In the late 1800’s, “The Gibson Girl,” as portrayed by the pen-and-ink illustrations of artist Charles Dana Gibson became the personification of the feminine ideal. Well, thanks to a somewhat obscure vaudeville play known as “the Dairy Maids” eventually along came “the Sandow Girl.”
Originally played by Carrie Moore as shown above inventing what would be come to be known as the Zercher lift, (there were eventually several Sandow Girls), according to the lyrics by Paul A. Rubens, a Sandow Girl pretty much tops them all. To boot, the final third act of the play took place in a gymnasium with Carrie and several other “Sandow Girls” singing while squeezing grip dumbbells. It proved quite popular (although in all likelihood this has more to do with their tight-fitting outfits.)
Sandow would have been instantly recognizable to audiences at the time and they would have easily understood the reference. In a case of art imitating life, eventually Sandow had his own “Sandow girls” who demonstrated his various physical appliances at live events and shows.