Back to the Future – Physique Pictorial in the 1950s

Back to the Future – Physique Pictorial in the 1950s

The first issue of Physique Pictorial was a scant 16 pages long (cover to cover), but stimulating nonetheless (at least at the time). Featuring a cover painting by the illustrious illustrator, George Quaintance, issue one is more of an advertising supplement than real deal magazine, but we love it like it was Vogue.

Dale Curry

This 1954 cover is only the second to feature an original Bob Mizer on the cover. Up until December 1953, George Quaintance was the only artist to grace the cover of Physique Pictorial. This shot of 21-year-old Dale Curry is a great example of Mizer’s portraiture. Furthermore, we love a man who can successfully sport a heart and dagger.


This unusual cover from the winter of 1954 features a detail from Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. What?

Phil Granucci

This photo of body-builder Phil Granucci, who reportedly appeared in such mammoth Hollywood productions as Anything Goes and The 10 Commandments, is one of our favorite on-site photographs from the AMG archives. From the spring 1956 issue of Physique Pictorial, the shot was likely taken at one of Mizer’s favorite locations, Muscle Beach.

Leonard Chambers

The summer 1956 issue of Physique Pictorial was dedicated to the recently deceased model, Leonard Chambers. The text accompanying this gorgeous body reads, “..IN MEMORIUM..This issue of Physique Pictorial is dedicated to LEONARD CHAMBERS pictured here, who was SHOT AND KILLED by an off duty POLICEMAN who was in private hire at the time! See page 3.” Subtlety was most definitely not one of Mizer’s strong suits.

Tom of Finland

Tom of Finland! Finally! This spring 1957 cover is the very first illustrated by Physique Pictorial’s most recognizable contributor. We love a mountain man!

Steve Reeves

Steve Reeves of Hercules fame graces the cover of this summer 1959 edition of Physique Pictorial. Once again, what? Were there no copyright laws at the time, or were beefcake rags so far off the mainstream radar that these probable infringements went unnoticed?

Bud Counts

That’s it for the 1950s. What better way to ring in a new decade than with a nice long swath of zebra skin? This issue was actually released in January 1960, but we included it here because the content was produced in the 1950s.