Heartwarming Moments That Show Just How Beautiful The Past Really Was
By Jack Ripley | March 14, 2023
A Pacific Southwest Airline flight attendant assisting a passenger in her standard uniform in 1973.
Much of history consists of conflict because unfortunately, there can be no change or real growth without it. But there is always room for compassion in there too, in fact, it's necessary. They are two sides of the same coin. Compassion, laughter, fond memories are extremely important in life, without compassion there is no incentive to grow in the first place–no inspiration. Compiled here are some of the more of the lighthearted moments in history. Iconic figures just starting out, happy children on the streets of Paris, and acts of transformation in Germany just after the Second World War. All these faces... inspiring. All these moments... heartwarming.
The hiring standards for stewardesses back in the 1970s was insane. These women were held to extremely high beauty standards even though looks have nothing to do with one's ability to hand out snacks and pillows. She had to be slim, pretty, well groomed and as can be seen in this photograph, she also had to dress like a go-go dancer. This may not seem like a positive image but looking back at how things were, illuminate just how far we've come. Sure sexism still exists, but great strides have been made and continue to make sure this kind of blatant exploitation of women doesn't happen in your average workplace. You certainly won't see this kind of attire on a stewardess today.
Dolly Parton lookalike contest, 1979.
Now, as creepy and somewhat alarming as this moment from 1979 is, this nor any other Dolly Parton lookalike contest will ever compare to the one Dolly herself entered and lost to a male drag queen.
The Country Music icon explained, "They had a bunch of Chers and Dollys that year, so I just over-exaggerated: made my beauty mark bigger, the eyes bigger, the hair bigger, everything," she said, laughing. "All these beautiful drag queens had worked for weeks and months getting their clothes. So I just got in the line and I just walked across, and they just thought I was some little short gay guy... but I got the least applause."
On your mark, get set, go spray and tease that hair!! Sporting beehive hair do's (or don'ts) back in 1964 while running a race.
It was during the spring of 1964, that Sports Illustrated decided to mix things up a bit on their covers. On April 20th, they went from the same old to these lovely beauties with their big hair blown out, in full faces of makeup, crouched in sprint positions and ready to rock. Janis Rinehart (foreground), Paula Walter (middle), and Jeanne Ellison were the very first female track athletes in the U.S. to land the cover– and their look was not just for the lens.
These women were part of the Texas Track Club, a small group of young female sprinters who used style as a way to get others excited about the sport. Of course, their opponents always mocked and underestimated them, but they were no joke.
They were pioneers in women's track, they helped make it popular. After landing that cover, their number of male spectators (with binoculars) reached new heights. They were good, their flash brought people in, but their abilities and sportsmanship kept them coming.
Elizabeth Taylor and her husband Eddie Fisher attending a boxing match in New York, 1960
Liz Taylor and Eddie Fisher, the couple who sparked what’s known as Hollywood's great betrayal. Eddie Fisher was married to Liz Taylor’s best friend Debbie Reynolds when they began their affair.
After Taylor’s husband, Mike Todd died in a plane crash, Fisher stepped in to comfort her. He walked out on Debbie and their kids, leaving her to raise them alone. Taylor’s reaction to it all was simply, “You can’t break up a happy marriage, I’m not taking anything away from Debbie Reynolds because she never really had it.”
Aerial view of a Pink Floyd concert in Venice, Italy (1989).
When the band arrived in Venice back in 1989, they were met by over 200,000 Italian fans. They ended up performing on a floating platform in the middle of the Venetian lagoon. As can be seen in the photograph above, the crowds worked around St. Mark’s Square, filling in every space they could including in the adjoining Piazzetta, and waterfront Riva degli Schiavoni, and even front row seats from boats.
Angelina Jolie playing the guitar as a teenager in 1990.
Pictured here is a young Angelina Jolie at a time in her life when her career was just budding. The young actress was staring in her brother's film school projects in the early 90's and by 1993 she had landed her first professional role in the low-budget film Cyborg 2. Soon after came the classic tech-thriller Hackers (1995), in which she had a leading role. After that, the parts just kept coming in and by the end of the 90's she was already an academy award winning actress for her performance in the drama Girl, Interrupted (1999).
Princess Diana as a 19-year-old Kindergarten teacher in 1980.
12 Year old Warwick Davis posing with Carrie Fisher while filming "Star Wars VI Return of the Jedi" in 1982.
This 1982 classic photo of a 12-year old Warwick Davis with Carrie Fisher was taken while filming "Star Wars VI Return of the Jedi".
The now 46-year-old actor has released several photos from those days and has paid tribute to Carrie. He went on Good Morning Britain and credited her with paving the way for strong female protagonists. After Fisher’s death, Davis reminisced about working with her and discussing her lasting impact on the film industry. On her performance,
According to Davis “Carrie seemed to embrace the character and embrace the notoriety that came along with playing such an iconic character like Princess Leia” he went on to say, “She really paved the way for other very strong leading ladies in movies.”
