Groovy Photos That Make It Hard To Look Away
A young Dolly Parton and her asphalt salesman husband, Carl
In this exact moment in time, the world is blinded by fear, uncertainty, and loss. With an uncertain economy, fear of sickness and death looming, and worldwide restrictions, we are all faced with meeting our own personal challenges and fears. Bad things may be happening around us, so let's go to the past and to the happy times...let's relive some of those golden years and escape reality even if it's just for the length of this gallery.
We tend to look back on the past with rose tinted glasses. The reason the future and the present moment can feel uncomfortable at times like these is due to uncertainty...we just don't know if that outcome is going to provide us what we need to feel safe, secure, and happy.
The beautiful thing about revisiting history is it gives us the power of hindsight...we know what happens then, so it's safe and comfortable. And the memories that those moments in history provide us actually can help us shift how we feel in the present moment, which is the only thing that can shift how our future unfolds. So let's take a look back on the groovy past, forget the uncertainty of today, and find serenity in the fact that no matter what has happened in the past, that we have always survived, grown stronger, and wiser because of it.
Dolly Parton holds the rare title of being a total babe and writing some of the most heart breaking love songs of the 20th century, but rather than have a litany of failed relationships in her wake she’s been married to the same man since 1964.
The couple met in ’64 outside the Wishy Washy laundromat in Nashville when she was 18 and he was 21. It was Parton’s first day in Nashville and she was just trying to clean her laundry but ended up finding love. Carl Dean, her beau says he knew he was going to marry her from moment one:
My first thought was I'm gonna marry that girl. My second thought was, 'Lord she's good lookin.' And that was the day my life began.
Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland... the hottest couple of the 70s 🌴
Chuck Bronson doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’s looking to lock down a sweet blonde gal like Jill Ireland. He puts off a vibe that says “beef jerky and Miller Lite” but in actuality he was a big sweetie, at least to Ireland.
Bronson and Ireland got together after meeting on the set of The Great Escape in 1963, and they married five years later. Throughout their marriage the couple appeared in 15 films with one another, more often than not as Bronson’s wife.
The two were together until 1990 when she passed away from breast cancer in their Mailbu home.
Emily Banks as Yeoman Tonia Barrows "the temptress"
Even if you aren’t a Trekkie you at least know about “Shore Leave,” one of the most beloved episodes of Star Trek. It finds the away team from the Enterprise on a paradise planet where they fall prey to the machinations of its ability to give people whatever they want.
Emily Banks plays Yeoman Tonia Roberts, the apple of Doctor McCoy’s eye for this episode and to hear her tell it she didn’t realize she would be in this outfit for most of the episode:
I didn’t realize that I was going to be running around with legs hanging out [from the uniform] and shoulders hanging out [from the torn tunic]. But I do remember I did a lot of running. There was a lot of running. And I remember thinking on the first couple days, ‘They don’t want an actress, they want an athlete.’ I was exhauseted, and we kept running and running.
Groovy girl from Woodstock, 1969. We've got to get back...
There’s something about the freedom that people had in the ‘60s that’s just irresistible - especially when you think about the restrictions that we put on ourselves in the modern era. Woodstock was a festival dedicated to peace, love, and the search for a good time… if only we could get back to that feeling.
Just take a look at this couple. They’re hanging out in the middle of a wet, muddy field, probably with the only clothes that they own, and hanging a killer time. They also look amazing…
The optimism and anything goes attitude of the Woodstock era has faded as the generations have changed, but with a little luck we can get it back.
Ann Margaret on steel horse 🏍️
If Ann-Margret looks confident on he iron horse that’s because she’s been riding motorcycles since she was girl in Sweden. Her uncle Carl introduced her to the cycling life when she was just a girl and the moment she had the wind in her hair she was hooked.
Ann-Margret used her hog skills in movies like Viva Las Vegas and The Swinger. While she rode whatever directors put her on in films she was a fan of riding a Triumph in her real life, so much so that she appeared in advertisements for the company.
One of her coolest custom bikes was a Harley Davidson that was painted lavender and covered with daisies.
Jungle Pam, the greatest drag racing babe that ever lived 🏎️
No one looks as hot on the track as Jungle Pam, the drag racing sweetheart of the 1970s. Funny Car fans flocked to races to watch her assist “Jungle Jim” Lieberman, one of the best drag racers in the sport. She was known for her tight outfits - usually short shorts or mini-skirts paired with go-go boots and a grin that revved engines.
When Pam was on the asphalt in the ‘70s drivers were able to market for themselves, and Pam’s presences was a work of genius by Jungle Jim, burning eyes to ever race he was on and raising the profile of the Funny Car.
She wasn’t just a pretty face, Pam had the showmanship to pull off her gimmick, and with every crouch and flash of her smile she kept audiences in their seats and fled to the action.
A young Madonna in 1974
Long before Madonna was the queen of pop she was just a teenager. It’s hard to imagine that she wasn’t formed in some kind of pop music science lab but she was just a kid like everyone else on the planet.
Growing up in Michigan, Madonna had to find her own fun. She wanted to be a dancer but she also worked on short films with her friends and even wrote some of her own poetry, but she didn’t come into her own until she went to college at the University of Michigan for a year before dropping out in 1978 and moving to New York City.
