62 Vintage Photos In History
Farrah Fawcett getting soaked for a photo shoot. Photo by Bruce McBroom, 1976.
The bold, the talented, the beautiful and, alas, the doomed -- their photos intrigue and haunt us. Discovering a shot of a star we'd never seen before is like hearing a new secret from an old friend. We know the iconic photos -- the magazine covers and movie posters and publicity stills that go everywhere. But we're fascinated by the stolen moments, undocumented episodes and revealing outtakes. The time when the rock star grew a beard or wore cutoff shorts that were a little too short. The sex kittens and he-men of cinema before they were household names. The odd couples and unexpected couplings. They're all entrancing and enchanting -- taking us back while showing us something new.
Here's another shot from the photo session with Bruce McBroom that yielded Farrah Fawcett's red swimsuit poster -- the best-selling poster of all time, according to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. There's an odd thing about this shoot, though -- why did Fawcett wear a bikini? Charlie's Angels wasn't even on TV yet, and the poster company wanted to sell posters -- and Farrah is wearing a one-piece? McBroom would recall years later that the poster company had of course asked for a bikini shot, but Fawcett didn't own a bikini. McBroom snapped her in numerous poses with various outfits she owned, but wasn't feeling he'd nailed it yet. He sent her back into her closet one last time, to find something she felt sexy and comfortable in, and she emerged in the soon-to-be famous red swimsuit.
Raquel Welch vamping with her Ferrari 275 GTS in 1967.
It's a fact of life: Pretty people get stuff for free. Raquel Welch drove a rare 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS in the movie Fathom (1967), and she liked it a lot. Hey, it's a Ferrari convertible, who wouldn't like driving it? Director Leslie H. Martinson noted Welch's affection for the car, and gave it to her for keeps after filming was complete. Only 200 of this model, also called a 275 GTS Pininfarina Spyder, were made during a production run that began in 1964 and ended in 1966. According to meticulous Ferrari-trackers, Welch sold hers in 1975 to -- no joke -- a lady in Peoria, Illinois.
Hugo Gernsback wearing his “teleyeglasses” or television glasses, that included a tiny screen for each eye and displayed 3D images, in 1963.
You probably don't appreciate Hugo Gernsbeck as much as you should. As the editor and publisher of Amazing Stories, Gernsbeck shaped the emerging genre of science fiction, even giving it the name "science fiction." (Actually, he preferred another term, "scientifiction," which fortunately did not catch on.) The Hugo Award, one of science fiction's highest honors, is named for him. He was also an inventor, dreaming up such useful items as a battery-powered portable mirror and a waxing strip for hair removal. But today, his "teleyeglasses" seem most relevant, don't they? Virtual reality goggles before we had the computing power to create virtual reality.
Lynda Carter wearing a Shakey's Pizza t-shirt, 1977.
Here's TV's Wonder Woman proving that she didn't need a sparkly strapless bustier, star-spangled hot pants and tiara to look wondrous -- Lynda Carter could stroll down the street in a t-shirt and strike fear (or something) into the hearts of men. This candid was snapped outside the Magic Pen restaurant in Beverly Hills on April 19, 1977, but it's the best advertisement Shakey's Pizza of the Philippines could ever have hoped for. Even Wonder Woman has to have her days off and nights on the town. Never fear, she was back on the job soon enough, kicking ass in the tiara, bustier, and hot pants. Because America.
Actress and singer Pia Zadora in the early '80s.
Once a child actress who appeared in major Broadway productions, Pia Zadora became a critics' punching bag in the 1980s. The reception of her performance in the 1982 film Butterfly tells you all you need to know: Zadora won a Golden Globe as Best New Star of the Year and simultaneously won the Golden Raspberry for Worst New Star for the same performance. The Razzies weren't kind to Zadora, giving her Worst Actress honors for another film, The Lonely Lady (1983), and continuing to jab at her even after she'd (essentially) retired. She won the Razzie for Worst New Star of the Decade in 1990 and was nominated for Worst Actress of the Decade in the same year; then in 2000 she was nominated for Worst Actress of the Century. Alas, she was bested (or worsted) for those last honors by Bo Derek and Madonna.
"Rat Butler" (Harvey Korman) and "Starlett O'Hara" (Carol Burnett) in the "Went with the Wind!" skit from "The Carol Burnett Show," 1976.
Saturday Night Live didn't own the concept of sketch comedy in the 1970s, you know -- Carol Burnett was already doing damn funny material, and The Carol Burnett Show had been on the air since 1969. (The show ended in 1978.) Burnett was considered the funniest woman on television and the heir to Lucille Ball, and it was clear that nobody on TV was having more fun than Burnett and her regular co-conspirators Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway. In the famous "Went With the Wind" sketch, Burnett spoofed Scarlett O'Hara of Gone With the Wind. In the 1939 movie, Vivien Leigh fashions a dress out of the curtains of her once-elegant plantation; it's a symbol of her resilience in tough times. Burnett's character wore the same look -- but left the curtain rod in.
A teenage Shaun Cassidy.
Here's a young Shaun Cassidy looking mighty shaggy, which was not usually the case. David Cassidy, Shaun's older (by 8 years) half-brother, emerged professionally back in 1969, and was more prone to early-70s fashion quirks like jumpsuits and fringe. Shaun didn't become a thing until 1976, and by 1977 he was playing the relatively clean-cut Joe Hardy on The Hardy Boys Mysteries. After The Hardy Boys Mysteries ended, Shaun starred in the TV series Breaking Away. These days, he's a successful TV producer, with credits that include American Gothic, The Agency, Cold Case, and Blue Bloods.
