Meet the man who showed up to be Jack Nicholson's body double in The Shining -- 57 years early

When the Overlook Hotel swallowed Jack Torrance's soul in The Shining, sucking him into their haunted history, did you ever wonder if Stanley Kubrick actually got a whole bunch of people to pose for that last vintage-looking photo of happy partygoers, with Jack Nicholson front and center? Or did you consider that it was an existing photo taken at a whole other party from another time? You might want to ask the gentleman pictured here, because he was actually at such a party, in that very real photograph.

The Overlook Hotel, which has its own Tumblr account, stumbled upon the pre-Photoshop retouching process for the memorable photo, which was originally taken in 1923. Used as an example for the magic of airbrushing, the process was detailed in The Complete Airbrush and Photo-Retouching Manual. In a nutshell, this unidentified man had his head replaced with that of Jack Nicholson, which sounds like the logline for a rejected psychological comedy called "Being Jack Nicholson." Visit the site to see the before-and-after shots.

Photo credit: The Overlook Hotel

(via Lee Unkrich on Twitter)


  1. Pretty sure Kubrick didn’t use Photoshop.

    EDIT: Oh haha – it USED to say Photoshop. Now I look like a monkey.

  2. Little known fact: Most of the people in that picture are actually time-travelers who went to that party just to get into that photo so they could mess with their friend’s heads.

  3. i’ve always wanted to have a copy of that photo framed and hanging in the living room with other real historical family shots. just to see if anyone notices.

  4. Ever wondered who’s pulling on Jack’s shoulder in that photo? Perhaps President Woodrow Wilson.

    And some of the other guests:

    In fact, I’d suggest watching the film analysis from part 1 as the interpretation of the film is really fascinating – that one of Kubrick’s themes in The Shining is a warning about the problems of fiat currency vs. the gold standard.

    Also worth a watch from Rob Ager is his spatial analysis of the set design from The Shining.

  5. By now, someone has already taken Lee’s picture in a tux from the Academy Awards (he directed Toy Story 3) and put him into the picture.

  6. What if we took the unidentified guy from the original picture and shopped him into photos of Nicholson…?

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