We all have preconceived notions about what the world was like for the generations before us. However, these photos may shake your beliefs about the past with clear evidence that things may have been a bit different from was written in black and white. Some images will make you cringe, others will make you say aw, all of them will allow you to see into the past with a clearer lens.
Giant Manta Ray
This photo shows a Manta Ray that is so big it defies logic. A fisherman caught this behemoth in 1933 off the Jersey Coast. The idea that something like this lurked so close to shore gives credence to Jules Vern’s fiction!
Phone Booth Stuffing
In 1959 this photo proves that in the days before digital media people really had to get creative for fun. There are 25 people in this phone booth and it was a trend to try to fit as many as possible across California at the time.
Selfie From 1839
Yep, you read that right. This is the oldest known selfie. Apparently, smoldering stares into our own reflection started much sooner than the millennial generation.
Human Alarm Clock
Have you ever wondered how people woke at a certain time before the days of electric alarms? This picture is your answer. The job description is Knocker Upper
Humor is Macabre in One-Wheeled MotorcycleAll Eras
This picture has so many questions that have to be answered. How does it turn? What powers it? How many where there? Why? The one thing that is reported is that it could reach speeds of over 90 mph!
Ice Cold Whisky on Tap
In Office whiskey is one way to deal with an annoying desk mate or long tedious hours. It is no wonder that these things are not available anymore.
This picture was taken while Bill Clinton was still governor of Arkansas in the early nineties. It shows tenderness behind the power couple before the storms that awaited them in the coming decades.
Someone’s bootleg operation was busted in more way than one. And they were not dealing with small amounts of booze either by the look of the literal waterfall pouring out of the building that is made entirely of beer.
This side by side comparison of Abraham Lincoln at the beginning and end of his presidency is telling. He looks dapper in picture one and nearly haggard in the final picture. The presidency is known to be hard on the leaders in modern days but this photo proves it was also rough in the past.
Invite Your Reptile to Lunch
In the 1920s apparently, people worried less about being sued. This theme park had a feature called Alligator picnic where people could dine with a gator. California in the 1920s sure was a different world.
This picture seems nice at a glance but look closely and you will shudder at the inevitable impact of the aftermath of the nuclear blast that this mother and son are enjoying from a seemingly safe distance.
It is no wonder why this one did not take off. Hippos are not as easy to control as horses and probably have a much higher food bill and certainly have worse tempers. The look of it on the street is nothing short of comical.
Bill Gates Data Tower
To clearly visualize just how much data can be stored on his new technology Bill Gates had to go to the forest for this photo shoot of him next to a towering stack of papers. Save the trees – use this new technology is the clear message that also shows the staggering amount that was once impressive but now that much data can be stored on a tiny microchip that makes the CD rom look huge.
This giant German airship held many passengers and was touted as a new way to travel. This image shows the idea of airship travel going up in smoke, literally. The tragic accident of the Hindenburg is etched in many minds after seeing this image.
Olive Ann Oatman
This is a real tattoo on the face of a young woman who was raised by native American’s in the eighteen-fifties after her parents were killed. Her sister (unpictured) had the same tattoo on her face.
Dr. King, Showing Grace
Martin Luther King gave moving speeches and brought hope in an era where there was little for people of color. However many people do not realize the price he and his family paid on a daily basis, long before his murder. This image shows a small piece of hate met with grace.
Ham it Up!
Ham the chimp is the first humanoid in space. He could be considered the father or our modern space program if he had an ego. Instead, he just grins at the camera each chance he gets. After all, he was the only resident of earth that made the trip up and back at the time.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Here is a shot of Jamie Lee Curtis right before starring in the first Halloween movie back in 1978
This old photo is of the Beastie Boys chasing around Madonna on stage as they were performing back in 1985 for the “Virgin Tour.”
Johnny Carson Show
The late and great Johnny Carson, oh how late night misses you! Here he is having an interview with Robyn Hilton back in 1974. It is said that this interview was a very awkward one because Robyn had trouble answering the most simple of questions, like what movies was she in.
I bet you can guess who drove these cars around England. Well of course it was the Beatles. Lennon drove the Rolls Royce and George Harrison drove the mini.
Christie got her start in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues that were huge at her time. But her most famous moment came in the movie “Vacation” with Chevy Chase. Christie was the woman that drove up next to Chevy in a Ferrari.
Conan the Destroyer
Isn’t Arnold supposed to be a big guy. Well I guess he doesn’t look that big next to these two guys. Andre the Giant is on the right and Wilt Chamberlain is on the left, both are over 7 feet tall.
Ali vs. Clark 1961
One time Muhammad Ali punched a guy so hard he retired. His name was Lamar Clark, a bruiser from Utah who had the bad luck to face The Greatest in his sixth professional bout. After a short but spirited defense, Ali finished him off with a five-punch combination that sent him sprawling to the floor, all desire to be a professional boxer gone. Clark retired immediately after that fight and went on to live a long and happy life. Muhammad Ali, of course, went on to be the Greatest.
