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Look, Mom, I'm An Institution
Bob Ottum
November 23, 1981
Good old Jack LaLanne may be 67 now, but the message on his license plate is for you—he's still perfect
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November 23, 1981

Look, Mom, I'm An Institution

Good old Jack LaLanne may be 67 now, but the message on his license plate is for you—he's still perfect

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LaLanne shrugs. "Well," he says, "I was going to carry a 350-pound barbell on my shoulders for one mile up Sunset Boulevard. To the corner of Sunset and Vine. You know, to protest the dope and prostitution that's currently going on there. And in training, I got so I could carry the barbell—double my weight, you know—for up to 15.5 minutes at a time. At the end of the stunt, I would offer $10,000 in cash to anyone who could do the same distance carrying double their weight. But I banged up my knee when someone hit my Porsche, so that's out for now." He sighs. "Probably I'll swim from Catalina Island to Los Angeles underwater. That's about 25 miles. I'd like to do it in maybe 24 hours, going day and night, with divers bringing me down fresh air-tanks."

Roland nods. "And next year?"

"Next year I might tow a yacht through the Panama Canal. If I can get their permission. Handcuffed and shackled, of course."

"Of course." Roland nods thoughtfully at the correctness of swimming handcuffed and shackled. "Tell me," he says, "would you mind if an aging old Mexican fan of yours went along to watch?"

LaLanne sees that Roland is serious and he blinks away tears. "Why, I'd be, I'd...be honored," he says.

"Then it's done."

And Gilbert Roland turns to the guest at the poolside table and explains his own impression of his antic old friend. "LaLanne is a good man," he says. "There is no cynicism in him, no subterfuge. He simply loves everybody so much that he—well...You know what he wants to do, really? He wants to reach out to them all and say, 'Hey, there! Take better care of yourself!' "

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