Rare Pictures From The Past Will Take You Back In Time
There’s nothing like nostalgia. It can transport us to a different time and place in a way that only a time machine could match. Looking at rare vintage photos brings back an era long gone but never forgotten. This article features so many aspects of mid-20th century America and beyond, from cars and stars to weird cultural artifacts that will blow you away. Prepare for a trip and get ready to never look at the present the same way again. Above is an amazing image of Marilyn Monroe, someone who perfectly encapsulates this historical period.
This shocking 7-Up ad is from 1956. It hard to imagine a time when people didn’t think twice about giving soda to a baby. Along with the tagline, “Nothing Does it Like 7-Up”!, this campaign claimed they had the youngest consumers. They even offered a recipe for 7-Up and milk. Yuck. The advertisement says, “By the way, Mom, when it comes to toddlers – If they like to be coaxed to drink their milk, try this: Add 7-Up to the milk in equal parts, pouring the 7-Up gently into the milk. It’s a wholesome combination — and it works! Make 7-Up your family drink.”
President John F. Kennedy is an American icon. From his time as Commander in Chief to his social life and beyond, JFK represents a time when things were different. This image captures him indulging in one of his passions, sailing at Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This was something he loved since he was a kid, when his family enjoyed afternoons on the water. As a teenager he was given the Wianno Senior sloop Vectura, a vessel he would own for the rest of his life.
When asked about his feelings on this beloved activity, JFK said, “I think it is because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came.”
James Bond is known for many things: his cars, his martinis, his gadgets, and, of course, his women. The females in Bond movies are as iconic as 007 himself, and there have been many memorable ones over the years. Of the 75 or so actresses to play these parts, we’ve seen Gemma Arterton in Quantum of Solice, Eva Green in Casino Royale, Rosamund Pike and Halle Berry in Die Another Day, Denise Richards and Sophie Marceau in The World is Not Enough, Teri Hatcher in Tomorrow Never Dies, Famke Janssen in Golden Eye and so many others.
But none can compete with Barbara Bouchet, one of the original Bond girls from the 1960s. She played Moneypenny in the first Casino Royale, which came out in 1967. Since then, this German-American actress had a long and successful career, performing in over 80 movies and televisions shows, including Martin Scorcese’s Gangs of New York. And she didn’t stop there. After leaving the entertainment industry she transitioned into the business world where she operated her own fitness studio and founded a fitness production company.
David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed
This legendary photo sees rock stars David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed hanging out in London around 1972. Before passing away at 69 in 2016, Bowie was a musical icon for half a century who inspired countless individuals. Iggy Pop, one of the godfathers of punk, is still active and some say better than ever, and Lou Reed’s music is timeless and always around. These men weren’t just friends, but also collaborators whose creations will never go away.
This is an incredible image from one of Cher’s Vogue photoshoots in 1969. She became famous along with husband Sonny Bono as a duo called Sonny & Cher, with many hits including “I Got You Babe,” before achieving her own notoriety as a solo artist and fashion icon. After the duo reached number 1 in 1967, she released “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” which sold over a million records. She is still considered the “Goddess of Pop.”
Driver’s education has changed a lot since the 1950s. In this unbelievable image, a group of high school students study inside of some wild driving simulators. This classroom was modeled after the Aetna Drivotrainer system, which was developed by Aetna Casualty & Surety Co. of Hartford, Conn. The machines, which included a steering wheel, pedals and even a horn, weighed up to half a ton and were described as “the toughest three-minute drive of your life.”
This is Delta Burke at 17 after she was crowned Miss Florida in 1974. She went on to become a successful actress. In 1982 and 1983, she was on the show Filthy Rich. Then she starred as Suzanne Sugarbaker in the sitcom Designing Women from 1986 to 1991, and was nominated for two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress. She went on to have her own show, Delta, as well as Women of the House, DAG and Boston Legal.
