They say that a picture tells a 1000 words. Well, when it comes to photos depicting people, places, and events of historical importance, they can probably tell much more than that. While history can be a fascinating field to explore written words and numerous accounts, nothing quite captures the moment like a well-taken, perfectly-timed photograph. Some of the most iconic moments in history, since the dawn of photography, have been captured by a camera. However, it’s not always about how iconic an image might be, but rather how surprising it is. Join us as we explore some of the most incredible historical photos that you may not have seen before.
Obama & Friends
It takes many years of self-development and growth before world leaders become the great people we remember them as.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out who the guy on the left is. The former President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, loved to just hang out with his friends in the sun and wear his shades.
Young Bill & Hillary
It is no secret that Bill Clinton and wife Hillary have been through hell and back together. From the Monica Lewinsky scandal to Hillary’s recent failed presidential campaign, it’s amazing that the couple are still standing after all these years.
The couple met back in 1970 when they both studied at Yale University. Apparently, Bill and Hillary locked eyes on numerous occasions in the library and it wouldn’t take long before they went on their first day together.
Marilyn Can Fix It
Long before her days in hit movies such as Some Like It Hot, Marilyn Monroe was doing something very different with her life – fixing drones for the U.S. Military. Known by her birth name Norma Jeane Dougherty at the time, she worked at a factory in Van Nuys.
It turns out that the man who took this photo, David Conover, is considered to be the person who was responsible for discovering Monroe in the first place. The rest was truly “historical.”
Audrey Hepburn Shopping With Her Pet Deer
Here is one historical photo that showcases a truly unlikely pairing. There have been many odd couples in Hollywood over the years. But one that doesn’t usually come at the top of the list is Audrey Hepburn and her pet deer Pippin.
While Hepburn filmed the movie Green Mansions, she was advised to spend some time with the fawn to get used to it. In the end, the actress loved the deer so much that she took it shopping with her!
Lucille’s Great Balls Of Fire
Although Lucy and Ricky Ricardo went hand in hand on the popular 50s sitcom I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball’s title character always managed to outshine her husband due to her extravagant behavior.
This historical photo is from the episode in which Lucy sets her fake nose on fire by accident! The faux pas involving her fake nose happened after Lucy tried to disguise herself after hitting William Holden in the face with a custard pie!
Arnie & Sly
When you think of 80s action movies, it is practically impossible to ignore the work of both Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone.
While the former was known for his roles in movies such as The Terminator, Predator, and Commando, the latter made a name for himself as Rocky Balboa and John Rambo. The superstars may have shared the same lady in the form of Brigitte Neilsen, but make no mistake about it, the stars are good friends till this very day.
Louis Reard & Model
Some people launch their own fashion labels or lines. However, there are not too many individuals who can take sole credit for inventing a new form of clothing altogether. Frenchman Louis Reard was one of those rare people.
In 1946, he was responsible for launching a unique two-piece swimsuit, which he ended up calling the bikini. He may not have known it at the time, but Reard pretty much revolutionized the way that female beachgoers would dress forever.
First Class On The Titanic
The RMS Titanic may have been overshadowed by its tragic ending. However, it was arguably one of the most luxurious ships on the planet in its heyday. Nevertheless, the Titanic prioritized comfort over style when it came to its interiors.
Take this first classroom, for example, which looks like it could have been in a British country manor. Large rooms were the norm on the Titanic and had all the amenities you would come to expect, such an en-suite bathroom.
What many don’t realize is that Queen Elizabeth II technically served in World War II! As an 18-year-old, the young princess joined the Women’s Auxillary Territorial Service, training in London as a mechanic.
She also drove her own military truck, making her hard as nails. In fact, Elizabeth is the only female member of the British royal family to have ever enlisted in the armed forces. Also, she is the only surviving head of state to have served in that war.
Walt Disney Eating Chicken
These days, Disney is one of, if not the leading corporation in the world of entertainment. With large franchises such as Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe under its belt, the sky is the limit for Disney.