Serena and Venus Williams with former President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy in 1990.
Pictured here are little Venus and Serena Williams posing with former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy. This photo was taken at a Nancy Reagan Tennis Event on Oct. 6, 1990. This was at just the budding stages of what would become the Williams sisters’ career.
Both Venus and Serena Williams grew up to be highly successful professional tennis players after having trained from an early age with their parents Richard Williams and Oracene Price.
Deep Purple hit ‘Smoke on the Water’ was inspired by a Swiss fire that burned down a concert hall.
The fire which inspired the “Deep Purple” hit took place in Montreux, Switzerland on December 4, 1971. The fire broke out during a show at the Montreux Casino forever linking it to rock history. The concert was Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention and about 80 minutes in, someone shot off a flare gun. It hit the wooden roof and began to spread rapidly.
Zappa warned everybody to calmly make their way to the exits and the staff helped escort people out. "They were very organized," Zappa said in an interview shortly after. "I was just lucky that many of [the fans] were able to speak English because I didn't know what to say to them in French."
Diane Lane and director Francis Ford Coppola on the set of Rumble Fish. (1982)
Pictured here are Diane Lane and director Francis Ford Coppola on the set of Rumble Fish. Rumble Fish came out back in 1983 and is based on the novel of the same name by S. E. Hinton. The story follows the relationship dynamic between Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke), a former gang leader who has changed his ways and his feisty teen brother, Rusty James (Matt Dillon), who wants the gang life.
Diane Lane, who Andy Warhol once proclaimed as, "the undisputed female lead of Hollywood's new rat pack," played the role of Patty, the girlfriend of Rusty James. Patty is portrayed as one tough cookie, having once gone after a girl with a broken bottle because she got flirty with Rusty James.
Photograph of Twiggy in 1970.
Lesley Lawson, more commonly known as Twiggy (derived from her slim figure) was pretty much the first supermodel and was dubbed "The Face of 1966." She also had a singing and acting career but modeling is where she would really shine.
She signed to a modeling contract as a teenager; her wide-eyed innocence, bobbed hair, and miniskirts culminated in the look of the swinging sixties. She stayed in fashion and entertainment her entire career and aged extremely well. She went on to launch her own line, the "Twiggy London" collection and she remains on the forefront of fashion today.
Elton John performing in Central Park dressed as Donald Duck, 1980.
It's no secret that Sir Elton John has always had a flair for theatrics. So naturally, when costume designer offered a custom Donald Duck outfit for his 1980 Central Park gig, he readily accepted.
The concert was massive, over 400,000 people filled New York's Central Park to watch Elton John and his band perform for two-plus hours. It was one of the biggest shows of his career and yet, all most people vividly remember is the duck suit.
Everybody say Cheese. Richard Pryor, David Letterman, Robin Williams and a lady all smiling for the camera.
Pictured here are Richard Pryor, David Letterman, Robin Williams. These fellow comedians were longtime friends. Williams loved helping out other comics when he could, especially those just starting out. This is why he got Letterman a job on Mork & Mindy, even though Letterman felt he had no business on the show.
"I met him at the Comedy Store [in Los Angeles], he and I were kids… we wanted to make people laugh… In those days we were working for free drinks…” Letterman later reminisced.
Pryor also hung out at the comedy store on Sunset when he first moved out to Los Angeles back in the seventies. That’s where he met Williams.
Harrison Ford & Steven Spielberg between takes (1980).
Pictured here are legendary director Steven Spielberg and actor Harrison Ford between takes on the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark back in 1980.
Star Wars, Witness, Patriot Games, Indiana Jones, Blade Runner, American Graffiti…. Harrison Ford has certainly scored some epic roles throughout his extensive career and he shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Having just finished up with Blade Runner 2049 and yet another Indiana Jones project. The future of Ford appears to be brimming with large-budget, action-packed hits (as usual).
Jaclyn Smith and Penny Marshall, Battle of the Network Stars, February 1977.
Pictured here are Jaclyn Smith and Penny Marshall, on Battle of the Network Stars, playing for team ABC in February of 1977.
The series aired on ABC but featured teams of TV stars from all three major networks competing against each other in sporting events. ABC, CBS, and NBC would gather their teams, choose a team leader and let the games commence.
Regular occurring events included swimming, kayaking, volleyball, golf, tennis, outdoor bowling, cycling, running, and 3-on-3 football There was also the baseball dunk, the obstacle course and a game of "Simon Says".
Jeff Bridges sported a Grizzly Adams look in the 70's.
This Grizzly Adams look Jeff Bridges rocks with pride secured his spot on the Best-Known Celebrity Beards List (yes that’s a real thing). Bridges has always embraced his facial hair at varying lengths over the years. Who could forget his Grizzly Adams of the 1970s, his disheveled Big Lebowski beard of the late 90’s, or the intense Bridges beard circa 2010 in "True Grit." Oh and let us not forget that time he went full Santa Claus and grew that exceptionally fluffy white puff across the front of his face. He’s no ZZ Top but his beard fame is well-deserved.
