Nostalgic Photos From History Explained
By | December 26, 2022
In the current era it’s hard to know what’s going to happen next. Life moves so fast that at times it feels like everyone is suffering from mental whiplash. That’s why it’s so important to take a look back and remember a better time when things were more simple… when things made sense.
Look closer at these beautiful photos from the past. They each reveal something special about the way life used to be. Each snapshot reveals a beauty that you can’t ignore… you won’t want to look away.
The present day is so full of surprises, it's a relief to look back on amazing and inspiring moments in history. Whenever today feels overwhelming, you can look at these instances from history that reveal that no matter how hard life may seem at the time, a beautiful moment is just around the corner...
⚡ Click ahead for the most beautiful and nostalgic photos in history....some captured way more than expected ⚡
Anyone who grew up in the ‘80s remembers The Legend of Billie Jean, the star of a young woman who stands up for what’s right along with a cadre of miscreant sidekicks. The film is a classic Gen X story of rebellion, and it still holds up even if it’s a little cheesy.
Weirdly enough, two of the film’s stars - Helen Slater and Christian Slater - aren’t related, they just have the same last name.
Even if you didn’t attempt to mimic the wild fashion in this movie, the lesson of being yourself and standing up for what’s right definitely stuck with you. That’s just what happens when you watch an important movie at a young age.
Is there anything better than seeing a rock star with their pets? It doesn’t just humanize them, it gives you something to bring up to them if you’re ever in the same line at the coffee shop. Hey, it could happen.
Plant loved his dog Strider so much that he wrote about the dog in the Led Zeppelin song “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp,” where he sang, “Ain't but one thing to do/Spend my natural life with you/You're the finest dog I knew.”
Strider was named after, you guessed it, a character in the Lord of the Rings, which is nerdy but just makes us love Robert Plant even more.
The Chelsea Hotel is one of the most fabled rock n roll establishments to ever grace this gorgeous universe. Everyone from Leonard Cohen to Sid Vicious stayed there, and to see Janis Joplin hanging out on one of the building’s fire escapes is just so cool.
By the ’60s the Chelsea Hotel was the place to stay for emerging rockers, even if the rooms were nondescript and a little run down. That was all a part of its charm.
When Joplin was staying in the hotel she was in town with her band to record their second album, “Cheap Thrills.” As grimy as the hotel must have been even then, its legacy must have imbued the album with some of that magic that we just don’t have today.
Oh yeah, now this is an outfit worth showing off. Where do we even start with these bodacious threads? The love beads, the rainbow patterned shoulders… that mustache. Everything this guy is wearing is the epitome of going out in the suburbs on a Saturday night in the mid ’70s. Can’t you just feel the itch of those polyester pants?
Even if you didn’t own this exact outfit, it’s more than likely that you had to wear something like this for a picture day at school, or a basement party (assuming your parents had a basement).
Decades later, outfits like these are still popping up in thrift stores and the backs of closets, and thanks to the lack of natural fibers making up these duds they’re never going to deteriorate.
Film fans tend to think of Marilyn Monroe as this vaulted blonde bombshell, a kind of cinematic goddess who existed on another plane altogether. In reality Monroe was a kind, intelligent, and hardworking woman who wasn’t anything like the character she portrayed in so many films.
Monroe didn’t just enjoy literature, she found books to be "a refuge and a companion,” and once she started making money she purchased some 400 volumes of pricey first editions, who can blame her?
She was constantly reading, both on set and off, which just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover, pun intended.
When people think of vans in the 1960s the VW mini bus comes to mind, but the English didn’t want Germany to have all the vannin’ fun so they created the Bedford Dormobile Camper Van. This charming, albeit a little stubby van is honestly perfect for any road trippers out there.
The Bedford comes complete with a pop-top roof, curtains, and plenty of room to stretch out beneath the stars or hang out with your guitar and strum some licks to keep yourself company.
Even if it feels like a piece of a bygone era, these camper vans are seriously cool. They’re tough to maintain but worth the hassle.
We’ve all got to start somewhere, and for crooner Barry Manilow it was at CBS. The “Mandy” singer worked his way up from the mail room, but even when he was slinging envelopes he was an aspiring musician. Manilow says that when he worked at CBS his favorite thing to do was take a break and play a gorgeous grand piano that was in the studio. He told Variety:
All I had at home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was a little spinet piano. But they had a beautiful grand piano at CBS and I played it on my lunch break, every chance I could. To all the CBS dancers, actors, waiters on the side, I got known as the piano-playing mail boy.
That just goes to show that with hard work you can get anywhere you want in the world - even if you start in the mail room.
Out of all the sitcoms on the air in the ‘70s and ‘80s, WKRP in Cincinnati had something cool about it. Maybe it was the radio station setting, that special haven for misfits and cast-offs, the musical know it alls, and the people who just want to crank up the tunes and shut out the outside world.
Loni Anderson may have only played the secretary, but she was the linch pin of the series. Presented as the “dumb blonde,” Anderson turned the stereotype upside down with her portrayal of Jennifer Marlowe.
