Login or Register

Sign in with Facebook

Nostalgia is a sucker's game. We imagine all the toys and TV shows from childhood as perfect and awesome purely because our immature brains hadn't developed the ability to joylessly pick things apart for their flaws. The songs we liked at age 10 weren't any better than the Justin Bieber stuff the 10-year-old girls love now.

So it's good to go back and look at our childhood icons through adult eyes. OK, maybe "good" isn't the word for it ...

(For a look inside the Star Wars universe that WON'T ruin your childhood, watch Cracked's adventures in Jedi School.)

17
"Luke! Be Careful! There Are Exposed Springs on That One!"

The Child Saw:

The "bottomless" chasm is as much a staple of the Star Wars universe as the lightsaber. It's a wonderful symbol for that world's vast, endless technology and how small it can make a person feel. Nobody who watched the above scene as a kid was thinking that consciously, but we felt it when Luke, crushed by the revelation from Vader, tumbled down into it, falling, forever ...

Ruined By:

... onto a bunch of used garage sale mattresses.

That behind-the-scenes pic is from the coffeetable book The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Usually it's cool to see the inventive wizardry that went on behind the scenes at Lucasfilm, but now I can't watch that scene without picturing the big pile of smelly mattresses just below Luke that appear to have been collected from various alleys around town.

While we're on Star Wars ...

16
"Guys, Make Sure Kenny Hasn't Suffocated."

The Child Saw:

It's not like it's some shock to find out R2-D2 isn't "real." He's supposed to be a robot, and even as a kid you figured he probably actually is a robot. Just one that can't think and stuff.

Ruined By:

R2-D2 is a dwarf eating a hot dog.

Don't get me wrong; I have nothing against dwarves (that's Kenny Baker, who's still working to this day because there are only like three dwarf actors in Hollywood) and I've eaten my share of hotdogs. But all I can think about is how freaking hot it must have been inside that airless tin can, shooting in the desert for long days.

Couldn't it have been, I don't know, remote-controlled or something? Did Baker have a little steering wheel in there to move R2 around? Also, I note that among Baker's roles on his IMDb page are characters named "Bungo," "Fidgit," "Dufflepud," "The Croat" and "Bruce Foreskin."

And ... now I'm depressed. No more Star Wars.

Continue Reading Below

15
Greedo's Sexy Heels

The Child Saw:

Wait, one more. Prior to the whole "Greedo shot first" encounter, the above scene was our introduction to Han Solo -- that is, our first look at how Han lives and the world that he inhabits. Weird green guys getting in his face with guns drawn, trying to shake him down. This was where we learned that as a fantasy franchise, Star Wars wasn't The Hobbit. It was a gritty universe, with a seedy underbelly of armed thugs.

Ruined By:

Look at the shoes.

Those are the sexy, sexy heels of Maria de Aragon, who played Greedo when he was standing up. He was played by somebody else when he was sitting in the booth. Not like it matters, with the mask on and the voice dubbed in later. Hell, in the prequels they'd have just left the seat empty and put a bundle of tennis balls there to map the CGI to.

Maybe this was the first time George Lucas figured out that characters didn't need to be played by actors -- they could just be cobbled together out of parts. Speaking of which ...

14
Bugs Bunny: Template 4B

The Child Saw:

It's amazing to think about a guy doodling a cartoon character onto a notepad, and then having people still wearing that character on T-shirts 70 years later. But it's easy to see why in this case -- Bugs Bunny is cool, even if he's in a rerun from 1944 and doing a slapstick bit about war bonds. He's the template for every sarcastic smartass who's appeared on the pop culture scene since.

Just look at him. Look at the way he stands. Put a cartoon shotgun in his face, and he'll stand the same way, before sticking his finger in the barrel. That bunny does not give a fuck.

Ruined By:

Bugs Bunny was drawn from a standard, "fill in the blanks" template of characters. Specifically, he falls into the "screwball" type, as you can tell by his "pear shaped body" and "big feet."

That guide up there was created by Preston Blair, an animator who worked for both Disney and Warner Bros. back in the day. He did some Mickey Mouse features, along with parts of Pinocchio and Bambi. So here's the guide he used to draw Thumper:

The Cute Character, Row 2, Figure 2. After that he went to work for Tex Avery, creator of a lot of those famous Warner Bros. and MGM characters such as Bugs and Daffy Duck, among others. Each of them a cold calculation, measuring out a specific ratio of eyeball width to forehead height to body size to extract the right emotional response from children. He had a template for everything:

Jesus, people, does everything have to be done on an assembly line? Are we all nothing but mechanized puppets, controlled by some corporation?

