seemed almost magic when I was a kid, and I had one of the bakelite-constructed models. Later they switched to plastic, and various owners, including Sawyers, GAF, and Tyco, have made variations, such as View-Master projectors and Talking View-Master. Yet the original viewer is still what one thinks of when the name View-Master is mentioned. I also remember the Henry Fonda commercials for the "GAF View-Master".
So, for now, Fisher Price will continue to market reels with Dora the Explorer and other childrens' characters, but no more eye-popping views of the Giant Sequoyas or the Grand Canyon that brought these distant places to life for several generations of kids. I imagine it won't be long before the franchise closes up shop for good, or is sold off yet again. It is hard to compete for mindshare of today's kids, with their X-Boxes, iPods, and cell phones.