A bearded Mick Jagger in 1979.
1979 was a tense year for the Rolling Stones. They'd released Some Girls in 1978, a return to relevance after a couple underwhelming efforts -- featuring "Miss You," "Shattered," "When the Whip Comes Down," and "Beast of Burden," it was an effective rebuttal to disco and probably the last great Stones record. But all was not well -- Mick Jagger had just gotten divorced from Bianca, and was more interested in hob-nobbing at Studio 54 and jet-setting than being in the band. Keith Richards' drug habit was keeping him, uh, occupied. Was this the end of the Stones? In such moments of uncertainty, a man grows a beard. This photo was taken in Paris; off to Mick's left (out of the frame) sits his then-squeeze Jerry Hall.
Milton Berle holding Marilyn Monroe, 1955.
When a vixened-up Marilyn Monroe -- fishnets, sequins, long black gloves -- jumps into your arms, you catch her and smile for the cameras. But Milton Berle, ever the showman, knew that much instinctively. Besides, they'd met before this 1955 arthritis fund-raiser, way back in 1948 on the set of Ladies of the Chorus. Berle would later claim that the two had a sexual relationship, which was a popular claim in Hollywood. Marilyn "wasn’t one of the starlets around town that you put one meal into and threw into the sack," Berle wrote in his autobiography. "Maybe she didn’t know exactly who she was, but she knew she was worth something. She had respect for herself. Marilyn was a lady."
A young girl trying hoping for a good hair day with soup can rollers, 1967.
Soup can hair rollers, a popular home beauty hack in the 1960s, were a hell of a commitment. First, you had to empty and wash the cans, because you can't risk putting cream of mushroom residue in your hair. Go ahead and remove those labels, because you wouldn't want them to melt onto your hair or catch fire. Already, you've done a pretty intense arts and crafts project -- and your hair is still unsatisfyingly straight. Go ahead and heat the rollers up, twirl your hair around them, being careful not to burn fingers or face, and let them sit for a good long while. You will look ridiculous, like the gal in this picture. But just imagine the triumph that awaits, when you get to have that whole "Do you notice anything different?" conversation with your boyfriend, who, it is certain, will not.
Sophia Loren circa 1960.
Sophia Loren was born Sofia Villane Scicolone in 1934 in Rome, Italy, to unwed parents. Her father, Ricardo Scicolone, refused to marry her mother (though he did give father another child with her four years later, the rascal), and Sophia met him just three times in her life. She was nicknamed "toothpick" as a girl, due to her skinny frame, a condition that did not persist into adulthood. By the time she was in her mid-teens, her star power was evident, and she entered the 1950 Miss Italia pageant using the name Sofia Lazzaro. She won the title of "Miss Elegance," and kept using the Lazzaro name as her acting career got underway. Film producer (and her future husband) Carlo Ponti changed her name one last time to Sophia Loren, which he reasoned would have broader appeal, prior to her first lead role, in Aida (1953).
Don Adams as Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) and Barbara Feldon as Agent 99 in "Get Smart" (1968).
Would you believe... the old rotary phone in the shoe trick! The beloved secret agent sitcom Get Smart (1965-70), starring Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, aka Agent 86, came about quite simply. Producer David Melnick challenged co-creators Mel Brooks and Buck Henry to combine what he called "the two biggest things in the entertainment world today – James Bond and Inspector Clouseau." Thus instead of a bumbling detective, TV got a bumbling secret agent equipped with over-the-top gadgetry. The best thing Agent 86 had going for him was Agent 99, a super-competent and usefully glamorous fellow agent, played by Barbara Feldon.
18-year-old Brigitte Bardot at the Cannes Film Festival
Things were happening fast for young Brigitte Bardot when photographer Kary Lasch took these shots of her on the beach at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival. It was April, and she'd been married to French screenwriter (later a director) Roger Vadim for just four months. Vadim had contacted her after spotting her on the cover of Elle magazine in 1950, when she was 15, and had attempted to get her into movies. She first appeared on the big screen in a small role in Crazy for Love, a successful 1952 comedy. In addition to this eye-grabbing photo from the film festival, she appeared in five movies in 1953, playing the lead role in two of them. Et voila!
Barbi Benton in the '70s.
Barbi Benton was never a Playboy Playmate of the Month, nor was she a Bunny (strictly speaking, a Bunny is a server/hostess at a Playboy Club). But she was Hugh Hefner's girlfriend, which put her right at the top of the Playboy pyramid. She appeared on the magazine's cover four times, and within its pages several more. Benton was a regular cast member on the rural-themed variety show Hee Haw, and popped up several times as a guest star on Fantasy Island and The Love Boat. She was also a successful country singer, with her hit "Brass Buckles" reaching #5 on the Billboard US Country chart in 1975.
Bobby Sherman looking groovy with his fringed coat on stage in the '70s.
Does this look like a man who might save your life? Wait, do you know who this is? It's Bobby Sherman, of course, the singer and actor. Sherman put out a number of successful pop singles in the late '60s and early '70s, cracking the Top 40 several times, and reaching #3 with 1969's "Little Woman." As a TV actor, he was a regular on Here Come the Brides (1968-70) and the Partridge Family spinoff Getting Together (1971-72). But it was a guest appearance on the popular series Emergency! in 1974 that inspired Sherman's work outside the entertainment industry. He became an emergency medical technician (EMT) and has been passionately involved with the Los Angeles Police Department, where he is a reserve officer and a specialist in first aid and CPR training. Sherman effectively retired from acting in 1986.
