Hyper-macho, super-busy old body-building ad

This undated bodybuilding ad is a spectacular example of the form -- the busy, unbridled, exuberant machismo, the fonts, the repetition. I think the world would be a better place if all printed literature took this form.

Come on, Buddy!



  1. Dang, “Mr. Before” could hire himself out to slip under doors to facilitate burglaries.

    Hmmm. “Last Chance.” I wonder how many years that advert ran?

    Does anyone collect ephemera like these booklets?  Or are they like the books in Dungeons & Dragons which disappear after you read them to increase an attribute?

    1. There is an online group that talks about old school bodybuilding techniques. I used to moderate a yoga discussion group and one of our infrequent visitors was a guy who was really into that stuff. The method he most often talked about was Maxalding. I did a search and here is a siteI found:


      And there’s a book on him. Here’s a review, and a link to it on the Amazon:



    1. Well, it worked on me, or at least the competition did (and it’s pretty indistinguishable).  I “gambled a stamp” on Charles Atlas back in, I dunno, 1981 or so.  He wore me down after an endless parade of inside back covers of Marvel’s Star Wars comics, and my SASE yielded a pamphlet and a pitch for something like fifty bucks for the whole program.  I ignored it for a while, until, in a fit of recession-fueled desperation he offered to sell me the program for a measly $5.  Feeling awfully pleased with myself for having kicked financial sand in the face of Mr Atlas, I sent off the dough.  And once the stuff showed up, I think I tried out “Dynamic Tension” for less than a week, then continued to be the same puny sand-faced weakling for the rest of my teens and deep into my twenties.

  2. This is funny stuff, but I gotta give them this much: at least that’s a physique achievable through regular ol’ nutrition and training. Compare that to today’s bulked up dudes. That ain’t natural. That’s ‘roids.

    1.  Idunno, the guy flexing looks old school “photoshopped to me.” That waistline sure as hell doesn’t look achievable with the shoulders and chest and rib cage he has.

      1. Seriously?  You can see guys on YT whose waists are only about half as big around as their thighs.

      2.  I find his head disturbing–it’s as if someone popped Lou Ferrigno’s head on Bruce Lee’s body.

  3. You’ve got to love how they included a “Photo Book of Strong Men” to inspire you as you worked towards your own hunky set of muscles.

    1. There used to be a store here that sold old books, but had a room devoted entirely to vintage physique pictorials. He closed c. 2000, and I’ve always wondered if he’s in prison on some underage porn charges for carrying magazines from the 50s and 60s.

    2. There seem to be more than a few “exercise books” in print out there that seem to serve no other purpose.

    3.  Or just “inspired” you, depending on your taste.  Life was harder for gay people back then to find entertainment I expect.  :)

  4. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and speculate that the free Photo Book of STRONG MEN was the main attraction here.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  5. … and with the money he earned from sales of his fitness system, young Emanuel Bronner put himself through “doctor” school and invented liquid soap. All One!

  6. He increased his he-man looks 1000%!  That’s a lot of percent!  Probably at least 10% more percent than the next leading fitness program.

    I love the buckshot marketing attempt of noting both “new friends, boys and girls”, and “new chances for business success”… Jim apparently isn’t clear on whether he’s in highschool or is a working stiff.  I’m sure he’ll figure it out though.

    “You’ll be a real athlete in all sports soon after you mail the coupon”… and I’ll bet it gets even better if you remember to mail payment with your coupon.  And better still once you actually go through the program they send you in response.  But just mailing the coupon, huge results right away.

  7. love the ad!  sadly, today, the content of this ad would be half the size, dedicating the other half to “legal-ese,” in 3 point text at the bottom, noting that most of the claims in the ad could not be true…  :)   must have been fun back in the day when you could claim anything.  a designers dream…

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