Donnerstag, 10. Juli 2014

IRON AGE - Eugen Sandow @ "Muscle Display"

Hey dear readers, here it is, now  you get already the second post of the IRON AGE posting series up here on your dear "MANSLAUGHTER THUG LIFE" blog, and for all of you outta there who should have missed out on this recently started posting series up here just let me say that  this once was meant to become the first ever "theme days" posting series up here before I decided to hand this idea out and down to the grave even before it was born for reasons that I explained within the introduction words of the first post of the IRON AGE series that dealt with the history of Bodybuilding. Ah, and latest now you also know the topic of this posting series: Bodybuilding. Old School Bodybuilding. Like it or not, get used to it, period. And after this first post started with a try or better with the ambition to give you a overview over the History of Bodybuilding from way back then up into present times this now following very one here will be also a through and through historical post with paying tribute to the larger than life almighty godfather and founding father and iconic legend respectively legendary icon of modern Bodybuilding, paying tribute to the man after whom the most important title trophy of todays Bodybuilding is named, paying tribute to the one man who more than any other else brought the building of the human body through heavy excerices with lifting weights and pumping iron back to life and glory finally again at the end of the 19th century, the man who would have been the bringer of light for Bodybuilding, and also of Strongmen and Powerlifting sports, the one and only Eugen Sandow. Now just gimme a freaking fucking "Hell Yeah!!!" and so then now let's fucking roll!!!




The godfather of modern Bodybuilding as well as Strongmen and Powerlifting was born at the 2nd of April of the year 1867 in Königsberg, Prussia (today better known as Kaliningrad, Russia). His real name was Friedrich Wilhelm Müller and he should become more than just famous over all this decades as the father of modern Bodybuilding. He was born a son to a russian mother and a german father. While it's hard (and maybe not that interesting and entertaining after all) to figure out what he had done in his early years we know for sure and well proofed that at or with the age of 18 years he left his family and his home and turned his back on Königsberg and Prussia a. k. (today) a. Kaliningrad, Russia for the simple reason to avoid military services and he soon became a circus athlete to earn money to do his living and he started to tour old mother Europe doing his duties and earning his money to pay his living as a circus athlete. That was also the time (and the reason) when and why he finally adopted his new nick name Eugen Sandow (or Eugene Sandow) and used it as his pseudonym and artist as well as stage name. In 1889 Eugen Sandow traveled to London to hit the stage there, and with jumping on the stage he participated in a contest of what we could describe as a early Strongmen competition and he soon gained massive amounts of fame and recognition for his impressive strength that he showed and proofed with and through his performance(s) live on stage. And this show in 1889 in London was the launch off and starting point for the carreer of Eugen Sandow as becoming a - which means THE - famous strength athletic superstart of his time. (And with a immortal legacy and myth that became larger than himself and his life, forever immortalized.) In the aftermath of this Strongmen show in 1889 in London and becoming a superstar especially in the United Kingdom he received large amounts of requests to perform live on stage from all over Britain. For the time period of the next circa four years he worked out hard and trained intense to cultivate and refine his technique and technical skills and he made it in a really impressive way into the world of popular entertainment of his time with doing and delivering great grapping posing shows and prooving his strength with impressive feats of strength live up on stage. This demonstrations of superior physical human strength in various forms that even included lifting up a whole horse at once had been strongly the focus point of his early european shows and you can surely say that with them Eugen Sandow was one of the inventors, pioneers and creating godfathers of todays modern Strongmen sports. Especially in Britain he was already a superstar and his fame made it to the rest of the old world as well as finally to the shores of the new world, too. And in 1893, just four years after his breakthrough, the interest of the new world became more and more alive.