Brigitte Bardot, the "Towel Session," 1959
This photograph of Brigitte Bardot by Sam Levin comes from the famous "Towel Session" in 1959 and is one of the most iconic photos of the legendary French actress. Photographers and their subjects been trying to replicate elements of it ever since -- be it the pose, lighting, makeup, expression or hair. Despite their best efforts, there is only one Bardot. At the time of the Towel Session, Bardot was the leading sex kitten on the planet -- in fact, the term "sex kitten" had been coined to describe her performance, just a couple of years earlier, in the racy hit Et Dieu… créa la femme (And God Created Woman).
Charlie's Angels castmates Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, 1970s.
"Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the police academy. They were assigned very hazardous duties. But I took them away from all that and now they work for me. Ah? My name is Charlie." That simple monologue, delivered by the never-seen Charlie (John Forsythe), provided the back-story for each episode of Charlie's Angels, but really failed to sell the show's appeal. Each episode was packed with female sleuthing and swashbuckling, business-lethal attire, and really good hair. Two of the three original Angels had professionally good hair -- Jaclyn Smith had been one of the famous "Breck Girls" in 1971, then joined Farrah Fawcett as a spokesmodel for Wella Balsam. Kate Jackson didn't do any hair-products modeling prior to Charlie's Angels, but in the '90s she appeared in commercials as the spokesperson for Just 5 Hair Color for Women.
Dick Cavett awestruck by Raquel Welch, 1972.
Raquel Welch often seemed to be an otherworldly presence, a creature of such off-the-charts pulchritude that the humans around her were exposed for what they were: human, all too human. Regular people, even attractive people, suddenly looked drab next to Welch. Objects and settings that seemed stylish became unremarkable, even crude. Dick Cavett, who was a nice-enough looking man in 1972, hosting his Dick Cavett Show from what seemed like a swanky airport lounge, is suffering the classic effects of first-hand Welch exposure here. But what can he do? It's Raquel Welch in 1972 -- just go ahead and be awestruck, everyone else is.
Actress Carol Kane looking glam in 1980.
When Carol Kane is in on screen, you know it -- there's no mistaking the big eyes, hair and squeaky voice. She has a deserved reputation as a scene-stealer; look no further than her recurring role as Simka, Latka Gravas' wife on the sitcom Taxi for evidence. Latka was played by Andy Kaufman in his typical manic style; Kane more than kept pace with Kaufman, and was awarded two Emmys for her efforts. You might also remember Kane from Scrooged, as the brutal Ghost of Christmas Present, a bruiser in a tutu who actually tore co-star Bill Murray's lip when she grabbed it in one scene. She can currently be seen on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, as the titular character's landlady, Lillian Kaushtupper.
Dawn Wells (Mary Ann from "Gilligan's Island") after winning Miss Nevada in 1959.
It was the Team Edward/Team Jacob debate of its day -- if you were a male fan of Gilligan's Island, you were either on Team Ginger or Team Mary Ann. Neutrality was not an option. Which to choose -- Ginger, the breathy starlet based on Marilyn Monroe, played by Tina Louise, or Mary Ann, the small-town girl from Winfield, Kansas, played by Dawn Wells? Don't be deceived by the descriptions -- although Ginger was supposed to be the "sexy" one, Mary Ann was hardly chopped liver. Dawn Wells was a former Miss Nevada, and she beat out Raquel Welch and Pat Priest to land the part. And so, the question must be asked: Were you Team Ginger or Team Mary Ann?
Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason at the Golf Club in Paris, 1962.
Here's a look at TV royalty -- the early kings of variety TV and situation comedy. Ed Sullivan was the host (and creator) of Talk of the Town, which was later renamed The Ed Sullivan Show. It was on the air from 1948 to 1971, and broadcast 1,068 episodes. Gleason's gig was far shorter -- far, far shorter. He played irritable bus driver Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners, considered one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. Though the show's influence and legacy loom large, it wasn't actually on the air very long. Gleason and his co-stars (Audrey Meadows, Art Carney, and Joyce Randolph) made just 39 episodes of The Honeymooners, which premiered October 1, 1955, and was canceled September 22 of the following year.
Elly May Clampett (Donna Douglas) and Jane Hathaway (Nancy Culp) compete in a beauty pageant on "The Beverly Hillbillies," 1964.
"Tragedy is when I cut my finger; comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die." Mel Brooks said that, and this still from The Beverly Hillbillies is a perfect example. If you were a model, or an actress, in 1964, and had to go up against Donna Douglas in some sort of beauty competition, you'd probably lose. You just would -- Elly May Clampett was just one of the hottest babes on TV, for 8 years running, end of story. That would have been tragic. But comedy happens when we get to watch, from a distance, Jane Hathaway (played by Nancy Culp) try desperately to hold her own next to Elly May in a competition to find the "Queen of Beverly Hills." There she is, poor Miss Hathaway, tumbling into the open sewer. And its funny because it's not happening to us.
George Carlin hosts the premiere of "Saturday Night Live" in 1975.
George Carlin was the host of Saturday Night Live's premiere episode, which aired live on October 11, 1975. The show was actually called NBC's Saturday Night, in order to avoid legal conflict with ABC, which only weeks earlier had launched a comedy show called Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell. Even though the two shows did not air at the same time (Cosell's started at 8 pm), there was a clear rivalry; NBC's "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" was a parody of Cosell's cast, which called themselves the "Prime Time Players." Cosell's show was canceled in 1976, and the NBC program renamed itself Saturday Night Live in 1977. Three of Cosell's "prime time"-ready staff -- Bill Murray, Brian Doyle Murray, and Christopher Guest -- ended up joining the Not Ready For Prime Time Players.
