This article was originally published on HistoricTalk
Sometimes, clever people online point out mysteries we never knew were in dispute. For example, did you ever wonder just what is the Mona Lisa's real secret? Or just how handsome was Bob Ross before he permed his crazy hair? From the Statue of Liberty to the opening scene of Star Wars, there are a lot of things we take for granted that have a much more interesting backstory. Sometimes, you think you know, but you really have no idea. Read on to see it all unfold!
It’s Time To See Exactly Who’s Inside Those Sesame Street Puppets
Ever wonder what's underneath the Sesame Street puppets we all know and love? Well, it's time to see exactly who pulls the strings. In this case, there are no real strings involved. These special puppets are controlled by actual people with hands inside. It's a little freaky to see the truth! All this TV magic was created by Jim Henson, the man behind the muppets. We get why he was hired, way back in 1968.
The hand-in-butt technique was so successful that Sesame Street branched out into international versions. Each show uses the local culture and few new original characters to children about the basics. Thank you, secret puppet people.
What's Lurking Behind Niagara Falls
Thar, she flows: Niagara Falls gushes between Ontario, Canada and New York. It would be hard to find anyone who hasn't heard of this watery wonder. It has been a pretty popular attraction for 200 years. More than six million cubic feet of water falls down every minute there, making it a dangerous place to poke around. We want to know what's behind them. Is there a way to figure that out?
Well, we've done a little detective work on your behalf. You're welcome! Here is an uncommon angle that actually can be accessed, if you know where to walk. It's one of the tunnels on the Canadian side, on the shore of the Niagara River. Tourists can enjoy the Journey Behind the Falls, a totally safe attraction. Safe, we said!
The Marshmallow Man Rampaging Through Manhattan Is Cute
More than thirty years ago, we all laughed and screamed during Ghostbusters, the original. Yes, it's been remade. But there's nothing like seeing the old Marshmallow Man stomping through Manhattan. Since it's been a while, why not ruin the magic? Look at this behind-the-scenes image and take it all in. The truth of the special effects show he is much smaller and much cuter. What a shame, in a way!
We always wondered how they made the attack seem so realistic, and that mystery has been solved. Thanks to the folks on the Alternate Angles subreddit, we will never see Marshmallow Man in the same light, ever again.
We Found the Best Pizza Shop for Pyramid Watching
The pyramids of Giza are a glorious tourist attraction today. But the truth is, they were built as big triangles for dead bodies. The Egyptian pharaohs wanted a final resting place for themselves, and maybe they thought they would live inside of these tombs, somehow. It's all very murky now. But one thing we know for sure is that these rulers never thought that people would be casually eating pizza and using them as a view.
Apparently, there is a Pizza Hut in Egypt that offers this extraordinary window for diners. It's not exactly food fit for a king. But to be fair, they didn't even know about pizza in 26th century BC. It didn't exist!
Jupiter’s South Pole Is Pretty Crazy
Jupiter is the largest of the planets in our solar system, by far. We're used to seeing an orange and white ball, though. Maybe that's because we keep seeing it from one side! To really take in all its majesty, we need to see other angles. Here is just that opportunity, looking at Jupiter's south pole. Thanks to the Juno spacecraft, we can see a whole lot more of that glorious ball of gas.
According to NASA, multiple images were combined to show the details of the fifth planet from the sun, here. The colors were enhanced to show the contrast, and we like what we see.
It’s the Photoshoot for the the Beatles’ Abbey Road Cover
It was the album that featured both "Come Together" as well as "Here Comes the Sun". The second side was Ringo's favorite. We know you loved Abbey Road, too! The iconic cover is recognizable the world over, and we thought it might be interesting to see the Beatles lining up for the walk. Apparently, the photographer only had ten minutes to get this right, because traffic was waiting. A policeman held them off, for just a bit.
No one knew just how important this picture would be to music history. Thanks to Alternate Angles, we can see exactly how the magic unfolded. A little awkwardly, it turns out!
