One of the all-time great physiques belonged to Bobby Pandour of Poland. He was an excellent at muscle control as well as hand balancing so much so that he performed an act with his brother Ludovic in the Ringling Brothers Circus in the early 1900’s. The Pandour Brothers also headlined as “The Herculean Marvels” coast-to-coast on the Vaudeville circuit.
Otis Lambert, was a staple on the Vaudeville circuit for years. He achieved his greatest fame while partnered with Adolph Nordquest. One of Lambert’s greatest feats was to perform a Get-Up Lift while holding Nordquest aloft, plus a 25-pound dumbbell – a total weight of 220 pounds.
Edward “Spike” Howard, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (unsurprisingly) earned his nickname thanks to his ability to bend and break spikes. A former Vaudeville strongman for many years, Howard is shown above breaking a chain with chest expansion. Performing feats of strength was actually not his only specialty: Howard also donated blood well over 1000 times which is also thought to be some kind of record.
Pete Reynolds performed for many years on the Vaudeville and night club circuit as Little Samson – The World’s Strongest Small Man. Standing only five feet tall and weighing 107 pounds, he certainly fit the bill, among other feats, he ripped phone books in half… then quarters… then eighths! You won’t find many heavy weights who could accomplish such a feat. Samson attributed his great strength to his healthy diet, and after he retired from the road, opened a health food store in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Joe Lambert, a strongman from Boston, ran off to join Louis Cyr’s circus when he was 16 years old. He traveled the country and the world performing feats of strength first with Cyr’s circus, and later with Barnum & Bailey’s, The Ringling Brothers, the Vaudeville circuit and even in South America with the Pablione Circus. He was good friends with Clevio Massimo and Adolph Nordquest.
Now THAT’S a chest expander! “Mr. John” was a vaudeville performer in the teens who worked feats of strength into a slapstick comedy routine. As you might guess, many of these feats involved prodigious strand pulling feats.