Gina Lollobrigida in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," 1956.
In the 1950s, Gina Lollobrigida was Italy's top female star -- just ask Gina Lollobrigida. In her heyday, Lollobrigida was often compared to Sophia Loren, but Gina was having none of it. "We are as different as a fine racehorse and a goat," she said. On another occasion, when Loren asserted that her bustline was superior to Lollobrigida's, Gina shot back with the criticism that "Sophia Loren plays peasants. I play ladies." In this still from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which Lollobrigida played the kindhearted gypsy Esmeralda opposite Anthony Quinn's Quasimodo, the actress is looking a bit, well, peasant-y. A lady among peasants, perhaps?
Hanging at the pool, 1967.
Whoa, these ladies sure are enjoying themselves, aren't they? Well, maybe not by modern standards, but in 1967 this was a good time. Their high-waisted two-piece cotton swimsuits featured bottoms that resemble diapers, but bikini technology was still relatively new. And three of them can't put their heads in the water for fear of ruining their carefully sculpted coiffures. There's a bit of wind, as indicated by the hair of the girl at right, but not a single hair is out of place for the beehive/pompadour trio. And dig the lipstick -- you just can't go swimming without lipstick, can you? Safety first.
Sherry Jackson as Andrea the android in episode 7 of "Star Trek", 1966.
Gosh, Sherry Jackson sure looks nice in her colorful and revealing futuristic space garb, doesn't she? Don't get too excited, Charlie -- she's an android named Andrea, and this shot is from episode 7 of Star Trek (aired October 20, 1966), "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" In the episode, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) wrestles with a question that is still on our minds 50 years later: Is it OK to make out with a sexy robot? In classic Kirk fashion, he wrestles with the question quite physically, using his arms, hands and lips in an embrace that leaves Andrea confused. That's the magic of Captain Kirk -- the guy is so good that even a lady robot will fall for his charms.
Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant rocking out at Earl's Court, 1975.
Following the conclusion of Led Zeppelin's North American tour in 1975, the band returned to their native England, bringing some 40 tons of stage and lighting equipment with them. Led Zeppelin committed to play three nights at Earl's Court Arena in London; when all the tickets sold out in four hours, two more dates were added. The five-night residency (May 17, 18, 23, 24, 25) was unprecedented for a rock band, and the three-hour-plus shows are considered a high point for the band as a live act, much like the album they were promoting, Physical Graffiti, was (arguably) the band's creative peak in the recording studio.
Joey Ramone and Debbie Harry making "Mutant Monster Beach Party." Photo by Tom Hearn, 1977.
Issue #15 of Punk magazine, from July/August 1978, was almost completely given over to a photo comic called "Mutant Monster Beach Party." The story featured pictures of real people from the New York music scene, with captions and speech balloons added. Joey Ramone, Debbie Harry and Andy Warhol were the most famous participants; also along for the ride were Peter Wolf (of the J. Geils Band), Chris Stein (of Blondie), John Cale (of the Velvet Underground), and window dresser Victor Hugo. Marlon Brando, Annette Funicello, and Peter Frampton all made involuntary cameo appearances. The whole thing was based on a story by Legs McNeil and "directed" by John Holmstrom, both of whom were founding editors of Punk.
Jon Bon Jovi in his short shorts and his Jack Daniels t-shirt, 1980s.
Who wears short shorts? Jon Bon Jovi wears short shorts! The Bon Jovi frontman was a sex symbol in the '80s, thanks to his shaggy locks, winning smile, and a neverending stream of hit singles off of the chart-topping albums Slippery When Wet and New Jersey. That's the conventional wisdom, anyway -- but this picture has us wondering whether it was really all about the thighs. That's a lot of thigh he's showing thanks to the high-and-tight Daisy Dukes he's wearing. But wait -- should Daisy Dukes have a different name when they're worn by a man? Should they be called ... Jon Bon Jovis?
Loni Anderson always looked great, didn't she?
Loni Anderson is best known for her portrayal of Jennifer Marlowe, a receptionist at a radio station, on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, which ran from 1978-82. But Jennifer was so much more than a receptionist. Her primary job was really to prevent the bumbling station manager Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump) from ever having to talk to anyone, and she did it well -- even delivering the sad (though totally fake) news that Mr. Carlson had died, if necessary. She was diplomatic in fending off the amateur flirting of the station's DJs, and adept at cleaning up the messy situations they inevitably caused. All in all, a smooth operator and steadying influence at WKRP.
Marilyn Monroe entertaining American troops on her USO tour through Korea in 1954.
Fresh from her honeymoon in Japan with baseball player Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe visited Korea in February 1954 to entertain the American troops there. Monroe performed 10 shows in four days, and considered the experience a turning point in her career. It "was the best thing that ever happened to me," she later said. "I never felt like a star before in my heart. It was so wonderful to look down and see a fellow smiling at me." In total, she performed for about 100,000 grateful soldiers, singing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" and other song she'd made famous, and in the process overcoming a nagging anxiety -- stage fright.
Natalie Wood at her home in 1957.
