Angelo Siciliano was born in Italy in 1892, and moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York, twelve years later. A scrawny youth, Siciliano claimed to have been frequently harassed by neighborhood bullies. He became interested in fitness and bodybuilding, and dabbled in gymnastics at the YMCA. Unable to afford exercise equipment of his own, he was forced to find alternative methods. While visiting the zoo, he saw a tiger pacing about its cage and observed its mighty musculature. Inspired, he developed his own method of exercise, Dynamic Tension. The method was comprised of tensing one's muscles and then moving against that tension. It apparently worked quite well as by 1921 he was a circus strongman, having changed his name to Charles Atlas. The following year, he authored a comprehensive fitness program and began to market Dynamic Tension to the 97-pound weaklings of America. One of the ways he reached his target demographic was through comic-books, in ads like the one pictured, beginning in the forties and extending well into the seventies. Several generations of skinny bespectacled kids sent away for the program and Atlas made a considerable profit. The advertisement became a pop-culture icon (even inspiring a song in the Rocky Horror Picture Show), and has endured even after Atlas' death.
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