There was something for everyone on WKRP in Cincinnati, so even if Jennifer Marlowe wasn’t your favorite character you had someone to root for. Who did you love on the show? Were you a big fan of Venus Flytrap? Or did you prefer Dr. Johnny Fever?
Who used to drink JOLT Cola back in 1985? ⚡️
Whether you were a computer geek, Dungeons and Dragons nerd, trying to study all night, or you just wanted to stay up late watching TV, in 1985 Jolt Cola appeared on the market to up your sugar intake and turn you into a caffeine fiend.
Launched in 1985, Jolt was more an urban legend than a readily available soft drink. Kids talked about it on the school yard, wondering if it really had double the caffeine of a regular soda. There were rumors that Jolt had the perfect sugar and caffeine mix to drive someone mad.
But those were just urban legends, and while you can get Jolt today it’s just not as fun as when there was element of danger attached.
If you were a suburban teen in the ‘70s then the one place you could go to really let loose was the skating rink. Inside, a psychedelic technicolor blast of lights and music bombarded you from every angle. Kids from other schools skated backwards and there was always someone reigning supreme on the air hockey table.
Of course, there were always those kids that were too cool to actually go into the skating rink. They were out in the parking lot listening to music and doing whatever the could to keep from going home.
Were you the kind of kid of stayed in the skating rink? Did you hang out in the parking lot? Or did you float in between?
Lynda Carter must be part Amazon to still look so beautiful after all these years. When she was playing Wonder Woman in the 1970s she was just a young woman following her big break, she looks so young but so confident. Like she really has the power of Wonder Woman.
After Carter’s crime fighting days were done she continued to appear in film and television, she even put a band together. Is there anything she can’t do? It’s always great to look back at a star from our childhoods and see that they’re still doing well. It gives you a special hope for the future.
In the late ‘50s and into the ‘60s everyone was looking to the future. People were excited about the possibilities held by interstellar travel, and the new cars and machines that were being developed. Not only were we all futurists, but we were optimistic. Don’t you wish we could get back there?
Obviously, the Spaceliner is cool looking car, even if it is a bit of a boat - but everything was a boat in 1960. If we had our druthers everyone would be zipping around town in one of these bad boys, it would just make life a little more interesting.
We still have quasi-futuristic cars on the market today, but they’re nowhere near as imaginative as the space race era automobiles that were being released in the 1960s.
In an era where pin up and cheesecake photography could be found in all manner of magazines and calendars, Bettie Page reined supreme. Page was careful about who she worked with, and Bunny Yeager was the perfect person to coax the most arresting images out of Page.
According to Yeager, even though she was taking pinup photos she wasn’t interested in giving the viewer a show. Instead, she wanted to show off the beauty in all of her interests. She explained:
I’m not doing it to titillate anybody’s interests. I want to show off how beautiful my subjects are, whether it’s a cheetah or a live girl or two of them together. That’s more important to me than anything.
There’s something about the Burt Reynolds road movies of the ‘70s and ‘80s that we can stop from watching. What is it about seeing that mustachioed mad man completing ridiculous tasks in a fast car that keeps us glued to the screen.
When Reynolds returned to the Cannonball Run franchise with this romp he brought along Marilu Henner for the ride. She wasn’t a well known quantity at the time, but it’s clear that she was down for whatever was coming her way.
Since Cannonball Run 2, Henner has gone on to appear in pretty much every TV show of the 2000s (ER, Party Down, Dancing With The Stars, etc), so it’s clear that she just loves to entertain.
Even if you know Marty Feldman from his array of films, the first thing you think of isn’t his role as I-Gor in Young Frankenstein… it’s his eyes. Caused by a condition called Graves Disease, a type of hyperthyroidism which causes protrusion of the eyeball, Feldman’s medical condition only made him funnier - and he was already a comedy genius.
Marty Feldman says that he didn’t always have his famous eyes, but that the condition formed after a bout of exhaustion. In 1976 he explained:
Nervous exhaustion, brought on by writing 39 TV shows a year for 3 years, plus 2 radio shows a week, triggered a chronic hyperthyroid condition. When they operated, they said my eyes would go back to normal. It has been 14 years. I’m still waiting. Now I look at the world obliquely – not back in anger, but sideways in suspicion. Actually, each eye is perfect, but they function separately… But you make use of whatever has happened to you. What I have is what I am, and what I’m good at is landing on my feet.
Today, Feldman likely wouldn’t get a chance to be in whatever blockbuster CGI-fest is coming to theaters next, but in the ‘70s viewers were cool with seeing something different on screen. Or maybe Feldman would be a huge star today. He was an extremely hard worker and didn’t sniff at having to put in the extra hours.
In the late 1970s Tina Turner embarked on her solo career, it was the first time she was going out on her own in her entire life. Even though her albums weren’t selling as well as they had with Ike Turner a decade earlier, she continued going out on the road and giving everything she could.
Turner appeared on everything from The Hollywood Squares to The BradyBunch Hour, and she even had her own Las Vegas show for a while that was based on a cabaret review.
Tina Turner has created some of the most important and grooving tunes of the 20th century. Is there anyone who knows how to start a dance party and bring listeners to tears in the same track?
