Dan Lurie – For Real
by Tom Ryan
(Webmaster’s note: Occasionally posts are made on the USAWA Discussion Forum that deserve to be seen by more than just those that follow the forum, and this post by Tom Ryan regarding Dan Lurie is one of those. A while back Dennis Mitchell wrote a nice bio story on Dan Lurie, and these were the followup comments made by Tom Ryan, which included a few pictures he emailed to me. Thanks Tom for providing this interesting information!)
I did want to add a few comments to supplement Dennis’s article on Dan Lurie.
Dan has both a website and a Wikipedia entry and I have observed that the latter is updated almost immediately when someone passes away. So I am pretty sure that Dan is still alive — at the age of 89.
I recall seeing Lurie appear on TV each week in the early or mid-1950s as “Sealtest Dan, the Muscle Man” on the Sealtest Big Top show. He can be seen in this YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZldsSnESew at about the 6:25 mark doing some overhead presses on the show, in what amounts to a commercial for Sealtest milk. There is also an interview of him, conducted a few years ago, here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbHKzhpZ61c
During the late 1950s, when I was getting started in weight training, he had a mail order catalog that included a photo of him bent pressing Miss California. Now we know that Dave Whitley goes around bent pressing women when they are vertical, but Lurie did it when they were more like horizontal.
I had a copy of that catalog but I no longer have it. Although I am not a big collector of strength memorabilia, I do some collecting, so about 10 years ago I contacted Lurie’s son in an attempt to obtain a copy of that catalog, or at least the photo. He knew what photo I was referring to but they no longer had either the catalog or the photo. He did send me a photo of his father bent pressing some other woman, however, as Lurie may have made a habit of this. LOL
Fortunately, one of my collector friends has the catalog and sent me the photo and a photo of the cover of the catalog. I also have a photo of Lurie bent pressing a young man of maybe 200 pounds that presumably occurred on the TV show. I am e-mailing these photos to Al.
Now about Lurie’s claim that he bent pressed 285. That would be a prodigious bent press for someone his size and I doubt if he ever lifted that much. John Y. Smith also weighed 168 (same as Lurie) when he bent pressed a dumbbell weighing 275.5 and Willoughby claimed that was equivalent to doing 313 with a barbell. Lurie was not in the same league with Smith as a strongman, however.
Lurie does, however, deserve a prominent place in history as a bodybuilder, promoter of physique contests, entrepreneur (I still have some Lurie barbell plates), and TV strongman performer.