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February 11, 2016

These Old Photographs of Famous People As You've Never Imagined Them Before

Famous people haven't always looked the way they did when they gained notoriety, and they don't always look the way they're portrayed in public. These following photographs will forever shatter your image of them.

1. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pool Hustler

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who, when seeing this photo, immediately hear "Werewolves of London" in their heads, and those who do not. That is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago, showboating in a pool match with local civil rights leader Al Raby.

And no, this isn't one of those photo ops where a public figure poses with a prop to look like regular folk. King was a hell of a pool player -- he took up the game in college almost 20 years earlier, and in the early days of the civil rights movement allegedly won the respect of local gang members by playing (and presumably beating) them at it.

Which is amazing, considering that a man who would attempt a shot like that in the middle of a match is probably something of a sore winner. "Looks like you lose again, Johnny Switchblade! Now pardon me while I do a victory lap around your pool hall while riding my cue like a horse."

2. A Young, Cool Stephen Hawking, Standing With His Bride

On one hand, none of us probably thought that Stephen Hawking was born in a wheelchair. But as a pop culture figure, his wheelchair and electronic voice are his thing, and against all logic you find it hard to think of him any other way, like how you can't think of Hulk Hogan without the tan and mustache.

That photo up there is from 1965, when a 23-year-old Hawking married Jane Wilde. That was after his diagnosis with ALS, the disease that would put him in the wheelchair (note the cane). But just a couple of years before that, he had no idea he had a degenerative disease -- he was a healthy, active, drinking college student at Oxford:

Seconds after this picture was snapped, his pants hit the floor.

Then, one day he noticed he was having trouble keeping his hands steady, and once fell down a flight of stairs. Hey, best to go get it checked out, right? Could be, like, an ear infection or something throwing off his balance. That's when the 21-year-old (now studying for his Ph.D. at Cambridge) was told he'd be bedridden soon, and dead within a few years, a prognosis that is true for almost every ALS patient. Hawking, somehow, is still alive 50 years after his diagnosis.

3. Young Bill Clinton Wants to Crash on Your Sofa for a While

Yup, that’s Bill alright, and what’s even better: that’s Hillary by his side. Who would have ever guessed that this guy, who bears a striking resemblance to “The Dude”, would wind up being the president of the United States?

4. Mister Rogers Is Flipping You Off (With Both Fingers, No Less)

If you see this photo out of context, your jaded mind will immediately assume you're seeing either 1) a young Mister Rogers goofing around with his producer off-air or 2) a "F*&@-IT, WE'LL DO IT LIVE!"-type meltdown.

The reality, unfortunately, is that Mister Rogers appears to have really been wholesome all the way down, and here he's leading a group of children in a song that has them counting off each finger in turn. When they get to the middle finger, Rogers cracks up...

"Now kids, you never do this with your wheel hand unless they've just merged without signaling."

... knowing that it is going to be screen capped and shared on the Internet 45 years later.

5. Hitler on a Snow Sled

What's hilarious about this one is that Hitler still looks ominous. From that children's snow sled he is going to conquer the world! Also, think of how different your impression of Hitler would be if he had worn that hat all the time. This looks like a particularly stupid Photoshop, but there are other pics of this from other angles and they're all equally silly (they're apparently scanned from a 1955 book by Hitler's personal photographer).

But honestly, though, did the man ever smile? Yes, he did:

"Oh heil no, you didn't just say that!"

And he also sometimes put on a suit and tie and posed awkwardly with his girlfriend:

"Did I blink that time? I think I blinked. Let's do one more. What do I do with my hands? What if I ... does this look natural? OK. Wait, I think I blinked again."

And here he is hugging his pet dog:

"Who's the dog of the devil? Huh? Who's a fluffy little devil dog?"

By the way, if you wonder why Hitler hated the Soviet Union so much, check out his terrifyingly sexy competition...

6. Young Joseph Stalin Would Bang Your Girlfriend

That's right, ladies. The next time you're at a party and you see a guy who looks like a rugged, more handsome Keanu Reeves with Johnny Depp hair, playing a guitar and staring at you with his big, soulful eyes, keep in mind that in 40 years he could very easily turn into this guy ...