Bob Ross Was a Totally Different Man Before His Signature Perm
Bob Ross wowed us with his majestic landscapes, painted live on public television. He was gentle and silly. Yet, so talented, too! Bob once said: “I guess I’m a little weird. I like to talk to trees and animals. That’s okay though; I have more fun than most people.” Apparently, he used to have even more fun before he was a painting man. The Reddit crew uncovered vintage Bob, and we could have never guessed he was a bad boy in his youth.
Apparently, Bob decided to get a makeover when he was still a struggling artist. He permed his hair so he could save money on grooming. When it's just a big puff all the time, maybe it is easier to maintain. But we must say, we love the style here!
We Found the Real Model for the Iconic Columbia Pictures Logo
The Columbia Pictures lady: We've seen her at the beginning of a thousand movies, but what do we really know about her? Apparently, this was always an image of a real model, whose name was Jenny Joseph. She's been the mascot since 1924, and we can see her work right here. Years later, when asked about her intro, she stated: 'When I go to the movies, I get my 15 minutes of fame. The kids get a kick out of it.'"
Apparently, the photo was taken on her lunch break, and she never thought it would become so famous. But something about just looked so classic and classy at the same time. Columbia will probably never upgrade!
The Bottom of a Frog Is Really Not What We’d Expect
The Alternate Angles group really outdid themselves on this one. We might not think there are any unknown angles of a common frog. But behold, here it is. We usually look at the top of this animal, or maybe the side. Underneath is hard to see! But now that we know more, we're not sure if we like how it all looks, from below. By the way, how can the French eat these things?
The origins of these little creatures are pretty old. Scientists say they started evolving 265 million years ago. For whatever reason, this is how mother nature decided to design froggy bellies. Disturbing, much?
The Sphinx Looks Like A Totally Different Cat From the Back
We've all admired the Great Sphinx of Giza from the front, but what does it look like from behind? You've probably never even thought about the subject before. But now, it's time to see the truth. A photographer was smart enough to walk around and investigate if the stone beast had a tail. As it turns out, it does! Look at it and be inspired. Isn't it glorious and curly?
The mythical creature is supposed to have the head of a human and the body of a lion. The feline tail is there, there be sure. Thanks to Reddit, we can now see it also has a giant stone butt. Thanks, Reddit!
How the Actor Got Into Character as Kramer Before a Scene
Seinfeld was famously called the "show about nothing". But it was worth tuning in to see Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer get into trouble and solve their problems in wacky ways. Everyone had a favorite character. It's hard to say which one, though. No one wants to pick a favorite among your own children. But if we have to, let's go with Kramer. How did actor Michael Richards keep that crazy energy on set?
Reddit sleuths found this lesser-known angle of the acting process, and we love it. Behind the scenes, it appears Michael is already physically going full Kramer. Look at his body language!
Check Out the Back of the Mask of Tutankhamun
Ancient Egypt was filled with glimmering, gold objects, big and small. The power of the pharaohs and the mystique of the mummies has inspired novels, movies, and countless Halloween costumes. Check out the mask of Tutankhamun, right here. It's a classic piece from the kingdom, but very few have ever seen the back. Did the artist make an effort? Users were curious in the Alternate Angles subreddit, and we can understand why.
King Tut's mask appears to be art from every angle. Clearly, no expense was spared and no corners were cut! Its exquisite detailing has survived for thousands of years and now illuminates the internet.
You’ve Never Seen a Realistic View of the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is the most widely recognized landmark in modern India. It has pretty ancient origins, originally built as a mausoleum in 1632 by the emperor Shah Jahan. Shah's favorite wife died, and he wanted to build her a suitable resting place. We think he did a great job! But today, we have a different curiosity about the area. What does the city hosting the Taj Mahal look like?
Most of the photos snapped of the Taj show its extravagant views. But a lesser-known angle requires a few more steps back. Its host location, the city of Agra, actually has little modern infrastructure. Here's the whole truth!
