Toronto. When it’s a Komic Kamera – a toy handheld 2D viewer for film strips! The size of this viewer suggests 35mm strips. I saw a couple of sites on Google that suggested the little toy was made by different companies – Allied in Chicago, and Russakov also in Chicago.
The “camera” was made in both tin and bakelite versions. It was actually a toy made to view short film strips frame by frame as you turned the knob to bring the next frame into view. The strips told a short story in 2D, usually featuring American newspaper comic characters of the day (some movie plots were used too, apparently).
As a kid, I once had a smaller bakelite viewer, black with art-deco sides. The strips were a smaller 16mm width to my memory. A ground glass window illuminated a frame while a simple eye-piece focused the frame on the retina. The bakelite case could be carefully pulled opened and the film strip exchanged for another. I think it came was some old cartoons.
It appeared in my life suddenly and then disappeared for ever – my mother liked to trash toys once my interest was lost – or pass them on to others. My thanks to good friend George Dunbar for this trip back along memory lane,