On March 24, 1958 Elvis Aron Presley entered the United States Army. The King, as he was known throughout his iconic career, spent three days at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, Reception Station. He left active duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on March 5, 1960, and received his discharge from the Army Reserve on March 23, 1964. After basic and advanced training he served with two different armor battalions and was sent overseas to Germany from 1958 to 1960.
Sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson of the rock band Heart were captured here in a candid photograph from 1976. Their group thrived in the music industry for almost half a century, and included three primary lineups, around the two Wilsons, of course. They blew up in the 70s with hits like “Crazy on You”, “Barracuda”, and “Magic Man” and sold over 35 million albums worldwide. In 2013, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Another pair of icon female rockstars were Joan Jett and Sandy West, the two co-founding members of The Runaways. The band was the first teenage hard rock band that featured only women musicians. They were huge in 70s, when, in 1975, Sandy West met producer Kim Fowley, who connected her with another young musician, guitarist Joan Jett. They hit it off immediately, found the other two members Lita Ford and Cherie Currie, and the rest is history.
Award-winning photographer Nancy Ellison snapped this shot of Jack Nicholson on a ladder in Galveston Bay around 1982. He’s considered one of the best actors of all time, having been in classics consistently throughout his 60-year career. He’s starred in dramas, comedies and everything in between, earning 12 Academy Award nominations, making him the most nominated male actor in history. He’s won three Oscars, six Golden Globes, a Kennedy Center Honor and the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award.
Lassie and Timmy
Everyone remembers Lassie, quite possibly the most iconic canine in history. This heartwarming photo of the precious pooch and Timmy Martin, who was played by Jon Provost, was taken in 1958, four years after the show debuted. From 1954 to 1973, their adventures, which typically involved Lassie saving someone’s life, captivated audiences and became the fourth longest-running US primetime television series after The Simpsons, Gunsmoke, and Law & Order.
Laugh In was one of the earliest sketch comedy television shows. From 1968 to 1973, 140 episodes aired to millions of viewers. The photo features Judy Carne, Jo Anne Worley, Millicent Martin, Anita Harris and Tom Jones on the show in 1971. Laugh In combined elements of vaudeville and burlesque, but was heavily inspired by Olsen and Johnson’s comedy. Audiences tuned in for the rapid-fire series of gags and sketches.
The Plymouth Road Runner
While this article features a lot of famous people, the star in this photo isn’t the man, but instead, the classic car he’s sitting on. The Plymouth Road Runner was developed in 1968 as many of the original muscle cars were becoming more expensive. Plymouth took advantage of this trend with a performance-driven, cheaper option. They paid Warner Bros. $50,000 to use the name and likeness of the character from the Wile E. Coyote cartoons, including the horn.
This is another picture whose subject isn’t the person in the foreground, but the iconic object in the background. This random woman is sitting on something that screams the 1960s: plastic-covered furniture. The idea was to preserve your precious couches and chairs while still being able to see the fabric underneath. The plastic slipcovers were surprisingly popular, despite the uncomfortable crunch and typical stickiness which caused consumers to sweat whenever they used them.
Robin Williams and John Ritter
Now we go back to the superstars with this pic of Robin Williams and John Ritter in 1979. It was taken at the Primetime Emmy Awards where both actors had been nominated, Williams for his role as Mork on Mork & Mindy and Ritter for playing Jack Tripper on Three’s Company. While neither took home an award that night, both hilarious comedians still had a great night entertaining each other and probably everyone else they came in contact with.
At first glance, the icon in this vintage pic is almost unrecognizable. It’s actually a 20-year-old Madonna posing back in 1979. Four years later, in 1983, her debut album was released by Sire Records. She’s been a female role model throughout her entire career, pushing the limits of sound, style and sexuality while remaining relevant every step of the way. But before she was famous, many say she was pretty different and surprisingly quite and introverted.
There aren’t many icons from the 60s and 70s cooler than renowned martial artist Bruce Lee. This photo was taken in 1971, at the height of his fame. Following his introduction into the film industry at a young age, he became a legendary actor and director. He’s known for his roles in The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, the Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon and The Game of Death, some of which he also wrote and directed.