John Travolta dancing with Princess Diana at the 1985 White House State Dinner.
It was 1985 when President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy hosted a White House gala dinner in honor of Princess Diana and Prince Charles and Princess Diana. It was there this iconic photograph of movie star John Travolta and the beloved Princess Diana twirling across the dancefloor at this prestigious event.
Americans fascinated with the Royals', they followed their every move. When they first touched down on American soil, there were around 4,000 people at the airport just hanging out, hoping to catch a glimpse of the glamorous couple getting off the plane. Needless to say, this photo of the world’s favorite Princess and heartthrob of the time Travolta, immediately became pop culture gold.
Joni Mitchell ~1970.
Joni Mitchell went from singing in small nightclubs in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to becoming one of the most important and influential female recording artists of the late 20th century.
She drew influences from various sources: folk, pop, rock and even jazz. Her lyrics often reflected social and environmental ideals as well as giving voice to a wide range of complex inner emotions. It’s no wonder she received so many accolades throughout her career, including 9 Grammy Awards.
Kids flirting, Paris, c. 1949.
This charming photograph was taken on the streets of Paris in 1949 by Brassaï, the Hungarian–French photographer, writer, and filmmaker. In 1924, Halasz moved to Paris in 1924 and took a job as a journalist but he loved the city so much he’d often wander late at night, which is what led to his photography.
He was able to use his photos to supplement his articles for additional money, but eventually published entire collections on their own–The first of which was in 1933, entitled Paris de Nuit (Paris by Night). He rose to international fame in the 20th century and he is said to be one of few artists in Paris that were able to flourish between the World Wars.
Led Zeppelin performs at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco California... (June 2, 1973).
Meryl Streep in the 1970's.
Pictured here is a young Meryl Streep, back in the 1970s. This was around the time she made her film and stage debut and she’s been stunning audiences ever since. It seems she just doesn't have a bad performance in her, even in recent years she’s had numerous hits on her hands. The Devil Wears Prada, Into the Woods, and she currently has three films in the works: The Papers, currently in post-production and releasing this year. Mary Poppins Returns is also in post-production, but not coming out until 20118. And Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! Which will also be released in 2018.
Michael J Fox posing with his cat for a photo shoot in 1988.
Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney washing dishes in 1983.
In the McCartney household, it was an I cook, you clean kind of arrangement for the couple. Pictured here is King of Pop Michael Jackson, helping his pal Paul with his chores. Unfortunately, the two friends had a falling out not long after this was taken.
Sadly, Jackson bought ATV, the company that owned the rights to 251 Beatles songs and McCartney couldn’t afford to buy them back. As McCartney explained, "The trouble is I wrote those songs for nothing and buying them back at these phenomenal sums … I just can't do it."
The former Beatle told the New York Post, "I wrote [Jackson] a couple of letters and I said, 'Michael, don't you think that — even if I was just a writer on the payroll — after 30 years of being reasonably successful to this company that you now own, don't you think I could have a raise?” Jackson's reaction was "Oh Paul, that's just business." According to McCartney, "He won't even answer my letters, so we haven't talked and we don't have that great a relationship."
Polish actress Barbara Kwiatkowska-Lass holding a leopard cub, late 1950s early 1960's.
This adorable vintage photograph features the lovely Polish actress, Barbara Lass cuddling up with a gorgeous leopard cub. Barbara was raised in the Polish countryside but chose the glamorous life of a Hollywood actress after winning a competition called "Piekne dziewczyny na ekrany" ("Pretty Girls onto the Screens").
As part of the main prize, she landed the title role of "Ewa Bonecka" in the comedy Eve Wants to Sleep in 1958. It was during the filming that she met Roman Polanski, whom she later married. She left Poland in the 1960s, decided to go by the name Barbara Lass, and soon she was starring in major films.
Puppy love Fred Savage and a cute puppy on the set of The Wonder Years. (1989)
Pictured here is The Wonder Years star, Fred Savage cuddling his co-star for Season 3 episode 13, “The Powers That Be”. Or as it’s more commonly known as, "The Puppy Episode". In it, Kevin's grandfather pays the Arnold family a visit and decides to give Kevin a puppy. Of course he didn’t actually clear this living, breathing gift with Kevin’s parents so naturally tensions rise, family drama ensues, and lessons are learned. As per usual in The Wonder Years.
The Wonder Years pushed the boundaries of the sitcom format and utilized an entirely new mode of storytelling". Throughout the course of its run, the series won an impressive 22 awards and was nominated for an astounding 54 more.
Robert De Niro on the set of Raging Bull, 1980.
Robin Williams having a laugh after taping an episode of SNL with his then-wife Valerie in 1983. RIP
German Schoolgirl in an Allied-occupied Germany, Circa 1945
This vintage schoolhouse picture was taken in by Henry Burroughs in Berlin Germany, on September 29, 1945. It features a German schoolgirl writing on the blackboard during an English lesson. Her school was one of over 200 schools that were being maintained by the allied occupational government in the American sector of the German capital. Maintaining institutions of education was a standard for post-conflict nation-building.