When she arrived in New York she only had about 30 bucks in her pocket and had to work at Dunkin’ Donuts while chasing her dreams.
Brigitte Bardot... the most beautiful woman who ever lived
In the groovy era Brigitte Bardot was the most eye-catching and beautiful woman in the world. She seemingly came out of the middle of nowhere to become an international sensation. Born to wealthy parents in France, Bardot was only 15 years old when she appeared on the cover of Elle Magazine in May 1950.
That cover made her incredibly famous at a young age and it cinched a ton of early parts for her. Director Roger Vadim saw the magazine cover and immediately put her in two of her earliest films: And God Created Woman and The Night Heaven Fell.
Bardot was an international star, but she preferred filming in France more than anything else because she had trouble acclimating to new places. Supposedly she hated filming in Spain until she discovered sangria.
Helen Slater was 'Supergirl' in the 1984 film
Slater was only 18-years-old when she was cast as an alien dropped on Earth who gets inspired by Superman, and she was 19 when the film wrapped. That’s incredibly young for a film star, so how did Slater grab a role like that as a teen? She says:
I think part of my having gone through Performing Arts High School, I was very bold. I had made a cape and a skirt. And I went in with glasses as Linda Lee. I was a little bit fearless. I don't know if I would have had that if I hadn't been through Performing Arts.
Cassandra Peterson AKA Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, took over Los Angeles in the early ‘80s and the rest of the world quickly followed. The woman behind the makeup is Cassandra Peterson, a red head with a lifetime in the entertainment industry.
Before she was Elvira, Peterson was working as a part of The Groundlings in Los Angeles with Phil Hartman and Peewee Herman and she was trying to be a comedy actress. When she was approached about playing the character of Elvira she was a little unsure but she rolled with it and it worked out for her. She told the Huffington Post:
[The director of the show] came and saw me at The Groundlings, where I was doing a Valley girl character… The director wanted me to do that character when I came to the audition and I said, ‘OK? I mean, it’s not very spooky, but it’s up to you.’ So I did that character and everybody there loved it and they hired me. They said, ‘Come up with a spooky costume,’ and I said “Wait. I’m going to do that character but with a spooky costume? Uhh...” It didn’t make any sense to me, but they were going to pay me $350 bucks a week so I was pretty damn happy. That was my whole rent for the month at the time!
Stewardesses of the 1960s
There’s nothing easy about working on an airline. The job is your entire life, and you’ve got to look good doing it. In the 1960s a stewardess dressed in colorful outfits that looked like they were straight out of a kaleidoscope.
To get a job as a flight attendant in the ‘60s a would-be stewardess had to learn geography and study hair and makeup for 10 hours a day for five weeks before even stepping foot on a plane. Then they had to practice first aid and learn how to help someone in an emergency.
The airline workers of the ‘60s look absolutely gorgeous. If only these were still the outfits that airline workers were still wearing.
Meow... Julie Newmar in her Catwoman costume
There have been so many different Catwomen over the years - with three of them in the 1960s, but Julie Newmar was the best. She was cool and kitschy, not to mention a total babe. In order to get into character for Adam West’s Batman she had to suffer some serious bodily harm. She explained:
[Her nails] were made of metal. They pinched my fingers… In those days who cared. When you’re performing pain never matters.
When asked how she won the role of Catwoman Newmar explained with her wry style, “Well the body fit the work, and the work fit the body.”
Yvonne Craig as the savior of Gotham City
If you were watching Batman in the late ‘60s then you know the glorious delight of Yvonne Craig as Batgirl, a third season addition to the show. Producers added her to bring in more viewers and make teenage boys go gaga, half of that plan worked.
According to Craig she’d never even seen the show and didn’t know its unique rhythms, but she was so headstrong that she got the part anyway. She explained:
I had done a couple of pilots that didn’t go, but then they called me and said they were thinking of adding a girl to Batman. I had never seen the show, even though everyone was crazy about it. Even when I was shooting Batman, I had a black and white TV. I’m a book reader and not much of a TV watcher, so I just didn’t pay attention. The producer, William Dozier, said, ‘I’m sure you’ve seen our show,’ and I said, ‘Actually, I haven’t, but if I get the part I’ll spend the summer watching re-runs so I know how I’ll fit into the scheme of things.’
A groovy dancer that's not going home until she shuts the club down
The 1970s were a time like no other when it came to hitting the dance floor. During this most groovy of eras people from all walks of life flocked to clubs in the city to get down and boogie.
If you looked good enough to get past the velvet rope you could become a star on the dance floor, where the only thing holding you back were your own inhibitions.
Going to a club was the perfect way to escape from the drudgery of day to day life. You could work out that pent up aggression and just be free.
Debbie Harry looking cool... no surprise there
Has anyone ever been as cool as Debbie Harry? Of course she’s a babe, but she exudes the kind of cool confidence that makes you want to grab a beer with her as much as it makes you want to take her on a date. Oh, and she’s in one of the coolest bands that ever played.