You know, this is really what’s missing from air travel. While traveling aboard his private jet, this world renowned singer feasted on a bucket of chicken and a delicious bottle of wine - that’s the kind of meal only a star would appreciate (or be able to acquire).
Something else that you might miss while taking in the sensory overload that is this photo, the former Real Madrid football player is also about to chow down on a Spanish omelet. What was this guy’s workout routine?
As if there weren’t enough reasons to have a private jet, getting to eat literally whatever you want in a tank top is a serious dream.
Baseball legend Hank Aaron sitting at a gas station in Mobile, Alabama back in 1974, a week before he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record. ⚾️
On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth's run of 714 home runs. Both of these players are absolute legends, but one of the things that makes Aaron’s breaking of the record so cool is that fans could watch it as it happened.
When Ruth set his record it was definitely something that people heard about, but Aaron hit home run 715 in front of 53,775 people in his home stadium.
The record was bittersweet for Aaron, he was an amazing player but fans were half and half on him because of his color, something that’s absolutely heartbreaking. He retired in 1976 with 755 career home runs—a record that stood until 2007.
Raquel Welch and a Volvo P1800 in 1964
Is there anything better than a great gal and a fast car? If that exists we don’t want to hear about it. Raquel Welch wasn’t just an it girl in the ‘60s she was a bonafide jaw dropping star who also happened to be one the best interviews on the talk show circuit.
As much as we see Welch as a frivolous symbol of the groovy era, Welch says that there’s a huge distance between her real self and the image that people have of her. She told Rolling Stone:
There was a huge discrepancy between the symbol – Raquel Welch – and what I could ever aspire to be for real. The stupidity of it is that once somebody says you’re something, you try to be it. That’s the stupidity. I fell into that trap for the first couple of years. It’s like being an ex-convict, I think. First you do your time, then you get out and they put you on parole, but they’re always waiting for you to goof up.
Sonny & Cher in London, 1965.
These outfits may look crazy today, but in 1965 they were truly cutting edge. Even so, try explaining that to a square that just doesn’t understand the psychedelic fashion of the era. While discussing the enduring music of Sonny and Cher, Cher said that adults couldn’t get on board with them:
It sounds so dumb, but everything happened so fast. I didn’t even know where I was. One day we were poor. Two days, three days later, we were famous… Kids liked it, but adults just hated us. I mean, really hated us. Fistfights hate.
Even so, the duo soldiered on and made music that we’re still humming today. You know you’ve got “I’ve Got You Babe” stuck in your head right now.
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis in 1976
If there’s one star everyone had a crush on in the 1970s it’s Jamie Lee Curtis. Her youthful exuberance and aw shucks attitude belied the fact that she was Hollywood royalty, something that she never mentioned unless she had to.
In spite of her pedigree, Curtis spent the late ‘70s popping in up a ton of B-movies, which may have seemed like a weird choice at the time, but it endeared her to a huge group of fans and ensured her a life long role as Laurie Strode.
Curtis is one of those actresses that we still love to see today. Not only is she always a welcome presence onscreen, but she reminds us of the good old days.
It must have been strange to date the King. Not only was Elvis the most famous person on the planet, but it’s entirely likely that anyone his age was a huge fan. It must have been so hard for Dottie Harmony to not request a song from Elvis every time they went on a date.
For people who came of age when Elvis was kicking around in his blue suede shoes, the very concept of getting to hang out with him - let alone go on a date with him was the same as meeting someone from Mars, he was one of those celebrities who were like they were from another dimension.
Remember hanging out in your room and listening to Elvis singles on repeat? There’s never been a better time to get back into that.
Predator is a perfect 1980s action movie. It has a cast of tough guys tossing out one-liners faster than they can fire bullets, and an alien creature that’s eye catching as it is dangerous. Starring guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, and Carl Weathers, the film is brimming with tough guys - but it also had one more to add to the mix.
Jean Claude Van Damme was cast as a virtual unknown in the role of the Predator, but by all accounts Van Damme didn’t gel with the rest of the cast and his costume was seriously uncomfortable. Van Damme explained:
My head was in the neck. My hands were in the forearms, and there were cables [attached to my fingers to move the creature's head and jaws]. My feet were in his calves, so I was on [stilts]. It was a disgusting outfit.
Luckily for Van Damme (and the film going public) he was offered Bloodsport and the filmmakers behind Predator decided to go with a different creature altogether.
Betty White, 1940.
It’s amazing to think that Betty White has been working in films and television since 1939 - right after she graduated from high school. By 1940 she was hosting her own radio show, something that many seasoned vets weren’t even allowed to do.
Think about the first time you remember seeing Betty White on television, whether it was on Golden Girls or the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Then think about the fact that she was performing for decades before that. She loves to entertain and she does it so well.
If life is like a journey, then Betty White has never stopped moving and she hasn’t slowed down.
Anjelica Huston and Jack Nicholson in 1975.
There’s really not a more recognizable Hollywood couple than Jack Nicholson and Angelica Huston. He’s a self-made star who came from Nowheresville, and she’s the daughter of John Huston, one of the most charismatic directors in the biz. They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.