Mini Skirts Forever
Fashion has played a huge role in the evolution of society and culture throughout the 20th century and beyond. This pic captures a powerful women’s right protest where females fought for their right to wear mini skirts, a symbol of the rebellious youth culture of the 60s. The signs in the photograph say things like “Mini Skirts Forever” and “Dior Unfair To Mini Skirts.” This sexual revolution also included the invention of the birth control pill.
Linda Ronstadt and Mick Jagger
Backstage pictures show us the other side of our favorite icons. This one sees The Rolling Stone’s frontman Mick Jagger and rock legend Linda Ronstadt hanging out in the green room sometime around 1978. The Stones have been widely considered the greatest rock band of all time, and Ronstadt has earned 11 Grammy Awards, three AMAs, an Emmy and an ALMA. The talent captured here is responsible for so much great music.
Motorized Roller Skates
This picture looks like something straight of a science fiction movie. Believe it or not, in the 1960s there were actually motorized roller skates that had to be refueled at gas stations. Salesman Mike Dreschler is seen here being assisted by a gas station attendant at a fuel pump in Hartford, Connecticut back in 1961. He has a single horsepower air-cooled engine on his back and a clutch, accelerator, and engine cut off switch in his hand.
Women in Rock
This crazy candid image from 1981 sees female rock and punk icons Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders, Debbie Harry of Blondie, Viv Albertine of the Slits, Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex and Pauline Black of The Selecter enjoying each other’s company. These talented and influential females made significant contributions to the male-dominated music industry throughout the 70s and 80s.
American icon John Wayne made the film The Green Berets in 1968 because he was concerned with the anti-war atmosphere in the US and wanted to present a pro-military position. The movie starred Jim Hutton, David Janssen, Aldo Ray, Patrick Wayne, and Jack Soo. Released during America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, the film has an anti-communist and pro-Saigon message. He even got full military cooperation and material from President LBJ and the Department of Defense.
Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood
Most actors meet on movie sets, during press junkets and at award shows, but Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood met by chance outside a motel in Tucson, Arizona in 1972. This classic pic was snapped by photographer Terry O’Neil. Newman is known for The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting and The Verdict. And Eastwood for The Unforgiven, Gran Torino, True Crime, Dirty Harry, and Million Dollar Baby.
Harrison Ford and Gene Wilder
Another pair of classic cinematic celebrities, Harrison Ford and Gene Wilder, posed for a photo between shooting takes for their comedy-western movie The Frisco Kid in 1979. Wilder plays Avram Belinski, a Polish rabbi on his way to San Francisco and Ford is Tommy Lillard, a bank robber who befriends him. The aforementioned John Wayne was supposed to play Wilder’s role but salary concerns changed those plans. He ended up passing away before the movie was released.
The amazingly iconic motorcycle seen above is Evel Knievel’s 1976 Harley-Davidson Stratocycle from the 1977 film Viva Knievel. The famous stuntman made his first jump at the National Date Festival in Indio, California in 1966. He went on to consistently outdo himself with over 75 progressively more dangerous stunts at places like Caesars Palace, Madison Square Garden, Twin Falls, Idaho, Snake River Canyon, and the famous Wembley Stadium jump.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Nothing evokes the American working class quite like the music of “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen, especially when he was accompanied by the E Street Band. This candid photo was taken in front of a coffee shop back in 1975. Hailing from New Jersey, his distinctive voice and energetic, four-hour stage performances made him a legend. He’s sold over 120 million record worldwide and earned 20 Grammys, two Golden Globes and an Oscar.
Nico and Andy Warhol
Fashion icon and renowned artist Andy Warhol is seen here in 1967 dressed as Robin along with model/singer Nico, whose real name is Christa Päffgen, as Batman. The duo were commonly associated but also have iconic individual identities. She was a popular actress and solo artist, as well as the vocalist on the Velvet Underground’s debut album. Warhol was an artist, director and producer who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art.
