Before there was Photoshop
April 8, 2009 1:45 PM   Subscribe

The New York Evening Graphic was published by Bernarr Macfadden, body builder, health crusader, and prolific author (Strong Eyes [1901], How Success is Won [1904], and Brain Energy [1906] to name a few of his hundred titles).

After his failed "Physical Culture City" and before the ethical breach of using Photoshop for news your photographer couldn't gain access or wanted an early jump on, Macfadden began The New York Evening Graphic in 1924.

Perhaps the paper's most well-known composograph was of Kip and Alice Rhinelander's divorce trial, which helped earn the paper the nickname, "The Porno Graphic."

Future variety TV host Ed Sullivan even had an "I'm above writing about divorces and gossip" Broadway column in the paper, in which he avoided divorces and gossip for about two days.

And by the way, next time you jump in that icy pond, you can thank Macfadden.
posted by starman (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Awesome post. I read an article by McFadden in a college history class and was fascinated by him. Strange, strange man.
posted by Autarky at 2:54 PM on April 8, 2009

Interesting post. I'm endlessly fascinated by turn-of-the-century health quackery, maybe because it reminds me that today's fitness advice is equally silly.

But I especially love those old picture of the health nuts themselves, trying to show off their atrocious physiques. A lot like Charleton Heston in Ben Hur. Stretch the arms back, thrust out your zero-definition chest, and hope to God that the girdle holds your gut.

That was a golden age when you'd put some meat on your bones by eating more bread and potatoes and taking a brisk walk. Why, back then you'd put on your best wool trousers pack your copy of How to Get Strong And How To Stay So and head for the healthatorium for a 20 jumping jacks and a soak in the mercury bath.

I also love all the painfully verbose ad copy link in this promotional flyer. Oh, if I am asked to express my interest in the tour, well then, consider this overly long sentence just such an expression of my interest in said aforementioned tour!
posted by Pastabagel at 3:19 PM on April 8, 2009

> I'm endlessly fascinated by turn-of-the-century health quackery,

I take it you have seen The Road to Wellville
posted by mrzarquon at 4:37 PM on April 8, 2009

Nice post! I was vaguely aware of Macfadden, but had no idea of the range of his weirdness.
posted by languagehat at 10:46 AM on April 9, 2009

Thanks. I wanted to focus on the Evening Graphic but Macfadden's eccentricities kept creeping in. Interesting guy.
posted by starman at 5:34 PM on April 9, 2009

« Older These Guys Kissed Several Girls Just to Try It   |   Not so "magical" anymore, is it? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments