Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (4) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Born in Acri, Calabria, Italy
Birth NameAngelo Siciliano
Nickname Angie

Mini Bio (1)

Angelo Siciliano was born in Acri, Italy, and emigrated to the US at age 11 with his family, which settled in Brooklyn, NY. He had always been a frail and sickly child, often picked on by neighborhood kids. One night when he was 15 he was on his way home when he was jumped and severely beaten by a neighborhood bully. Angered and depressed over the incident and feeling powerless because of his weak condition, he brooded over it until one day he caught a look at a statue of the Greek hero Hercules, which he had never seen before. Impressed with the statue's physique, he started attending a local gym to exercise and lift weights in order to make his body stronger. However, he discovered that the more weights he lifted, the more tired he became and the more his muscles and body hurt. While visiting the local zoo one day, he became fascinated with a lion lying in his cage. He wondered how the animal maintained such a powerful, muscular physique while cooped up with virtually no exercise. Then he saw the animal get up and stretch its body. Watching it pit one muscle against the other gave Angelo the idea for a process that was to change the world of bodybuilding forever: "Dynamic Tension".

Employing and refining the principles he observed in the lion--nowadays called "isometrics"--he developed a finely sculpted body, and in 1922 won a national contest to find "The World's Most Perfectly Developed Man" run by publisher and fitness enthusiast Bernarr Macfadden. Someone told Angelo that he looked a lot like the statue of Atlas outside a local bank. It was then that he decided to change his name from Angelo Siciliano to Charles Atlas.

Through a friend he got a job as a "life" model, where artists would pay to draw his body while he posed. He was earning the princely (for the time) sum of $100 a week, and he got the idea that if people would pay money to see him, they would probably pay even more money if he would show them how they could look like him. He began a correspondence course in bodybuilding using his techniques. The business was mildly successful until a friend who worked in an advertising firm gave him some ideas on how to promote his business. Atlas began performing such stunts as pulling six cars chained together for a half-mile, and he once towed a 72-ton railroad engine more than 100 feet along the tracks with a rope. Those kinds of things got him a lot of press coverage, which in turn caused his business to grow exponentially. However, his most famous tactic was the ads that he would run in comic books (whose readership was almost exclusively young teenage males, a prime market for his course) showing a puny man at a beach having his girlfriend taken away by a stronger bully who proceeds to kick sand in his face. Angered and humiliated, the young man sends away for the Charles Atlas course, and in the next panel he's musclebound, buff and goes back to the bully, kicks sand in HIS face and gets his girl back. The ad worked beyond his wildest dreams, and brought him millions of customers from all over the world.

In addition to his bodybuilding course, Atlas also started a string of successful gyms. He practiced what he preached, and even into his 60s was working out in a gym every day, his body sculpted and toned to a degree that put to shame many men half his age.

Charles Atlas died in 1972 at age 79.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Spouse (1)

? (1925 - 1965) (her death) (2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Long standing Advertisements in Comic Books and other Magazines featuring cartoon strip telling of the Skinny Guy, 'Mac', being tormented at the beach by big Bully, only to send for the Charles Atlas course, build his body up and ultimately exact revenge on the same Bully! Variations on this theme ran for years and were said to have been based on real experience of Charles Atlas!

Trivia (4)

Although he considered himself the holder of the title "The World's Most Perfect Man," in fact, Atlas would have been required to hand over the title to his successor had the contest been held after 1928, had he lost.
His "Dynamic Tension" course, as well as his lessons in Boxing, Wrestling, Self-Defense, Hand Balancing and Weight Training are all still being sold over the Internet by his company, Charles Atlas, Ltd., of New York City.
Coined the phrase "Yours in Perfect Manhood", which he used as a closing for his letters, ending of course-instructions and for inscription on autographed photos.
Mr. Atlas was posthumously enshrined in the initial (2005) class of inductees to the National Fitness Hall of Fame. (see nationalfitnessmuseum.com).

Personal Quotes (2)

Nobody picks on a strong man.
My system uses no apparatus. The resistance of your own body is the best and safest apparatus.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page