Huston says that she knew she was in love with Nicholson before they ever met. She was working as a model in London when she saw Easy Rider, and that was that for her. She writes:
I had gone with some friends to see Easy Rider in a movie theater in Piccadilly Circus and had returned alone some days later to see it again. It was Jack’s combination of ease and exuberance that had captured me from the moment he had come on-screen. I think it was probably upon seeing the film that, like many others, I first fell in love with Jack.
Even for a group of hard rockers, AC/DC has had a fair share of trouble throughout their long running career. Aside from losing two singers and a guitarist, they’ve spent most of their lives on the road basing out songs every night. But like they say, it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.
In 1985, the band was riding high on the success of a series of now classic albums like "Back In Black" and "For Those About To Rock We Salute You," and they capped it all off by headline two nights at the 10 day Rock in Rio Festival in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
The band played for more than 250,000 heavy metal fans, and it looks like they soaked up some sun as well. AC/DC is still out here today (with Axl Rose on vocals to boot), but ’85 would have been an amazing year to see them do what they do best… rock.
Michelle Pfeiffer, 1979.
Before she was Catwoman, and way before she was freaking everyone out in Mother!, Michelle Pfeiffer was an up and coming actress trying to make her way in the world just like the rest of us.
In 1979 she got what was supposed to be her big break on Delta House, a short lived sitcom about collegiate life. She says that at the time she didn’t think much about her looks, but when she was cast as “The Bombshell” she realized that her genetic makeup could be an asset.
It was nearly five more years before she really got her break in Scarface, a role that allowed her to step out of the preppy sweaters of Delta House and into some brain searing drama.
A mailman stops and sits in a mailbox to eat his lunch in Hays, Kansas. (1951)
Younger readers may not remember this, but there was a time when the mailman always greeted you with a smile and had a nice word to say. Our U.S. postal workers are still out there come rain, sleet, or shine, but it’s just not the same.
Take a closer look at this photo. It’s clear that the postal worker here is comfortable just hanging out and having lunch. In the 1950s these folks were a part of the community, people knew them outside of their jobs. They saw each other at the grocer’s, at church, or maybe they lived next door to their mail carrier.
It sure is amazing to see something like this, that we wouldn’t witness today.
This American beauty is most well known for playing Pamela Barnes Ewing on the hit TV show Dallas, however she was actually retired when she took the role. Principal was working as a talent agent at the time and thinking about going to law school.
Principal’s plans changed when she read the script for Dallas and realized that she needed to be on the show. Even though she’d been away from sets for years, she says that Dallas immediately felt like home:
What I remember most about the first day of shooting Dallas was an unexpected feeling of deja vu. Everything was new to me; I was nervous, and yet I felt strangely sure that I was where I was supposed to be and with the people I was supposed to be with as though this had happened before.
Model Cheryl Tiegs, 1971.
Cheryl Tiegs is one of the most iconic models of the 1970s, and she appeared on everything from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue to Glamour and everything in between. If you were a teenage boy in the ‘70s you definitely had pictures of this blonde beauty on your wall.
Even though Tiegs looks elegant in her photo spreads she’s insistent that she’s just a simple gal. She told Artful Living:
In my own personal life, I dressed very simply. Yes, I would wear the designers, but the next day I would give it back. I had the luxury of being able to wear that clothing, but in my own life, it was very simple. Give me a sweater, a pair of jeans and tennis shoes, and I was fine.
You’re singing the song now aren’t you? For suburban teenagers in the 1980s “Jessie’s Girl” was THE song of longing and love that powered the walk home after school and those magical moments on Saturday night when there was no one in the world but you and your friends.
For many young listeners at the time this song was more than just a radio staple, it voiced the sadness of seeing your best friend with the person you want. Springfield says that the impetus for the song came from being young and just wanting to be loved. He explained:
As a child I was insecure… At school I was always girl-obsessed but unbelievably shy. I didn’t get a whole lot of satisfaction, so to speak. So ‘Jessie’s Girl’ was based on something that happened to me later on.
Before destination weddings, and definitely before there were hashtags for everyone in your wedding party, there was the idea that when you got married you did things that you both wanted to do - whether it be go on a cruise or get a Big Mac after tying the knot.
This couple clearly has things taken care of, from the matching suits on down to the rose in the vase. We may think of McDonald’s as fast food today, but in the 1970s it was still special to go out and grab a burger with your sweetheart.
Even if this seems a little silly, it’s sweet that this couple got off to such a fun start to the rest of their lives.
Diana Ross DAncing at Studio 54 in 1979
For a short time Studio 54 was a magical place. It was a club where anyone could go no matter their color, preferences, or status and dance the night away. Famous folks like Diana Ross and Mick Jagger were comfortable there because people didn’t bother them. When they were on the dance floor they weren’t celebrities, they were one part of the multi-cell organism that was studio 54.
The most important thing for this short lived club was to have a good attitude and to look cool. As long as you had those things going on you wouldn’t just get in, you’d have an amazing time.
Who doesn’t love Sandra Bullock? She’s one of the most endearing talents that’s ever been on screen and we can’t get enough of her. Bullock is one of those actors who just makes you smile when she shows up. You’re never worried about what’s going to happen because she’s there to make the audience feel good, not shake things up.