Actress Natalie Wood was just 19 years old when this photo was taken, but she'd already had a career most thespians would envy. She'd begun acting at age 5, and her career as a child star included the watched and re-watched Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street (1947). Her transition into more grown-up roles started with a bang, playing opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), a performance that earned her an Oscar nomination. Other highlights included a small but memorable part in John Ford's The Searchers (1956), then the title role in Marjorie Morningstar (1958). But a preponderance of "girlfriend" roles in unremarkable films had some critics wondering whether she was "washed up" by 1960. Then came Splendor in the Grass (1961), in which she played opposite Warren Beatty under the direction of Elia Kazan, a film that kicked off a half-decade of commerical and critical success for Wood.
Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy, stars of "The Hardy Boys Mysteries," which aired from 1977 to 1979.
The crime-solving brothers known as the Hardy Boys have been with us since 1927, when the first three books about them (The Tower Treasure, The House on the Cliff, and The Secret of the Old Mill) were published. The characters had been around for 50 years, sleuthing their way through 56 books, when ABC aired its first episode of The Hardy Boys Mysteries, starring Parker Stevenson as Frank Hardy and Shaun Cassidy as Joe. The show was officially called The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries in its first season, as it alternated episodes featuring the crime-solving brothers with ones about their crime-solving female friend. The Nancy Drew character wasn't quite as old as the Hardy Boys, having been created in 1930 to appeal to young female readers.
Pink Floyd concert from a barge in the harbor of Venice, Italy (1989.
Pink Floyd's 1989 tour was a massive spectacle that attracted huge crowds. The band had been on hiatus since Roger Waters left in 1983, and by now the public was hungry for Pink Floyd, with or without Waters. But when the band booked a show in the Piazza San Marco, in Venice, Italy, there wasn't too much cheering from residents, who feared the sound and the crowds might damage the city's art and architecture. Pink Floyd made the fairly considerate move to play instead from a barge out in the water, and to cut their volume from the usual 100 decibels down to 60. Still, the episode chafed Venetians, who gave their local politicans hell over the days afterward. Ultimately, the mayor and the entire city council resigned.
The daughter who'll be a princess and her hot mom: Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds in 1972.
From the moment Carrie Fisher stashed the Death Star plans in a droid, she became a star -- and for people of a certain age, she was THE female star. The original Star Wars movies -- with so many toys and tie-ins -- dominated youth culture, and there was only one Princess Leia. (Actually, there was really only one female character, period, in all three movies.) But the generation that loved Leia might not have known so much about her mother -- the accomplished and extremely attractive actress Debbie Reynolds, who was nominated for an Oscar in 1964 for her performance in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Carrie is about 15 or 16 in this picture, and her mom is around 40.
Raquel Welch played Wonder Woman?
Who was TV's first Wonder Woman? Sheesh, everybody knows that -- it was Kathy Lee Crosby, who played the DC Comics superheroine in a 1974 made-for-TV movie that served as a pilot for a possible TV series. ABC reportedly found the ratings to be "respectable but not exactly wondrous," and declined to pursue a series starring Crosby. The network went back to the drawing board, developing a series that more closely resembled the character created in 1941 by William Moulton Marston. ABC cast a new lead as well, who became THE Wonder Woman: Lynda Carter. So when did Raquel Welch play Wonder Woman? Raquel Welch never played Wonder Woman. This is a promotional still from the 1967 film Bedazzled, to which some diligent Welch fan has added Lynda Carter's costume. Interesting idea, but a fake.
Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate on their wedding day in 1968.
Here's a picture that makes you think of what might have been. On January 20, 1968, the young and very clearly talented director Roman Polanski married the young and extremely promising actress and model Sharon Tate. Polish-born Polanski had just finished filming Rosemary's Baby (1968), which would be released later that year and is considered one of the greatest horror films of all time. Tate's latest movie, The Valley of the Dolls (1967), was in theaters, and her performance in it would earn her a Golden Globe nomination as Most Promising Newcomer. The newlyweds seemed to have everything going for them, until the night of August 9, 1969, when Sharon and four other people were brutally murdered at their home in Los Angeles by individuals taking instructions from cult leader Charles Manson.
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, September 5, 1976.
This photo was snapped at a music festival in Austin, Texas, called Sunday Break II, on September 5, 1976. Fleetwood Mac had released an eponymous album a year and a half earlier featuring these two dynamic new members, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. It had taken the public a long time to dig the "new" Mac, but on the strength of songs like "Rhiannon" and "Landslide," the Fleetwood Mac LP had finally -- the week this picture was taken -- reached #1 on the Billboard album chart. Not only that, the band had finished recording the follow-up, Rumours, just the previous month. If the public had finally come around to liking the Fleetwood Mac album, it seemed a fair bet that they were gonna love Rumours -- and they did.
Street style from Swinging London: Valerie Leon shows us how it's done.
Actress Valerie Leon was a beautiful actress in the right place at the right time -- the Swinging London scene of the late 1960s -- and plenty of the right movies, but never quite in the right role. Her highlights were undoubtedly her Bond Girl moment in the (non-canon) 007 film Never Say Never Again, and her starring role in the Hammer Horror film Blood From the Mummy's Tomb. Otherwise, she specialized in comedy, appearing frequently as a temptress the "Carry On" series of British comedy films. For a quick-hit example of Valerie's appeal, look up the '70s TV commercials for Hai Karate cologne, in which the sultry Leon repeatedly goes wild for a nerd who has applied the (low-budget) manly scent.
Suzi Quatro rockin' her leather bikini, 1970s.