Hey, that reminds me ...

Continue Reading Below

13
He's Called Gizmo Because ...

The Child Saw:

Gremlins scared the shit out of me when I was a kid, and when I go back and watch it now, I'm surprised I didn't wind up with post-traumatic stress disorder. Holy shit this movie is dark. It's clearly aimed at kids -- Gizmo is the fuzziest, most huggable creature in cinema history, and the merchandizing blitz at the time left the world carpeted in those dolls. Yet the film itself includes a scene where a character 1) tells the audience there is no Santa Claus and 2) points out that she found that out upon discovering the rotting corpse of her dead father in the chimney.

Ah, but even with the horrors and numerous onscreen deaths, all we remembered was Gizmo. So cute! (You know, thanks to the large, widely spaced eyes and small mouth/nose combination as noted in the guide above.) Especially when he makes that sad, frowny face like that. What are you sad about, Gizmo? Somebody needs a hug!

Ruined By:

Ah, you're sad because your electronic entrails are spilled onto the floor and connected to a series of hand-operated switches. But at least you made out better than the evil gremlin. You may have a bundle of a dozen wires spilling from your asshole, but at least you have legs.

Really, puppetry holds nothing but horrors when we go behind the scenes ...

12
You Smell Like Hemp Today, Bert ...

The Child Saw:

Sesame Street raised half of the people reading this. Even now, when some of us read the alphabet, we still hear it in James Earl Jones' voice. Still, even at age three we knew Bert and Ernie were puppets -- you can see the little sticks that moves their hands, for Christ's sake. So what possible disappointment could await us behind the curtain?

Ruined By:

JESUS CHRIST IT'S HIPPIES. Hippies and former Vikings head coach Brad Childress.

YOU, TOO, ROWLF FROM MUPPETS? To make him play the piano took not one but two hippies, one straddling the other from behind? This is what was going on two inches offscreen every time we watched you?

Is the puppet industry dominated by hippies? At least with Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, we knew it was Mr. Rogers behind it all.

... or, if this photo is accurate, it was a random hobo.

No! Don't look at his crotch, Mr. Owl!

Of course, there's more than one way to go "behind the scenes" of our childhood icons. For instance ...

Continue Reading Below

11
The Time Traveler Just Couldn't Stop Laughing

The Child Saw:

Jurassic Park brought dinosaur mania back so hard that it hasn't completely dissipated 17 years later. And of course we know the T-Rex was made of rubber and enhanced with some CGI. We're not here to tell you that it was in fact full of Chinese orphans or anything.

No, we're going to look at what a T-Rex would actually look like if we brought one back using the miracle of genetic cloning.

Ruined By:

Uh ... what the shit is that?

That, friends, is a rendering by illustrator Sammy Hall, created after scientists in 2004 published a report on how the T-Rex probably had feathers (at least, the ones that lived in cooler climates). Yeah, so imagine the famous jeep chase scene, only it's this in the rear view:


"Eeep! Eeep!"

If it makes you feel better, I can't find any scientific support for its colorings being that, uh, fabulous. For instance, Wikipedia thinks it merely looked like this:

Of course, they didn't know any of this when they shot the movie -- that's something we just found out over time. Time sort of ruins everything.

For example ...

10
"Mr. Henson, Mr. Jim Henson, Please Report to Baggage Claim Area 3 ..."

The Child Saw:

Hey, it's Hoggle! You know, the cranky dwarf who helps Jennifer Connelly's character in Labyrinth. An important film, since many a young girl learned everything she needed to know about male anatomy thanks to David Bowie's pants, which covered his manhood about as well as the vanishing steam from a hot morning shower.

Anyway. Hoggle. I wonder what ol' Hoggle is up to today ...

Ruined By:

Gah! Kill it! Kill it!

For the love of God, man, do it out of mercy!

That's what 19 years does to a foam and latex animatronic puppet. For reasons unknown, the original Hoggle puppet, instead of winding up in some movie memorabilia museum or auction, somehow got lost in an abandoned piece of unclaimed luggage, where it sat for years.

