Weetabix 3-D: before Avatar, before Herzog

Last week I posted this about seeing Cave of Forgotten  Dreams, the latest Herzog film, shot in 3-D.  Sitting in the cinema wearing the glasses re-awakened a childhood memory of collecting 3-D cards that were given away inside each box of Weetabix.  You looked at the images with a red 3-D viewer (above) that cost 1/6d (7.5p) plus a special offer token printed on the Weetabix box.  I remember my brother and I had a viewer each, and built up a collection of maybe a couple of dozen of the sets of cards given away with the cereal.  Considering that Weetabix was some 95% wholegrain wheat and barely any sugar or salt, that was some pretty healthy breakfasts we were eating back in the 1950s!

Sadly, our collection has long since disappeared -  now the viewers and cards have become collectors items.  They were produced by a company called Vistascreen, and Tim Goldsmith has a web page that tells the story of the business, which was finally sold out to Weetabix who continued the production of the viewers (in cream and then later in red) with their logo on the rear.

Someone else whose direction in life was determined by Weetabix 3-D was Queen guitarist Brian May.  Not only does he have a PhD in astrophysics, but he has also had a lifelong passion for 3D photography that began with those packets of Weetabix, as he revealed in a BBC interview  here.  A couple of years ago May published a book, A Village Lost and Found, based on 30 years of research, that resurrected exquisite stereo photographs from the dawn of photography taken in an Oxfordshire village in the 1850s. May supplied the book with a viewer, enabling readers to see T. R. Williams’ 1856 series of stereo photographs, ‘Scenes In Our Village’.

Happy days!  The 1950s weren’t so bad after all.

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3 thoughts on “Weetabix 3-D: before Avatar, before Herzog

  1. Wow! Fascinating. I was just a little kid in the fifties, born in ’53. Halcyon days. The weather in my birth month of May was way better then and we had parties in the garden, wearing starched, smocked “frocks” with bows at the back that my neighbour always pulled apart. Smell of freshly mowed grass, jellies in waxed paper receptacles and pressies that you had to pretend you liked even if you didn’t. Thank you Gerry, for the memories!

  2. Remarkably, it still is 95% wholegrain wheat – or so it claims on the packet I checked this morning

    • It is still one of the tastiest cereals at breakfast with a little Splenda and lo-fat milk or soy or similar. Q – do followers like to eat quickly while still crispy or let them get soggy? Can also be eaten dry, like a cracker, with butter, jam, honey, cheese. Very versatile and, I believe, still manufactured on an industrial site in a village close to Northampton where I was raised (the ones here in the US are made in Canada). My father and uncle owned the building in which Weetabix is made during seventies…

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