It was Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. who was the first who wanted to bring Sandow live up on stage in the United States of America. He planned out to do so in 1893 at the "World's Columbian Exposition" in the windy city of Chicago, Illionis/U.S.A. and started working on the fullfillment of this plans so that it would work out. Eugen Sandow was back then under contract to Maurice Grau. Grau and Ziegfeld made their deal, and while Grau primarly wanted to be paid 1.000 $ a week Ziegfeld didn't know if he could effort that much and after hard negotiations both agreed on the deal of 10% of the gross receipts being payed to Grau by Ziegfeld in the end. It was also no one else than Ziegfeld himself who recognized that the audience in the United States of America was by far more interested in the strong and big and aesthetical muscles and the show of them of Eugen Sandow than by him lifting tremendous amounts of weights and so Ziegfeld came up with the idea of Sandow doing live on stage ''just'' bulging and flexing muscles poses instead of lifting heavy and heavier and even the heaviest weights. Ziegfeld named this poses "Muscle Display Performances" and succeeded in convincing Sandow to do this poses as his show. And so Eugen Sandow added this bulging muscle poses displays to his live show repertoire with performing impressive feats of strength with barbells. The cooperation between Sandow and Ziegfeld was very ferile and so Sandow beside the new bulging muscles poses displays also added other new ''colourful displays'' of muscles and strength to his live shows like breaking chains that are wrapped around his chest with the flexing of his muslces, and the audience cheered up to it heavily and enthusiastically. Eugen Sandow very soon became the biggest star under contract to Florenz Ziegfeld. So with some good doses of inspirations from and by Florenz Ziegfeld the mighty Eugen Sandow moved on from being what is easy to say one of the pioneers and godfathers of what we today know as being Strongmen sports to the pioneer and inventor of modern Bodybuilding with including more and more display poses of him flexing his muscles into his show and then making them more and more and step by step to the center point of his shows, even his shows had always been mixed up shows of early modern Bodybuilding and early modern Strongmen sports with the flexing muscles Bodybuilding poses soon more and more gaining the biggest interest by/from the first back then especially U.S. audience, and with doing this he became the first modern Bodybuilder and one of the greatest of all times. The shows he did and developed together with Ziegfeld became soon known as and under the name of "Muscle Display" shows and should become one of the founding stones of his undying legacy that still lives on today. Soon after his first triumphs in the United States of America then already in 1894, just one year after he hit the new world, Eugen Sandow had been the center point of a short Kinetoscope (see here: for more informations about it) film or movie about him, "Sandow", as well as a short film series was done about him, consisting out of parts of his shows and focussing especially on him flexing his muscles and not really that much on his feasts of strength delivered up there on stage. Both became pretty big commercial victories and especially the short film series centered on his flexing muscle poses showparts and also gained a lot of reputance in the history of cinema and movie, especially also from a aesthetical standpoint. During this he was still or again, like you may want to see and name it, on tour through out the United States of America, when he made a short return to England to marry Blanche Brooks from Manchester, with whom he should have two daughters named Helen and Lorraine, but soon after this short return he should return permanently due to tremendous stress and ill health to recuperate from this.

He should more or less pretty soon get well from this again and back on his feet he took the chances he earned with gaining and earning glory, fame, and some fiscal/monetary health and he created and opened up the doors to and of his first "Institute of Physical Culture", to teach with and through it methods of exercise, dietary habits, and succesful weight training methods. His ideas on physical fitness and his ideals of it had been very novel at that time and had a very strong and big impact. The in short Sandow Institute named and titled institute was an early Gymnasium and it was open for the public for exercises, with a big influence. Then in 1898 Eugen Sandow founded a monthly periodical that was originally named "Physical Culture" and which was subsequently named "Sandow's Magazine of Physical Culture" that was dedicated to all suspects of physical culture: diet and nutrition, training and exercise, posing and competition. This monthly periodical was soon backed up by books that Eugen Sandow wrote and published between 1897 and 1904 and with the last of this books carried the term "Bodybuilding" (more or less instead of the term of "Physical Culture" that was used by Eugen Sandow before the term "Bodybuilding" became known and famous) in their titles. Eugen Sandow also worked hard on and at improving the then known and used exercise equipment. In 1900 William Bankier (see here: for more informations about or on him) wrote his famous book "Ideal Physical Culture". With the release of this book he tried to step up as a bitter rival of Eugen Sandow with challenging him in and with his book to a contest in weightlifting, wrestling, running, and jumping. But Eugen Sandow turned down this offensive competition and challenge by William Bankier and he also did not care about the fact that he was then named a coward, a charlatan, and a liar by him. It was simple and easy, Eugen Sandow had bigger things in the making to care about: In 1901 he organized the first ever modern Bodybuilding competition named "The Great Competition". It held place in London's Royal Albert Hall and the venue was so full of people that people were turned away at the doors, such a giant public success it was back then. Three judges were presiding over the championship contest, and this had been Sir Charles Lawes as the sculptor, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (yes, THE Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!!!) as the author, and no one else than the almighty Eugen Sandow himself. Beside all of this he also traveled all over and all around the world to tour to and through many various countries including also Australia and New Zealand, India, South Africa, and also Japan to promote the idea and ideal of Physical Culture a.k.a. Bodybuilding. Also he was designated as the special instructor in Physical Culture of and to the King Edward the VII. in 1911. And like already said or written he was married to Blanche Brooks and was father to his two daughters Helen and Lorraine.

In Sandow's life and work and world of thoughts and ideas something was incredible important for him and he worked out hard to come as close to it as anyhow possible for him and this takes us back to the old ancient Greeks and the very early beginnings of Bodybuilding: The Grecian Ideal. Eugen Sandow's resemblance of physiques that were found on ancient old sculptures of Greece and Rome was tremendous and definitely no accident while he measured the old statues in famous and not so famous museums and helped heavily and strongly to develop what was and shall become known as the Grecian Ideal as some sort of a formula for the perfect physique of or for a human body. And Eugen Sandow himself became pretty much a living role model for or of this Grecian Ideal as the perfect physique, when he worked out and formed his body and physique to the exact perfect proportions of his Grecian Ideal. And this is also not at least one great important reason and factor why he is named and crowned the father of (modern) Bodybuilding, for or as being one of the very first strength or iron athletes to intentionally develop his musculature to pre-determined dimensions. Eugen Sandow laid out specific prescriptions of weights, repitions, and methods in order to archieve his ideal proportions known as the Grecian Ideal, he did so for example in his books "Strength and how to obtain it" as well as "Sandow's System of Physical Training".

