9 Old-Timey Animal Photos You Won't Believe Are Real

#4. Hakuna Ma-Murder-a

Joseph Scherschel / Life
"JESUS CHRIST THERE'S A BABY ON MY BACK."

If you like cats, you'll loooooove lions. At least that's what Mr. Charles Hipp thought when he bought himself a lion cub from the Dallas Zoo in 1953. And apparently the zoo agreed, because they had no problem selling a baby big cat to an oil tycoon turned amateur circus putter-onner. Then again, pregnant women also smoked like chimneys back then, so take the zoo's wisdom with a grain of salt.

Once Hipp got the baby lion home, he did what any man with the balls to buy a pet lion would do: let the beast live in his house and routinely put his family in mortal peril for the sake of taking some sweet-ass photos. The picture above is of his granddaughter (a beastmaster-in-training if we ever saw one), riding a lion like it ain't no thing. When Hipp wasn't busy ensuring his grandkids had the most badass baby pictures in history, he gave the neighborhood children rides:

Joseph Scherschel / Life
Not pictured: Thousands of injury lawyers rubbing their hands.

Or just played with Simba like it was a kitten:

Joseph Scherschel / Life

A kitten that, we might add, is chewing a hefty chunk off his ass. That picture alone should have warned Hipp of the troubles to come. Because while this lion was a whole lot of gentle, the leopard he later added to the family was not. But this is a comedy site, so we'll save that story for another day.

#3. No Animal Ever Looked Sadder

Bruce Keogh
This is just a wasted opportunity to have a badass footrest.

Hey, past! What would be even more impractical and badass than having a lion as a pet?

What? A domesticated rhino? Come on. Now you're just fucking with us.

That sweet beast is Rupert the Rhino in his South African home. In 1960, Rupert was saved from a flood by a vet who then adopted him, because naturally a mere veterinarian couldn't understand the risks of living with a freaking rhino. Rupert repaid the courtesy by deciding to adapt the Disney stratagem instead of the more natural "gore them all the first chance you get and run to the wild" one. He grew into his pet role well and acted not unlike an overgrown guard dog, only occasionally putting his family in mortal terror and committing property damage.

He also ate a ton of bananas.

Bruce Keogh
And fingers.

Rupert was, however, never fully domesticated, presumably because rhino toilets are about as expensive and impractical as they look, and also because he looks like Eeyore in rhino form. The monthly Zoloft bill was even more expensive than the bananas, so Rupert was eventually released back into the wild.

Still, we think cleaning up a living room full of rhino shit was well worth it for the family, because it enabled them to have a family album full of pictures like this:

Bruce Keogh
"Giddy-up, beast!" "Just kill me, already."

#2. The World's Cutest Nazi

Democratic Underground
"WE HAVE WAYS OF MAKING YOU TALK, NAZI FIENDS."

With the thousands and thousands of pretend Nazis we've seen blown away in movies, comics and video games, it's easy to forget that many of the soldiers on the Axis side were real, regular people who would have preferred to not be fighting a war. So when you see this picture of three Wehrmacht soldiers dicking around in the trenches, looking at a tiny, adorable kitten play with its toy, it sort of gets confusing. Aren't those guys Nazis? The designated bad guys? Why are they playing with a kitten? Hell, one of them is even offering it a flower!

Luckily, the guys seem to be well on their way toward taking care of this dilemma themselves, as it looks like the toy the kitten has been given to bat around is a freaking hand grenade. One errant paw swipe could have turned this scene into the most adorable casualty report in the history of warfare.

#1. Because Purse-Sized Dogs Are for Pussies

Hulton-Deutsch Collection / CORBIS
All the other photos taken were blurry and full of flying limbs.

For a while there, celebutants had fun using little teacup-sized dogs as fashion accessories; they'd carry them around in their bags or on their arms, pose with them at publicity events and generally flaunt how great it is to not care that an animal is shitting in your Louis Vuitton purse.

But today's celebrities have NOTHING on flagrantly using animals to get publicity. Because the starlets of yesteryear bought cheetahs. As pets. The picture at the top is actress Phyllis Gordon shopping in 1939 with a cheetah she had flown in from Kenya, presumably so that she could terrify store clerks into giving her discounts.

Our knee-jerk reflex is to write Gordon off as a solitary eccentric, but she was actually far from being the only actress of her era to own a cheetah. The famous Josephine Baker had Chiquita:

Getty Images / Hulton Archive

And here Joan Blondell takes the unusually cruel step of color-coordinating with her pet:

poeticandchic
The leopard version of Buffalo Bill.

We could go on -- cheetahs were basically the go-to pet for famous actresses in those days. If it weren't for the whole animal welfare thing, we almost think it would be pretty awesome to see Paris Hilton try to walk around with one of these on her shoulders.

For more photos that'll put hair on your chest (even you, ladies), check out 7 Images Too Badass To Be Real (That Totally Are) and 10 Photos Capturing Moments of Spontaneous Badassery.

And stop by LinkSTORM to learn the best maneuvers when fighting a bear.

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