At 88, LaLanne's Gym-Dandy

In this Jan. 6, 1960 file photo, Perry Edward Smith is led by police officers into the courthouse at Garden City, Kan. Smith was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with first degree murder in the slaying of four members of the Herbert Clutter family at their farm house in Holcomb, Kan. Fifty years ago, the Clutter murders inspired Truman Capote to write "In Cold Blood". AP Photo/William Straeter

At the age of 88, Jack LaLanne works out every day at his California home, and he invited The Early Show correspondent Melinda Murphy to join him recently.

"I work out two hours every day and I'm in terrific shape," LaLanne said. And he feels pretty darn good about it.

"Woo, woo, wooh!" he said to Murphy, while doing biceps curls, pumping his fists in the air, and doing bicycle kicks in the bedroom of his California home.

Every part of LaLanne's home offers an excuse to exercise and he will, in fact, exercise anywhere, even in the bathroom where he has a machine to build up his arms.

His wife, Elaine LaLanne, jokingly told Murphy that she wasn't immediately attracted to the muscle man.

She said, "Because you see musclemen on television, in those days, they didn't have much up here," pointing to her head.

It wasn't exactly love at first sight or first bite.

Elaine LeLanne said, "I was smoking cigarettes, eating chocolate donuts. And he said, 'You know, you should be eating apples and bananas and oranges, and if I didn't like you, I wouldn't tell you this." And defiant, she just blew some smoke in his face and said, "Oh yeah?"

So Jack Lelanne tried another way to woo her, he sang to her.

Murphy did attempt to exercise with LaLanne, but she could not keep up. She also discovered that, when exercising, LaLanne has all the warmth of a drill sergeant. "Go from side to side," he commanded, "Pull! Harder. Harder. Harder Melinda!"

Murphy admits it was sad she could not keep up with somebody who has almost fifty years on her.

The driving force in LaLanne's life is not letting his muscles get weak. And that is why he is also promoting his own power juicer.

He explained, "It's just like putting water in a gas tank in your auto. It wouldn't run. And you're a human machine. You put the wrong fuel and this human machine doesn't run. It goes through life, pretty soon, pff, pff, pfft. Pretty soon, you're right in the old grave!"

His wife said, "You can't be around him without being enthusiastic."

In fact, LaLanne is enthusiastic about everything - especially birthdays.

For his 40th birthday, LeLanne swam off Alcatraz towing a 2,000-pound cabin cruiser. He turned 70 by pulling 70 boats filled with 70 people - every ten years, another stunt.

What is he doing for his 90th birthday? Jokingly, he said towing his wife across the bathtub. Seriously, he said, "I want to swim from Catalina Island to Los Angeles, underwater."

To that, Elaine LaLanne said, "I'm telling it on national TV, you do any more of those stunts, I'm divorcing you. You might as well get rid of me."

And to her husband she said, "You don't have to prove anything anymore." He replied, "I have to prove it to me."

So Jack LaLanne keeps at it, lifting and grinding and grunting.

He said, "It makes me happy that I'm still here, I feel good, and I can practice what I preach."

It's the same thing he's been preaching for almost all of his 88 years.

"Listen, I can't afford to die, it'll wreck my image," LaLanne said laughing.
  • Tatiana Morales

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