CHARLES ATLAS AND ME

CHARLES ATLAS AND ME

Atlasskinny1938_2 When I was a boy many comics and boys magazines had an ad for Charles Atlas. Charles Atlas was a classically built strong man. The ads usually were a series of comic like drawings showing a skinny young man at the beach with his girl friend, but having sand kicked in his face and being bullied by a bigger young man. The drawings showed him buying the Charles Atlas body building book of instructions and taking his revenge next time he was at the beach. Along with a whole lot of other people I bought the instruction book which involved isometric exercises done without weights. 

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Charles Atlas, born Angelo Siciliano in 1893 developed this program on his own after being bullied by kids in his Brooklyn neighborhood. He developed a classically sculpted body all without weights or drugs. He was asked to pose for New York area artists and was nick named Atlas. He legally changed his name in 1922. He won contests as "the world’s most perfectly developed man."

He decided to sell the program to the public, but his early efforts didn’t produce many sales. He found a partner in the marketing business. His new partner, Charles Roman, coined the term "Dynamic Tension" to describe the isometric exercises which didn’t require any weights or equipment. Roman was the one who created the ad campaigns using comic narratives. This campaign was a success and continued up to the time of Atlas’s death in 1972 which the ads disappeared from the comics and pulp magazines.

Then the program became re-vitalized and exists today at www.charlesatlas.com. It is probably one of the most successful long term mail order business. Actually, it was much ahead of it’s time, because Atlas had developed an original isometric exercise proram which did not require weights and did not involve taking supplements or drugs. The program was as valid then as it is today. I’m afraid I failed to follow through with the exercises and never developed a Charles Atlas body.

You can read about this in Strong man: The Story of Charles Atlas by Meghan McCarthy.

0 thoughts on “CHARLES ATLAS AND ME

  1. I think the article was written about people like you, especially when you had hair, and you don’t get it.

    Isn’t it typicaly to be cynical about someone that is probably turning in his grave because of people like you. He shouldn’t do that because YOU aren’t that special.

    If you eased up on bashing conservatives long enough, you might someday smell the coffee, instead of the bullshit liberals put forth.

  2. I cut that article from the newspaper in my community when it was reprinted back in 1965. Just found it today and read it.

    Can you tell me that everything mentioned in this article is not exactly the truth in 2013???

    When will the world change and realize that we are distroying everything that we have, most of all our people by the government giving them everything they want, they have no incentive to work or help other people they just don’t care anymore about themselves or others. That is the fault of the “wonderful administration we now have”.

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