Monday, November 19, 2012

View-Master Artists

As a boy I always loved the stereoscopic View-Masters that took traditionally drawn animated characters and did a sculptural rendering of them in 3d. This was not always an easy thing to do with many Hanna Barbara figures because they were fairly stylized designs with lots of cheated attributes like both eyes appearing on a profile.  Some how they were able to come up with a happy compromise that was always appealing.

Thanks to the internet I've been able to track down who did these wonderful pieces. Most were done by Florence Thomas and later her successor Joe Liptak, whom I've mentioned before on this blog  

Thomas produced her first reels for View-Master in 1946 --a series of Fairy Tales and Mother Goose rhymes that are still in circulation. According to one source, Thomas "developed special methods of close-up stereo photography and modeling which is now in common use by major motion picture studios" (John Waldsmith, Stereo Views, 1991).

Florence Thomas setting up a scene from The Sword in the Stone.


 One of my faves: Hook and Tink

 Joe Liptak working on a scene from "Robin Hood"

I found a pretty good tribute to Florence at the blog Mystery Hoard and you can find it here:

Looking at the size of the candle flame and the scale of what appear to be real feathers in Captain Hooks hat, and the detail on Tinkerbell, it must have been a fairly large setup.  It's pretty obvious now but I never gave it much thought as a kid.  

It seems appropriate that these were clay figurines and done in Portland Oregon just like Will Vintons' Claymation.

UPDATE:  A woman names Linda asked if there were other photos of her relative Florence Thomas.  I was able to find these:


Joshua Marchant (Scrawnycartoons) said...

Wow! Thanks for finding this! I love these view-master figures, especially when they're made from cartoons like the Disney or HB ones.

Joel Brinkerhoff said...

I do too. There are still some tricks I haven't figured out like suspending things in mid air. The Peter Pan one has this cool light contrail Tinkerbell makes that is like a light streak. Very cool.

Lindy S said...

I realize this blog is 5 years old, but I'm wondering if it is possible to get a copy of Florence's photo to put in my family tree. Florence was my father's first cousin; I met her in Oregon in 1962. She never married and as my generation dies off I would like to preserve her memory. I don't have any of her artwork, but I do have an envelope she decorated when she mailed a card to my aunt.
Linda Schrom

jbrinkerhoff said...

Hi Lindy, I did find some younger pictures of Florence by Googling Florence Thomas Viewmaster and looking at the images here:

And here:

I hope this was helpful and thanks for looking into my site!