Eugen Sandow should die in London on the 14th of October in 1925 of a stroke at the age of being 58 years old. He was then buried in an unmarked grave in Putney Vale Cemetery as it was requested  of his wife Blanche Brooks. Then in 2002 a grave stone with a black marble plague had been placed on the grave of Eugen Sandow by the author Thomas Manly, a admirer of the almighty and immortal Eugen Sandow. The inscription on the gravestone is kept and held in golden letters and speaks the words of "EUGEN SANDOW, 1867 - 1925 the Father of Bodybuilding". Sandow's great-great-grandson Chris Davies then bought or purchased the grave place of Eugen Sandow in 2008. The items that had been placed some years before by Thomas Manly had been replaced for the anniversary of Eugen Sandow's birth that year and also a new gravestone monument had been placed on the grave. It is a one and a half ton natural pink sandstone monolith. The grave stone carries the short and simple inscription of "SANDOW" written vertically, as a reference to the ancient Greek funeral or funerary monuments known under the name of Steles (read, for example, here: if you want to know more about it).

The legacy of Eugen Sandow is immortal and enormous, and so now just some short words in general or general kept about it, also to show the reputance and influence and impact that Eugen Sandow easily had. He was befriended by King George the V., Thomas Edison, and the great and also immortal Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the man we all have to thank for all eternities for the creation of the infamous larger than life Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson), as well as by the classical pianist Martinus Sieveking, and was portrayed by the actor Nat Pendleton in the Academy Award winning film or movie "The great Ziegfeld" in 1936. Also in or on an episode of the Venture Bros. (read here:, if you want to know more) Eugen Sandow was portrayed and displayed as the Bodyguard of the main character's great-great-grandfather. In or as recognition of or for his contribution(s) to the sports and world of Bodybuilding Frederick Pomeroy scuplted a bronze statue of Eugen Sandow, and it's simply known as "The Sandow" and is presented to the winner of the annual "Mister Olympia" competition of the IFBB, held in this form or way since 1977 (but started far earlier, but to that we will come later on in this posting series), which is the biggest and most influential and most important as well as most reputated Bodybuilding championship competition of today and in general of modern and especially today's Bodybuilding. Also in the world of today's sports entertainment professional wrestling Eugen Sandow got payed tribute by Wilhelm Baumann (read here: for some informations about this pro wrestling legend) of the infamous Gold Dust Trio (read here: in case you want to know more about it) who adopted the name Billy Sandow as his ring name in honour and as a tribute to Eugen Sandow. Sort of nearly a century later the current WWE pro wrestler and superstar Damien Sandow adopted this name as his ring name in honour of or tribute to Billy Sandow and with this also indirectly in honour of and as a tribute to Eugen Sandow. Beside Eugen Sandow only few or better not that many others of the great ones of real iron and strength sports were payed this honour. One of them was one of Eugen Sandow's contemporaries the great Stanislaus Zbyszko (read here: for more informations about this great old one), whose name decades later on was used as a tribute to him adopted by the WWE pro wrestler and superstar Lawrence Whistler who should become famous especially for his feud against Bruno Sammartino in the 1980's under his ring name of Larry Zbyszko. (But that's also another story...)

Like above already written Eugen Sandow was also a pretty active author back at his time and in his time. Not to talk about his very own "Sandow's Magazine on Physical Training" he wrote and published plenty of books, and here's a list of the titles of the books written and published by Eugen Sandow:
And, like one or two times already written, not to forget about Eugen Sandow's monthly periodically magazine of the name and title of "SANDOW'S MAGAZINE ON PHYSICAL TRAINING".
Here's a link to a site totally dedictaed to Eugen Sandow and the likes of him past and present, strength athletes and iron sportsmen, Physical Culture and early modern Bodybuilding fanatics, done for them, done by some of them, in short a site totally dedicated to Iron Men. And so, if you are interested in more of this then check out the site by clicking on this very link here and start an enjoyable online reading session.
This is all about the father and the immortal icon of modern Bodybuilding Friedrich Wilhelm Müller from out of Königsberg in Prussia who should become by far more famous under his artist and later on working name of Eugen Sandow, the creator of modern Bodybuilding and his once sort of old grecian ideas inspired aesthetic ideals. A great man who deserves all the honour!!!
R.I.P. Eugen Sandow, 1867 - 1925, rest in peace, father of Bodybuilding.

I hope you enjoyed this history lesson in Bodybuilding and tribute to its GREAT, GREAT inventor, the man who founded the IRON AGE, no one else than Eugen Sandow. Next stuff is already in the pipeline (also ''normal'' posts, so calm down, you can trust me upon this;-)............), so stay tuned and pumped up ready just right for it. And so long thanks for your time and interest and stay tuned for more to come. /// Andy

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