However, there was a simpler time when the original founder, Walt Disney, was excited to just get characters such as Mickey Mouse and Snow White off the ground, and he would just sit back and pose while eating a piece of chicken.
Back in 1967, Jimi Hendrix decided to put on a Santa Claus costume to pose for an advertisement in an issue of Record Mirror. As you can see, he is holding the album cover of what would eventually become the classic Axis: Bold As Love.
Without a doubt, this was Jimi Hendrix in his absolute prime, and you could tell, especially based on the performance he gave the night before this photoshoot was taken, at Christmas on Earth Continued.
Young Dalai Lama
Although Tenzin Gyatso, better known universally as the 14th Dalai Lama, only assumed full political power of Tibet in 1950, he had many followers from a much earlier age. Gyatso was born into a farming family in 1935 and assumed full power of his nation at the age of 15.
Ultimately, what the current Dalai Lama represents above all else is his loyal devotion to Buddhism, while also striving to break down the sectarian divisions in his home country of Tibet.
Muhammad Ali Beats The Beatles
Sometimes, two completely different types of people come together in one moment for the most unlikely of situations. Take this historical photo, for example, which shows The Beatles in an encounter with the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali.
While the band from Liverpool were undoubtedly the biggest band of their time, and probably of all time, Ali is certainly one of the most iconic sportspeople to ever live. Ali caused a domino effect after giving George Harrison a light punch.
Houdini In Chains
When you think of magic and illusions, it’s extremely likely that one of the first names to come to mind is Harry Houdini. The Austro-Hungarian was well renowned for his numerous escape acts and his ability to do the seemingly impossible.
With time, his escape acts became more and more extreme, including ropes, buildings, and holding his breath to his repertoire. At one point, Houdini’s trademark act revolved around locking himself in chains. He even buried himself alive.
Marilyn Scores Again
Seeing that Marilyn Monroe was one of the most famous women on the planet at one point, it made sense that she would make some surprise public appearances, from time to time.
In 1957, the actress appeared at a friendly soccer match between the U.S. national team and Israeli team Hapoel Tel Aviv, which took place at Ebbets Field. Marilyn was so excited about the cameo that the players and referees let her kick a ball before the start of the game.
There have been numerous historical figures who have served their country before doing what we remember them best for. Take Elvis Presley, for example, who served in the United States in 1958.
However, Elvis was already a household name, which meant that many men were serving alongside one of their heroes. It also seemed like many critics of his provocative performances had a change of heart after finding out about his army service. He quit service early though as his mother died of a heart attack.
Only some people can have a photo taken of them shaving with a towel wrapped around their head and still look cool. Frank Sinatra is certainly one of those people, having the historical photo taken back in 1965.
Life photographer John Dominis spent a few weeks with the singer. Although some would consider the photo as somewhat intrusive, it seems like Sinatra was completely fine with Dominis coming into his private bathroom and snapping away while he groomed himself.
Lights, Camera, Danger!
Ever wondered how MGM shot their iconic opening credits? Based on this historical photo, the method was fairly simple. All they did was take Leon the Lion, put him in the actual studios and record him roaring at the camera.
Apparently, it only took one take back in 1928. It’s surprising that Leo didn’t get up and kill anyone. It was certainly much easier when they just used a lion as a logo. At the end of the day, a small risk can go a long way.
The Power Of Education
If there was ever a historical photo more significant than this one, then we would like to know. Back in 1957, Dorothy Counts became the very first African American woman to attend an all-white American school.
Despite the monumental occasion, many white students goaded her in her first lesson. Nevertheless, Counts kept her cool and was completely focused on her studies. The photo marked a radical change in the American education system, and for the better.
Chaplin & Einstein
Without a doubt, Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein were two of the most well-respected individuals in their respective fields during their time. What many people don’t realize though is that the pair actually became good friends.
Although Einstein was still a German citizen at the time, he was traveling in the U.S. when he met Chaplin on a tour of Universal Studios. The pair hit it off instantly and after having the physicist over for dinner, he invited him and his wife to the premiere of his movie City Lights.
