April 24, 1982: First hit workout video

A new video, titled “Jane Fonda’s Workout” is released and no one, particularly its star, thinks it will amount to much.  Fonda had been convinced to create a video version of her best-selling  “Jane Fonda’s Workout Book” by a friend who made home improvement videos.  But she didn’t think many people would buy it. She also worried that it would be bad for her acting career.

But she had gone ahead, thinking it might make a little money for a political organization run by her then husband, Tom Hayden.  Fonda had written the script herself while sitting on the floor of a hotel room during a ski vacation.  The shooting itself had been done with only one camera and Fonda had handled her own hair and makeup.  The workout, set to music, had been based on an aerobic exercise  routine Fonda had learned from a Los Angeles fitness instructor and had taught to the cast and crew of the movie “The Electric Horseman," when she was filming it in Utah.  Before then, Fonda’s  choice of exercise had been ballet, but she switched to aerobics after breaking her foot while filming “The China Syndrome.”

It didn’t take long for the new workout video to hit the mainstream of pop culture, along with two of Fonda’s favorite motivational phrases, “Feel the burn” and “No pain, no gain.” Its popularity is said to spark sales of video cassette players, as women see the video as great way to exercise in private and on  their own schedules.  Within a few years, more than a million copies of the video are sold.

Over the next 13 years, Fonda will crank out 22 more exercise videos.  People will buy more than 17 million copies.

In recent years, Fonda has had hip and knee replacement surgery, but she contends that it’s due to the osteoarthritis that runs in her family, and is not a result of all the exercise pounding her body has taken over the years.

Last year, at the age of 75, Fonda released her latest exercise DVD.  It’s much kinder and gentler than her original workout video.  It’s built around yoga.

More slices of history

Insulin goes mainstream: April 15, 1923

Polio vaccine celebrated:  April 12, 1955

First artificial heart: April 4, 1969

First batch of Coca-Cola: March 29, 1886

Elephant man case presented: March 17, 1885

Flu pandemic begins: March 11, 1918

Aspirin is born: March 6, 1899

Discovery of DNA: Feb. 28, 1953

Alka-Seltzer born: Feb. 21, 1931

First penicillin shot: Feb. 12, 1941

Longest surgery: Feb. 4-8, 1951