Contrary to what children today might believe, there was a world before the internet, too. People have always craved stories, and the need for storytelling is one of the most symbolic traits of humanity throughout its existence. From the fireplace in ancient times to the smartphones of today, it is only the means of transferring stories that’s evolved. Here are the nine stories from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s which would have surely gone viral had the internet existed in the guise we know today.
1. Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding
Known as “the whack heard around the world,” figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was viciously attacked as she was making her way off the ice after a practice session on the 6th of January, 1994.
Kerrigan was hit in the knee with a metal baton by a man named Shane Stant, who was hired by the ex-husband of fellow figure skater and rival Tonya Harding. Even though the attack was meant to cause injuries which would prevent Kerrigan from competing in the 1994 Olympics, she only missed the U.S. Championships that were taking place the following day and went on to win a silver medal. Harding finished eighth.
Harding pleaded guilty to conspiracy to avoid prosecution in March 1994. The judge ordered her to pay $160,000 in fines and contributions and gave her three years of probation. She was banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association.
Kerrigan continued to skate. She received a number of lucrative endorsements, married, and became a mother.
Harding’s life was ridden with other scandals and hardship, including a leaked sex tape and an arrest for drunk-driving. She also appeared on television shows such as The Weakest Link and Celebrity Boxing. She married for the third time in 2010 and had a son in 2011.
2. O.J. Simpson
In 1994, American Football star and actor O.J. Simpson was arrested and charged with the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. Because of his status as a football legend and popular actor, O.J.’s 1995 trial was televised and dubbed “The Trial of the Century.”
A series of investigative errors, along with racially charged tensions and a memorable performance from defense attorney Johnnie Cochran all led to O.J. Simpson being acquitted of both murders.
However, in 1997, Simpson was found liable for both deaths in civil court and ordered to pay the Browns and Goldmans millions in damages. He tried to return to show business but failed, and he also had to sell most of his memorabilia in order to raise money for the civil suit.
Source: Getty Images
In 2006, O.J.was going to publish a ghostwritten book titled If I Did It that outlined how he would have hypothetically carried out the murders of Nicole and Ron. However, the publication rights were eventually awarded to the Goldman family and they published it under the title If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer in 2007.
In 2008, Simpson was charged and convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping after trying to rob sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint. He was sentenced to 33 years in prison and will be eligible for parole in October 2017. Here he is in his most recent mugshot.
3. Dennis Rodman
Outrageous hairstyles and wardrobe choices were not the only things Rodman brought to the table in the legendary ’90s Chicago Bulls team he was a part of. While his ability and contribution on the court, which made him a five-time NBA champion are often overlooked, he is well remembered for assaulting a cameraman and an official, teaming up with Hulk Hogan in the WCW, wearing a wedding dress during a book signing and a t-shirt/jeans combo to the White House, dating Madonna, and marrying Carmen Electra, among other things.
Rodman was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2011, but he continues to give media outlets the controversy they so love about him. He has appeared on The Apprentice, Celebrity Rehab, and Sober House, and most notably, he took a trip to North Korea in 2013 where he attended a basketball match with Kim Jong-un. After a second trip to North Korea, Rodman upset numerous people when he went on a rant about Kenneth Bae, an American being held in a North Korean prison for which he later apologized. According to his website, the basketball star is currently represented by Prince Marketing Group and is available to book for “just being Dennis Rodman!”
4. Charles Manson
Manson is an American cult leader who convinced a handful of his followers to murder numerous people in the late 1960s. The cult which was called The Family comprised of roughly 100 followers, settled in the San Fernando Valley after 1967 and believed that Manson was Jesus. Manson’s first victims were Sharon Tate, the actress who was the wife of director Roman Polanski and four of her friends: Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger, Jay Sebring, and Steven Parent. Tate was eight months pregnant. They were all murdered while staying in Polanski’s Beverly Hills home. On the 25th of January, 1971, Manson was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. However, that initial sentence was then changed to life in prison.