Even though Blondie was one of the few bands that managed to crossover from the New York punk scene to the pop crowd, reviews weren’t always kind to the group. Harry says she didn’t read them:
I always found it sort of disturbing to read stuff while I was doing shows—all of a sudden the things I’d read would flash in front of my face in the middle of a song and I’d forget where I was, and go [gasps]. Like shock therapy.
The miniskirt shook up style and turned heads in the 1960s
Fashion completely changed in the 1960s. Hair became loose and long while dresses disappeared in favor of skirts that were downright miniature. Miniskirts were designed by Mary Quaint, an English fashionista who knew exactly what young women were looking for.
The miniskirt appealed to young women because of the minimized hemline and its revolutionary lack of length, and guys loved it because it gave them an excuse to check out some skin.
Not just a fashion statement, the miniskirt was a piece of clothing for the youth of the 1960s, it was both a political and fashion statement, what's groovier than that?
Shirley "Cha-Cha" Muldowney, the "First Lady of Drag Racing" 🏎
The First Lady of drag racing, Shirley Muldowney, began tearing up the asphalt in the late ‘50s in a twin engine car, turning heads and shocking boys and girls alike. Muldowney competed in any race that would have her... which means that she’s been in some serious dust ups.
Out of all the cars she’s driven it’s the Funny Car that’s given her the most trouble. Muldowney suffered two back to back accidents in the early ‘70s while driving these unreliable cars.
First, in 1972, she was involved in a nasty wreck at Ohio’s Dragway 42, and a year later her front engine car exploded mid-race. Never fear in 1977 Mudowney became the first woman to win the NHRA Winston Top Fuel Championship in 1977.
Before there was Beyonce there was Tina Turner
Tina Turner is one of the most dynamic performers of the groovy era and aside from her amazing vocal chords she was known for her onstage stamina that allowed her to give the audience everything she had inside her and then some.
After escaping the abuse of Ike Turner in 1976 Tina only had 36 cents to her name. She did everything she could to get her career back on track whether it was appearing on Hollywood Squares or singing wherever she could.
However her greatest triumph was when she released “What’s Love Got To Do With It” in 1984. With this single she cemented herself as one of the greatest divas of all time.
A man promoting himself during The Great Depression. (1930s) 📉
During the Great Depression the most well educated and hard working people were unable to find even the most menial of jobs. It’s not that these people weren’t looking for work, it’s that there was no money to go around. This destroyed companies and workers alike from the top down.
It just just how bad things were that this person who was a proud veteran with more skills than most people was unable to get a job. Many people had to travel west to find work as itinerant fruit and vegetable pickers, although just as many people tried to stick it out wherever they were hoping that things would pick up.
A man predicts the invention of cellphones in 1953 🤯
As much as this looks like a prank, this article about the ubiquitous nature of the telephone is one hundred percent real. It’s fascinating. This article from the Tacoma News Tribune, from April 11, 1953, features and oddly prescient prediction about the future of cell phone technology.
The writer, Mark R. Sullivan, notes that people will be surrounded by telephones wherever they go, unable to get away from them even if they don’t want to be around them. He writes:
Just what form the future telephone will take is, of course, pure speculation. Here is my prophecy:
In its final development, the telephone will be carried about by the individual, perhaps as we carry a watch today. It probably will require no dial or equivalent, and I think the users will be able to see each other, if they want, as they talk. Who knows but what it may actually translate from one language to another?
The Eagle. Blackfoot tribe members at Glacier National Park in Montana, 1913. (Photograph by Roland W. Reed) 🌄
The Blackfoot were an extremely nomadic tribe of Native Americans who formed near the Great Lakes before stretching out across a vast plot of land from Edmonton, Alberta to South Dakota, and into the area of Montana that we now know as Glacier National Park.
As a peaceful tribe, the Blackfoot lived in harmony with the land until the 19th century when European and American explorers came to the area and worked out a way to cede it from the Native people.
The sale of the land occurred in 1895 after Chief White Calf reached an agreement with the American government, netting them about 800,000 acres for $1.5 million on top of the promise that the Blackfeet would be able to maintain hunting rights on the land.
All ten of the Lusenko brothers fought in World War II and they all survived, here they are at a reunion in 1982. 👍
After Pearl Harbor, when America was called to take their armed forces to the eastern hemisphere and join forces with the Allies, the men of just about every family in North America joined the military to defend the freedom. Many men didn’t return from their posts, whether they were sent to Germany, Japan, or somewhere in between.
This makes it all the more inspiring that 10 brothers managed to enlist and survive the ordeal that claimed the lives of so many other people. Were they just a lucky family? Or did the Lusenkos just manage to be in the right place at the right time?
However their time in the military worked out, the Lusenko family must have been so happy to have their 10 patriarchs back.
Bill Paxton, Liam Neeson and Patrick Swayze in the film, "Next of Kin" (1989)
Three iconic actors, two of which who are unfortunately no longer with us. A photo like this is like time traveling if only through our memories. Taken on the set of Next of Kin, it’s clear that these three men from three different backgrounds bonded like brothers while working together.
The film follows a Chicago police officer who returns home to Appalachia to track down the man who killed his brother, it’s heavy material but the cast handles it well and makes the subject matter feel alive.