This Is a Bird’s Eye View of Central Perk From Friends
Ross, Rachel, Monica, Joey, Chandler, and Phoebe made Friends one of the most talked-about shows of its time. Even today, the reruns do quite well, and it's been more than 25 years since its premiere. Maybe people just find it comforting. Part of that might be the setting where all the antics took pace: Central Perk, the coffee shop everyone frequented. Didn't you just want to sit down and have a cup too?
We know we did. This photo was featured on the Alternate Angles thread, and it shows us a new side of the shop. As seen above, it looks even cozier.
The Human Reaction to the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was very sad for NASA and space fans all over the country. It was a fatal accident that occurred in 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger failed. It broke apart just 73 seconds into its journey and all seven crew members died. Photos of the incident were circulated in newspapers all over, but it's time to see a lesser-known angle of the tragedy.
Here, the explosion itself is absent. But it's just as terrifying because we can see the faces of the people witnessing the takeoff. They thought they were coming to see a scientific achievement. Instead, they saw a horror of historic proportions.
This Hiker Watched the Crazy Eruption of Mount Saint Helens
A lot of people thought the volcanoes killed all the dinosaurs, for a while. That turns out to be wrong. But lava and ash is a terrifying geological situation, to be sure. These events happen all over the world, from time to time. Mount St. Helens is an active volcano in Washington state, about 50 miles northeast of Portland. In 1980, it erupted and killed 57 people. But that's not all!
Thousands of big animals, millions of fish, and 200 homes were destroyed too. Even the roads were ruined, for miles. Here, a photo from Alternate Angles shows a hiker witnessing the chaos. His body language says it all!
Go Ahead and Admire the Sydney Opera House From Above
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most distinctive buildings in the world today. The performing arts center on the Australian harbor is typically visited by more than eight million people a year. But they aren't all showing up for shows. Many just want to see the beauty of the building. Perhaps they would be interested to see it from above. We've got an alternative angle, coming right up.
The beautiful white design looks stunning from the sky, to be sure. But if you didn't tell us it was that landmark, we probably wouldn't figure it out. As they say, perspective is everything.
David of Michelangelo Is Now Sitting Inside This Cocoon of Bricks
Every art student has studied David of Michelangelo as one of the basics. The biblically-inspired sculpture is one of the most famous ever, considered to be a Renaissance masterpiece. Created from marble between 1501 and 1504, stone Dave stands 5.17 meters tall. He's really stood the test of time. But is there a special reason why? Indeed, there is. Meet "Brichelangelo", the statue when it was inside a 17-foot high home of bricks.
During WWII, art authorities became concerned about bombs. And they were right to be! Just in case anything happened, they decided to preserve the priceless wonder the best they could. Here is a picture of what things looked like during wartime. We bet you've never seen the statue from this angle!
Look at the Original Batman and Robin Behind the Scenes
He's the hero Gotham deserves, but he might not be the one it needs right now. Who are we talking about? Batman, obviously! The superhero known as Bruce Wayne during the day has been around for decades. He's been played by so many men, and we all have our fave. In the 1960's, he looked like this. Alternate Angles on Reddit has provided us with this photo for a little nostalgia, complete with sidekick Robin.
On the old Batman TV show in 1966, the hero's cape is being held by a crude string. That seems to have been good enough for viewers, back then. It's interesting to see the show behind the scenes. We've never seen it before!
This Shot From the Set of Alien 3 Is a Little Disappointing
Creatures from space typically look terrifying, but that's probably because we are unfamiliar with their forms. Even E.T. was a little off-putting, at first. One of the biggest Alien movies of the 80's was, of course, Alien. Its success led to a few sequels. We all screamed when we saw the main character. But the mature side of us knew that it was all Hollywood trickery. How did the creature look, behind the scenes?
Reddit tracked down a photo of the xenomorph in between takes. We have to say, we are a little surprised. He actually looks kind of human, and sad. Is Alien having a tough day at work?