Armstrong and Fitzgerald at the Pyramids
The truth is that no one knows how old the Great Sphinx of Giza is, but it has been there a long time, and any number of great people have visited it. Here’s a picture of the timeless Louis Armstrong serenading the legendary Ella Fitzgerald. They are long gone now, but echoes of their lives remain.
Washington Monument under construction circa 1860
The construction of the Washington Monument was interrupted by the Civil War, forestalling completion for decades. Strangely, this long interruption in construction probably helped the earth settle and compact beneath the vast weight of the monument, contributing to its longevity and sturdiness.
Loreta Velazquez, one of the most significant individuals in the American Civil War, served in the Confederate Army disguised as a man. In her role as Lieutenant Harry T. Buford she was instrumental in several recruitments and battles, finally leaving front-line service to become one of the most effective spies on either side.
On June 3, 1968, Valerie Solanas shot Andy Warhol. In a tragic coincidence, on the opposite side of the nation, Robert Kennedy was assassinated less than 24 hours later. A confused public mixed up the two tragic events and some even accused Warhol of staging the attempt on his life as a ghoulish art piece.
Most have forgotten, but the official story on the Kent State shootings was that there were snipers on the roofs of the college and the National Guardsmen (most of whom were the same age as the students) had only returned fire after being fired upon. It took two years of investigations and hearings to establish that there were no snipers and that the Guardsmen had opened fire without provocation.
The efforts of a vast number of genius-level intellects were required to get the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Here is Margaret Hamilton, one of the project leaders, standing next to a stack of telemetry data she and her team had calculated. Even a single error in that enormous stack of data could have had disastrous consequences.
Here is a young Jane Fonda, practicing her archery on a beach vacation in 1965. Behind the camera is the steady hand of film legend Dennis Hopper, who was a noted photographer and director in addition to acting.
History takes many forms. Many recall Big Tex, the giant animated sign outside the Dallas State Fairgrounds, but an electrical fire brought him low on October 19, 2012. It took only ten minutes for the sign to burn to the ground, leaving a hole in the Dallas skyline that has yet to be filled.
It may be hard for the modern visitor to believe, but this laid-back scene is the front door of Disneyland as it appeared in February 1958. Note the relative absence of children and crowds, and there are absolutely no characters in costume to be seen. A photograph from this spot taken today would be very, very different!
This photograph was taken on June 8, 1968, from the side of a moving train. This train was carrying the body of Robert F. Kennedy, whose corpse was being transported from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. These people had driven out to see the funeral train go by and to mourn the passing of this national figure on whom so many of their hopes had rested. The assassination of RFK can surely be counted as one of our greatest national tragedies, with implications that reverberate to this day.
Most of us remember George Burns as a very old man, but he was the co-star of one of the great shows of the golden age of television. Along with his wife Gracie Allen, they created a legendary show that ran from 1950 to 1958. It was a titanic hit at its time and helped cement CBS as the broadcasting giant that it remains to this day.
New York City, one hundred years ago. It’s difficult to describe how much has happened in this city in the intervening century. Buildings have risen, and on one tragic occasion they have come down as well. Yet the Big Apple perseveres. Millions of lives have moved through this photograph, building perhaps the greatest city this world has ever seen.
Can you guess who this guy is that is sitting on Santa’s lap? Well thats Quintin Tarantino way before he ever directed Pulp Fiction.
Here is a picture that was taken of Pablo and his son in front of the White House in the early 1980s.
Here is a photo that was taken of the French people constructing the Statue of Liberty in 1884 in Paris France.
This is a photo of a Russian spy being executed in Finland in 1939.
This is a picture of the Mona Lisa returning to the Louvre after WW2.
Abraham Lincoln’s Assassins Buddy
This is a picture of Honest Abe’s assassin’s co-conspirator that was executed in 1865. As Lincoln was being assassinated this nutcase was trying to stab the Secretary of State, he was caught and imprisoned.
This is a photo of the allied forces mocking Hitler shortly before the end of WW2.
Evacuation of Saigon
This is a photo of an American punching a Vietnamese man for a place on the last chopper out of Saigon.
The Beatles are walking in the opposite direction in this shot during the cover shoot for the Abbey Road album cover.
This is Queen Elizabeth during her service in ww2.
This is a photo of that was taken in 1928 of MGM filming the opening credits scene for all their movies.
This is a picture of Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Jackie Mitchell in 1931. Jackie is the only woman pitcher to ever strike out Babe and Lou.
This is a awesome photo of people racing cars on top of the roof of the Fiat factory in Italy in 1923.
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33 Fascinating and Expensive Antiques Featured on ‘Pawn Stars’!
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