What kind of weirdo takes his wife and 11-year-old daughter into a burnt-out Victorian mansion to stand in windows that have no panes? Gary Cooper, that’s who. Or as LIFE magazine referred to him, “the embodiment of the solid, easy-going, tough-fibered American male.”
It seems he and his family were on vacation in Aspen, Colorado when they spotted said house corpse and decided to enter the spooky remains. These days, of course, that would be trespassing. There would be bars in those windows, preventing any would-be suicidal maniac from perch-pouncing. Or the place simply would have been razed to the ground.
But not for the Coopers, clad in goggles and free of smiles. Not by a longshot.
Here he sits with wife Rocky and daughter Maria in a room with cinder covering the floor. Watch your step!
Twelve years later, the family would take their final vacation to Sun Valley, due to an aggressive form of prostate cancer that had spread throughout his body. On April 17, 1961, Cooper watched pal James Stewart accept (on his behalf) an honorary award for lifetime achievement at the Academy Awards. The emotional Stewart said, “Coop, I want you to know I’ll get it to you right away. With it, goes all the friendship and affection and the admiration and deep respect of all of us. We’re very, very proud of you, Coop.”
In his last public statement on May 4, Cooper said, “I know that what is happening is God’s will. I am not afraid of the future.” He passed on May 13, 1961, six days after his sixtieth birthday.
Today, rather than looking back as usual, we look to modern young Hollywood actresses, all daughters of famous parents. I think you will agree that Riley Keough has the striking good looks of grandmother Priscilla Presley.
Below is Mickey Sumner, the eldest daughter of Sting (aka Gordon Sumner), striking a typical pinup pose.
Although this yellow polka dot bikini is reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s style, it’s actually Ireland Baldwin. The apple didn’t fall from the tree, as she clearly resembles mom Kim Basinger more than pop Alec Baldwin.
We end with Billie Lourd, daughter of Carrie Fisher.
No, no, it’s not that! It’s two co-eds passing a lifesaver on toothpicks during Halloween of 1977. In fact, all of these images are of college students celebrating Halloween that year. Bless her heart…
It’s the Great Pumpkin!
An ape loving his Chiquita Banana.
Reverse border patrol agent.
Members of Devo with a wooly beast.
And who could forget Tarzan and Jane?
It’s hard to fathom that just over 100 years ago (or “one person ago,” as Netflix comedian Joe Rogan would say) that women dressed like this. The corsets and flowy ankle-length dresses may have felt confining, but those hats must have weighed five pounds in themselves. Such were the times in 1911.
Only 6% of all 17-year-olds finished high school back then, and many women (such as these New York ladies in 1909) spent their days, bent down, making straw hats.
If not for the skills of the hat-makers in millinery shops, gossip columnist Hedda Hopper would never have been able to amass such a collection several decades later.
By the ripe age of 32, Les Paul had fretted together the instrument that would make rock music possible and listeners able to feel the noize: the solid-bodied electric guitar. He seems to be scratching his head as to what his invention had wrought.
Below, you can see his first sound-on-sound Ampex recorder; Paul pioneered multi-track recording. The guitar is his second Epiphone “clunker” modified with a steel bar to mount pickups. The amp is a Gibson EH-150.
Les Paul is the only person to be included in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Fun fact: Paul was Steve Miller’s godfather (yes, that Steve Miller) and his first guitar teacher. Compare these 15 vintage Gibson Les Paul guitars.
His mind was nimble and ever creating. Paul passed away at 94 in 2009.
And the precip keep a’falling in the greater Austin area today. I’m thanking God I’m in the suburbs, as all of Austin is under a mandatory water boil notice, after the historic hill country flooding. Our lakes look like Nestle Quik.
Several of my friends’ lakeside homes have been destroyed. Many don’t have flood insurance because we’re lucky to get two drops of rain per year. This is a drought city. We go several months at 100 plus temps and not a drop of rain. Nearly every dang summer. It’s feast or famine.
And now it’s feasting time. You don’t realize how important clean water is until you need it. We have a whole house filter in our home, as well as a reverse osmosis on our fridge water, because I HATE the taste of nasty water. And our non-Austin, unfathomably overpriced city water tastes nasty. We’ve all been in restaurants with that chlorine-y water or at a relative’s house who serves ice that’s been sitting in her freezer for three months. Gross.
But Austinites would be happy for that nasty tap water today. All the local Starbucks are closed (though you’d think if any place could boil water, it’d be them), grocery stores have tossed all produce that was sprayed with city water, most eateries are closed (save the few that have workers coming in early to boil massive quantities of water to wash vegetables and clean dishes, while serving canned drinks), and no schoolchildren can drink from faucets. Needless to say, all of the plastic bottles have flown off the shells. Not a great time for such an environmentally-aware city.
And how are folks bathing? You’ve got me. They say it could last up to 14 days. Things could be worse, of course. But let’s never take clean water for granted.
The website cited above states that 99% of earth’s water is not drinkable. Most of you right now have a glass of water, or a mug of tea or coffee (made with clean water) adjacent to your keyboard. We are blessed, folks. The fortunate ones.
All of these images come from the 1964 Western New Mexico University yearbook, but I bet if you’re a Boomer from Anywhere, USA, you can relate.
This is what technology was.
And Physical Science was boring as ever.
Not only were there cigarettes, but cigarette girls who pimped them.
People typed on typewriters, and the carriage return made a sound.
They played pinball.
They helped each other balance their checkbooks over coffee.
They resorted to violence to resolve domestic issues.
And they relaxed, listening to The Animals sing “House of the Rising Sun.”
These lovely ladies were the “little sisters” of the University of Texas chapter of Kappa Alpha Psis, which had only officially become a chapter in December of 1977, a year prior to this.