In 1942, NYC mayor Fiorello LaGuardia said pinball machine "pushers" were "slimy crews of tinhorns, well dressed and living in luxury on penny thievery." LaGuardia launched a campaign of crackdowns, leading to this amazing picture of the man himself taking a sledgehammer to a seized pinball machine, keeping children safe for another day.
And the game stayed prohibited until 1976, when someone finally had a chance to show the New York City Council that pinball actually required some skill. That's an argument we're still having to this day whenever enough people get drunk at the bowling alley arcade.
Related: 4 Everyday Things That Caused Huge Panics When They Were New
Smiling In Pictures Was Considered Uncultured And Vulgar
What's weird about the following photographs?
Via Luminous-lint.com, Isaac Wallace BakerBesides that mustache in the bottom left.
Could you put your finger on it? People in old-timey photos are simply not supposed to be smiling for the camera. We tend to expect this instead:
State Library of NSWNow there's an expression that says "thankless life of 19th-century toil."
It wasn't just a matter of long exposure times and fallible facial muscles. Having your picture taken used to be an event reserved only for the most special of occasions. And you were lucky if it happened more than once, so you really had to make it count. People wanted to be remembered as profound, stern-looking individuals lost in thought. So our great-great-grandparents believed that smiling in photographs was about the most embarrassing thing you could do. Oh, maybe you could get away with a faint curvature of the lips, but grinning or showing your teeth would inevitably leave you remembered as a hopeless fool.
Even a complete goofball like Mark Twain looked dead serious in just about every picture. He once wrote to The Sacramento Daily Union that "A photograph is a most important document, and there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever." People didn't start smiling in photos until around the 1920s and '30s, when snapshot photography became available to everyone, and they realized one photo wasn't going to shame them for life. Then Facebook happened and proved that belief right all over again.
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