Detroit-born Suzi Quatro was a hugely successful rock musician in the '70s, and an inspiration to female rockers including Jone Jett, Chryssie Hynde, the Go-Go's and Courtney Love, which may be news to many American listeners. The performance of her debut single, "Rolling Stone," released in 1972, set the precedent, failing to make any chart in any country -- except Portugal, where it went to #1. "Can the Can" (1973) her second single, went to #1 in the U.K., Australia, and Germany -- and stalled at #56 on the U.S. chart. "48 Crash" (1973) went to #3 in the U.K., #2 in Germany, #1 in Australia -- and failed to chart in the States. You get the idea. Her one bona fide U.S. hit was the 1978 duet with Chris Norman, "Stumblin' In," which reached #4 on the Billboard chart.
The band Kiss taking a stroll through New York, 1970s.
Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss were the four sons of New York who made up the then-mysterious group Kiss. But for all their platinum-selling albums and sold-out live shows, they could walk down any street in the city they wanted and hardly be noticed -- as long as they weren't wearing their trademark makeup and costumes. With the face paint, the leather, the spandex, the faux-armor, the ridiculous boots -- that was a different story. When in makeup and costume, each band member ceases to be a Gene or a Paul and becomes the mythical persona of his dreams -- well, that's the idea, anyway. Simmons is "The Demon" and Stanley is "The Starchild;" former members Frehley and Criss became, respectively, "The Spaceman" (or "Space Ace") and "The Catman."
The glorious Gilda Radner, 1977.
Gilda Radner was one of seven original cast members of Saturday Night Live; in fact, she was the first of the "Not Ready For Prime Time Players" selected. Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris, Jane Curtin, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and Dan Aykroyd filled out the lineup that made its debut on October 11, 1975 (the show was then called NBC's Saturday Night). Radner ws known for skewering TV personalities; some of her characters were based on real people (her "Baba Wawa" was a direct satire of Barbara Walters) and some, like commentators Roseanne Roseannadanna and Emily Litella, were made up. In a saga that rocked the comedy community, Radner died from ovarian cancer in 1989, at age 42.
Tommy Lee Jones as Doolittle Lynn in "Coal Miner's Daughter," 1980.
The 1980 film Coal Miner's Daughter tells the life story of country singer Loretta Lynn. It's a warts-and-all tale that depicts Loretta (played by Sissy Spacek) and her husband Doolittle Lynn (played by Tommy Lee Jones) through good times and bad. And there were bad times -- Doolittle's behavior toward Loretta was at times abusive; he drank too much; and he cheated on her. But Loretta and Doolittle stayed married for nearly 50 years, until his death at age 69. He had his faults -- but Loretta fed off of Doolittle's relentless belief in her talent and career. "He thought I was something special, more special than anyone else in the world, and never let me forget it," she wrote in an autobiography. "That belief would be hard to shove out the door. Doo was my security, my safety net."
Tony Curtis and Sharon Tate on the set of "Don’t Make Waves" (1967).
Sharon Tate's career was tragically brief, with a trajectory that portended greatness. From 1963 to 1965, she made 12 appearances on The Beverly Hillbillies as recurring character Janet Trego. By 1967, she was making big movies with established co-stars, including Deborah Kerr and David Niven in the chiller Eye of the Devil (1966) and Tony Curtis and Claudia Cardinale in the comedy Don't Make Waves (1967). Another 1967 release, Valley of the Dolls, earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer (she lost to The Graduate's Katharine Ross). We will never know how successful Tate might have been. In the early hours of August 9, 1969, Tate and four others were murdered at the Los Angeles home she shared with husband Roman Polanski, who was in London at the time. Sharon Tate was 26, and pregnant, at the time of her death.
Who had a pair of these sandals growing up in the '70s?
Yes, this plain wooden sandal was a craze in the '70s. It's the Dr. Scholl's "Exercise Sandal," clop-clop-cloppy footwear said to give your stems an extra workout. Advertisements bragged that the shoes "can make legs go from all right to dynamite. They're smooth real wood -- with the toe grip that makes toes grab on. And the more they grab on, the more your leg muscles flex up ... shape up -- lean and beautiful. So slip into the comfort of contoured wood. Soft, cushioned leather. It's the comfortable way to walk your legs pretty." Dr. Scholl's Exercise Sandals are still made today, and even see the occasional spike in popularity.
And now we check in with WKRP's Les Nessman for some bad news.
Viewers of the TV sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, about a fictional radio station in Ohio, will remember Les Nessman as the bungling newsman, relic of a different era. Les (played by Richard Sanders) clings to his identity and function as a straight-up news man on a station that has changed to a rock-music format. It doesn't help that Les is terrible at his job. He's unable to pronounce certain words (doing a whole story on chihuahas but calling them "chi-hoowa-hoowas") and he has a habit of causing disaster when he goes on location to report stories. His co-workers know he's a drag on the changes they're trying to make, and even complain about him on air with the subversive slogan "WKRP: More Music and Les Nessman." As you'd expect, Les doesn't take the hint.
Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins, daytime TV's favorite vampire, on "Dark Shadows."
We don't tend to think of daily soap operas as high cinematic art. The grind of producing five scripted episodes per week results in functional, formulaic entertainment. But Dark Shadows was no ordinary soap opera. Its half-hour episodes aired weekdays in in the late afternoon, but its drama was more interesting and fun than the usual soap opera fare of betrothals and betrayals. Dark Shadows took place in Collinsport, Maine, and its plotlines involved vampires, ghosts, werewolves, zombies and time travel. The show featured a gothic ambiance from the start, but didn't click with viewers until 10 months into its run, when Jonathan Frid showed up as the 200-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins.