As intense as the shoot was, it’s clear that these guys bonded on set and became brothers for life.
The original SNL cast, 1970s. 📺 🍿
There was magic in the earliest casts of Saturday Night Live. The first year of the series featured Chevy Chase in the straight man role, but when he lit out for greener pastures (Hollywood), his role was filled by iconic irony man Bill Murray.
The Not Ready For Prime Time Players gave audiences some of the most engrossing and chaotic comedy performances of the decade, and birthed a generation of alt comics who worshipped at the alter of their helter skelter comedy style that felt like it could fall apart at any moment.
Do you have a favorite cast? Of course you do, you've got a heart don't you?
Faris Tuohy, who fought in WWII, is holding a photo from 1944. That’s him on the left, holding a cup of coffee, after one of many hellacious battles.
It’s amazing to see someone basically standing next to their younger self, especially a photo of themselves following an intense battle. Faris Tuohy is one of the many men who agreed to put their lives in the hands of the U.S. military at the onset of World War 2.
The photo he’s holding was taken in the mess aboard USS Arthur Middleton following a two-day fight for Engebi in Eniwetok Atoll. During the battle, the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 22nd Marines killed 736 Japanese soldiers and Korean laborers. Only nineteen surrendered.
Tuohy later said that he was a victim of friendly fire when USAAF aircraft attacked the Marines, he’s unsure about what happened to the rest of the men in the photo.
Sam Elliott and Cher together in the movie Mask, 1985. 🎦
For a lot of film persists, Cher was an interloper in their world. She was just a singer, you know? Well that’s not how Mask co-star Sam Elliot saw her. Not only was he a fan of her music, but he loved working with her. He told Entertainment Weekly:
I was a Cher fan when I was still living up in Portland. My mom and I were there, and I was going to school, and my dad had died, but my mom and I used to watch The Sonny and Cher Show religiously. I’ve always had a thing for female singers, for whatever reason… I loved Cher. I mean... Cher’s Cher, you know? I mean, what’s there not to love about her. She’s one of the most outrageous people I’ve ever spent time with, and she’s wonderful to work with. It just was a glorious... period of time.
Photographed while serving in South Vietnam in 1965, Larry Wayne Chaffin died 20 years later of complications related to his exposure to Agent Orange. 😞
Taken by AP photojournalist Horst Faas on June 18, 1965, while ensconced with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Battalion at Phouc Vinh airstrip in South Vietnam, this photo sums up not only the Vietnam War, but the conflicts that came before and that have happened since.
At the time, Larry Wayne Chaffin was just a 19-year-old doing his part for his country. Chaffin only served one year with the Marine Corps and like many soldiers he had trouble readjusting to the States when he returned home.
Unfortunately, he passed away in 1985 from complications connected to diabetes, something that it’s believed he contracted after he was exposed to Agent Orange. It’s important that we don’t forget brave men like Chaffin and the sacrifices they make in the name of our country.
Robert Plant rockin' his nurses do it better t-shirt during a packed house concert in Oakland 1977. 🎤 👕👍
There’s no band that does rock n roll like Led Zeppelin. The thunderous sound of John Bonham, the hypnotic guitar of Jimmy Page, and of course, the haunting yowl of Robert Plant can transport audiences to another universe.
Robert Plant says that when he first started playing with a band he didn’t care what he was doing, he just wanted to feel the power of moving an audience. He explained his love of getting up in front of a crowd to Interview Magazine in 1977:
When I started all I wanted to do was get out in form. I just wanted to sing. A simple thing. I loved the feeling of letting fly, of pushing as far as I could go with my voice. The only way you can really graduate how you do it is by doing it regularly to people who don’t have to be super impressed. You can do it in the studio all day long but you don’t get the flashback that you get onstage.
Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in a scene from Grease in 1978 and together again in 2018. 🎥
There’s nothing like those summer days, unless of course we’re talking about those summer nights. Everyone who saw Grease was sent back to those magical days of the 1950s, when sock hops and car races were the most important things on everyone’s mind.
Even though Olivia Newton John was center of the film (along with an electric John Travolta), she wasn’t sure if she would be able to pull of the role of Sandy. She told the Telegraph that it was co-star who convinced her to take on the role:
I was very nervous about making the film, because I was an Australian, but they said, ‘That’s OK, you can do an Australian accent.’ I worried that at 29 I was too old to play a high-school girl. But John was charming and really wanted me to do it, and that was one of the deciding factors. He’s a lovely man – we became great friends and he was very helpful to me on set, as I was not an experienced actress.
A pair of girls deliver ice in lower Manhattan, New York City, 1918
Before home refrigeration was a thing, people purchased massive blocks of ice in order to keep their food cold and their meat safe. A New York Times writer described the job in 1960:
With a slicker-like black cape adorning his back, and a pair of heavy gloves to protect his hands from the load, the iceman would lift the block of ice with a pair of tongs, place it on his back over his shoulder, and perhaps walk up two, three, or even four tenement flights.
These gals took over the guys who jumped into World War 1 feet first. Rather than sit around and let everyone’s food go to waste, these young women took the job the gusto.
