They Were Crazy in the 20th Century; Here Are 12 Images to Prove It

RealClear Staff


Don't try these things at home. In fact, don't try them anywhere!

1. Penguins on the Loose; Where's Batman?

Every week in the 1950s, the zookeeper in Edinburgh, Scotland, let the zoo's penguins population walk the streets as a form of advertisement. This poor girl looks terrified!

2. Didn't I See This in a James Bond Movie?

Actually, these are Dutch soldiers on patrol in 1940 during the early days of World War II.

3. Back Then, They Had Money to Burn

During World War I, the German government printed money freely to pay for soldiers, guns, and ammunition. After the fighting ended, there was more money in circulation than there were things to buy. The result was inflation. Prices skyrocketed and the German mark purchased less and less. Finally, money became actually worthless. People wallpapered their houses, and yes, even burned it for the fuel. (It was cheaper than buying coal or firewood!)

4. Living in a Bubble

This product never really took off, but in 1950s America, this was targeted as a lawnmower for women. Encased in this plastic cockpit, you could dress womanly and keep out some of the noise.

5. Lady Coneheads

These women in Canada in the 1930s certainly had a novel approach to battling the snow and windy cold. Needs a defroster, though.

6. A People Pyramid

This was part of the strange Opening Ceremonies at the 1980 Moscow Olympics -- the one the United States boycotted due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Looks like we missed quite a party!

7. They Sure Made Cars Bigger Then

Here's the pit crew cleaning a giant Studebaker built for the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago.

8. Did They Know What Creepy Meant?

This was seen as cute and cuddly at the time. Ladies and gentlemen, the first edition of the Michelin Man, a character still used in today's advertising for Michelin Tires.

9. Should We Call the Fire Marshal?

Talk about trusting in your engineers and bridge builders. On May 27, 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge opened. The day before vehicle traffic was allowed, 200,000 people crossed either on foot or on roller skates. It passed its first test.

10. Kid Power

Chess prodigy Samuel Reshevsky, age 8, defeating several chess masters AT ONCE in 1920. See, kids, what is possible without the distraction of TV, iPads and digital media?

11. Big Trees. Tiny Saws.

Around the turn of the 20th century, lumberjacks really earned their pay. Can you imagine cutting down a huge tree with that saw?

12. It's a Vision Thing

They once -- and we are not making this up -- stopped an NHL game in 1962 between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Toronto Maple Leafs to ... wait for it ... look for a player's missing contact lens! Now that's sportsmanship.



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