Whether you first noticed her thanks to her bang up run of romantic comedies in the ‘90s or her work in the thriller genre in the same time, it’s hard not to appreciate this fresh faced sweetie.
It’s hard to think of an actress who rivals her output - she’s still going strong today and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Remember when the theater going experience wasn’t just explosions and CGI? Geeze, remember going to the theater? In 1989, Steel Magnolias made everyone shed a tear regardless of whether or not romantic dramas were their thing. One of the biggest all women hangout movies, Steel Magnolias allows you to just kick back with a group funny and sweet southern women.
It’s safe to say that there’s someone in this movie for everyone. If you’re one of the few people who don’t care for Dolly Parton (and shame on you if you’re reading this) then Julia Roberts, Sally Field, and Daryl Hannah are there to help you navigate the lives of these down home gals.
What’s best is that all of the women in Steel Magnolias were actually onscreen together, putting aside their egos to make a beautiful film for the whole family.
Have there ever been two cooler guys that Al Pacino and Robert De Niro? Especially in the 1970s these guys were on fire. Not only were they the stars of one of the most hyped sequels, but they were both in some of the most important movies of the decade.
The best thing about these two gents is that they’re actually friends and they still hang out today.
Wildly enough, even after they appeared in Godfather II together (albeit not on screen at the same time) the two didn’t share a scene with one another until 1995’s Heat - and that was only for a few heart pounding minutes.
Circular house arrangements in Brondby Garden City, outside of Copenhagen, Denmark.
There’s something extremely aesthetically pleasing about these circular neighborhoods in Denmark. It’s a little surreal, a little hypnotic, and honestly we’re kind of jealous. This fascinating set of circular neighborhoods is known as is Brøndby Haveby or Brøndby Garden City.
The houses in the Garden City all feature large triangular yards that allow the owner to grow what they like while retreating from the noise and pollution of the city.
The concept was approved in 1964 when the municipality of Brøndby gave the go ahead for dedicated space for allotments, which lead to these surreal circular neighborhoods. Living here would definitely take some getting used to, but it would be worth it to see all that greenery.
Amelia Earhart emerges after deep sea diving off Block Island in 1929.
We’re all familiar with Amelia Earhart’s piloting skills, as well as her mysterious final flight over the Pacific in 1937, but she was a woman of many interests and talent - especially diving.
This photo comes from her tour of the Eastern Seaboard when Earhart was taken to Brook Island, Rhode Island via amphibious plane from New York City. After a faulty attempt at a deep sea dive, Earhart finally explored the deep when she went down to 35 feet and stayed underwater for 12 minutes.
Reports state that Earhart found a clam on the sea floor and brought it back as proof that she was keen on the water as much as the air.
Game show host Alex Trebek sporting some groovy sideburns in 1970.
We’ll take “grooviest game show host for $500,” Alex. Long before he was the host of Jeopardy and a legitimate day time TV heart throb, Alex Trebek was spending his time on CBC hosting whatever he could.
He got his start hosting Music Hop, a CBC-TV teen dance show, where he was described as a “solid citizen” with a “fresh-faced verve and breezy identification with youth.” You can’t beat those credentials.
It’s great to see him still hosting Jeopardy when he can and popping up on TV every once in a while. It’s not just good to know that he’s feeling okay, but his voice is like a warm blanket on a cold night.
Today, if you want to send your child across the country you’ve got to get them prepared for a hours on an airplane, and take time out of your schedule to make sure they get from point A to point B safely. But in the early 20th century all you had to do was put a stamp on their little noggins and hand them off to the postman.
While children weren’t being handed off willy nilly to postal workers, some children were actually sent through the mail. According to Nancy Pope, a historian and curator at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, a “handful” of children were mailed short distances in the early 1900s.
At that point in time everyone knew their local mail carrier so it wasn’t like the child was being handed off to a stranger. Even so, this practice faded out as the Postal Service asked that parents do the job of transporting their children.
A trio portrait of Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, 1987.
This amazing collection - or trio - of women is the kind of musical team up that we just don’t get anymore. Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt were all extremely successful before getting together to record “Trio” in the late ‘80s, and when it was released in 1987 the album went quadruple platinum.
The women were longtime friends and admirers, and even though they all spoke about working with one another none of them had time to record an entire album. We are talking about three of the most famous women in country music by the way.
The three women started working together in the late ‘70s, but none of those sessions ever made their way onto a “Trio” album. However, with the help of George Massenburg the three women hunkered down in the late ‘80s to record one of the coolest country albums of the decade.
What an amazing era for film. Viva Las Vegas may not have been a critical darling but it doesn’t need to be. It’s fun, exciting, and it has great music. This is one of the most fun films that Elvis ever made, and the fact that it features Ann-Margret is just icing on the cake.
Elvis stars as a down on his luck race car driver who has to sing for his supper (literally) while wooing swimming instructor Rusty Martin.
Viva Las Vegas is one of those movies where you can just turn off your brain and let the fond memories of the past wash over you. From the set design, to the songs, to the costuming, everything about this film will transport you back to the grooviest era.
