What Difference Would 50 Years Make?

HankP's picture



Not sure where I came across this picture on the internet, but it seemed so perfect it got me thinking - what differences would 50 years make in the birth of famous people from the past? I decided to move the people born in the 1890s and 1900s forward 50 years to the baby boom generation, and included a few that stretched the boundaries a bit. Here are my best guesses as to what would happen in this alternate reality, but please feel free to add your own.


. . . . .


George and Ira Gershwin - Prog rock heroes, co-founders of Yes. Their album Rhapsody in Tie Dye is ranked #2 on Rolling Stone's list of the Greatest Albums of All Time.


George Burns and Gracie Allen - Hugely successful comedy act, starred in When Harry met Sally, You've Got Mail, Pretty Woman, Sleepless in Seattle


Howard Hawks - Director, Silverado, The Long Riders, Terminator, Star Trek 5, Black Hawk Down


Amelia Earhart - First female US astronaut, logged more shuttle missions than any other astronaut. Mysteriously lost during an EVA to fix a heat shield problem.


Elijah Muhammad - Hugely influential hip hop/rap artist/producer, most famous album is the multi-platinum Fear of a Black Planet


Joseph Goebbels - Chairman, SAP


Walter Winchell - Highest paid radio host, author, major supporter of Republican party. Became addicted to Oxycodone in a major scandal involving underage male hookers


C. S. Lewis - Founder, Anglican splinter movement; Pope of Belfast in exile


Norman Vincent Peale - Most popular televangelist in the US, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective Christians


Paul Robeson - Musician, funk pioneer, lead vocalist for Sly and the Family Stone


Humphrey Bogart - Actor, star of Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Goodfellas, Analyze This


James Cagney - Actor, star of The Graduate, Tootsie, Kramer vs. Kramer, All the President's Men, Rain Man


Duke Ellington - Jazz musician, known for funk-jazz-hip hop fusion movement of the 1990s. His album The Birth of the Warm is considered one of the greatest Jazz fusion albums of all time.


Leo Strauss - Co-founder, Yippie movement


Xavier Cugat - Co-founder of Miami Sound Machine


Margaret Mitchell - Author, Vom Winde Verweht


Kurt Weill - Musician, early leader of punk rock movement. His band Knife appeared regularly at CBGBs in the 1970s and 80s.


Gary Cooper - Actor, star of Star Wars, Splash, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan


Richard J. Daley - Student radical, killed at 1968 Republican Convention riots in Miami


Leni Riefenstahl - Acclaimed director of television commercials and music videos


Strom Thurmond - Congressman, Senator, Republican nominee for President 1996. First white member of Congressional Black Caucus.


Lou Gehrig - AL MVP for 10 straight years


Anais Nin - Author, Fifty Shades of Gray


Roy Acuff - Musician, fiddler for the Byrds, Allman Brothers Band


Cary Grant - Actor, director, star of ER, Three Kings, Ocean's Eleven, Syriana


S. J. Perelman - Comedy writer, A Fish Called Wanda, Saturday Night Live, Anchorman, The Hangover, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report


William M. Shirer - Author, The Rise and the Fall of the GOP


Deng Xiaoping - Leader, Tienanmen protests


Harold Arlen - Lyricist, The Grateful Dead


Howard Hughes - Chairman, Goldman Sachs


Marlin Perkins - Founder, Animal Planet


Ayn Rand - Author, In Defense of the Proletariat; leader, New Soviet Movement


Ozzie Nelson - Actor, Modern Family


Satchel Paige - Baseball player, winner of Cy Young award 5 times. Second pitcher to throw a no hitter under the influence of LSD.


Bugsy Siegel - Hollywood producer, Heaven's Gate, Ishtar, Cutthroat Island, Waterworld, Catwoman


Billy Wilder - Director, Tootsie, A Fish Called Wanda, American Beauty, Being John Malkovitch, Fight Club


Jack Dempsey - Former heavyweight champ, traded titles with Muhammad Ali 5 times in the 1960s and 70s


J. Edgar Hoover - Gay rights pioneer, leader of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, NYC, 1969. Popularized the use of the word "gay", and was commonly referred to as "Gay J". Major influence in publicizing and politicizing the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.


Buster Keaton - Actor, The Deer Hunter, Airplane, The Dead Zone, Pulp Fiction, The Suicide Kings. Has hosted Saturday Night Live more times than any other person.


Dwight D. Eisenhower - Wounded in Vietnam; ran Operation Eagle Claw, successfully rescuing US hostages in Iran and ensuring re-election of Jimmy Carter; Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, resigned his commission when ordered to draw up plans to attack Iraq in 2002 by President Jeb Bush


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Gandhi, Prime Minister of Nuclear powered state

mmghosh's picture

supporter of drone attacks and hot pursuit of terrorists.


General Tojo, CEO of Toyota China


Gamal Abdel Nasser, Nobel Peace Prize winner

Now that's what I'm talking about

HankP's picture

But wouldn't Tojo fit better as chairman of Foxconn?


I blame it all on the Internet

The timeline actually matches up with the first Iraq war

HankP's picture

so Gen. George Patton in another desert war?


I blame it all on the Internet



Seriously hilarious.

Apparently opinions differ

HankP's picture

or at least contributions.


I blame it all on the Internet

Read through the list with fascination, but


realized I'm not smart enough to play. Let's see...


Susan B. Anthony, 7th member of Jefferson Airplane.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Not bad

HankP's picture

I might go for actress, Deep Throat


I blame it all on the Internet

No kidding


who can just rattle off 40 of those things?

Not that hard.

mmghosh's picture

Also, fun.


Charles Maurras leading the barricades, Paris 1968

Hermann Goering, EU Commissioner

Joe Louis, leader of the Punch Party

Joe Louis

M Scott Eiland's picture

Superheavyweight Boxing Champion representing the United States of America, 1984 Olympics

Heavyweight Boxing Champion 1986-1998 (undisputed champion from 1988-1998)

Head of Brown Bomber Boxing Promotions: 2000-Present

Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom: August, 2008

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Watching him fight Mike Tyson would be epic nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet


M Scott Eiland's picture

They'd more or less be peers, so they'd clash early on, before Tyson lost his edge and his marbles. Joe wouldn't have been intimidated, but if he still had that weak spot where he dropped his right (the thing that Max Schmeling spotted and exploited to beat him in their first fight), Tyson might have been able to beat him, though Joe would have had a considerable edge in reach that might have compensated. It would have been a great fight, or several great fights.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

That's the spirit

HankP's picture

Albert Speer - architect, neo-Classical movement

Ronald Reagan - actor, Friends

William Faulkner - author, Goodbye Columbia, Po-Boy's Complaint

I blame it all on the Internet

Fifty Years Is A Bit Short For OWH, But. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

--served with distinction in the First World War;

--successful attorney and legal scholar in private practice: 1919-1932

--Professor, Harvard Law School, 1932;

--Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court, 1932-1953;

--Chief Justice of The United States, 1953-1973;

--Worldwide Ambassador at Large for the Special Olympics, 1974-1982.

Was still once heard to say upon seeing a beautiful young woman cross the street in front of him at the age of 90: "Ah, to be eighty again."

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.