There's a lot of toys from my childhood that have had a huge impact on me, but none as much as this...
First, the back story:
Growing up, my grandmother's house had an endless supply of retro toys like Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Potato Heads and lots of other awesome kid stuff to promote problem solving and creativity. Unfortunately, most kids will never be exposed to toys of this caliber again, which makes me even more excited to post about this. Anyway, this simple hunk of plastic was my favorite of them all. It's basically a projector in which you insert a cartridge, turn the crank on the side and enjoy the movie playing on the inside.
Think of it as a Viewfinder, but with full animation in all its glory. The cartridge without the label is a Sesame Street one. Recently, I had asked my grandmother about this toy and if she knew the whereabouts. She didn't and we kind of left it at that. I had forgotten all about it until she and my cousin were able to locate one on eBay, and give it to me as a graduation present. I was ecstatic to say the least.
Animation has always seemed somewhat natural to me, and I think this contraption and being exposed to frame-by-frame animation at such an early age had a lot to do with that.
I especially love the Disney one! We all know just how beautiful the old Disney cartoons are, but getting to see each gorgeous frame totally puts the art form back in perspective. I wish I could get screen shots that could do it justice.