Monday, October 6, 2008

Classic Physique Appeal in the Golden Age!

(Above photo: Cover of a Joe Weider "Course/Catalog" circa 1958)

How different was the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s) from today's mainstream bodybuilding world! Some of the differences are captured above on the cover of Joe Weider's 1958 "Course/Catalog" - Eating for Super-Muscles, Super-Vitality. Look closely at the images on this cover. What do you see? How was Joe able to market the classic physique of the Golden Age?

First, we see Joe Weider himself depicted with a classic physique holding a trophy - the image of a champion. You can even see a light glow about him - almost a "halo" type of effect indicating "greatness." Below him are images of a discus thrower, a weightlifter, two football players, and a boxer - in other words, various representatives of athletics. At the bottom right is a well-built man (with a classic physique) holding an adoring female in his arms at the beach.

So what is the message here? The message is directed to "everyman" or "every teenager" that if you build a classic physique, you will not only follow in the footsteps of the champions, you might even become one yourself AND your classic physique will make you better at athletics AND give you "sex appeal."

When you look at the classic physiques of the 40s and 50s (like those of Steve Reeves, Clancy Ross, Armand Tanny, George Eiferman, Alan Stephan, etc), this message is totally believable! First, it was not a major stretch of imagination to believe that with a few years of working out, you too could have a physique like the champions. Second, a person with a classic physique certainly did look like he could excel at practically any sport. Third, it was completely believable that a guy with a classic physique could more easily attract members of the opposite sex.

So Joe's message/marketing was right on target. How many guys in those days sent away for muscle building courses because they wanted to look like the classic physique champions, be better at sports, and be more attractive to women? Quite a lot! Of course, in the Golden Age (before steroids), there were many muscle building courses available through the muscle mags.

For those interested in building a classic physique today, those messages and motivations still hold true. With a few years of proper training, proper nutrition, and proper rest, a person today can still build a classic physique like the Golden Age champs! Such a physique will certainly make a person better in sports. Women today do find such a physique attractive! And the best thing is that building a classic physique will make you healthier, more confident, and happier!

So stay tuned to CPB! If there is enough interest, CPB will collect and organize the info from the Golden Age into courses and make them available soon next year (please see and take our poll on the sidebar). In doing so, we can side-step the "muddy pool" of the chemically-spoiled mainstream bodybuilding world and drink directly from the "pure fountain" of the Golden Age! It is still there for the taking! - CPB


Johnny G said...

So much can be said about how important Joe & Ben Weider were to the Golden Age, but the truth is later they totally abandoned the physical culture and helped turn bodybuilding into a freak show - Extremes sells as in bodybuilding, baseball, football and all other sports..So even thou we can commend Joe & Ben we can not forget that they later turned their backs on the general public for the fast buck..this has to be pointed outas well

- CPB - said...

Hi Johnny,

Yes...I agree. There would have been no Golden Age without all the tremendous energy and work of Joe and Ben. So we acknowledge that and are grateful. However, they could have done a lot more to stop the take-over of the bodybuilding world by steroids.

It is easy for us to see this in hindsight. However, at the time, it may have been more difficult to see the dangers of steroids. Remember this was the 1960s in which the values of the "establishment" was questioned on all fronts and science and pills seemed to be the answer to everything. Steroids were prescribed legally by doctors and were administered in small amounts. The physiques did get bigger and more defined, but it took a while for them to get extreme.

Even so, that is no excuse. If the Weiders, Hoffman, and Rader were truly dedicated to health and physical culture, they could have and should have done more to stop steroids from taking over the bodybuilding world!

All the best,

CPB (Anthony)