20 Minute Workout, Bess Motta, Arlaine Wright, Holly Butler, Laurie Briscoe, Ron Harris, aerobics



1. What was :20 MINUTE WORKOUT?

2. Cast & Crew Credits - First Season.

3. Cast & Crew Credits - Second Season.

4. Personnel Updates & WWWeb Links!

5. Images & Movies from :20 MINUTE WORKOUT!

    5b. More Photos from Other Sources Page!

6. Music from :20 MINUTE WORKOUT!

7. Prevue Magazine Article, 1984.

8. Interview with Jim Bach!.

9. Videotape Information.

10. Why?!

Go to the :20MW Who's Who Page (with sound files!).


[1] What was :20 MINUTE WORKOUT?

:20 MINUTE WORKOUT was one of the first, if not The first, totally Aerobic workout TV shows, featuring a group of physically fit exercisers rather than just one instructor.  It was first broadcast in the early 1980's, and was in rerun syndication until the mid to late 1980's, in some places (like Canada) until the early 1990's.  Each program ran one half hour, however minus the commercials it was about 20 minutes worth of exercise thus the title of the show.

Each program had a leader of the group who would be wired for sound, and be giving out the exercise instructions.  Typically this was either Bess Motta or Arlaine Wright, though others also led the group.  The music and camera-work were both notable in the First Season, and were less so during the second season.  Bess Motta was generally acknowledged as the Leader of the exercise group and the star of the show, and her screen presence was undeniable!

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[2] Cast & Crew Credits - First Season.

- CAST -

Sharon Bisset,  Laurie Briscoe,  Holly Butler,

Sue Carter,  Bess Motta,  Nicole Nardini,

Anne Schumacher,  Leslie Smith,  Arlaine Wright.

- CREW -

Created and Directed by Ron Harris.

Produced by Dalton / Fenske.

Music by SHIVA.   Video - Jeff Goldhar.

Executive Producers - Jamie Kellner & Ian MacDougal;  Associate Producer - Jami Allen;  Orion Ent. Production Executive - Bruce M. Kerner;  Written by David Van Fleet;  Production Coordinator - Julie Bernard;  Technical Director - Jim Bach;  Lighting Director - Steve Ferrier;  Audio - John J. Thomson & Bob Haller;  Wardrobe - Eva Richter;  Facilities Provided by Huchm Productions, Toronto.

Produced by Tantra Productions, Inc. & Nelvana Ltd. in association with Orion Entertainment Corp.

For details see the :20MW Who's Who Page (with sound files!).

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[3] Cast & Crew Credits - Second Season.

- CAST -

Michelle Brimacombe,  Sharon Hasfal,  Ella Collins,

Alison Hope,  Nerise Houghton,

Bess Motta,  Anne Schumacher,  Arlaine Wright.

- CREW -

Created by Ron Harris.   Directed by Jim Bach.

Produced by Dalton / Fenske.

Choreographer - Bess Motta.

Executive Producers - Jamie Kellner, Patrick Loubert, & Michael Hirsh;  Production Co-ordinator - Julie Bernard;  Casting - Arlene Berman;  Written by Susan Snooks;  Music by Jermyn / King / Ouellet;  Technical Supervisor - Tony Doolittle;  Lighting Director - Steve Ferrier;  Audio - John J. Thomson & Bob Haller;  Video - Norbert VanDerHeidt;  Wardrobe - Eva Richter  Facilities Provided by Huchm Productions Toronto.

A Nelvana Production in association with Chumcity & Orion Ent. Corp.

For details see the :20MW Who's Who Page (with sound files!).

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[4] Personnel Updates & WWWeb Links!

Thanks to Bryan T there is finally another Web Page relating to the classic TV exercise show :20 MINUTE WORKOUT !  If you know of any more Please e-mail me!

Bryan's :20 Minute Workout Page - http://www.hometown.aol.com/bryannt/twenty/   Yes, there Are other :20 Minute Workout fans out there and Bryan T is one of the best! And now he's finally got his own :20MW page up! Check it out now, and again later! Cause he certainly updates more often than I do! (And his images are much better quality than mine too!)

