Sometimes, the best things in life don’t go according to plan. Like iconic superheroes that were supposed to be different colors or landmark breakfast cereals that were invented for a completely different reason.
Common everyday things have interesting backgrounds that turn out to be more of an accident than originally drawn up.
Get out your notebooks because today’s history lesson is going to a lot more accidental than trial and error.
Here are 25 things that turned out great, even if it was completely accidental.
1. Kitchen mishap creates the cheeseburger
In 1924, 16-year-old cook Lionel Sternberger was working at a cafe in Colorado when he accidentally burned a beef patty. Instead of frying up a new one, he slapped on a piece of cheese to cover up his mistake and the iconic add-on to the burger was born.
2. Chippy little accident
In 1937, Ruth Wakefield — who owned the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts — wanted to make her guests chocolate cookies. At the time, she thought cutting up small slabs of chocolates would result in full chocolate cookies but instead, the chocolate hadn’t melted and the iconic “chocolate chip” cookies were formed.
3. The IncGREYdible Hulk
Marvel’s strong guy The Hulk was originally supposed to be grey so he wouldn’t be part of any ethnic group. During the first few issues, however, the colorist had trouble with the inking (so did the Marvel printers) and The Hulk turned out to be green.
4. A tasty mistake
At the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, Ernest A. Hamwi was selling waffle cones when the ice cream vendor in the booth next to him ran out of cups. The two formed an on-the-spot duo that became an instant classic.
5. Viggo Morentsen = real life Aragorn
During the filming of The Fellowship of the Ring, another actor misjudged a throw and accident threw a real knife at Viggo Mortensen’s head. Mortensen swung his sword to block the knife and successfully eluded a knife to the head in typical Aragorn fashion.
6. Donkey Kong was supposed to be the good guy
Originally, Donkey Kong was supposed to be the good guy, who escaped being held in entrapment by Mario.
7. Beam me up (and save us money)
One of the Star Trek franchise’s most iconic elements was created by simple special effects to save money. Having the crew exit the Enterprise in different vehicles and spaceships would have been too costly to film all the time.
8. Laziness created a horror villain icon
Jason Voorhees, the iconic villain of the Friday the 13th films was given a hockey mask simply because the makeup crew was too lazy to constantly apply the fictional character’s makeup for every scene.
9. Mob enforcers get starstruck too
While filming The Godfather, director Francis Ford Coppola was looking to cast an intimidating character to play Luca Brasi, the mob enforcer who worked for Don Corleone.
Lenny Montana, a legit mob enforcer, auditioned for the role and was so nervous to share screentime with the famous Marlon Brando, resulting in him looking nervous and made Corleone seem even more intimidating throughout the film.
10. MIT dropouts created Ms. Pac-Man
One of the most popular video games ever created was the result of two MIT dropouts who reverse-engineered Pac-Man in 1982. Midway liked it so much, they bought it and put it to market.
11. “I’m walkin’ here” was improvised
Dustin Hoffman says the low-budget filming of Midnight Cowboy caused for his character to say his iconic “I’m walkin’ here” line.
Because the film didn’t have a big budget, a hidden camera was used on the real streets of New York City when a cab jumped the light and almost ran him over. Hoffman said he wound up saying “I’m walkin’ here!” despite wanting to yell “We’re filming a movie!”
12. Nachos were a brilliant on-the-spot creation
In 1943, ten hungry US military wives crossed the border into Mexico and visited a restaurant called the Victory Club in Piedras Negras Mexico. The maitre d’ — Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya — seated the women and unable to find the chef, whipped up tortilla chips, cheese, and jalapenos for the women to eat and the iconic dish was created.
13. The Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” was based on a real rant
Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler heard a shop employee ranting about musicians on MTV one day while shopping. He copied the rant down word for word, added some chords, and the rest is history.
14. The Playstation was originally a Nintendo add-on
In 1991, Sony launched a new console that was created alongside Nintendo and was intended to be a SNES add-on with a built-in CD-ROM drive. Nintendo broke its deal with Sony only a day later and Playstation went its own way, unintentionally creating the most iconic rivalry in the gaming industry.
15. “Hey Malkovich, think fast!”
On the set of Being John Malkovich, a bunch of extras snuck beer on set and got drunk. One of them threw a can at the star’s head while filming and director Spike Jonze liked the take so much, he left it in the final cut of the film.
16. Space Invaders were supposed to move faster
Limited by developing software and hardware, programmer Tomohiro Nishikado had to settle for programming simple movements as his invaders slowly inched their way towards the player’s cannon.
Nishikado found that when players destroyed enemy aliens, it reduced the load on the microprocessor, allowing for the game to run faster and gradually increasing speed throughout the game which became the staple of various arcade games of the time.
17. Gas turns everything funny
During a scene in The Usual Suspects, all five criminals were supposed to line up to be identified at a police station. The scene was supposed to be serious but actor Benicio del Toro couldn’t stop passing gas resulting in the rest of the actors laughing.
Director Brian Singer got fed up with his actors after various laugh-induced takes and kept the lighter (and probably smellier) take in the final cut.
18. Corn Flakes was invented to prevent people from masturbating
The Kellogg brothers thought a good diet was the key to a healthy, pure, and sex-less lifestyle (including masturbation).
The Kelloggs created flaked grain breakfast cereals (Corn Flakes) as an anti-masturbatory meal to be taken every morning.
They thought meat and certain flavorful foods caused people to want to masturbate…
19. A sandbar resulted in Daniel Craig’s iconic 007 beach shot
While filming Casino Royale, James Bond (Daniel Craig) was supposed to float away while surveying the film’s villain and his wife but a sandbar forced Craig to stand in place instead.
It was an accident but the iconic topless Bond moment was born.
20. Cheat codes were accidentally not deleted
Cheat codes aren’t much of a thing these days. But in the 1980s and 90s, it essentially turned you into a god. The famous code, “Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start,” in “Gradius” for Konami was created because one of the creators couldn’t beat his own game.
He created the code and forgot to delete it, paving the way to generations of cheat code power-ups.
21. Doctor Who’s iconic scarf was created accidentally due to miscommunication
Doctor Who’s eye-catching 20-foot-long scarf was not supposed to be that lengthy.
The show’s costume designer, Begonia Pope, was never told how long the scarf was supposed to be so she knitted all the wool she was given. The wool she was given was actually wool swatches to be tested but the seamstress knitted them all together as one.
22. One of Metallica’s mega-hits was written without paying attention
While on tour with his popular metal band, Metallica, lead vocalist James Hetfield wrote the hit song “Nothing Else Matters” while talking on the phone with his girlfriend at the time. He says he held the phone in one hand and played the would-be hit in the other.
23. Lara Croft’s bust is accidentally too busty
An artist in charge of editing Lara Croft’s dimensions in the original “Tomb Raider” game accidentally typed in 150% for bust size, instead of the intended 50% increase.
24. Beck’s “I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me” was an accident
Beck’s breakthrough song “Loser” was an accident after he struggled through trying to freestyle rap. He was in his friend’s kitchen, flubbed rapping and then said, “I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me” and the rest is history.
25. The Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man” distorted sound was not intentional
The distorted sound heard on “Street Fighting Man” by the Rolling Stones was done on a personal cassette recorder in a hotel room.
“The music came together through a series of accidents and experimentation,” said Keith Richards. “We recorded it in a totally different way than anything we had done up until that point and the results were pretty exciting and unexpected.”