Thursday, July 10, 2008

There's the Beef!

I think it's time for a little Tasteful Male Nudity, don't you?

And what could be more tasteful than the man who, some hundred-odd years ago, almost singlehandedly invented the idea of the kind of stardom later exploited by Steve Reeves, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and, of course, Buck Winston: the art of male display.

His name was Eugen Sandow, also known as Sandow the Magnificent. He was, among many other things, the first and only Ziegfeld Man, a lone muscled presence among the feathers and sequins of the Follies Girls.

There's no question that he had what it takes:

And the occasional allusion to classical antiquity made it all seem so respectable:

He sure knew how to fill out a leopard-skin loincloth - an art lost to us today, I fear, except for the dimming memory of Mickey Hargitay:

He had a complicated private life, one that included both a Frau Sandow and a Great Friendship with the pianist who accompanied his vaudeville act.

And, it seems, he shopped at International Male!

Like so many great beauties, he didn't make old bones, dying at 58 of what seemed suspiciously like syphilis.

It was quite something while it lasted, though - and wouldn't you love to hear what the pianist had to say about it all?

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