Godzilla’s Rampage


I have been thinking about the late 70s Godzilla toy boom lately. Back then my Godzilla collection was small but special. Each piece had value and I’m fortunate to still have most of them. There were not many Godzilla figures as today. We had the Mattel Shogun Warriors Godzilla, Godzilla’s Gang, the Bendy Godzilla rubber figure and the Aurora Godzilla Model Kit. There were not many books except for Godzilla in Ian Thorne’ Monster Series, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Fangoria and the Marvel Comic Godzilla series. We had board games, punching bags and Halloween costumes. To see Godzilla we had to catch his movie’s in the theater or caught a movie on local television stations. The latter was most likely. And if you were lucky you had one of those Godzilla Super 8 films to watch on your family projector. For many of us, we enjoyed Godzilla View-Masters in between his next televised movie. View-master stereoscopes and reel were very popular at that time.

View-Master was originally manufactured and sold by Sawyer’s. Sawyer’s was an American manufacturer based in Portland, Oregon, that also produced slide projectors, scenic slides, postcards, and more. The View-Master was a fun way for kids to enjoy their favorite heroes and stories at home without watching TV. View-Master is a line of special-format “stereoscopes.” A stereoscope is “is a device for viewing a stereoscopic pair of separate images, depicting left-eye and right-eye views of the same scene, as a single three-dimensional image” (Source: Wikipedia). Inserted into the stereoscope were reels made of thin cardboard disks with seven stereoscopic 3D pairs of small transparent color photographs on film. A single reel holds 14 film transparencies in seven pairs that make up up the stereoscopic images.

View-Masters appeared in 1939 at the New York World’s Fair. They were not only for children but featured tourist attractions that would be appealing to older audiences. The U.S. military saw their usefulness and purchases thousands for training during World War II. In 1962, View-Masters created the light plastic versions that I would have in the 70s. In 1966, General Aniline & Film, what I know as GAF (a very familiar logo I always associate with the product), bought the company. At this time View-Masters became more child-centric. There were so many reels for us to choose from and so many favorites. I still loved my Batman and Kong Kong (1976) reels. And I was surprised to find my Disney reels while writing this post.

My favorite and best reel was Godzilla in “Godzilla’s Rampage!” It was available for the 3D standard View-Master, the Talking View-Master and the Monster Gift Pac in 1978. There was a one-reel short version that came with the Monster Gift Pac. And there was the three-reel set of 21 stereo pictures for the talking and non-talking reels. There was a black-and-white 16-page illustrated story booklet for kids to follow Godzilla stomp through Seattle, Washington, and devour the famous Space Needle. The wonderful art will look very familiar to collectors of the Marvel Comic Godzilla series (1977-79). Apparently, portions were used from the first two issue that were illustrated by Herb Trimpe.

On the reel, each picture has a short description to briefly tell the story while sitting in the stereoscope. The activity booklet provides a complete read-along version of the story and puzzles. As you can see below, I’m sure that I got one wrong. That’s not Godzilla but rather The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) which along with King Kong (1933) inspired the creation of the King of the Monsters a year later.

Several years ago, inspired by this childhood fun and memories, I found an online vendor Image3D that creates customizable reels. So I create a MyKaiju reel with some of my favorite Godzilla toy photographs.

The View-Master was a big part of Godzilla collection growing up. I’m so happy to have experienced the Godzilla toy boom of the late 70s and to have the wonderful memories it created. Cherish your collection and don’t let it go. Cling to the precious memories you make collecting Godzilla.

View-Master on Wikipedia
Monster Island Buddies Godzilla’s Rampage for the 3-D View-Master – MIB Play Time Ep 9