A gallant gentleman helping a lady leap over a puddle in 1960
This is the kind of chivalry that you don’t see anymore. A man helping a woman over a puddle to keep her outfit from getting messed up. The early ‘60s really were the last time that gallantry like this was a normal, every day thing. By the late ‘60s this kind of thing fell out of fashion.
Not only was this kind of gallantry phased out by the late ‘60s, but this kind of clothing was rarely seen after blue jeans and tie-dye shirts were introduced.
But can’t we still be chivalrous? Even if no one is in danger of getting mud on their skirt politeness will never go out of style.
Lisa and Louise Burns posing outside The Shining wardrobe department right before filming their classic hallway scene. (1979) 🎥
The Shining is easily one of the scariest movies that’s ever been made, and the crazy thing is that one of the scariest parts of one of the scariest movies is an image of chopped up twin sisters.
While speaking with The Daily Mail, the sisters explained that the hardest part about filming The Shining was being still while they were covered in blood:
Us lying in the blood was one of the last scenes shot for the movie and I remember being worried, not because of the blood, but because it was going to be cold. Stanley was such a perfectionist and had planned exactly how he was going to pour the blood over us, so our main concern was just staying really, really still. We only had one set of blue dresses, so we had to get it right the first time otherwise the blood would ruin the dresses. I remember that was very challenging for Stanley because he liked to do many takes.
Michael J. Fox and Huey Lewis on the set of Back To the Future, 1985. 🎬
There are a ton of fun performances in Back to the Future, but one of the most beloved cameos comes from Huey Lewis of Huey Lewis and the News. On top of appearing in the movie, his band also has a song in it.
According to Lewis, he almost didn’t take the gig because of the film’s title even after meeting with Stephen Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis. However, he finally relented. He told USA Today:
I told Bob [Zemeckis] that the next thing I wrote, I'd send to him. So we wrote Power of Love. I had not read the script or seen the film. And they used it perfectly. I didn’t even think it was going to work, so to their credit, it did.
Madolyn Smith Osborne as Pam in Urban Cowboy, 1980. 🎥 🤠
Tight jeans, mechanical bulls, and country music; everyone remembers where they were when Urban Cowboy was released and changed the landscape of pop culture for good. Whether you saw it in a theater and went out to buy a cowboy hat or just had a closeted obsession with country music, this movie affected us all.
The film pretty much brought the western wear scene front and center, it turned plaid shirts into a way of life, and showed that John Travolta wasn’ just some flash in the pan.
However, the same can’t be said for co-star Madolyn Smith Osborne. She’s great in the film but by the end of the ’80s she dropped off the screen to live a normal life.
A teenage fan in the moment at an Elvis Presley concert, 1957 😍
There’s never been anything as pop culturally ground breaking as Elvis Presley’s early years. His career was like that of a comet - it passed by Earth for a brief flicker and astounded everyone who saw.
Teenage girls were especially fans of Presley’s. His performances elicited shrieks and yowls from the audience, making it impossible to hear anything from the stage. Can you blame them? No one had ever catered to young women before and all of a sudden here comes this hunka-hunka burning love.
Presley’s performances didn’t endear him to parents, but they generated controversy within the press and media, thus making him popular with teens. It was the first time this kind of media blitz happened, but it wouldn’t be the last.
The Temptations looking groovy in 1964. 🎶
The Temptations are one of the most legendary acts of all time. Not only are they one of the most important groups from Motown’s golden era, but they’re easily the most influential R&B group that’s ever existed.
Even so, The Temptations weren’t immediately popular. It took them eight different singles to gain traction, something that just wouldn’t happen today. So how did the band finally score a hit? Versatility. Writer/producer Narada Michael Walden explains:
You want something pretty, they could sing the prettiest thing in the world. You want something rough, rugged, they’ve got the most hardcore, rough, rugged sound you ever want to hear. They had all the gears, from Melvin Franklin doing the bass part, David Ruffin being the tiger, and then you also had the high-voice falsetto which inspired Prince, Eddie Kendricks.
Late comedy greats Robin Williams and Rodney Dangerfield in the late 1970s.
Are there two more iconic comedians than Robin Williams and Rodney Dangerfield? While these two couldn’t be more different in their stand up styles - Williams was an over the top improvisation master and Dangerfield was a man of practiced zingers - they clearly respected each other.
This likely came from the fact that both of these guys were constant performers. ‘90s kids may only know Williams from his films, but he was always getting stage time, just like Dangerfield.
Both men were performing up until their deaths, although Williams was mostly sticking to the screen, which shows that they were more alike than people think.
A young boy stands on a washtub while drinking by the kitchen sink in Kentucky in 1964
It’s shocking to think that this photo was taken in the 1960s. This boy drinking from the sink looks like he could be from the 1930s or ‘20s, living in a coal mining family, and maybe even preparing himself for a day at work, but to know that’s from the middle of the 20th century is strange.
This photo shows just how ravaging poverty can be. Families with no money and barely any utilities can be living in the same era as people who have everything they could want and more. Hopefully this young man was able to get out of his town as he moved into the next decade.
A couple posing for the camera in the 1860s.
No matter how much you love someone, sitting and posing with them for too long can drive you up a wall. In the early 19th century it took a whopping eight hours to expose a photo, but by the late 1800s that time had been cut down to a minuscule 15 minutes.