Bathing suit police/beach censors enforcing modesty at Venice Beach, 1929.
If you go to the beach today you’re likely to see any and all kinds of swimwear, some of it modest and much of it leaving little to the imagination. In 1920, beach police patrolled swimmers to make sure that everyone was staying decent, and these swimwear cops were serious about their jobs.
Even though swimmers could be ticketed by beach police for their “indecent” swim attire, the rules were hard to enforce mostly because judges and leaders of the municipality had bigger fish to fry.
Attitudes towards swim wear change from decade to decade and year to year as the generations come and go, thankfully beach goers no longer have to contend with a ruler carrying swimsuit cop roaming the sand.
Celebrities on the TV game show "Hollywood Squares" in 1973.
Now this was TV. For years one of the few shows that could bring everyone in the household together was Hollywood Squares, a weekly program where stars large and small did their best to make America life while answering trivia questions.
At the vaulted center square sat Paul Lynde, one of the most mischievous entertainers of the day. He always had something cheeky to toss out even if he didn’t really know the answer.
Hollywood Squares had something for everyone, whether you liked comedy, sports, or music there was sure to be a star to make you smile. It’s hard to find something like that today.
Cindy Crawford really was the last of her kind. As a supermodel she was obviously gorgeous, that’s in the job description, but she was also daring and saucy without giving away too much. Finding a model like that today is nearly impossible.
Check out the cell phone in her hand, do you remember those bad boys? Bulky and with iffy reception at best, they were a status symbol that not only said you could afford something like that, but that you important enough to warrant that kind of connection to the rest of the world. Doesn’t this photo feel like it was from another life time?
Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef on the set of the film "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" (1966)
There’s never been a group of cowboys as cool as this. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly stands the test of time as not only one of the most important westerns to ever be made, but one that you can still watch today and feel the same thrills even if you’ve seen it a million times before.
It’s not just that it’s a good movie, it’s that it transcends time and genre to feel as fresh today as it did in 1966. A classic “hang out” movie, it’s one of the few films that you can play on a Sunday afternoon and everyone in the household will sit down to watch it.
It may be cliche, but it’s true, movies like this just aren’t being made any more. At least we’ve got Clint to keep us on track.
Who knew Don Knotts was such a lady’s man? Whether you know him as the the doofy Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show or as as Ralph Furley on Three’s Company, you probably didn’t expect him to be hanging out with a babe like Loralee Czuchna. That just shows that appearances can be deceiving.
According to his family, Don Knotts was the kind of guy who made sure that everyone was always laughing, which is probably why he was such a hit with the ladies. His daughter Karen says that even in his final days he had people cracking up.
Character actors like Knotts are few and far in between, and they really don’t show up on television anymore. Oh to go back to the golden age of television.
Drew Barrymore in the '90s.
Has there ever been anyone as cool as Drew Barrymore? Especially in the ‘90s when she was making her way out of the world of child stardom and popping up in whatever movie would have her.
Even when she was down on her luck she never gave off the impression that she wasn’t happy. She just lived her life and did whatever she liked no matter the consequences at the time.
It’s hard to even call Barrymore a “celebrity,” she’s more like a friend who’s been with most of us for our entire lives. We can’t wait to see what she does next.
No one, and we mean no one, knew how to move a crowd like Freddy Mercury. When he was on stage there was nothing that could get between him and his mission of entertaining the audience. And the best part about Mercury is that even though he felt like a god it was clear that he understood what it was like to be in love, to be sad, to be human.
Mercury didn’t care about the size of the audience, he just wanted to make sure that everyone who bought a ticket to see him perform had the time of their lives.
Unlike performers today, he didn’t use piped in vocals, and he wasn’t lip synching. Freddy Mercury was the real deal.
Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little cracking up on the set of the film "Blazing Saddles" (1974)
Is there a movie that’s funnier than Blazing Saddles? Short answer: no. Could this movie be made today: No way. Modern audiences wouldn’t know what to do with a movie that dished out the kind of humor that Blazing Saddles uses to make mincemeat of the hate mongers of the world.
One of the coolest things about Blazing Saddles is the way that it works on multiple levels. If you just want to watch a goofy western that tosses out jokes at a mile a minute, then you can do that. But if you want to look for the nuanced subtext then that’s there too.
Blazing Saddles is just as funny today as it was in 1974. If you haven’t watched it in a while it’s time to check it out again.
During their earliest days in the mid-1960s The Scorpions were far from the hard rocking hair metal gods that we all know and love. Long before they played on the Berlin Wall, the Scorpions were a group of fresh faced young men who played teen parties throughout Germany, it’s cool to see that they got their start like a lot of bands - just getting in the garage and rocking out.
If you didn’t know that this was the Scorpions you might think that this was a press photo of a young surf rock band. Not only is their look parallel to that of the young California rockers of the early ‘60s, but their instruments are similar as well.
Did you have your own neighborhood rock band? If so, you’re definitely getting nostalgia flashbacks right about now.
No matter the era, no matter the music, there’s never been anyone as cool as Debbie Harry. Whether she’s fronting Blondie or acting in a John Waters movie it’s impossible to forget how rad she is.