The Statue of Liberty Was Once Just a Bunch of Parts in Paris
The Statue of Liberty: It's hard to picture NYC without this iconic bronze beauty. But now thanks to Reddit, it may be hard to ever look at her the same way again. Before she was the guardian at the port, Lady Liberty was a bunch of pieces sitting in a public garden in Paris at a World's Fair event. The artist made her in stages, which isn't surprising considering how big she is.
Here, we can see all the components before the finished product, a 93-meter high masterpiece. Eventually, France gave her as a gift to its new ally, the United States. Merci, France!
Forced Perspective Techniques Were Used a Lot in the Movie Elf
Alternate angles are used a lot in movies. Thankfully, we usually don't notice their technique: It would ruin the magic. For the movie Elf, a lot of scenes were an illusion. Here, Redditors tracked down a photo of a real shot that exposes the fakery. Did you really think Will Ferrell was that big? No way, we say. You were tricked. But don't be too mad. It looked elf-like in the end.
Buddy looks so much larger than his friends at the desks, and it's all thanks to a method called forced perspective. In filmmaking, you can always do something to make things appear to be closer, farther, larger, or smaller than they are. That's the magic of movies!
Here Is the Classic Price Is Right Wheel From the Back
Bob Barker made The Price Is Right must-see daytime TV for gameshow lovers and housewives alike. He shouted "come on down" to lucky audience members, and they would begin guessing the prices of everyday household goods. Their excitement was contagious! Things have changed a bit on the show over the years, but longtime fans will never forget the original wheel. We wonder: What does it look like, from behind? The Alternate Angles community has the answer.
The reality: It doesn't look quite as magical from the back. What is spray-painted in red? Who thought it was made of plywood? So many questions, so few answers. Boo!
This Is How Neil Armstrong’s Family Watched His Big Moon Launch
The world watched men walk on the moon in disbelief on TV. But many have no idea where the families of those astronauts watched it all go down. Reddit tracked down this fascinating photo of Neil Armstrong's family. While 53 million saw the initial rocket from their sofas, the Armstrongs observed the launch of the Apollo 11 mission from the pier here. You might expect that they were in a control room somewhere. But you'd be wrong!
Eventually, 650 million humans watched the moon landing. Americans, in particular, felt a strong sense of patriotism and pride. We can only imagine Neil's wife and kids felt that and so much more.
The Star Wars Opening Crawl Was Super Low Tech
George Lucas really hit a stroke of genius with his spaceship fantasy series. Even people who have never seen Star Wars are quite familiar with the opening crawl. The film introduces each movie story with intriguing text: "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." Then, the recent details are filled in, as the saga continues. But how was that little intro actually made, in the 1970's? Alternate Angles has the answer, yet again.
You shouldn't be surprised to see this photo that the Reddit crew tracked down, exposing the technique. Visual effects photographer Richard Edlund is preparing here for Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope with a tilted camera in hand. So basic, and so effective.
It’s Time To Find Out Precisely What’s Inside of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa didn't start out so sideways. It was built on what looked like normal ground, but its foundation later sank. Locals kind of liked the look, and they kept it. Since its construction, the leaning tower has had millions of tourists walk past its crooked majesty. But did any of them check to see what was inside this landmark? Reddit has tracked down a photo that provides a clue.
Surprisingly, it is empty in the middle! There's nothing there, which is quite a contrast from its ornate exterior. If people knew the truth, would they still come to see it? We think yes. It's still such a novelty!
Just Look at This Shot of a Toucan From the Front
Since 1963, Toucan Sam has been the mascot for Froot Loops that we all know and love. But come on, that's a cartoon! We knew there was a real version of this bird, somewhere. Usually, this species keeps busy in the far away rainforests of South America. If we've seen any pictures of it at all, it's probably from the side to show off its ultra-long beak. It is pretty impressive, we must admit.
Redditors have found a photo that shows the toucan from a different angle, here. What do you think about this look from the front? We say this bird is photogenic and knows it.
