Vintage Photos From The Past Sure To Induce Nostalgia
If you really want to understand history, you have to read with breadth and depth. But if you just want a little flavor of the past, a picture is sometimes worth a thousand words. There are certain photos that are iconic – you’ve seen them hundreds of times already. It’s the lesser-known photos of the past, though, that really make it come alive. The pics in this article all show the past in a light that may be new to you.
Like this photo, of surfers in Hawaii showing off their stunt skills. It was taken in 1960. This style of surfing was iconic at the time, but you don’t really see this that much anymore. Balancing on someone’s shoulders while they themselves are balanced on a surf board is truly a feat to behold.
Arnold In Classic Form
A gaggle of female onlookers admire a Schwarzenegger in his prime. Arnold, lest we forget, was the most dominant bodybuilder in history. He was so iconic in the sport that, for a time, his name was synonymous with it. Now, Arnold is more known as a movie star and politician than as a bodybuilder, but he can still put up some serious numbers.
When The Beatlemania Hits
This photo shows some Bobbies holding back a mob of crazed Beatles fans. The Beatles were the most popular band in the world during their heyday. They were known to cause their female fans to break down in tears at the mere sight of them. When they played in America, it was typical for them to not even be able to hear the stage monitors over the din of their crowds screeching in adulation. The frenzy was called “Beatlemania.” It started in 1963 and lasted for almost a decade. Their music is obviously still popular, but we don’t riot over it anymore.
Bill Gates Mugshot
Yep, that’s really Bill Gates. He was arrested in Albuquerque in 1977 for a traffic violation. Unfortunately, the details of the violation have been lost. Maybe it was a high-speed chase. Probably not. But maybe. Gates is famous for being the wealthiest individual in the world (the metrics of this get a little hazy – if he’s not top of the list, he’s at least close), for being a founding member of Microsoft, and for being a philanthropist. He is also a controversial figure in the world of technology, and indeed in the world of philanthropy. His charitable efforts have come under intense fire for being investing in companies that do environmental and civic harm.
Humphrey Bogart was a prolific womanizer, who slept with an estimated one thousand women during his life. He’s seen here hobnobbing with Lauren Bacall, who he married, and Marilyn Monroe, who he did not. This would be the culminating moment in most men’s lives, but it was pretty close to the everyday for Bogart.
The Bradies, Then and Now
This photo shows gives you an idea of how long ago The Brady Bunch was a popular TV show, and how much the actors involved in it have aged. Though it’s obviously nowhere near as popular now as it was, it’s still watched and still highly praised.
The Gilligan’s Island Cast
Gilligan’s Island was one of the most popular sitcoms in history. Here, the principal cast is seen posing together on-set. The show launched many careers and left an indelible footprint on American television. Many of the show’s tropes are still referenced in our culture. Even people who have never seen the show probably recognize Gilligan’s signature red shirt and white hat.
Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator
Charlie Chaplin is mostly associated with his physical comedy and silent films, but he was also a politically conscious man who produced more “serious” work. This is a still from his 1940 satirical film The Great Dictator, a very unusual movie that lampoons European fascism. It was, and remains, controversial. It’s also one of the best comedies of the era.
Who can forget Claudine Auger, who played the Bond girl Dominique “Domino” Derval in the 1965 movie Thunderball? Auger is a French actress and model, who won Miss France Monde and was also a runner-up in the 1958 Miss World beauty contest.
Clint Eastwood Shreds
Clint Eastwood is seen here bombing hills next to a man on a moped, presumably somewhere in Europe. Eastwood was primarily a Western film actor, but is still most closely associated with his role in Dirty Harry. Eastwood on a skateboard must have been a sight to behold.
Dave Hill And Friends
Dave Hill, lead singer of Slade, is center. Bracketed by Sable Starr and Lori Maddox, two legendary groupies. If you’ve never heard of Slade, they were an English rock band that got famous during the glam rock era and had a spree of top 20 hits in the seventies. Major choons, mate.
Taking a Dive
These two men are diving into the Thames River in London, near Westminster Bridge. The water is very cold and very polluted, making this a dubious hobby. It was called “wild swimming,” and is becoming popular in the UK once again. The Thames is not exactly the vision of a luxurious swimming locale, though.
“Jungle” Pam Hardy was a young sidekick of Jim Liberman, a colorful drag racer who was popular in the seventies. Liberman met her when she was an eighteen-year-old high school student. She would show up on the track to support him and draw eyeballs through obvious means.
Pam described Jim, “All that showmanship was his true personality. He just didn’t turn that on at the track and then became normal like everyone else at home. He had that sort of flair even when we were just at the house or went out some place. You could always feel his presence wherever he was.”
An Eternal Icon
Jungle Pam was a major staple of American drag racing during the seventies, and she’s kept in touch with her roots. She still appears at drag racing events, much to the delight of her fans. Her image will persist somewhere in the American imagination probably forever.
Michael Myers Takes A Drink
Michael Myers, the villain in the Halloween franchise, was first played by screenwriter, director and actor Nick Castle. Castle is seen here giving his Michael mask a drink of Dr. Pepper. Castle is also remembered for co-writing Escape from New York with John Carpenter.
Solar Eclipse, 1970
This stunning image, composed of twelve exposures, shows the arc of the sun during a solar eclipse over Washington DC in 1970. The Iwo Jima memorial is seen in the foreground, and the Washington Monument in the background.
Elvis Gets a Police Badge
This is Elvis Presley pictured with George L. Seaton, chief of the Denver Police. The photo was taken on November 17, 1970, when Elvis was given an honorary police badge as thanks for his major donation to the construction of a gymnasium. Elvis is not exactly a vision of what you’d expect a police officer to look like.
