Thursday, January 4, 2024

George Hackenschmidt

George Hackenschmidt was one of the pre-eminent strong men and wrestlers of his era.  He was born in Estonia which was part of the Russian Empire at the time.  Despite being called the Russian Lion most of his careeer, he was German/Swedish/Estonian, and he lived in London most of his life.  He was robust into his 60s and lived to be almost 90.  This autographed photo is a favorite.



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  2. Circus strongmen in USA, often performed an intriguing stag show, after ushering out women and girls.
    Men and boys were then given a quick series of fully nude statuary poses, to emulate "living art." Passing a hat to make them a bit of pocket cash.
    Then, hawk the sale a nude/semi-nude pic, to show "the men at the lodge" the show they missed. (Fleecing at its finest.)
    Several pics have turned up over the years. But, the oral tradition is waning from general knowledge. (My grandma told me.) To trivia, legend.

    1. Thanks for the descriptive notes on strong men! Fortunately, in this case some very similar after show special exhibits have been documented in the written record,. Eugen Sandow was known to have done this among ohters.

    2. A biography of escape artist Erich Weisz, known as Harry Houdini, mentions that he performed an escape from a water tank in front of a New England college fraternity. The audience complained that the color of his trunks was that of their arch rival (Harvard versus Yale). So he undressed and performed the stunt naked in front of the all male crowd.

    3. I've seen photos of Houdini where he was almost nude, so this story sounds believable to me.