Diving In The Thames
Sometimes, a historical photo doesn’t require a household name or a major event to make it special. Sometimes, all you need is a famous landmark and a unique scenario and the photo will do the rest.
Take this image, for example, which shows two individuals diving into the River Thames, London. As you can see, there is Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament in the background. However, these two don’t care. They just want to have a swim.
Andre The 19-Year-Old Giant
Without a doubt, Andre the Giant is one of the most iconic wrestlers of all time. Competing against Hulk Hogan in the very first WrestleMania in WWE history, Andre Rene Roussimoff was so much more than a wrestler.
He was a physical phenomenon, often referred to as the “eighth wonder of the world” due to his incredible size. At just 19 years of age, Andrew was already 7 feet and 4 inches tall. Here he is at a fashion exhibition in Paris.
Marilyn Pumping Iron
Make no mistake about it, Marilyn Monroe was so much more than just a pretty face. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, but in her heyday, the actress made sure to keep in top shape.
She was known for doing bench presses and squats when she wasn’t on set. In 1952, Life Magazine sent photographer Philippe Halsman to her home to take photos of her in her spare time. So she pulled out the dumbells, and the rest was “historical.”
Dog Helping His Little Friend
You know what they say, “Dog is man’s best friend.” It seems though that there are plenty of good reasons for that famous saying. This historical photo is one of those reasons.
As a little boy tries to retrieve his golf ball from the pond using his iron, his dog hangs onto his jacket with his teeth. It just goes to show that if you treat a dog the right way, they can be valuable companions and dare we say – family.
Hemingway In The Tub
If you know anything about English literature, there is no denying the contribution that Ernest Hemingway has made with his writing. The pioneer of the Iceberg Theory, Hemingway is probably best remembered for his novel The Old Man and the Sea.
It’s amazing to think that some of the greatest ideas for stories were conjured up while lying down in a bathtub. Based on this historical image, Hemingway enjoyed thinking up his next idea for a novel.
Einstein At The Hopi House
In 1931, Albert Einstein was on his way to Caltech with the hope of potentially joining the faculty. On his way across the U.S., he made a stop at Hopi House, close to the Grand Canyon.
In the historical photo, he posed with a traditional Hopi headdress and alongside his wife and three Hopi adults. He also held the hand of a Hopi child. It went to show just how far Einstein had come and the impact he had on so many different people.
Robert DeNiro Sr. & Jr.
It seems like the apple didn’t fall far from the tree as far as Robert DeNiro was concerned. It’s no secret that Jr. became one of the greatest actors of all time, starring in classics such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.
However, his father, Rober DeNiro Sr., was also a talented man in the arts – specifically, fine art. He was an abstract expressionist painter. Not only did he have a good relationship with his dad, but DeNiro dedicated an award in his name.
Carol Wayne On The Johnny Carson Show
Late actress Carol Wayne was a regular on The Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson, as the Matinee Lady. However, her career would come full circle when she appeared on The Johnny Carson Show in her own interview.
Her appearance was exactly one year before she died during a vacation in Mexico with her partner Edward Durston. While many speculate that her death could have been the result of murder due to a reported argument, her death remains a mystery to this day.
Marilyn & Billy Wilder
On the set of Some Like It Hot, it was believed that Marilyn Monroe was difficult to work with, particularly due to her poor concentration and addiction to prescribed medicine.
She struggled to recite many of her lines and it took a staggering 47 takes to get the line “it’s me, Sugar” right. She kept on saying, “Sugar, it’s me.” In this historical photo, the movie’s director Billy Wilder can be seen whispering some advice into Monroe’s ear.
Jayne Mansfield’s Publicity Stunt
Long before the days of social media, Jayne Mansfield was known for her audacious publicity stunts.
Here is one of her most infamous ones, as she smiles at the camera while Sophia Loren gives a disapproving gaze at her chest.