I was a strange quiet little kid who would rather sit and observe the adults talking than to play with the other children. Heck, who am I kidding? I’m still strange and quiet but I’m no longer a little kid so I’m more comfortable in my own skin. I described to a friend the way I think, how I enjoy listening to music dated back to the ’20s or ’30s, prefer to buy something that looks vintage, and occasionally relax to an old movie, I was told that I’m an old soul. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the newer stuff. So I guess I’m more of an eclectic person.

Whenever I have a creative block, I would go online and browse around. Initially, I stumbled upon some old comic books but I continued to some digging to see if I could find some really old stuff in different categories. I was super excited when I stumbled upon some of these wonderful websites that have the media content that I would really enjoy. Do you know what’s the best part about really really old stuff? They’re free…or almost always free! The movies, music, and books are mostly listed in the public domain. Apart from consuming these media for my own entertainment, I occasionally use them in my art and craft projects.

The curators or archivists of these websites did a great job sourcing and compiling these media and content. If you like the content on the websites, please consider donating to them if you see a donate button available. I’m not affiliated with them but I do want to support these peeps who sourced, compiled, categorized, and shared information and knowledge for free.

So, here I present to you the websites of the retro, vintage, and whatever you call it…really old stuff.

Public Domain Movies

This website doesn’t have much information about how it came about. I only know they’re based in Germany and they don’t host any of the movies on its website. They embedded and provided the links to the content hosted by the Internet Archive (archive.org) and the Wikimedia Foundation (wikimedia.org). However, I like the clean and minimalistic layout of the website as well as the categorization of the movies, thereby making it very easy for me to watch some of these classics online.

Old Radio Show

Old Radio World features popular radio programs back in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. It’s the work of a person who loves old radio shows because it gives him the nostalgia feeling. He wrote it best in the About section of this website:

“The first time I listened to an old-time radio show I fell in love with OTR and since then it has become a hobby of mine to collect, organize, and share them with the world. While I am not from the OTR era, I have a delicate appreciation for the classic aspects of old-time radio. The crackling sound, the sometimes overdramatic acting, mid-range audio tone, dialect of the time, creative sound effects.”

Open Music Archive

The Open Music Archive initiated by artists Eileen Simpson and Ben White is a collaborative project to explore and gather music that has fallen out of copyrights. These music are not widely accessible because it’s stored in physical media in the form of gramophone records. The Open Music Archive sourced them out and digitized many of these amazing music to be distributed freely online.

The Magazine Rack

Since I started studying the history of graphic design and illustration, I became obsessed with old magazines that were so beautifully illustrated by graphic designers of those days. I couldn’t find a better website than the Internet Archive for old magazines. In one of its category is The Magazine Rack, a collection of digitized magazines and monthly publications, which is nicely curated by Jason Scott and a few others. This website is a great reference for graphic designers who are interested in retro and vintage illustrations.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is the pioneer in providing free public domain eBooks. The founder, Michael Hart, is also the inventor of eBooks back in 1971. There are over 60, 000 eBooks available in different formats that you can read from your PC, phones, tablets, and e-readers.

Digital Comic Museum

DCM is a platform for you to download public domain golden age comics. It’s all in one place and quite nicely categorized for easy browsing.

Comic Book Plus

Comic Book Plus is similar to DCM in a way as it provides you a way to legally download and enjoy Golden and Silver Age comic books. However, they have so much more! They also include a collection of Non-English comic books, comic strips, pulp fictions, newspapers, magazines, old radio shows, vintage movies, and the list goes on. It’s my favourite place to be when I need some art inspiration.

I hope the websites listed above can be your source of inspiration for your creative works. I’ll definitely update the list if I come across anything fascinating in the future. Do you know of any websites that I may have missed out here? Feel free to comment down below and I’ll add it to the list.