The efforts put into rebuilding and transforming both Germany’s and Japan’s social, political, and economic systems after WWII has not been matched since. As of 1989, policy states societies should be “encouraged to transform themselves.”
Sean Connery and Rowan Atkinson, 1983.
Pictured here are actors Sean Connery and Rowan Atkinson, back in the 1983 James Bond movie Never Say Never Again. In this second adaptation of Ian Fleming's creation, (the first being in 1965 of the same name), Connery played the role of James Bond for the seventh and final time.
Appropriately enough, the storyline features an aging Bond brought back into the fold to investigate the theft of two nuclear weapons by SPECTRE. Connery was 52 at the time of filming, and it marked his return to character after taking a 12-year hiatus once wrapping up the film Diamonds Are Forever in 1971.
Solar eclipse viewers on the Empire State Building in 1932.
While this image does feel a little “film set-ish” it is an actual photograph of real-world people gathered on the observation deck of the Empire State Building back in 1932. They wanted to watch the of August 31, 1932, and there really is no better spot in New York City to do so. As you can see, the skywatchers are all dressed up for the event, even sporting hats and ties... or perhaps people were just always better dressed back then. In lieu of the proper solar-safe specs, you see many of the viewers squinting at the sun through a protective film.
Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1990.
Pictured here is the legendary musician Stevie Ray Vaughan, who, in spite of a fairly short-lived mainstream success before his untimely death, managed to become one of the most influential guitarists during the 1980s blues revival.
Vaughan was inspired by both, American and British blues-rock. He was meticulous and tended to favor clean amplifiers with high volume, and often combined several different amplifiers together and used effects pedals sparingly. He was crisp
Guitar World’s Chris Gill described Vaughan's guitar tone as “dry as a San Antonio summer and as sparkling clean as a Dallas debutante, the product of the natural sound of amps with ample clean headroom.”
Vaughan received several music awards during his lifetime and posthumously including earning six Grammy Awards, ten Austin Music Awards, and he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000. Then in 2014, he was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. He ranks as the twelfth greatest guitarist of all time according to Rolling Stone.
Thai women sporting the beehive hairdo in Amsterdam in 1963.
Women rocked some pretty big hair back in the 1960s, styles which became symbolic of social change. The bouffants and pompadours that had previously reigned were replaced by edgier looks like the beehive, the bombshell, and mop tops. Even men were craving a change and began opting for longer hairstyles and afros.
The Beatles acting as a backing band for a singer at the Cavern Club, Liverpool, 1962.
Having just formed two years prior in 1960, the Beatles were still a relatively small rock band but were making significant headway. They decided to play the “underground club scene” and embarked on several mini-tours in and around Britain. Sure we all know they went on to become one of the biggest rock bands in the world… they even coined their own term for the condition their very special breed of mega fans suffered from; "Beatlemania". It is heartwarming to see them back before all the fame and madness kicked in, which was only just one short year after this photo was taken.
The Garry Marshall Posse. Robin Williams, Ron Howard, Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, Henry Winkler and Pam Dawber (1979).
Pictured here are some of television’s most beloved actors: Robin Williams, Ron Howard, Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, Henry Winkler and Pam Dawber back in 1979. Or as they can fondly be referred to, “The Garry Marshall Posse”.
Featured front and center here is television's own genius, the prolific producer-writer-actor-director Garry Marshall. Marshall has a legacy that is both long and rich and these actors shared a big chunk of it with him. Not only did he write for the Van Dyke Show, but he also co-created favorites such as The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy.
He was the driving force behind family television comedies that were meant to make you happy, with simple and straightforward lessons. Marshall kept his shows warm, and full of wholesome fun and parents who always gave the best advice.
They're creepy and they're kooky...The Adams Family in 1964.
The Addams Family only aired for two seasons on ABC from 1964, to 1966, for a total of 64 episodes. It was in direct competition with The Munsters on CBS, which ran for the same two seasons but secured higher Nielsen ratings. Both show feature close families with decidedly macabre interests.
The Addams Family consisted of the very wealthy Gomez Addams (John Astin), his wife and obsession Morticia, née Frump (Carolyn Jones); their daughter Wednesday (Lisa Loring), and their son Pugsley (Ken Weatherwax). Extended family included the odd Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan), and Grandma (Blossom Rock).
Their gloomy but ornate mansion on Cemetery Lane was attended by servants: Lurch (Ted Cassidy), the intimidating and towering butler, and Thing which was really just Cassidy’s hand.
Bill Gates Mugshot (1977) taken in Albuquerque New Mexico after a traffic violation.