ZZ Top playing at a high school prom in Texas, 1970.
What if ZZ Top played your prom? How cool would that be? Well, in May 1970, the students of Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School in Orange, Texas, had just that privilege. Of course, ZZ Top wasn't the classic-rock radio staple they are today; in fact the band had only formed in December of the previous year, but the lineup that played at the prom -- Dusty Hill, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard -- is still together today. They hadn't written or recorded "La Grange," "Tush," "Cheap Sunglasses," "Gimme All Your Lovin'," "Sharp Dressed Man," "Legs," or "Sleeping Bag" yet, but still -- there are people out there who can say "ZZ Top played my prom." Can you claim such a brush with future celebrity?
Adam West as Batman in 1966.
Was the late Adam West, who died in 2017, the worst Batman ever -- or was he the best? The Batman TV series on which he starred from 1966-68 was hugely popular in its day. But it was derided as campy and corny, at best a guilty pleasure. The rise of the "Dark Knight"-style Batman in the '80s made West's Batman seem even more of an aberration. But perhaps we've realized that there's room for both -- there was something brilliant about West's Batman, just as there is something brilliant about the Frank Miller-influenced character we see in movies today. In 2013, DC Comics launched a title nobody could have predicted just a few years earlier: Batman '66, featuring the continuing adventures of Adam West's Batman.
Bob Denver, Dawn Wells, and Alan Hale Jr. on the set of "Gilligan's Island," 1964.
Do you know the back story of Gilligan and the Skipper, two of the main characters on Gilligan's Island? The two were in the U.S. Navy together, serving on a destroyer, and Gilligan saved the Skipper's life. That would explain why the Skipper always puts up with and forgives Gilligan, no matter how incompetent or annoying Gilligan might be. And Gilligan, an one way, is the original Kramer. Like Kramer of Seinfeld, Gilligan had just one name, and viewers don't even know whether it's his first or last name. Of course, Seinfeld viewers did eventually learn Kramer's full name (Cosmo Kramer), but Gilligan's has never been definitively revealed.
Buddy Ebsen as Jed Clampett and Donna Douglas as Elly May Clampett in "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1962–1971).
When The Beverly Hillbillies first aired in 1962, critics panned the show -- from its theme song (sung by Jerry Scoggins, backed by Flatt & Scruggs) to its celebration of ignorance to its corny one-liners, it just seemed too lowbrow to appeal to the sophisticated American TV viewer. They were, of course completely wrong, having misjudged both the show and the American TV viewer. The series managed to achieve a balance -- sure, you were supposed to laugh at the hicks, but you were also supposed to root for them when they exposed the hypocrisy of high (falutin') society. The result was legitimate satire -- something that hadn't been seen on TV sitcoms -- and the critics just failed to catch on.
Evel Knievel, 1975.
Some of the best nicknames come from the slammer. Robert Craig Knievel Jr., born in 1938 in Butte, Montana, was by his late teens a daredevil obsessed with cars and motorcycles, and a high school dropout who didn't have a job. It was probably inevitable that he'd do something to end up in jail -- like crash his motorcycle while being chased by police. That night in the jailhouse, Knievel was placed in a cell next to one holding William Knofel, a local ne'er-do-well known as "Awful" Knofel. The nickname wrote itself -- Robert Craig was thereafter known as Evel Knievel. It was just the sort of flourish he needed in the career that followed -- Evel Knievel became a global celebrity for his ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps over cars, buses and the Caesars Palace fountains in Las Vegas.
Helen Mirren aged 18, between rehearsals for the National Youth Theater's "Antony and Cleopatra" (1965).
Here's a great piece of mentoring advice: Save your bad reviews and rejection letters. Someday you will look back on them and laugh, and others, appreciating you as a genius, will laugh with you. In 1965, a 19-year-old Helen Mirren took to the stage in the National Youth Theater's production of Antony and Cleopatra. A reviewer for the London Gazetta was unimpressed: "In 'Antony and Cleopatra,' the actors just weren't big enough (and old enough) for the parts. ... If the 19-year-old Cleopatra, Helen Mirren, had appeared on stage wearing a 'I Love Ringo' button, she would not have seemed much out of character. Not that she was bad, she was just wrong." What fools these critics be.
Gina Lollobrigida in costume for "Les Belles du Nuit" ("Beauties of the Night," 1952).
When Howard Hughes came calling in 1950, offering young Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida a chance at a Hollywood career, she turned him down. She stayed in Europe, and worked in Italian- and French-language films that nobody in the U.S. particularly cared to watch, including the French production Les Belles du Nuit (1952). So why didn't she take Hughes up on his job offer back in 1950? She later explained to Variety that it was not really a job offer, it was something more: "Hughes wanted me to go to Hollywood because he had seen some very sexy pictures. He knew I was married, but at the last minute instead of sending two plane tickets he just sent one. When I got off the plane there were already divorce lawyers waiting for me at the airport. I was taken to the Town House Hotel, which was miles away from Hollywood. There was a mansion at my disposal, but I didn’t dare go there because I would have been alone [with him] and I didn’t trust him that much … so I decided to come back."
Madonna smiling for the camera in 1978.
Madonna Ciccone moved to New York City in 1978, intending to become a professional dancer. In her first couple years in the Big Apple, she shifted her focus to music, singing and playing guitar and drums in bands. (From 1979 into the early '80s, she was the drummer for The Breakfast Club, a group that would have a top-10 single years later.) In '78-'79, she was figuring out her focus, her priorities and her style in a city that was afflicted by crime and teeming with creativity. In a series of sittings with photographer Michael McDonnell, the 20-year-old Ms. Ciccone -- soon to be known by her first name alone, Madonna -- experimented with numerous different looks, something she would continue to do through the present day.
