Thursday, August 14, 2008

10 Weirdest Vintage Workout Videos

Recently I decided to get in shape and immediately injured my knee running. Now I am doing Pilates DVDs at home but they really lack the flair of these vintage clips. The only one missing is what was never recorded on video: my elderly middle school gym teacher, Elvira Lynch, leading us in freestyle aerobics to Laura Branigan's Gloria.

1. It's Simple, Darling with Zsa Zsa Gabor
Zsa Zsa comes just short of begging her ham-armed trainer for a Happy Ending with lines such as, "I've never been on my knees for a man before!"

2. Heather Locklear Your Personal Workout
Heather sports a fuchsia mock-turtleneck leotard and devastating haircut. God, the crotches on leotards of this era just look so...pointy.

3. Warm Up With Traci Lords
Traci leads a workout targeted to a very specific muscle group, while hypnotically chanting transition, transition. But what caught my eye were the wee banana-colored slippers she wears to match her Lycra. She went on to put out a second video, Advanced Jazzthetics.

4. Bodyflex
This nice lady and all her hair offer a workout of maniacal deep breathing that is clearly based on the movements involved in snorting lines of cocaine off of a leopard's back.

5. Alyssa Milano's Teen Steam
There's a palpable feeling of animosity between Alyssa and her "friends" as they work out in her "bedroom" together, but the highpoint is mid toe-raise when the girls break into a rap about calf muscles.

6. Jazzercise: Arthur's Theme
If you liked Move Your Boogie Body, you'll love this under-appreciated monstrosity. The sad, lonely song is an unexpected backdrop for shrieking Judi Sheppard Missett, who at one point (3:33), begins to speak in tongues. The climax occurs as she leads her minions to flap their arms like rabid geese, and screams "We're never gonna get caught between the moon and New York City, we can fly anywhere we want!"

7. Cher Fitness Body Confidence
In this infomercial for Cher's workout video, people are paid to rave "Cher is marvelous!" "Cher was making people laugh!" The exercises are done with some sort of colorful resistance band but never mind that, just enjoy this showcase of Cher in workout wear that ranges from Goth to light bondage.

8. Barbie Dance Workout
Barbie's attorneys worked overtime; the endless scrolled disclaimers and warnings that start this clip left me incredulous but are well worth watching. You'll be duly rewarded by the creepy animontronic Barbie intro. The second the live kids begin hopping about, yet another warning pipes in by voice over demanding the fitness-minded children hydrate themselves.

9. Get in Shape Girl Workout Bar
Get in shape girl, you love the feeling! Get in shape girl, it's so appealing! I think I went to high school with one of the girls in this. It's awesome for the edgy 80's attitude the girls try their best to show, and for the pink, plastic, purchasable American Girlhood displayed. The bar comes with tutu, leg warmers, head and wrist bands, cassette tape and instruction posters!

And finally, in requiem:

10. Estee Getty's Young at Heart
"One day I said to myself, 'Estelle, you're dumpy, you're out of condition, and you're also ridiculously short.'" Estelle and friends take themselves in hand using walls and fake mantles as props in this retirement community living room. Aw, even aerobics won't ensure eternal life. Or make you any taller.