The 15 minute sitting time explains why so many people from the 19th century look miserable in their photos. Keeping a smile on your face for a quarter of an hour can’t easy, especially when you’re sitting in front of a camera with your significant other.
So why sit down for one of these? It’s likely that most people were only going to take one photo for their entire life, so 15 minutes was well worth it.
A young David Daniel Kaminsky a.k.a. Danny Kaye with a friend in 1915
One of America’s greatest entertainers, Danny Kaye, could sing, dance, and bring his audiences to guffaws with his spoken word improv work. Born in 1913 as David Daniel Kaminsky, he grew up in New York as the son of a Russian tailor.
Rather than finish school, he dropped out of his classes and started working at a radio station before becoming a comedian in the Catskills.
Kaye became a sought after performer after working as a dancer with Dave Harvey and Kathleen Young when he fell off the stage in the middle of a routine on opening night. He literally fell into fame.
An abandoned Gothic revival home built in the 1840s 😨
This spooky house befitting a member of the Addams Family or the Munsters is a part of the long standing tradition of the Gothic Revival architecture, a movement that started way back in 1740. People have always been obsessed with Gothic architecture so it’s no surprise that the design aesthetic continued into the 19th century.
Inspired by medieval design, the Gothic Revival style was most often used for country homes, or small town houses. These houses are incredibly sturdy, which is why so many of them are still standing today.
The height on many of these houses is such that ivy and vines creep up their walls, making them look more haunted than they actually are. Still, it would be pretty cool to live in a house like this.
The Rat Pack at The Sands in Las Vegas, 1960. 🆒
In the 1960s no one was cooler than the guys in the Rat Pack. Not only were they epitome of what has happening, but they managed to make bad behavior look good in their well tailored suits.
More of a gang than a group of performers, these hard living and hell raising guys were the number one reason many people traveled to Las Vegas. After all, where else could you catch a Sinatra show and a Sammy Davis Jr. drop in? Nowhere, baby.
The Rat Pack created such an air of cool about themselves that people still look to them for style choices and even for sounds. It’s going to be a long time before these guys go out of fashion.
Coal miners coming up after a long day of work in Belgium. (1920s) ⚒
Be they in West Virginia or Belgium, coal miners have always had to face terrifying conditions. The men who you see packed like sardines in a tin are Italian and Belgian workers who traveled to Western Europe in search of work at the turn of the century.
At the time, coal miners were treated with complete disdain. They were treated like second class citizens, without a worry or care for their health or well being.
Even today, coal mining is a dangerous profession, but in 1900 there were hardly any laws protecting the workers who put themselves into deadly situations every day to make sure the flow of energy didn’t stop.
Mary Wallace was the first female bus driver for Chicago Transit Authority in 1974. 🚍
It’s wild to think that it’s only been about 40 years since Mary Wallace became the first female bus driver for the Chicago Transit Authority. Shouldn’t the CTA have hired a woman before that? It’s so crazy to think about misogynist hiring practices occurring in the late 20th century.
Wallace says that in order to get the job she had to constantly bombard the CTA with job applications, but they continued to make excuses. She explained:
I used to work for the Planning & Placement Center when I was going to college, and we had job orders for CTA bus drivers. So I decided I wanted to check this out for myself, and I did. I went for three years, and they kept saying no, we can’t hire women, we don’t have facilities for women, so you have to do something else. I said I don’t want to do something else. I want to drive a bus. After three years of harassing them, they finally sent me a letter saying they would consider (not saying hire) me. They wanted me to come down and take some test, and I did not hear from them for about three or four months, and then I got a another letter saying I would be hired as a driver. After that, the rest is history.
Graham W. Jackson in tears playing “Goin’ Home” for funeral train of President Franklin D. Roosevelt of which he was a close personal friend. 😢🎵
Born in 1903, Graham W. Jackson was a writer and performer who was well versed with the organ, the piano, accordion, and as a choral conductor. He rose to prominence after he was featured at the Royal Theatre and at Bailey's "81.”
Through his performances he went on to join the faculty at Washington High School in Atlanta where he served as its music director until 1940.
He became close personal friends with Eleanor and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Jackson and Roosevelt were even collaborating at the Little White House on a version of Dvorak's "Goin' Home" the day before FDR’s death. This photo shows Jackson playing the same song as Roosevelt's funeral train left Warm Springs. Later, when speaking about the photo Jackson said:
The photographer stumbled over my foot and looked up. He saw my face and saw those tears coming down my cheek, and he just reached around on his shoulder and got one of his cameras and - blip - and thought no more of it.
Muhammad Ali with a young fan in a Florida diner in 1970. (Photo by Danny Lyon)
It’s strange to think that anyone ever believed that Muhammad Ali was truly down for the count. After becoming a vocal defender of civil rights in the 1960s and changing his name to reflect his new Islamic beliefs, America turned on Ali.
When he refused to take part in military service during the Vietnam War he was stripped of his boxing titles and he was banned from taking part in the sport he loved… all for speaking his mind.