So here we have a seemingly amused Bill Gates being photographed by the Albuquerque, New Mexico police department back in 1977. The details of the arrest are unknown but allegedly the co-founder of Microsoft was arrested for a traffic violation… sounds a bit off, but okay. He had already been arrested two years prior for speeding and driving without a license. This time he still didn't have his license on him and he didn't come to a complete stop at a stop sign. The look on his face pretty much sums up the ridiculousness of it all. Best of all, someone later noticed the outline of Gates' mugshot matches the photo outlines provided on various Microsoft applications. Which is even more amazing than that spiffy collar on his shirt.
Bob Marley, Mick Jagger, & Peter Tosh June 1978.
Here we have a snapshot of Bob Marley, Mick Jagger, and Peter Tosh hanging out backstage at a Rolling Stones concert held at the Palladium in New York on June 19th, 1978.
Tosh was a Jamaican reggae musician; he Bob Marley, and Bunny Wailer made up the core members of the band The Wailers (1963–1976). Tosh went on to establish himself as successful solo artist. Bob Marley as we all know, remains one of the biggest names in the Reggae genre. And Mick Jagger is still going strong and remains one of the biggest names in Rock music history.
Cockney Pearly Kings and Queens from the East End of London in the 1960's.
Pearly Kings and Queens, also known as the ‘other Royals”, are a charitable tradition of working-class culture in London, England. Donning colorful feathered hats and pearl button suits, these Pearlies work to help those in need.
It began when orphan turned street sweeper and rat catcher, Henry Croft decided to mimic the attire of other sales and tradesmen in the Victorian London marketplace. Croft made his own version of their attention-grabbing wardrobe– covering an entire three-piece suit and top hat with pearl buttons to attract would-be clients. It worked.
He ended up getting a lot of attention and was soon earning more than enough money to support himself. Instead of ferreting his money away, he began donating much of it to charity, helping to fund the London orphanage where he grew up. This tradition continued after his death. Croft appointed a Pearly King and Queen before he died and the Pearlies have continued handing down their titles and duties in each supsequent generation.
David Bowie's mugshot; he was charged with possession of marijuana in 1976.
Music legend David Bowie got himself arrested while in upstate New York back in March of 1976. He was at a Rochester hotel after a concert with his friend Iggy Pop and two others when he got nabbed on a felony pot possession charge.
They only held him a few hours at the Monroe County jail before releasing him. This gem of a mugshot was actually taken by the Rochester Police Department three days after the arrest when Bowie appeared at City Court for arraignment.
Curls, Curls, Curls! Kenny G and Miles Davis with their curly do's back in the 80's.
The only thing better than all that hair is the painfully obvious side-eye Miles Davis is shooting Kenny G’s way. The two musicians were on the road together for many months at a time, and according to Kenny G, Davis didn’t talk all that much but he did pull one over on him and taught Kenny G a big lesson.
They had two shows scheduled in one night at Lincoln Center. Kenny G was opening up for Davis. After the first show, Davis paid Kenny a visit and said, “Man that was great. You were great. I’m going to open for you second show.”
So there Kenny G was thinking he finally ‘made it’ but by the time he got his chance to go back out on that stage, there were only 100 people left out of the 3,000 in original attendance.
“That guy knew what he was doing. He just didn’t want to stay there late.” Kenny G later said.
A train carved from the tip of a pencil by artist Cindy Chinn
It takes skill, love, and a whole lot of patience to carve something so detailed from a piece of pencil lead, and Cindy Chinn is the foremost pencil lead artist of the 21st century. On her site, Chinn writes that she can finish about four carvings in about a month, but it depends on the amount of detail that each train requires.
If you love these carvings, Chinn makes trains specifically for people, although she tries to make each one different from the last. She writes:
It’s hard to imagine but each engine is about 3/16″ tall (less than 5mm) and each engine is a different design. Some trains will have a trestle in the middle and in some cases I’ll add a caboose the end of the pencil. I like to make each one unique and try to find interesting pencils to work with.
Agatha Christie spent World War l in Torquay where she served as a nurse at the Red Cross Hospital in the Town Hall, which is when she began to write her first novel.
Before she’d set pen to paper or dreamt up a mystery, Agatha Christie served as a nurse and dispenser in World War 1. She was stationed in Torquay, England - the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the time. During her time in the war, Christie washed and took care of patients, and even cleaned up after amputations.
Of her time in the service Christie wrote, “I would wash [away] all the blood, and stick [the limb] in the furnace myself.” It’s clear to see why she leaned so heavily into the more macabre world of mystery than anything other literary genre.
Cat walking on a huge Victoria water lily pad in the Philippines, 1935. (Photograph by Alfred T. Palmer)
This ain’t your daddy’s lily pad, the Victoria water-lily is a giant plant that can grow up to 8 feet in diameter and have numerous sharp spines on the underside - although the record for these babies is 10 whopping feet in diameter. These plants aren’t just large, they can hold up to 65 pounds, which is why this cat is having no trouble traveling across the water.
Aside from being truly massive, these lilies also grow flowers that only last for 48 hours, just long enough to attract a beetle that can carry its pollen to another area.
