Monday, January 24, 2011

RIP Jack LaLanne

One of my earliest memories of Jack LeLanne was watching him in his form fitting gymnastic pants encouraging viewers to follow along for a stretching exercise.  He and his dog Happy were bopping along to an unseen organist who played along with his calisthenics.

LeLanne popularized exercise in the home and pioneered in the TV fitness genre long before Jane Fonda or anyone else.  Though his recommendations for health eating sometimes confused me, his enthusiasm was contagious.

I remember for his 70th birthday he was handcuffed and pulled a boatload of reporters from Alcatraz to San Francisco with his teeth. Though he got a lot of comedians ridiculing the act, it was pretty impressive.

LeLanne died at the age of 96 yesterday surrounded by his family watching a football game at his California home.

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