It was then unwittingly purchased by a company that buys unclaimed luggage from airports in bulk in hopes of finding something valuable. They dug out the now-deteriorated Jim Henson character, called doll collector/restorer Gary Sowatzka and said, "Yeah, uh, we have Hoggle here, and he's a rotted horror."

Sowatzka has restored Hoggle, which is nice, but you can't help but wonder what has become of some of our other childhood icons ...

Continue Reading Below

9
"Yo, I'll Let You Sit on Me for Some Smack."

The Child Saw:

You know, like Chairy from Pee-Wee's Playhouse!

Ruined By:

OK, we don't know whether that's the actual Chairy or some knockoff that somebody photographed abandoned in an alley. Either way, sooner or later a hobo is going to shit on it.

Though it's probably silly to say that vagrant Chairy (who surely has a heroin addiction by now) ruined our childhood when Pee-Wee himself gave us this mug shot:

... after he was arrested for masturbating in a porno theater. Wait a second ... Paul Reubens was born in 1952. That means Pee-Wee Herman is nearly 60 years-old.

That's the thing about getting famous by playing an immature man-child -- that image kind of gets frozen in the public's mind, no matter how many years pass. Like ...

8
Urkel Will Wreck You

The Child Saw:

You've got to love the nerd character. So completely ridiculous and non-threatening. No matter how awkward you feel in your own life, you always know you're at least cooler than Urkel.

And if you had an Urkel in your life, no matter who intimidates you or pushes you around, you could always count on being able to stuff him into a locker.

Ruined By:

... And that's actor Jaleel White today. I was going to make some joke about how Urkel could beat us all up now -- but but he was recently arrested for domestic battery, so suddenly that doesn't seem funny any more.

Ah, but kid actors often go off the rails a little bit when they get older. No need to dwell on that. Besides, I actually find this just as depressing:

Continue Reading Below

7
The Beastie Respectable Members of the Community

The Child Saw:

If by 1987 you were old enough to listen to music, and had negligent parents, the Beastie Boys were the most rebellious goddamned thing on planet Earth. Just like with Pee-Wee, when you get famous as the Beastie Boys and make your mark on music with a song about how your "mom threw away your best porno mag," it's impossible for people not to mentally picture rebellious kids every time they hear your name.

Ruined By:

OK, so since 1987 these guys have aged approximately 40 years. Remember the hilariously old and cranky parents from the beginning of the "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)" video?

Any of the current-day Beastie Boys could travel back in time, cast himself as the curmudgeonly old dad and fit right in.

To be clear, it's not that we somehow expect our celebrities to remain ageless. It's just that they look so ... distinguished. If you cast them in a cop movie, they'd be playing the guy on the verge of retirement, urging caution at every stage.

6
And Now, Please Rise for the Congressman's Reading of "Rape Me"

The Child Saw:

Ah, Nirvana. If you were born a little later, it wasn't the Beastie Boys who were the sound of teenage rebellion, it was these guys.

Well, hell, it's certainly better to wind up like the salt-and-pepper Beastie Boys up there than the now 16-years-dead Kurt Cobain. By the way, here's his baby daughter, Frances Bean:

Looking at that first picture ... obviously Dave Grohl on the left is still famous and rocking. Whatever happened to that guy in the middle? The bassist? What was his name?

Ruined By:

That's Washington state committeeman Krist Novoselic. He spoke at the Libertarian Party's national convention in 2006 and ran for Wahkiakum County clerk.

If the Beastie Boys were playing grizzled old detectives in a cop show, Novoselic would play the high-priced defense attorney. Granted, he does still play music every now and then (Grohl had him play some bass for the Foo Fighters), and he blogs for Seattle Weekly, when he's not politely applauding other distinguished men while wearing a tie.

I guess seeing people grow up and move on bothers me because it makes me feel like I should also grow up, and put on a tie, and politely applaud people. That's why I personally prefer guys who take the Mick Jagger and Ozzy Osbourne route, rocking until they're old enough for a nursing home.

Continue Reading Below

5
"They Have the Loveliest Boutiques in This Neighborhood ..."

The Child Saw:

For instance, say what you want about Metallica being dicks about the file-trading stuff (or maybe it's just their drummer), but dammit, they're out there playing metal same as they were in the Ride the Lightning days of 1984.

Of course they are! Rock is in your blood, man! You can't tame it!