Clark Gable with his 1935 Duesenberg Roadster.
By 1935, Clark Gable was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. After getting his start at MGM, he was making $2,000 a week (roughly $30,000 today) and living the high life. In ’34 he starred in It Happened One Night, a picture that netted Gable the Best Actor award at the Academy Awards. It’s no wonder that after that kind of success he tooled around in a big daddy car like the Duesenberg Roadster.
The Roadster was so expensive that it the manufacturer only made two of them due to its production happening in the middle of the Great Depression. Clark Gable owned one, and his pal Gary Cooper owned the other.
Fred Astaire up in the air! (1940s)
Fred Astaire was easily one of our most affable actors, and definitely the greatest dancer to ever grace the screen. He made every dance, no matter how complicated, look as if it was easy as one, two, three. Even though he was magnificent with a partner, arguably his best work came when he was allowed to cut loose and dance however he saw fit. It was once said that Astaire filmed a dance sequence as many times as it took to get it right, which could mean 30 to 40 times. Of his dancing, Astaire wrote in his autobiography:
I have no desire to prove anything by [my work]. I have never used it as an outlet or as a means of expressing myself. I just dance.
George H. Bush's letter to Bill Clinton on Inauguration Day in 1993.
Frankly, this is such a nice thing to read. So few people are lucky enough to rise to the job of President, and it’s cool to see that George H.W. Bush wanted to make sure that President Clinton felt like he was welcomed into that fraternity. Following the death of President Bush, Clinton discussed their friendship in a statement. He wrote:
I will be forever grateful for the friendship we formed. From the moment I met him as a young governor invited to his home in Kennebunkport, I was struck by the kindness he showed to Chelsea, by his innate and genuine decency, and by his devotion to Barbara, his children, and their growing brood.
Harry "The Sundance Kid" Longabaugh and Etta Place shortly before leaving for South America in 1901.
The Sundance Kid is one of the most celebrated outlaws of the Wild West. His exploits with Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch are the basis for a series of Westerns, each one more fun than the other. In 1901, Sundance was on the run from the Pinkerton Detective Agency so he and his gal Etta took off for South America.
Sundance either passed away in the gunfight with Bolivian soldiers after a bank robbery, or he snuck back into America under the name of William Henry Long and lived out the rest of his days in Utah, although this has been disputed. What do you think happened to Sundance?
Hazel Ying Lee was an American pilot who flew for the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. She was the first Chinese-American woman to earn a pilot's license in 1932 at the age of 20.
As a Chinese American pilot in World War II Hazel Ying Lee became a straight up hero. She was born in Portland, Oregon in 1912 and in 1932 she found a love of flying when she went on her first airplane ride at an air show in 1932. Lee started taking flying lessons shortly afterwards in spite of her mother’s objections.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Lee joined the WASPs and became the first Chinese-American woman to fly for the United States military. Lee’s missions involved delivering aircraft to Romulus, Michigan where it was shipped to the European front. On November 10, 1944 Lee's plane and another plane collided during a landing, she passed away two days later.
Hitching a ride on the back of a car on the way to the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, NY in 1973.
Everyone knows about Woodstock, the ultimate music festival focused on peace and love, but 1973’s Summer Jam drew even more fans that that fabled festival of peace and love. On July 28, 1973, the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, New York drew nearly 600,000 people to the concert headlined by The Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead.
A ticket to the show only cost $10 and tickets sold out fast. The only problem with the show was that Watkins Glen held about 2,700 people which meant that they had no way to handle such a huge influx of young folks. Mail delivery was canceled, stores ran out of beer, and if you wanted to eat you should have brought something. The show went on without a hitch, and there were no instances of violence reported at all. It sounds like 1973 was the real summer of love.
Massachusetts in the fall
If you love foliage then you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t head to Massachusetts in the fall. That’s when there’s a slight chill in the air, and the leaves change from a bright green to colors as broad as rustic gold to a crimson flame. The whole state is a wonder during the fall, but the best spots to visit are off the map.
It’s definitely worth it to take a hike through the hills of Massachusetts to get in all of the changing scenery. Pretty much everywhere you go offers up gorgeous scenery that you won’t forget. And you know you’ll want to have a couple sips of piping hot cider. Can’t you feel fall in the air already?
Muhammad Ali with his winnings, 1974
Where did Muhammad Ali get all that cash? Well, from being the best boxer in the world. While this definitely isn’t Muhammad Ali with all of his money, that would be a wild decision even for this famously motor-mouthed boxer, he definitely earned more than a million bucks over the course of his career. When Clay took this photo he told Sports Illustrated:
If I were like a lot of guys—a lot of heavyweight boxers, I mean—I’ll bet you a dozen doughnuts you wouldn’t be reading this story right now. If you wonder what the difference between them and me is, I’ll break the news: you never heard of them. I’m not saying they are not good boxers. Most of them—people like Doug Jones and Ernie Terrell—can fight almost as good as I can. I’m just saying you never heard of them. And the reason for that is because they cannot throw the jive. Cassius Clay is a boxer who can throw the jive better than anybody you will probably ever meet anywhere.