Not only did Harry pave the way for pretty much every female front woman that followed, but she made sure that people took her seriously. She didn’t resort to publicity stunts or any kind of nastiness. She just worked hard and let her art speak for her.
We really don’t have stars like her anymore, and it makes us long for an era where musicians like Harry where out there doing what they do best.
Woah. So how many of you actually had this bathroom? We for sure remember the fuzzy toilet liner and the bathmat, but those curtains are absolutely a mid-century dream.
For many young adults in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, decorating your house was as easy as flipping open the JC Penny catalogue and pointing your finger. Not only where there different color options available for the designs, but you could feel hip with the far out patterns and textures.
Today, homes tend to be a little more subdued. Many young people are opting to make their houses and apartments look like a minimalist art installation, but for our money this over the top 1970’s bathroom is where it’s at.
In any other era there’s no way that a fake blues band formed by comedians would be hanging out with Steve Martin and Mick Jagger, but in the late ‘70s everything felt possible, everything felt cool. Taken during the rehearsals for the group’s nine show run at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles opening for Steve Martin, the Blues Brothers were receiving constant well wishes from some of the biggest stars at the time.
Saxophone player Lou Marini, one of the band’s original members, told the Telegraph that the stars were out as the group rehearsed for their more than a week long run in Los Angeles:
It was showbiz central in the rehearsals. Saturday Night Live was so popular and Danny and John’s star has risen so high and so brightly. I remember Mick Jagger being in rehearsals. We were getting standing ovations every night. People were freaking out.
Now this is pure class. There’s just something debonaire about seeing these three men in suits, hamming it up after a show. Their hair is perfect, their suits are crisp, and they look like they’re ready to hit the town.
It’s fascinating to think that vocal powerhouses like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole were hanging out together at the height of their fame, like two neighboring galaxies coming together to trade tips about the cosmos.
While you may not think that these listened to any music aside from their own, according to Sinatra, he played Nat King Cole when he went home and needed to relax. Doesn’t it feel cool to have something in common with the Chairman of the Board?
Any teenager in the ‘70s the thrill of hearing the bombastic yawps of Rush, the prog rock three piece made up of Geddy Lee, Neil Pert, and Alex Lifeson. Even though the group gave life to many an air drum (and even air bass) concert on a long car ride, the band remembers a time when they weren’t so beloved.
While speaking about the legacy of the band’s music in the 1970s, bassist Geddy Lee explained that they were never popular with rock purists:
Purists prefer a simple, basic kind of rock ’n’ roll and most critics are purists. But there is a large number of musicians out there who are not satisfied to play that kind of rock, which leads to the inevitable contradictions and opinions. Sure, some music of the ’70s was a little pretentious, and some of it was bombastic, but some of it was highly creative.
The Human American Eagle, made up of 12,500 officers, nurses and men at Camp Gordon in Atlanta, GA, 1918.
This is just straight up inspiring. Created out of more than 12,500 officers, nurses and men at Camp Gordon in Atlanta, Georgia, the American Eagle was photographed by Arthur Mole, a guy who trafficked in creating massive spectacles out of the human body before taking a snapshot.
From the ground, Mole’s photos didn’t look like anything and were likely confusing to everyone involved, but when they saw the finished product they had to be impressed not only with his ingenuity but with what they helped create. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something this amazing and cool?
Even though these two may seem like they ran in entirely different circles, Shannon Hoon and Chris Farley had quite the legacy of working with one another.
The two first met when Hoon’s band Blind Melon played as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on January 8, 1994, prior to their performance of their hit single “No Rain,” Farley dressed up as the bee girl from the band’s video. Hoon and the rest of the guys loved it, and the duo bonded instantly.
It’s amazing to see these two guys hanging out and to know that Farley loved the video for “No Rain” as much as we did.
There are supergroups and then there’s The Traveling Wilburys, a band made up of George Harrison from the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.
No matter who you are, you have a connection to at least one of these artists, if not all of them. When they came together it was initially just to help Harrison record a B-side for a single while he was working at Bob Dylan’s studio, but the group had so much fun that they ended up recording an entire album. When Harrison presented Warner Bros. with the B-side they freaked out. Mo Ostin recalls:
Our reaction was immediate. This was a song we knew could not be wasted on some B-side. Roy Orbison’s vocal was tremendous. I really loved the beautiful guitar figure that George played. The guys had really nailed it. Lenny and I stumbled over each others’ words, asking, ‘Can’t we somehow turn this into an album?’
It’s hard to be the scariest creepy in The Shining, a film filled with gross bathing tub ladies, and Jack Nicholson absolutely losing his mind, but Lisa and Louise Burns manage to be absolutely terrifying with very little screen time.
Even though the film is absolutely terrifying and claustrophobic, according to the twins the set was quite the jolly place to be. They hung out with Jack Nicholson whenever he was around and he treated them as if they were his own daughters. Lisa told the Daily Mail:
Jack was a big film star at the time but he never acted like a big film star and never had any tantrums or said, ‘I’m too big for this,’ he really never ran the fame game at all,’ said Lisa. We’d see Jack acting on set and he wasn’t anything like his character in reality. For Jack, it was like putting on a mask. One minute he would be completely normal and then suddenly he would be Jack Torrance.