Above is famous actress Kim Novak in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller “Vertigo,” quite possibly the most well know role of her career. She attempted to retire in 1966 while still at the height of her fame and success but eventually went back to acting. By 1991, after receiving two Golden Globe Awards, an Honorary Golden Bear Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she retired for good.
Monty Python’s John Cleese was captured here having a great time between takes on the set of the group’s iconic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail back in 1975. The funny friends came together in the late 60s and the comedy troupe went on to make the sketch show Monty Python’s Flying Circus and four Monty Python films. Cleese then earned his own success as an actor, voice actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer.
While the spectacular superstar David Bowie was seen earlier with some of his rocker friends, he definitely deserves his own section. David Robert Jones changed music, fashion and culture over the course of his career. He earned nine platinum album certifications, eleven gold, and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums in the UK. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
The Ford Maverick
Another classic car, the Ford Maverick, got an equally classic ad in 1971. The promotional photo shows the compact car, which was manufactured throughout the 70s, along with the line “and a little more jazz.” The two-door sedan was initially sold for $1,995 and featured a long hood, fastback roof, and short deck which was made popular by the Mustang. Due to the reduced price, Ford sold over 500,000 Mavericks in its first year.
Elton John, seen above in 1972, has had more than fifty Top 40 hits throughout the course of his incredible career, which has spanned over half a century. He’s easily one of the best-selling musicians in the world with over 300 million records sold. Beyond all of his music awards, he was also named an Order of the British Empire in 1996 and made a Knight Bachelor by Elizabeth II for “services to music and charitable services” in 1998.
Another flamboyant icon is Captain Kangaroo, seen above in a promotional photo from 1976. Bob Keeshan’s show was the longest-running nationally broadcast children’s show of its day, airing for almost 30 years from 1955 until 1984. It featured stories told from the Treasure House and a lot of fun characters. The supporting cast included Cosmo Allegretti’s Dennis the painter, and Hugh “Lumpy” Brannum’s Mr. Green Jeans. Allegretti also operated the puppets Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit.
If the show that was just discussed sounds weird, it doesn’t come close to Lancelot Link – Secret Chimp, a show that aired from 1970 to 1971. Its star, Mata Hairi, played a character who was a member of the pop band Evolution Revolution, but also worked for A.P.E., or Agency to Prevent Evil. Producers Stan Burns and Mike Marmer cast a bunch of chimpanzees and overdubbed them with human voices.
There’s arguably nothing more nostalgic than the holidays, so it’s only appropriate that we dedicate the remainder of this article to some amazing, holiday-themed pics featuring some of your favorite celebrities. First is rock legend Alice Cooper dressed as Santa Claus. This image definitely captures The Godfather of Shock Rock’s strange sensibility, which fueled his influential career as a macabre, theatrical musician whose controversial live shows were one of a kind.
Many classic sitcoms made famous holiday episodes, including Bewitched, seen above in 1970. The show ran from 1964 to 1972 and was the longest running paranormal television series of its time. The photo features Adam Stevens, played by David Lawrence, Darrin Stevens, played by Dick Sargent, Tabitha, played by Erin Murphy, and Samantha, played by Elizabeth Montgomery, a witch who marries a mortal and attempts to never use magic again.
The Monkees, seen caroling in 1967, formed in 1965 and a year later they had their own television show. It ran until 1968 and the band stayed together for a few more years after. The Monkees were Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones, who went from having limited roles in the studio to earning the right to collectively supervise all musical output under the band’s name.
The Munster’s holiday photo is as weird as Alice Cooper’s, but also captures the heart-warming family in the same way the show did. The Munsters was a sitcom that acted as a satire of the wholesome family depictions seen in so many television shows of that era. It combined elements of traditional monster movies, causing comparisons to The Addams Family, but still earned higher ratings.
Lost in Space
The above photo proves that there are even holidays in outer space. Lost in Space aired 83 episodes between 1965 and 1968, and featured the adventures of space colonists, the Robinson family. It was set in a strange and often hostile environment where they ended up after their ship was sabotaged and thrown off course. Many of the storylines focused on the evil and comedic villains Dr. Zachary Smith and the Robot.