Ali re-entered the sport he so loved on October 26, 1970, to face boxer Jerry Quarry. Ali took the man down in three rounds and officially announced that the king was back. This photo shows that many of Ali's youngest fans never abandoned him, and that no matter what race they were they saw him as a true American hero.
In 1969, Mr.Rogers invited Officer Clemmons to join him and cool his feet in a pool, breaking down a well-known race barrier. This photo was recreated in Clemmons final episode in 1993. 👍
Francois Clemmons is one of the first African-Americans to get a recurring role on television playing “Officer Clemmons” on the PBS television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood from 1968 to 1993.
Clemmons’ first appearance was in 1969, at the height of the Civil Rights movement, when he shared a foot bath with Mr. Rogers. As forward thinking as this was, Clemmons did have to keep his homosexuality under wraps, something that must have been painful to Clemmons. However, he said that he went along with Rogers’ request to keep the show from being mired in scandal:
I didn’t want to be a scandal to the show. I didn’t want to hurt the man who was giving me so much, and I also knew the value as a black performer of having this show, this platform. Black actors and actresses—SAG and Equity—90 percent of them are not working. If you know that and here you are, on a national platform you’re gonna sabotage yourself?
These two people met at Woodstock in 1969, and have been together for exactly 50 years
It’s amazing to think that this couple has been together for 50 years, but it’s even crazier to know that they first met on the road to Woodstock. While speaking to People Magazine, Judy explained that she never would have met her husband, Jerry, if it weren’t for her car breaking down on the way to the festival. She explained:
Jerry and his friends pulled up. I stuck my head in and I saw that there was a woman in the car. I’d never hitchhiked before, but I figured, ‘Well, since there was a woman, it was fairly safe, and I probably should just get in the car.’
The Woodstock music festival was a watched moment for America, and it’s heartwarming to think that this couple has stayed together to keep the spirit of the ‘60s alive.
Here's a groovy Philco Predicta television from the late 1950s. 📺
Is the Philcol Predicta a little cumbersome? Does it look like it would be hard to watch with the whole family? Sure. But it also looks really cool. The Predicta was manufactured at a time when people were looking to the future as a destination full of hope, and it was important for our appliances to match.
Television sets by Philco all feature fascinating and iconic designs. Known for their iconic “space age” looks, these sets were manufactured between 1958 and 1960 with 17” and 21” models. If you had one of these bad boys in your living room or den you were living in style.
Thousands of Predictas are still out there today, taking up space in pawn shops and in second hand markets. Why not go out and find one to make your life a little bit more groovy?
The bears of Yellowstone enjoying the tourists, circa 1960s. 🐻
This isn’t something that you’re likely to see any time soon, even if you’re able to visit a national park. However, visitors to Yellowstone between 1910 and 1960 were allowed to feed black bears along park roads.
It’s in this early era of the national park system that black bears became the symbol of Yellowstone, they’re still what many people think of when the park comes into conversation.
There had to be a wonderful feeling to accompany a sight like this, with a few curious bears popping around to see what you were up to. That’s just something we don’t get anymore.
Four generations in this family photo from New Guinea, 1970
The people of Papa New Guinea have been under the eye of westerners since at least the 19th century when Italian naturalist and explorer Luigi Maria d'Albertis set down on the island. Even though people have been studying them for more than a hundred years they’re still very mysterious.
For the people of Papa New Guinea, photography is usually a no go, they believe that it darkens their spirits forever, which makes this photo all the more fascinating.
This photo doesn’t just show four generations of tribespeople, but the way that the more things change the more they stay the same.
The Godfather, Coppola's mafia epic, premieres in New York City, starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, March 15, 1972. 🎦
It’s hard to remember what it was like to walk down the street to the theater and just pop into a movie, what a concept. In 1972 going to see The Godfather was a must-do experience for cinephiles. Not only was it a tour de force of some of the greatest actors of the era, but this epic was seriously engrossing.
Weirdly enough, even though Al Pacino was Coppola’s first choice for the role of Michael Corleone, Paramount made the director audition just about everyone else in Hollywood before they allowed the young actor to work on the film. None other than Bobby DeNiro explained:
Francis wanted Al. But every actor knew about it, and I think the studio was forcing him to look [elsewhere], from what I understood of it. And I never confirmed this with Francis, but they were putting pressure on him to use somebody other than Al.
Salvador Dalí walking his anteater in Paris, 1969. 🎨
Salvador Dalí loved to make a spectacle. Whether he was doing it with melting clocks, his famous mustache, or with off the wall clothing… or even by having a wild animal as a pet.
Dalí’s love of anteaters wasn’t just for shock value, back in 1930 he made a bookplate for André Breton, the father of surrealism, that featured Breton as an anteater. That puts this whole photo into a different perspective.
Was Dalí trying to send a message with his anteater? Perhaps a signal to Breton? Or was he just enjoying the spotlight with his strange pet? Honestly, we’re never going to find out.
Sioux girl with her doll, 1890.
It’s rare that we get to see such a straightforward look at the Native American children. Like many people who lived in the 19th century, if they weren’t in the area of a photographer (and most people weren’t) then they didn’t have their photograph taken.