One of the tallest trees in the world photographed after a snowstorm in Redwood National Park.
The Redwood National Forest in California is the home to some of the largest trees in the world. When you’re among them it’s not out of the ordinary to feel as if you’re standing among giants. Some of these trees grow from 300 to 350 feet tall and 16 to 18 feet across - these trees don’t just tower people, they tower buildings.
While there are trees that people can drive through, the best trees are those that you can stand next to and take in their wonder. During winter they collect so much snow that’s you should watch out when you’re around them unless you want to be on the receiving end of your own personal blizzard.
Siblings Maja and Albert Einstein, 1886.
While growing up with Albert Einstein in Munich, Maja was the only friend of the young genius. While Albert studied at the Luitpold Gymnasium, Maja went to school at the German International School in Milan. The two were separated for quite some time until Benito Mussolini introduced anti-Semitic laws in Italy in the 1930s.
After Mussolini’s laws were put in place, Albert Einstein invited Maja to live with him in the states. She took him up on the offer and the two were together again. In 1947 she suffered a stroke and had to stay bedridden until she passed away in 1951.
The sinister 1960 Cadillac Eldorado
This is truly one devastatingly cool car. In 1960, Cadillac made a few design changes, which ended up with the Eldorado having markedly outlandish fins - even though they were supposedly toned down. The two door Eldorados were both more expensive, and incredibly cool. They had 345-horsepower and a V-8 engine that made sure that this bad boy could tear up the black top.
The devilish rear end design may look like it’s a custom job, but it was actually standard on all Eldorado produced in 1959 and 1960. And yes, this bad boy also had cruise control which was an amazing technological advancement at the time.
Warner Brothers portrait of Loretta Young at Lake Mead in 1931.
Back in 1931 Loretta Young posed at Lake Mead View Point outside of Boulder City, Nevada. This photo was taken as promotional material for Warner Bros, and in other photos in the collection show her with aviator Roscoe Turner. Young got her start as a child actress and by 1931 she was working regularly for studios like MGM and RKO.
In 1931 alone she starred in 10 films, all of which exist in the Library of Congress. Young retired in the 1960s and threw herself into charity work for the rest of her life, dealing with both the homeless and the mentally ill.
A photographer uses a backdrop to hide the aftermath of World War ll while shooting a portrait in Warsaw, Poland in 1946. (Photo by Michael Nash)
Following the end of World War II Warsaw was in ruins after it was bombed to kingdom come by the German Luftwaffe. Warsaw had been home to over a million people before the war, but by 1945 it was estimated that there was an 84 percent loss of Warsaw’s urban architecture, with 72 percent of residential buildings turned to rubble over the course of the war.
During the rebuilding process following the end of the war, the Polish people did what they could to get their lives back on track. This photo shows that people were ready to move on after the war, but that they weren’t yet ready to face the horror of World War II.
Salvador Dali in his goat-drawn carriage, 1953.
Let no one say that Salvador Dalí wasn’t a weird guy. Of course the guy who painted melting clocks and faces within faces would ride around town in a goat drawn cart. Following the end of World War II, Dalí and his wife Gala moved back to Spain and spent his time living leisurely throughout Europe while taking trips to New York.
In the early ‘60s Dalí started leaning into publicity stunts, which is likely when this goat photo was taken. At one point he even signed copies of random books while lying in bed in a Manhattan bookstore as he was hooked up to a machine that measured brain waves.
White ravens are some of the rarest birds in existence; but they aren't albino instead they have leucism or a partial loss of pigmentation and their eyes are typically blue.
As mythological as these animals look, white ravens are a completely normal, albeit rare, form of this scavenger bird. White ravens have leucism, a genetic issue that removes some of the pigment from their bodies and leaves them with blue eyes, which is incredibly cool. It’s rumored that white ravens are shunned by their standard brethren, but research shows that’s not the case.
Photographer Mike Yip has stated that white ravens found on Vancouver Island are known to hang out with black crows while even mating with them. These animals tend to work together to take down larger animals, and they even steal food from their predators.
A very futuristic and sleek Phantom Corsair from 1938.
The 1938 Phantom Corsair is one of the coolest, least sensible cars that’s every been constructed. It was designed by Rust Heinz, an heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune. With a car design as sleek as a bottle of Heinz ketchup, prototypes of the car were built, and they actually sound pretty cool. To get into the car you had to use electric pushbuttons, and there were beverage cabinets in the back seat.
Even as cool as this black behemoth looked, there were no orders for the car when it was announced, which doomed the car. The one prototype that’s known to exist can be found in the William F. Harrah Foundation, National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada.
Hocking Hills road in Hocking County, Ohio. (1908)
This rock formation is one of many fascinating arrangements in what’s now known as Clear Creek Metro Park. The area is full of natural wonder and it’s spread over 4.729 acres in the Ohio area. The stone formations are made out of Black Hand sandstone, a coarse conglomeratic quartz rock that’s huge in nature.