You can just hear panties hitting the ground.

... brutal Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

7. Michael Jordan Was a College-Age Urkel

No matter how it might seem when you're in high school, sometimes the line between jock and nerd is razor thin. Their genes might make those guys tall and give them the ability to dunk from the free throw line, but behind closed doors they're going to hike their pants way up and dance with an umbrella, as MJ was doing here in this 1983 photograph by Lane Stewart for Sports Illustrated.

Yet that is not the dorkiest teenage celebrity photo we have. That would be...

8. Teenage Eminem With Alf Shirt and Birthday Cake

Eminem wearing a pink Alf t-shirt holding a birthday cake.

Still, brooding celebrities who build their career on their dark past do it at the risk of becoming caricatures. For instance, the same can be said of Kurt Cobain -- nobody is going to deny his depression or addiction. However...

9. Kurt Cobain Eating an Entire Pizza

... it's still a shock to realize sometimes the man just sat down and ate an entire pizza like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.

This is something everybody should understand about depression, by the way. Tell me you haven't at least once heard somebody say, "I refuse to believe it was suicide, I was just out with Mike two weeks ago. He was laughing and joking and eating an entire pizza like it was a video game power-up."

Then later played "Cat Puppet" with his daughter while doing a high-pitched cat voice.

Well, depression works that way. Movies have given us a skewed idea of how it works, because there, when a character enters his "dark period," it's with a montage full of sad music and drinking and moping in dim rooms. Real life isn't like that. Not only do moods fluctuate, but even when you're at your lowest you find yourself in social situations where you're not allowed to show it. If you're in a dark place but can't get out of your nephew's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's, you're going to put on a smile for the camera. You feel selfish bringing everybody else down. You put on a cheerful mask.

Then, ironically, if you start playing the role of the tortured artist later, you have to worry about the opposite -- being photographed in a moment of being goofy and carefree. On a similar note...

10. Albert Einstein Was Your Drunken Uncle on Vacation

If you're considered the smartest man in the world, do you feel self-conscious about taking off your shirt and kicking back in a lawn chair with a goofy hat?

This is Albert Einstein getting some sun in Palm Springs, in 1932. Note his wild hair stuffed vertically into said hat. Still kept the slacks on, though, rather than breaking out the Speedo. You'll be thankful for that, once you see...

11. Winston Churchill's Plainly Visible Dong

"I'm Prime Minister and inspirational wartime leader Winston Churchill, and this is my junk. Go ahead, take a picture, it's fine. I made the military invent Lycra just so I could show it off without getting arrested again."

Why shouldn’t one of the most known historical figures and Nobel Prize winner be allowed to go to the beach and have a swim in his one-piece? WHY?

12. Just a Normal, Happy Family...

... the Manson Family, that is.

Charles Manson is the most famous serial killer of all time, and maybe the most famous criminal of all time. This is despite the fact that he didn't carry out the killings himself -- the "family" was a cult-slash-hippie commune that he formed that carried out at least a half dozen brutal killings on his orders. Look at how happy these freaks are!

See, you were right to be skeptical about hippies all this time -- they're all peace and love, but give them one charismatic dude in a loud shirt and they'll do whatever he says.

13. Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek Was a Younger, Cooler Dick Clark

Yep, that's Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek as a smooth, hip 23-year-old hosting a show called Music Hop in 1963 on the CBC in Canada. He appears to be calling to a young lady to come sit on his lap.

So it's easy to assume he came out of academia somewhere, a genius with unfathomable encyclopedic knowledge who was chosen as the only man smart enough to host a quiz show where he routinely talks down to Ph.D.s like they're kindergarteners. But, no, he's just a TV guy, one who didn't hesitate to use his smooth TV hosting gig to charm the ladies:

"Don't try to hide your arousal, honey. It's not possible."

14. Colonel Sanders, Hanging Out With Alice Cooper

First of all, how many of you kids thought that "Colonel Sanders" was just a drawing on the KFC logo rather than a real person? He invented the KFC recipe and started the restaurant chain (at age 65, no less). And here he is talking to heavy metal legend Alice Cooper.

(via Cracked)


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