Ruined By:

Oh, hey, there's Mr. Hetfield out shopping in Milan, probably carrying the cost of your next two cars in that Armani shopping bag.

The money isn't the point -- we expect rock stars to be rich. It's just, you know, we kind of expect them to blow it all on lavish parties and cocaine. It's when you see guys like him as they are -- that is, as very wealthy, middle-aged businessmen with lucrative investments and expensive tastes -- that you think back to the Bugs Bunny Screwball Character diagram earlier. You wonder how much of the rocker image was cultivated from a template, everything calculated for the maximum audience impact and financial return.

All of those long-haired teenage kids in their bedrooms, lip-syncing the songs into a mirror and working out their angst, all wearing black Metallica T-shirts that represent one row on some merchandising executive's Excel spreadsheet.

Though I have to admit, the guy looks good. Hey, let's go find Axl Rose ...

4
Appetite for ... Ah, Forget It

The Child Saw:

This man could have opened a chain of used panty stores.

Ruined By:

Yep, that's Axl last year, not your uncle singing at the county fair in his Guns N Roses tribute band.

Hey, you know who never seems to age? Prince.

Continue Reading Below

3
Prince is Due for an Upgrade

The Child Saw:

Hell, we just saw him at the Super Bowl in early 2007. The dude looked as capable of challenging our heterosexuality as the day he stepped onto the scene.

Ruined By:

I don't know the context of the above photo -- maybe Prince is just really lazy. But stories have persisted for years that he needs hip-replacement surgery, on both hips, because it turns out you can't wear high heels and do the splits every night for 30 years without destroying your joints.

He apparently won't have the surgery because of his religious beliefs (Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in blood transfusions), so he gets by on painkillers and a walking stick.

Sigh. Well, we're all going to get older. We could post old celebrities all day. That would just be belaboring the point.

OK, one more.

2
Arnold

The Child Saw:

It's easy to forget that Arnold wasn't exactly a kid when he made Predator up there in 1987 -- he was already 40, and looking better at 40 than 99.7 percent of humanity looks at 20.

Ruined By:

He's 63 -- what's he supposed to look like? He could probably still beat the shit out of us.

But why the thong, Arnold? Why the thong?

Because he's Arnold goddamned Schwarzenegger, that's why, and there isn't anybody who'd say shit about it to his face. Nothing depressing about that.

No, it's only depressing because you realize that in the very foreseeable future, long before the world is full of robots and flying cars, the Terminator is going to die of old age.

Time moves on. It's the circle of life and all that. For instance ...

Continue Reading Below

1
Nickelodeon Just Blue Itself

The Child Saw:

What kid who grew up in the 90s didn't want to work at this place when he grew up? The 1990s were the golden age of kids' game shows, usually involving the loser getting doused in some kind of (probably highly toxic) green slime. Nickelodeon built that studio in Orlando back in 1989 to film all of those shows and used to give guided tours through what had to be the wackiest place on Earth.

Ruined By:

It's now a modern, stately building that any retiree would be proud to have in his neighborhood.

The studio closed after nearly 15 years back in 2005, when everybody stopped watching those game shows and liability mounted as child after child was accidentally killed [citation needed]. It sat empty for two years.

Now it's a theater where Blue Man Group performs. You can decide whether that's more or less depressing.

Time marches on. It's not like we have a Zoltar machine like in Big that will turn us all into kids again.

Besides, if you go to that Big amusement park now you'll find that Zoltar has been replaced by a Pepsi vending machine.

Ah, you can't stop progress. Where's my goddamned tie?

Speaking of progress, Cracked's new Star Wars mini-series is a huge step forward for all mankind.

David is the Senior Editor of Cracked.com and the author of John Dies at the End, which is soon to be a motion picture. You an also see his work in the New York Times Bestselling Cracked book.

And check out more from Wong in How 'The Karate Kid' Ruined The Modern World and 5 Reasons It's Still Not Cool to Admit You're a Gamer.

And stop by Linkstorm to make yourself happier by watching farting cats.

And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get sexy, sexy jokes sent straight to your news feed.

Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Do you possess expert skills in image creation and manipulation? Mediocre? Even rudimentary? Are you frightened by MS Paint and simply have a funny idea? You can create an infograpic and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!

To turn on reply notifications, click here

1677 Comments

Load Comments