Bodybuilders Through the Ages
Over the past 150 years, bodybuilders have gone from circus sideshows to celebrities, imparting fitness lessons along the way
- By Jesse Rhodes
- Smithsonian.com, July 20, 2009
(Library of Congress)
Dubbed “The Iron King,” Breitbart attained fame on the post-World War I European and American vaudeville circuit by bending iron bars, biting through chains and pounding nails into boards with his bare fists. The consummate showman, Breitbart donned an array of costumes—from a skimpy Tarzan outfit to the elaborate garb of a Roman gladiator—that highlighted his physique and amplified the spectacle of his performance. For marginalized Jewish populations, Breitbart was a folk hero whose empowering displays of strength exploded cultural stereotypes.