How do you come up with a symbol that reflects who Jack LaLanne was? The modern symbol would be a juicer, I suppose, but that doesn't go to the heart of the man. I could've drawn a juicer with...no. I don't even want to go there.

Anybody who's remotely interested in staying physically fit owes a lot to Jack LaLanne. He was the first exercise guru on TV. I remember when he had a half-hour program in the afternoon. It was a show for housewives, so I didn't feel like I needed to get off the couch, but he was talking directly to the viewer. I also remember the annoying organ music in the background. It seemed like every TV show then had an organ playing softly in the background.

My wife remembers her mother doing exercise with LaLanne. He was having an obvious good time, too. You can still hear the crew laughing at his jokes behind the camera if you go to YouTube and check out some of the old shows. 

Importantly, what my wife remembered was that LaLanne used only a chair and a towel for his exercise. No modern gizmos that look like torture devices, or Medieval siege weapons, just a towel and a chair. That's what I decided to draw in black and white like his old TV show, his simple approach to fitness. And how it's gone.

"Drawing Fire: Bob Englehart's 30 years at The Courant" at the Mark Twain House and Museum, Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 (snow date, February 10th.) It's a fundraiser for the Mark Twain House. Tickets are $15 per person. Reception from 5:30PM to 6:30 PM and the illustrated talk, suitable for all ages, is in the lecture hall at 6:45PM. For more information or to order tickets, call the Mark Twain House and Museum at 860-247-0998. 

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