In the early 20th century travelers must have had their minds blown by these massive rocks that simply jut out of the ground. You can still drive beneath the rock in this photo if you travel to Ohio, however the road is paved now so you can’t live out your horse and buggy dreams.
In 1919, the first 'Metropolitan Police Women Patrols' took to the streets of London.
The formation of all female police patrols in London became a regular way of life in 1919. The National Union of Women Workers, or the NUWW, were given a year long contract in order to see if they could do the same job as male police officers - although they weren’t given the power of arrest. While this might seem about much ado about nothing, it was a major step towards getting women on the police force.
In December 1922, another major step forward was taken when 50 female officers were sworn into the force with the same powers of arrest as their male counterparts.
Silent film actress Valeska Suratt, 1920.
While most silent film stars were throwing themselves into their flapper girl looks, Valeska Suratt was the first famous goth bae to ever be thrust into the mainstream. Suratt was the first of the “vamps,” early silent film stars who performed with tousled hair and smudged makeup. Hailing from Terre Haute, Indiana, Suratt moved to Chicago and got into vaudeville - supposedly after the Grand Duke Boris of Russia wrote her a check for $10,000.
While appearing in films Suratt wrote beauty advice columns and performing ad spots. Unfortunately all of her films have been lost to time and her photos are the only things that still exist.
The beauty of Paris, 1890s.
The Belle Époque, or the period in time between 1871 to 1914 in Paris was one of the most important times in the city. It saw the construction of the Eiffel Tower, the Paris Métro, and the completion of the Paris Opera. Parisians weren’t aware that they were living in such an amazing time until after World War I. That’s when the nostalgic phrase “Belle Époque” came into vogue.
Even though Paris was in a financial decline during the first part of the Belle Époque, the 1890s were a prime time for department stores in France. At the same time, horse drawn omni busses were traveling across the city in one of many ways for Parisians to get around. It was truly one of the most vivacious times in Europe.
Where there's a will, there's a way...
It seems impossible that anything could crack through a hefty stone like the one pictured here, but it’s clear that with a little bit effort and a lot of time that anything is possible. Trees that grow through rocks may look wild, but they’re actually some of the strongest pieces of flora in the world. Because of their roots that are growing where no other plant is popping up, they’re exposed to a greater amount of nutrients.
When you see a tree growing through a rock, you’re witnessing a plant that’s succeeding in a hostile environment. In fact, the oldest trees in the world are those growing in a rocky environment.
The pink fairy armadillo, (Chlamyphorus truncatus) which is also known as the pichiciego, is the smallest species of armadillo. They can be found in the deserts and scrub lands of central Argentina.
It’s rare that a new animal pops up that’s can claim the role as the cutest animal on the planet, but the pink fairy armadillo is here to make you swoon and win your heart. The pink fairy armadillo lives in the desert sands of central Argentina where it spends its time digging and looking for tasty invertebrates and plant matter.
The pink fairy armadillo is elusive and biologist Mariella Superina of Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council told Wired that if someone sees one of these cuties above ground it’s because they found something they couldn’t dig through:
The majority of reported sightings we’ve received are from animals that were trying to cross a road or track, or appeared in the middle of a village. The most probable explanation is that the [pink fairy armadillos] encountered a hard substrate through which they couldn’t dig, emerged to cross the obstacle, and were seen by someone.
Paris in the 1950s. (by Robert Doisneau)
Following the end of World War II, Paris attempted to get back to normal, or at least a kind of normal. In the 1950s the French people were dealing with the existential crisis of allowing themselves to be taken over by Germany only a few years earlier. Aside from their personal crises, the country was flooded with young Americans thanks to their parents who worked in the military. At the time, a reporter for LIFE visited Paris to write about the American teens taking to the streets:
Neither boys nor girls think much of frogs' legs, but they know every place in Paris that makes hamburgers and hot dogs and, while having a snack at a sidewalk café, are inclined to dream of the corner drugstore.
When Jim Henson died, Disney Imagineers sent a drawing of Mickey Mouse consoling Kermit to his mourning company
The death of Jim Henson on May 16, 1990 was a major shock to the millions of people who grew up with his work, be it with Sesame Street, The Muppets, or even his darker ‘80s output. Henson created something for everyone, and never made his younger fans feel talked down to. Aside from the Disney Imagineers releasing a photo of Mickey consoling Kermit, Henson’s funeral was a genuine blast.
As per Henson’s request, no one wore black to his funeral, and after a medley of songs performed by Big Bird and the rest of the cast of The Muppets, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band closed out the procession. Frank Oz told LIFE:
It's easy to eulogize somebody. Jim was not perfect. But I'll tell you something - he was a close to how you're supposed to behave toward other people as anyone I've ever known… Without Jim, I'm a pretty serious person at times. He was the leader always, but he allowed us to play. We had so much fun. I can't begin to tell you the fun.