This picture was taken in 1956 of Clint Eastwood when he was 26-years of age.
Before he was an award winning director, and even before he was the star of some of the most important and engaging westerns of the 1960s Clint Eastwood was serving in the military during the 1950s.
Eastwood says that most of his service was fairly run of the mill, but while hitching a ride on a bomber plane he nearly met his end - with a pile of sharks. He explained:
In those days, you could wear your uniform and get a free flight/ On the way back, they had one plane, a Douglas AD, sort of a torpedo bomber of the World War II vintage, and I thought I’d hitch on that. Everything went wrong. Radios went out. Oxygen ran out. And finally we ran out of fuel up around Point Reyes, California, and went in the ocean. So we went swimming. It was late October, November. Very cold water. [I] found out many years later that it was a white shark breeding ground, but I'm glad I didn’t know that at the time or I'd have just died.
Has any movie captured the feeling of hanging out with your friends and driving around all night better than American Graffiti? This George Lucas film that shows the true freedom of getting in a hot rod and cranking up the tunes is as much of a time machine as it is a movie.
As arresting as the images of American Graffiti are, it’s the soundtrack that really takes us back, and we’re not the only ones. The soundtrack sold three million copies, how’s that for proof that early rock n roll is some of greatest music ever recorded?
Elvis Presley is noticeably missing, not because George Lucas wasn’t a fan, but because Elvis was too expensive to get on the soundtrack.
With “One of These Nights” the Eagles stretched themselves beyond their country rock origins to record their genre hopping fourth album, and their most substantial collection of songs since their debut. Decades later, the album still stands as one of the group’s crowning achievements.
Not only is this album their last with co-founding guitarist Bernie Leadon, but it’s the first where they dipped their toes into genres that were way out of their normal orbit.
Were the Eagles the last band of their kind? A group of stellar players who crossed genres while writing and playing their own music? There really isn’t anything like this band of Desperados today.
At midnight on August 1, 1981, the first 24 hour music video channel was beamed into television across America. Music videos were definitely a thing in England the early ‘80s, but there was nothing like MTV stateside, and its all day rotation was revolutionary.
MTV didn’t just change television, it changed our lives. Overnight, teenagers across the country were all keyed in to what was cool. If you didn’t have MTV you wanted it, and if you had it you lived like a king.
The first video ever played on MTV was the ironic “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles, a track that announced the station’s intentions with a bang and not a whimper.
Vintage photograph taken at Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills, 1925.
Woah. This is definitely not what Sunset Boulevard looks like today. Now, it’s a lengthy strip that moves through Los Angeles and changes with each neighborhood. If you have the time you can take it from the east side all the way to West Hollywood.
Hollywood was a small place in the first part of the 20th century, with Sunset Boulevard only stretching from Hollywood in the west to Marion Avenue Echo Park. In 1921, the city planned a westward expansion of the street, bringing it to an end at Sullivan Canyon.
This decision to extend the Sunset Boulevard was the beginning of Los Angeles changing from a small industry town in the desert to the capital of entertainment.
Volkswagen Beetles have always been cool. There’s just something impressive about the minuscule design and the way it looks as if it’s from the past and future at the same time.
As cool as Volkswagens are, in the mid 1970s the company reported a loss of $336‐million in its worldwide operations. The loss was powered by the dual pronged attack of the oil crisis and economic downtown that affected every business large and small.
That being said, in 1973 Volkswagen of America sold 476,295 cars with sales totaling $1.74 billion, so they weren’t necessarily in the red.
Today, when we think of the Jersey Shore we think of a few things: saltwater candy, carnival games, and if you’re of a certain age, fist pumping. But in 1905 only a couple of those things were for happening on the Shore.
Back in 1905 it was rare to see the amount of skin that people are comfortable showing at the beach today. On the Jersey Shore men wore full suits, women wore long dresses or dark sleeveless ensembles if they were trying to catch a tan.
One hundred years later and things really changed, but that’s the way life goes. And to be fair, wearing a suit to the beach sounds like a rough day.
For a certain group of east coasters, White Castle has always been the late night burger spot. Whether you were getting in from the club or just hanging out with some friends, these tiny burgers have always had life affirming properties.
At the time, sliders only cost 27 cents, so if you wanted to eat like a king all you had to do was drop a couple of bucks.
Anyone outside of the east coast probably had no idea that White Castle even existed until 1977 when the slider shop popped up in Saturday Night Fever. From that moment on grabbing some tiny burgers was a must-do for anyone visiting the Atlantic coast.
No matter what kids today think, cartoons of yesteryear are seriously wild. In the 1960s it was totally acceptable for a cartoon bull and squirrel to face off with spies from Pottsylvania on the regular. There’s nothing overly nefarious about the duo, it’s just crazy that this was a plot point for a children’s show.
Based on Gomez and Morticia Addams from The Addams Family, Boris and Natasha took The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle from a weird little show about talking animals into the realm of the purely surreal. From the moment they were introduced the series became a truly strange series that people of all ages could enjoy.