This young member of the Sioux Nation must have been on a trip to the city with her parents when this photo was taken, and it’s amazing to see that like children today she’s reticent to give up her doll no matter the occasion.
It’s most likely that the doll was her one personal possession, which makes it all the more clear why she wouldn’t want to put it down, even to take part in the miracle of photography.
When Jim Henson died, Disney Imagineers sent a drawing of Mickey Mouse consoling Kermit to his mourning company. 😥
When Jim Henson passed away on May 16, 1990, the reverberations were felt not only in the animation community, but throughout the entire world. Henson’s work with The Muppets effected everyone who watched it, and made their lives a little brighter.
Henson knew that his life was fleeting and he didn’t want any mourners at his funeral. He requested that no one wear black to his funeral, and following a series of songs performed by the cast of The Muppets, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band brought the raucous funeral to an end. I don't know about you but I've definitely got a tear in my eye thinking about this emotional performance. 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.
The Beatles perform their last concert on the rooftop of Apple Corps in 1969. 🎶
The last time the Beatles played together, like really played together in front of a live audience was on the roof of their office at 3 Savile Row, right in the center of London’s office and fashion district.
After plans to film their comeback to the stage fell apart, the group decided to film their rooftop show… that is if they went through with it. The band, along with keyboardist Billy Preston and a camera crew trudged up to the roof but they were unsure about getting on stage again.
Thankfully they went through with it and gave fans one of the most memorable performances of all time.
Before “The Customer Is Always Right” existed, rudeness was not tolerated. 🚫
There’s no phrase that can bring a rude diner to their knees quite like “you get no hot dog.” Today we’re used to diners and restaurants bowing to customers to make sure they keep their yelp scores as his as possible, but life hasn’t always been like that.
In the early 20th century people working at diners were often either owners or long time employees of their places of business, and they didn’t want to put up with a bunch of jerks ruining their day. This sign is just one of many that dotted the United States to let customers know that if they acted up or got out of control they’d be looking for a meal elsewhere.
Did signs like this actually keep people in order? Or did they just serve to make diners more irascible?
Young lady posing with her cat in 1910.
It always comes back to our pets, doesn’t it? No matter the era, no matter the place, people have always loved having the photos taken and their portraits painted with their animals.
There are pieces of art dating back to the earliest parts of civilization showing men and women with their pets, and it’s nice to see that we really haven’t changed all that much.
The biggest question here is how this young woman was able to convince her cat to sit still for long enough to have its photo taken. Maybe he was incredibly well behaved, or maybe she promised him a nice fat mouse.
Cesar Romero relaxing between scenes on the set of the "Batman" movie, 1966. 📺
Cesar Romero was the last person that viewers thought would go to work in Gotham city, taking on the Batman and turning into the clown prince of crime. After all, the 6 foot 3 “Latin from Manhattan” was more accustomed to playing lotharios and gangsters, but he said that he found the Joker intriguing.
Why did he take a role that had him paint his face white and cover up his beautiful mustache? The 59 year old actor explained simply that it gave him a chance to do everything that he was told not to do as an actor. He noted, “You can be as hammy as you want.”
Southern California surf scene in 1964. 🏄
Can’t you smell the salt air through this picture? Even if you’re not a beach bum, this shot of a Southern California beach is sure to make you yearn for the days of surfing safaris.
During these groovy days the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean were spilling out of car radios and even the people who weren’t on a board were enjoying their days on the hot sand.
In the ‘60s, Malibu Beach was the place to be. It was teeming with surfers, and bikini babes just wanted to catch some waves and forget about their troubles in the city. Who can blame them?
The cast of The Munsters in 1964. 📺
The Munsters is one of the most beloved All-American families to ever grace our televisions. Sure, they were monsters but they were impossible not to love.
Filmed in black and white, the series basically helped a ton of young goths grow to their full potential, but would that have happened if the show aired in color? Butch Patrick, who played the young Eddie Munster, says the show was heading that way:
We were in full-colored makeup even though it was a black and white show, because there was always people taking shots of us, publicity shots and behind-the-scenes pictures. I think they thought we would go to color in the third year, that would have been a natural progression.
Sonny and Cher stylin' in NYC, 1973. 😎
There’s really no couple like Sonny and Cher. They sang together, they were married, and they even had their own show. Cher says that when they first got together Sonny wasn’t all that interested in her, but they grew on one another. Cher described the relationship as paternal in 1975:
It wasn’t a fiery, sexy thing with us, but rather paternal, like we were bound together, two people who needed each other, almost for protection.
Even though the couple divorced in the late ‘70s they were always there for each other. Aside from co-hosting a show together they remained good friends, it would have been a drag if they never talked to one another again.
The Twin Towers under construction in the 1970s. 🙇
Four years. That’s how long it took to build the Twin Towers in New York City. Ground was broken Aug. 5, 1966, but workers couldn’t even start putting up the steel until ’68.
On December 23, 1970, workers place the highest piece of steel on the North Tower, bringing it to a walloping 1,368 feet. At the time New Yorkers thought the buildings were an eyesore, but they came to love the massive buildings that offered an unobstructed view of 45 miles in all directions.
Even though the buildings were brought down in 2001, they live on in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers and Americans everywhere.