A Girl Sells Flowers
A girl is seen selling flowers on the side of the road, likely sometime in the early seventies. This kind of fashion has never really gone out of style. Though you don’t see people selling flowers roadside that much anymore. Nor do you see hitchhikers.
Two Men Console Godzilla
Godzilla was originally portrayed by an actor named Haruo Nakajima, who wore a heavy rubber suit and destroyed miniatures of buildings, vehicles, etc. Here, he’s seen being tended to by two men on set. The special effects look dated now, but at the time, they were cutting edge.
Very Creepy Costumes
This photo is from a book titled Haunted Air, in which Ossian Brown has compiled photographs of American Halloween celebrants from years gone by. The trend was not to dress up like familiar characters as much as to come up with the creepiest possible costume. These two have certainly succeeded in that task.
An old photo of the Hollywood sign shows it as it once was. Before it was a “Hollywood” sign, it was a “Hollywoodland” sign. It was erected to advertise a housing development on top of the hill, called, you guessed it, Hollywoodland. It was only supposed to stand for a year or two, but after the film industry boomed, it became a local landmark and stayed.
James Dean With Car
James Dean poses next to the “Little Bastard,” the car he was driving when he got into the accident that took his life. Dean was driving it to a race in Salinas, California, in order to get more “break in” hours behind the wheel before racing the car. He is remembered as one of the most promising actors in Hollywood history.
Spielberg Getting Eaten
A young Steven Spielberg in mid-chomp, posed in the jaws of one of the mechanical sharks used in the filming of Jaws. The shoot was plagued by major budgeting setbacks and gear failures. Despite these obstacles, the crew produced one of the most enduring movies ever made.
Jaws Up Close
A dramatic shot of the shark in Jaws, rearing up towards the bow of the Orca. Jaws spawned a number of very terrible sequels, none of which came anywhere close to recapturing the original’s magic. Jaws established Spielberg as a director, and the rest is history.
Lennon Plays Drums
John Lennon is seen here playing around on Ringo’s drumset. Lennon was rhythm guitarist for The Beatles, and one half of the legendary songwriting duo with Paul McCartney. He is also remembered for his prominent role in the 1960’s counterculture movement, and marriage to Yoko Ono.
Johnny Carson With Drew Barrymore
This photo, taken in 1982, shows an extremely young Drew Barrymore being interviewed by Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Barrymore was promoting E.T, which was one of the most successful movies ever made. It set box office records that held for decades.
The Wizard of Oz
This vaguely unsettling picture was taken behind the scenes during the filming of The Wizard of Oz. The movie is famous for traumatizing a generation of children with flying monkeys. Perhaps they were spared the real horror, of seeing scenes like this.
Rebel Without a Cause
A still from Rebel Without a Cause, the film that made James Dean famous. Dean, as described previously, had his career cut very short by a fatal car wreck. He’s seen here opposite Corey Allen, who lived to be 75 years old. The movie remains a staple of the era.
Kenny Baker played R2-D2 in all three of the original Star Wars films. He is seen here with the top down, enjoying what looks to be a sandwich, somewhere on Tattooine. Those scenes were shot in Tunisia. It must have been excruciatingly hot inside the costume.
Wonder Woman Battles An Ape
The Wonder Woman television show was a bit campy at times. Like when Wonder Woman, played by Lynda Carter, battled a gorilla. This still from the show definitely gives you a feel for how far television has come since.
The Forgotten Car Phone
A man in 1959 speaks into his car phone. Car phones were very expensive and quite rare when they were first introduced. They remained somewhat popular until the advent of the pager and cellular telephone, which made them obsolete. Today, they are merely an historical curiosity.
The police once again struggle to retain a surging crowd of Beatles fans. While the hysteria over the band lowered in volume over the coming decades, their cultural influence remained steadily significant. They transitioned from teen pop idols to major counterculture icons. They produced a body of work that will probably live on indefinitely.
Raquel Welch, posing in her heyday. She was made famous by her role in 1966’s Fantastic Voyage, which landed her her three-line role in One Million Years B.C. Photos from that movie, of her wearing a revealing caveman outfit, made her a star.
Carhops were roller-skate-clad waitresses who served people at drive-in restaurants, who saw their golden era during the 1950s. It’s still an enduring icon of Americana, though they are now very rare. A few fast food chains still employ the model, though.
A group of Rush fans standing around outside of a concert. Though the looks are definitely dated, you could still transplant them into 2018 and they wouldn’t look out of place. What’s old is new again. Rush is also still a popular band, thanks to karaoke.
A Misogynist Magazine Ad
“Blow in her face and she’ll follow you anywhere,” reads the caption of this sexist cigarette ad. It’s easy to forget just how bad advertising was, back in the day. Not that it’s delightful now. At least it’s merely “inescapable, annoying and mentally stultifying” instead of “aggressively misogynistic.”
Solar Eclipse Watchers
What looks like a man and two children observe a solar eclipse in 1979. They are wearing some kind of protective bag over their heads. Though maybe that’s just coincidence and they were wearing the bags anyway.
A Stewardess, 1970
A stewardess for United Airlines, poised with a telephone in 1970. They are now referred to as “flight attendants,” and the air of lecherousness surrounding the occupation has been mostly dissipated. At the time, though, stewardesses were sex symbols.
John Travolta, behind the scenes of Grease. It was one of the most successful romantic comedies and musicals ever made, that would influence the genres for decades. Some of the songs from the movie still endure. Travolta has gotten in hot water a few times.
Ursula Andress played spy Vesper Lynd in the 1967 comedy film Casino Royale, that was loosely based on the first James Bond novel. The contemporary Casino Royale is, obviously, now the go-to association with that book. It’s an interesting, largely forgotten, film, though.