Sep 18, 2012

Jack LaLanne

During the 1960s, gay boys who were too young to go to school, or home sick, could get their beefcake quotient at noon, when The Jack LaLanne Show was on.



Born in 1914, Jack LaLanne was one of the old school of bodybuilders, hanging out on Muscle Beach with greats like Joe Gold, John Grimek, and Charles Atlas before there was such a thing as Mr. America or the International Federation of Bodybuilders.  He opened his own "health spa" in 1936, and began airing The Jack LaLanne Show in 1951 (national syndication in 1959).

It was aimed at an audience of housewives, and quite sexist, with exercises designed to not only promote fitness, but to keep the ladies "beautiful for your husband."  LaLanne never seemed to notice the queerness of a man teaching you how to accentuate your bust, firm up your butt, and create "a figure that will make men sit up and take notice."

But lots of gay kids did, and even followed his tips to become not only healthy but beautiful.











LaLanne didn't make a lot of homophobic comments during the 1960s, but during the 1970s the homophobia came out.  In 1979, he announced that he intended to parade down Hollywood Boulevard with a 350-pound barbell on his shoulders to protest "the damn queers and homos and little boy prostitutes" who had "taken over."  He never actually followed up on his protest march.

In 1979, homophobic comments didn't cause a furor, so he continued broadcasting his show until 1985, when he retired to promote his fitness books, line of juice-makers, and hate his former fans.  He died in 2011.