A complete history of Venice, California's famous Muscle Beach complex and the bodybuilders who have made the location famous.
First erected in Santa Monica, California in 1934. Muscle Beach was a radical concept. Hard core fitness training was thought to be the work of circus sideshow strongmen and acrobats. It would be fifty years before millions of Americans wanted to "get physical".
Early Bodybuilders like Jack Lallane, Joe Gold; and Vic Tanny thrilled the locals with amazing displays of strength and coordination.
By the time Muscle Beach moved two miles down the beach to Venice in 1959, weight training and fitness were emerging as mainstream in Southern California. For the first time, a massive weight pen ( known as "The Pen") was built and afforded confident muscle builders a center stage to showcase their impressive physiques.
By the 1960's and 70's Muscle Beach in Venice was synonymous with bodybuilding. Superstars of bodybuilding such as Dave Draper, Franco Columbu, and Arnold Schwarzenegger took fitness and the sport of bodybuilding to a new level.
Muscle Beach Venice: Then & Now showcases how a beachfront excercise facility became the bully pulpit of health and fitness for America and the world. Venice Beach's proximity to Hollywood, and the entertainment industry in general, helped it send a message of the ideal human form to the far reaches of the globe. Mickey Hargitay in the 50's Franco Columbu in the 60's and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 70's were all imigrants drawn to the allure of Hollywood who used Muscle Beach as a platform to achieve celebrity success.
Now more then 70 years after the opening of the original muscle beach, Muscle Beach Venice is a historic landmark with the grand opening of a Walk of Fame in the summer of 2007, and continued expansion of the Muscle Beach Venice Hall of Fame.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger arrived to commemorate the grand opening of the Muscle Beach Walk of Fame, as both a movie star and the Governor of California, it illustrated that Muscle Beach has moved much farther then two miles down the beach. Muscle Beach has become a cultural juggernaut recognized around the world.