Looking at old photographs, black and white may not seem so fresh. But you probably have no idea how juicy the stories were and still are! It’s easy to imagine that people back then were simpler and more constrained, but we have some bad news for you.
Check out these 8 most amazing historical images and the even more fascinating stories behind them. We know you didn’t learn this in school!
1. He Was The Joker’s True Inspiration
We’ve seen quite a few actors take on the character of the Joker at this point. Every variation is consistently scary. But who started it all? As it turns out, it was this actor, Conrad Veidt, who played Gwynplaine.
You’d be right to assume he was a foreigner based on his name. Conrad was a leading figure in German Expressionist cinema. He performed this character in The Man Who Laughs in 1928. Does this look familiar?
This figure is unrelated to Batman, and the plot has nothing to do with him. But, without a doubt, he served as a visual template for the Joker in early DC Comics. He has the look!
2. A Film Kiss While Wearing A Flu Mask
Viruses have been circulating for who knows how long. So, what should a professional smoocher do? Before production began in 1937, actors Stanley Morton and Betty Furness were encouraged to rehearse on-screen kisses.
They’re both wearing masks since it’s considered safer to kiss with a cloth between them. According to an old article, this measure would stop four out of every five pathogens. We’re not sure how scientific that was, but they had hope!
Each kiss had to be practiced roughly 20 times, and becoming sick was a major thing back then. Without enough medication, the flu could be fatal. Even now, it is lethal!
3. The First Side-Eye
Sophia Loren, an Italian actress, stated: “Beauty is how you feel on the inside, and it radiates in your eyes. It’s not something tangible.” When she meets a competing beauty, however, we can see something different in her eyes.
This is a scene from a 1957 promotional reception for the actress. Jayne Mansfield leans in a while, sitting glammed up at a dinner table. What brought her here, and what is she doing?
Sophia’s expression tells everything. She is irritated that she is being overshadowed by another pinup at her event. It’s supposed to be her chance to shine! We completely understand.
4. Halloween Was Scarier 100 Years Ago
All Hallows Eve is the creepiest day of the year, and we prefer it that way. Is this, however, a new tradition? As this vintage photograph reveals, not at all. Around 1900, we see an adult standing behind a children’s lunch table at a school. We suspect it was a teacher, but this is not an ordinary day at work. The uniform of today is a ghost costume. Is that it, though?
But wait, there’s more! The room is decorated with cutouts of witches and cats, as well as a jack-o-lantern. We’re happy to learn that folks in the past enjoyed spooky feelings as much as we do. Isn’t it simply the best?
5. Frank Lentini Had A One-Of-A-Kind Physique
People born with unusual characteristics used to travel as circus freaks, which sounds cruel today. That was their official name! It was the only way they could make money in certain circumstances.
Frank Lentini was one such person in the early 1900s. Here he is, with clearly too many legs. If you look closely, you notice that he has three legs, four feet, and sixteen toes. He also possessed two fully functional sets of man parts. What a unique situation!
His extremities were caused by a parasitic twin in the womb that never fully matured. They merged! During his lifespan, Frank traveled with every major circus.
6. It’s A Tall Order To Protect The Queen
Brits know that the Queen can always rely on her guards in red with enormous, fluffy hats. In case you’re wondering, they’re crafted from actual Canadian black bear fur. Far from being a fashion statement, the hats were initially created to scare opposing forces in combat. They now stand around Buckingham Palace and smile at tourists. They never return your smile! But, come on, do they ever act out of character?
In this case, it appears that a guardsman did step out of line in 1957, which is an uncommon occurrence. He wasn’t, however, rebelling on the job. He passed out during a Queen’s birthday celebration. His coworker attempts to restrain him without going out of line himself. Excellent effort, sir!
7. Life Prior Before Alarm Clocks
We all despise hearing our alarm clock in the morning. But what if we didn’t have one? People used to have to make do without such a device. How did they manage to get out of bed on time? It was all down to these workers, the knocker-ups. In the 1920s, motivating the city’s labor was a vocation in and of itself in England and Ireland. Fortunately, yes!
The method was simple: rap on windows with a long stick. If they knocked, these employees made a basic buck. But if they stayed and let sleepers hit snooze a few times, they got a bonus!
8. The 1918 Spanish Flu Was Deadly
The present epidemic may appear to be an unusual phenomenon. However, we have heard of other hazardous viruses in the past.
Consider the 1918 Spanish Flu. When WWI soldiers got home, the illness spread like wildfire across the country. We had a lot less medical knowledge back then, but that didn’t stop kind-hearted volunteers from assisting their neighbors in need. Here, we see Red Cross personnel in masks preparing to do just that.
A sign behind them says, “If I fail, he dies.” According to them, the mission was intense. And that message was no joke: the virus killed over 675,000 Americans. It’s a sad moment!