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From the Archives: Muscle Beach

From the Archives: Muscle Beach
Sept. 6, 1954: From the bottom, Deforrest "Moe" Most, 37, Art Kidder, 37, and Sandra Hollabaugh, 14, draw a crowd with their stunts at Santa Monica's Muscle Beach on Labor Day weekend. (Bill Beebe / Los Angeles Times)

Muscle Beach started in the 1930s just south of the Santa Monica Pier. By the 1950s, it was a popular Labor Day destination.

In the 2006 obituary of Deforrest "Moe" Most, Los Angeles Times writer Valerie Nelson reported:

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The unofficial ringmaster of the impromptu shows at Santa Monica's Muscle Beach from the 1930s through the 1950s was Deforrest "Moe" Most, a gymnast who had a talent for persuading teenagers and tourists and the occasional celebrity that they too could join in. ...

"Moe was one of the greatest athletes I've ever known. We did tricks that nobody else had ever done," said Jack LaLanne, one of the many physical fitness pioneers who got their start on the strip of sand.

Crowds swelled in the 1950s, leading to the closure of the original Muscle Beach in 1959.

In nearby Venice, a small bodybuilding location run by the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department became the new Muscle Beach.

Today, there are two Muscle Beaches. In 1987, the city of Los Angeles dedicated Muscle Beach Venice. In 1989, the city of Santa Monica rededicated the original Muscle Beach.

This post was originally published on Sept. 3, 2010.

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