The Washington Monument Remained Unfinished for Years
The Washington Monument is a statue on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., honoring the first prez. That's George Washington! He was once the commander-in-chief in the American Revolutionary War, and only an obelisk in his memory would do. But enough about that. Look at this picture, uncovered by Reddit. Did you know that the project stood unfinished for more than 20 years? Well, now you do. And here it is.
The project was halted from 1854 to 1877, because there was just a lack of funds. Thankfully, the country found the money to erect the rest. A founding father deserved better than this!
The Statue of Liberty Looks Incredible From the Top, Too
Freedom has its symbols in the United States, and a prime example is the Statue of Liberty. At her bottom is a famous inscription that has inspired millions upon arrival in the country. Poet Emma Lazarus wrote: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
That's all well and good. But have you ever seen it from the above? We didn't think so. Take a peek at a new angle Reddit discovered. Isn't she gorgeous from the sky?
You’ll Never Guess What's on the Back Panel of the Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa is a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci from the Renaissance. The subject was a rich lady named Lisa Gherardini, and she would probably be surprised to find out that she is so well known today. Billions recognize her instantly! Even though she was a noblewoman, it's a bit much. Her smile has been analyzed for centuries, and we probably know all we need to know about the artist's technique, too. But we wonder: What's on the back?
Anyone who saw Mona in her modern location in Paris missed this part. If you were to turn it around, you would see something that looks like art on an Indie album. Kind of cool, no?
It’s Leo the MGM Lion Getting Ready for His Close-up
Movie studio intros were tough in the old days: Everyone could do a basic cartoon, and that wasn't innovative. How could you stand out in the crowd? MGM decided they wanted to feature a live lion. They wanted to capture the roar, for real. But how could you get a big cat to roar on cue, and not bite you? This man is trying to do exactly that, as Reddit has exposed.
"Leo the Lion" here is getting ready here for his close-up in 1928. Although that was the trademarked name, this kitty's real name was actually Jackie. The more you know!
That Famous Construction Worker Image Was Shot on a Skyscraper
We have all seen that vintage poster of construction workers having their lunch on a hanging beam. It looks kind of scary, but they don't seem fazed. Few of us would be willing to eat our sandwich up there, but we do appreciate the image. These 11 guys were hanging out at the Rockefeller Center during final construction, in 1932. How did the photographer capture the moment without falling himself?
Of course, Redditors tracked down the answer. The photographer was a man named Charles Ebbets. Here, he is about to take the most famous shot of his career. Well done, sir!
It’s the Sewer Tunnels From the Horror Movie 'It'
Author Stephen King once explained: “Humor is almost always anger with its make-up on.” Maybe that's where he got his inspiration for the character Pennywise in the movie It. The story's terrifying clown made us shriek in the theaters. The sewers in the film provided a dark and creepy location for violence. But did you know that no actual sewers were used? Behold, the alternative angle for the sewer system.
This set was built at the studio, and the behind-the-scenes photo shows what it looked like for actors and staff. It's decidedly less scary, seen from this angle. But interestingly, it's quite complex!
The Real Filming of the Bohemian Rhapsody Music Video
We heard it loud and clear: "Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening me. Galileo, Galileo." What did it all mean? Nobody knows, to this day. But Bohemian Rhapsody is still our favorite Queen song, and we definitely loved the video. At that time, music videos weren't really that common. But the 1975 hit helped make this a norm. Alternate Angles found a great picture of the filming, and we are fascinated.
Fun fact: The video was completely filmed and edited in just nine hours. Queen rushed because of a deadline to air on Top of the Pops, a BBC music show. We think it all worked out, just as history planned.
The TV Audience Actually Looks Like From the Stage
Although we have all watched our fair share of television, most of us will never know what it looks like on the other side. And what we mean by that, is the stage itself. What does it feel like to be part of a show in front of a live audience? Alternate Angles found this photo to offer a clue. We've all had fantasies about being a star. But be honest: Would you feel comfortable up here?
It looks like this is a venue that hosts mega productions. Maybe it's the Emmys. Maybe it's the Grammys. We can't say for sure, and it could be both. But one thing is clear right away: It's intimidating!