Marlo Thomas in the “That Girl” era, 1960s to '70s.
That Girl, the TV sitcom that ran from 1965-71, has been hailed as an early example of feminism on the small screen. Its protagonist, Ann Marie, played by Marlo Thomas, was in her 20s and unmarried, and though she had a boyfriend she wasn't in any hurry to get married. Ann Marie enjoyed living on her own in the big city, pursuing odd jobs while trying to launch her acting career -- June Cleaver she was not. That Girl was also on the leading edge of fashion, with Thomas sporting younger, fresher looks, such as jumpsuits and short shift dresses, than her primetime TV competition
Sean Connery at age 17, in 1948.
Q: Is this what Sean Connery, the future cinematic embodiment of Her Majesty's Secret Service, looked like in high school? A: Trick question! Yes, this is Sean Connery at approximately 17 years old, but he left school at age 13, so this is not a "high school" photo. At this stage in his life, he was either finishing his three-year career as a milkman or beginning his time in the Royal Navy, which also lasted just three years, thanks to stomach ulcers. After the navy, Connery worked as a manual laborer and got into bodybuilding, eventually placing third in the Tall Man's Division of the 1953 Mr. Universe competition. A casting director spotted him at the contest, which led to work as a stage actor... television followed... then movie roles... and then the break of his career, when he was cast in the 1962 spy thriller Dr. No as Agent 007 Bond -- James Bond.
Shooting some footage in the badlands of Australia for the original "Mad Max" (1979).
They don't make 'em like they used to -- and in fact, nobody ever really made a film like they made the original Mad Max. Director George Miller employed guerrilla filmmaking techniques, shooting in small towns and on desolate roadways outside Melbourne, Australia, without permits. When the police got wind of the production that was going on behind their backs, they actually decided to help the crew by closing down roads and providing escorts -- Australian hospitality, we suppose. In this photo, stunt rider Terry Gibson speeds down the road on one of the MFP (Main Force Patrol) motorcycles seen in the film, while cinematographer David Eggby films at his back.
Stevie Nicks on stage during a Fleetwood Mac concert (with Christine McVie in the background) at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium, 1978.
Could anyone hold a candle to Stevie Nicks in the late '70s? She was undoubtedly the queen of California rock -- her high standing based on mystique as much as output. She'd spent the first half of the '70s in a commercially-unsuccessful duo with Lindsey Buckingham (called Buckingham Nicks); when the couple joined Fleetwood Mac, split lead vocal duties three ways with Christine McVie. In fact, Nicks only sang lead on two tracks on Fleetwood Mac (1975) and four tracks on Rumours (1977), but it was enough. Nobody could match or mistake those edgy, husky, nasal Nicks vocals -- and her west-coast-gypsy wardrobe, concocted with the help of her stylist, sealed the deal.
The beautiful Ann-Margret in 1966.
The '60s just wouldn't have been the '60s without Ann-Margret. Her career cooled down in the late '70s, and today she's less well known than many of her contemporaries, but in 1966 she was white-hot. Hot in terms of demand and bankability -- and just plain hot. She was gifted with looks and talent, a classic singing/dancing/acting triple-threat. And perhaps because of a Scandinavian free-spiritedness (she was born in Valsjöbyn, Sweden), Ann-Margret embraced sexpot roles that sound risque even today. In 1964, she held her own with co-star Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas and received a Golden Globe nomination for Bye Bye Birdie; then she was off to the races with Kitten With a Whip (1964), The Pleasure Seekers (1964), and The Swinger (1966). In the same period, she played opposite two of the studliest actors in Hollywood, Steve McQueen (The Cincinnati Kid, 1965) and Dean Martin (Murderer's Row, 1966).
The Runaways in 1975, consisting of Micki Steele, a 16-year-old Sandy West and a 17 year-old Joan Jett.
No Cherie Currie. No Lita Ford. No Jackie Fox. This is the original lineup of legendary all-girl hard rock band The Runaways, who in 1975 were a three-piece. Bassist/vocalist Micki Steele was at most 20 years old in this shot; drummer Sandy West was 16 and guitarist Joan Jett was 17. Micki Steele was fired early on, and three other group members were recruited, creating the classic 5-member Runaways lineup. Though Joan Jett would be the most successful solo ex-Runaway following the group's 1979 breakup, and Lita Ford's career was notable, the briefly-employed Micki Steele didn't disappear. In the early '80s, she joined up with a then-unknown all-female group called The Bangles.
Vincent Price and Alice Cooper drinking and telling secrets in 1975.
In many ways, they were an unlikely pair -- rock star Alice Cooper (born Vincent Furnier) was 37 years younger than scary-movie icon Vincent Price. And although Price's movies were frightening, they were nowhere near as shocking as Cooper's loud, raw, and bloody stage act. But when Alice Cooper was recording his first solo album (his previous work had been with a group that was, confusingly, also named Alice Cooper), Welcome to My Nightmare (1975), he felt it could use a little more flash. It was a concept album, intended to be theatrical -- sort of a slasher-film cousin of a strait-laced Broadway musical -- and some voiceover work by Price proved to be the perfect addition. Price played a character called "The Curator," delivering the memorable line "And here, my prize, the Black Widow, isn’t she lovely…" on the track "Black Widow."