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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Charles Atlas and Other Ads from the Fifties

     The man known as Charles Atlas was born in Sicily and his real name was Angelo Siciliano. He was born on October 30, 1892 and died the day before Christmas in 1972. Atlas was the developer of a bodybuilding method and its associated exercise program that was best known for a landmark advertising campaign featuring Atlas's name and likeness; it has been described as one of the longest-lasting and most memorable ad campaigns of all time.
     Atlas trained himself to develop his body from that of a "scrawny weakling", eventually becoming the most popular muscleman of his day. He took the name Charles Atlas after a friend told him that he resembled the statue of Atlas on top of a hotel in Coney Island and legally changed his name in 1922. He marketed his first body building course with health and fitness writer Dr. Frederick Tilney in November 1922. Tilney wrote the original course Health & Strength by Charles Atlas, and the duo ran the company out of Tilney's home for the first six months. In 1929, Tilney sold his half of the business to advertising man Charles P. Roman and moved to Miami, Florida, where he operated a very successful health food business until his death in 1977. Charles Atlas Ltd. was founded in 1929 and, as of 2015, continues to market a fitness program for the "97-pound weakling." His ads were found in magazines of every description.  Must know information for men:  Lessons in Manliness from Charles Atlas 

     Many ads from the 1950s would be totally unacceptable today.  Vintage ads showing off questionable thinking  and creepy kids in Creepy Vintage Ads.

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