Source: Getty Images
Manson is still serving out his sentence in Corcoran State Prison in California and he has been denied parole 12 times. His next hearing is scheduled for 2027 when he would be 92 years old. He also made headlines in 2014 when he and a woman named Afton Elaine Burton (who was 27 years old at the time) were granted a marriage license. However, the document expired in 2015 and has not been reissued.
Source:New York Post
5. Sharbat Gula – “The Afghan Girl”
Sharbat Gula’s piercing green eyes became one of the most iconic features to appear on a National Geographic cover in June 1985. The image was taken by Steve McCurry a year earlier when the young Afghan was attending school and living in a Pakistani refugee camp. She not only remembers McCurry taking her picture all those years ago but also recalls how angry she was — he was a stranger and she had never been photographed before. In fact, she wouldn’t have her picture taken again until she and McCurry reunited 17 years later.
Source: National Geographic
During their second encounter, McCurry discovered that Sharbat was married and a mother of three children. Today, “The Afghan Girl” is still remembered for her unforgettable portrait, but she has also made her way into newspapers recently for getting arrested on two ocassions for possessing a fake identity card in Pakistan.
6. Rachel Giordano
In 1981, four-year-old Rachel Giordano became a poster child for Lego when she appeared in this memorable advertisement showing off one of her creations. The ad’s idea was to promote gender equality by showing that creativity is not a boy thing or a girl thing, but it proved quite controversial at the time and almost did not see the light of day. Judy Lotas, one of the women responsible for the ad, actually had to fight to have Rachel included in it because it was argued that boys were the ones who liked to build things, not girls. Lotas stood her ground and was rewarded with one of the most powerful, iconic ads of all time.
Rachel, who works as a doctor, revisited her unforgettable Lego appearance in 2014 when she teamed up with Lori Day, a psychologist, parenting coach, and HuffPost blogger. Together, they recreated the 1981 ad to demonstrate the difference between the advertising industry’s approach to children’s toys then and now. According to Rachel, back in the 1980s, Lego was gender-neutral, but today, everything is either pink or blue and toys deliver messages about gender to children. According to Lotas, “Boys and girls are different, but not to the exclusion of wanting to create and build. That is not a gender issue.”
7. Mikhail Gorbachev
Gorbachev was the last leader of the Soviet Union before the dissolution of its Communist Party in 1991. He became known for democratization reforms such as Perestroika (restructuring) and Glasnost (openness), but also for the port-wine stained birthmark on his forhead which became a particular favorite of cartoonists and critics alike.
Since his days as a leader came to an end, Gorbachev has remained in the political sphere. His stances show him to still be as undogmatic as always: he supports Russia’s annexation of Crimea for which he was banned from entering the Ukraine, while he remains a staunch critic of Vladimir Putin.
8. Queen Elizabeth
Ascending the throne in 1952, the United States were treated to a sneak peak of the soon-to-be-Queen in 1951 when she stepped in for her ailing father to visit President Harry S. Truman in Washington. On the 9th of April, 1952, she proclaimed that the Royal House would remain the House of Windsor, and not take on her husband’s name.
In October 2016, Queen Elizabeth became the longest living monarch and head of state, along with being the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning Queen regnant and female head of state in world history.
9. “Mean” Joe Greene & Tommy Okon
Super Bowl commercials are the most expensive few seconds of television money can buy, and there has been number of memorable ones over the years. Still, many believe the most iconic one to be the one from 1979, starring Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle “Mean” Joe Greene and a young boy named Tommy Okon. The ad shows a hobbling, defeated Greene making his way off the field and Tommy offering him a Coke. After accepting the soda and drinking it, Greene says the famous words, “Hey kid, catch!” as he throws his jersey to the smiling, wide-eyed boy.
Today, Greene is a retired Hall of Famer and Tommy works for a stone-importing business in Queens, New York City. They still consider themselves good friends. The two actually reunited for a CBS special earlier this year and reminisced about their time on set creating the commercial. According to Greene, the experience is “still special, after all these years.”