December 24, 2012

View-Master toy remembered fondly by many



Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole on Whiteface Mountain was the first theme park to be featured by Sawyer’s on its reels. Introduced in 1951 (the same year Sawyer’s bought out Tru-Vue), and again in 1956, Santa’s Workshop was a hit.

Pearl Maicus of AuSable Forks, grandmother of Features Editor Rachael Osborne, was a gnome working at Santa’s Workshop in those days. She, along with several other local women, including Barbara Mulvey, a potter who worked in one of the demonstration shops, was photographed for the View-Master Vacationland series in 1955. Maicus can be seen in several photographs with the glassblower, reindeer, children and other gnomes and elves, but the best picture of all is the one that was chosen for the cover photo of the reel packet. The image shows Maicus with gnome Mary Reiss, the daughter of theme-park founder Julian Reiss, and Santa and his reindeer at the North Pole. The reels are nostalgic and plentiful. They can be found on eBay and other Internet sites for $10 to $15.

Julie Robinson Robards is an antiques journalist and dealer living in Upper Jay. She is the author of two published books on celluloid, an advisor to several antique price guides and a writer for AntiqueWeek Newspaper since 1995. She may be reached through her website

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