Talita´s AEROBICISE & 20 MINUTE WORKOUT Page - http://www.sobreelpucho.com/   New (as of 2001) site from Canada with lots of image captures from the show.

The :20 Minute Workout Image Bank - http://www.angelfire.com/tv2/20minwork/   2nd site from the author of this site containing images of the show digitized by me way back in 1995. (Much larger but not better quality than the images I have below on this page.)

Back issues of the Prevue Magazine containing the :20 Minute Workout article ( No.55 ), can be obtained from... http://www.prevuemag.com/www-prevuemag-com/back8.chk

Ron Harris.   Has been involved in many projects since the 20 Minute Workout. He entered the soft-core porn market in the 1990's with his *STAR SHAPES* series of videotapes, the PRIVATE DANCER series, and the TOTALLY NUDE AEROBICS videos. He also has a new line of exercise tapes out called, Aerobicize 2000. (See videotape section below.)

Ron Harris - http://www.4porn.net/e48.html   Biography of Ron.

aerobicise - http://www.aerobicise.com/   An On-Line service (for pay) from Ron Harris.

Pilot episode tape? - http://www.aerobicise.com/20minuteworkout.html   Supposedly offers a tape of the original 20-Minute Workout pilot episode, with Bess Motta. However I have received Many e-mail complaints from people who have sent in money and Never received a tape.

Bess Motta.   The only one of the group that has had a noticable career after 20 Minutes. Bess had small roles in films, roles in some Television series, and has done TV commercials and stage work.

The Internet Movie Database, Bess Motta - http://us.imdb.com/Name?Motta,+Bess   Filmography of Bess Motta with informational Links to each title.  Note - If this does not take you to Bess's Page go to the Main Page and use their SEARCH function to look her up.

Movie Guide "Dirty Work" - http://www.tvguide.com/movies/   Bess and Arlaine reunited in 1998! Unfortunately it was in a really bad comedy movie. (See the very bottom of the cast list.) [These morons are Constantly moving their pages around! Good luck finding the movie review!]

Indoor Cycling Staff - http://www.adventurecorps.com/indoorcycle/bimstaff.html   Is this "our" Bess Motta working as an indoor cycling instructor?!

Holly Butler.

The Internet Movie Database, Holly Butler - http://us.imdb.com/Name?Butler,+Holly+(I)   Filmography of Holly Butler with informational Links to each title.

Laurie Briscoe.

The Internet Movie Database, Laurie Briscoe - http://us.imdb.com/Name?Briscoe,+Laurie   Filmography of Laurie Briscoe with informational Links to each title.

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[5] Images & Movies from :20 MINUTE WORKOUT!

Pic. - Bess Motta & Arlaine Wright.  341x240,  [ 20 KB ]

Pic.  - Four images of Bess Motta from the show.  200x600,  [ 36 KB ]

Pic.  - Four more images of Bess Motta from the show.  200x600,  [ 39 KB ]

Pic.  - Four images of Arlaine Wright from the show.  200x600,  [ 38 KB ]

Pic.  - Four more images of Arlaine Wright from the show.  200x600,  [ 40 KB ]

Pic.  - Three images of Nicole Nardini from the show.  200x450,  [ 35 KB ]

Pic.  - Five images of Nerise Houghton from the show.  200x750,  [ 39 KB ]

Pic.  - Four group images from the show.  200x600,  [ 43 KB ]

I recently rediscovered these on my hard drive, so I thought I'd put them up for you all. I was going to do more but I don't have a proper video card so each frame has to be digitized individually, and it just became too much work! These are intended to be played as continuous loops.

Movie  - Bess jogging with arm swings.  320x240,  [ 275 KB ]

Movie  - Arlaine doing leg bend.  320x240,  [ 347 KB ]

Movie  - Arlaine doing calf extensions.  320x240,  [ 432 KB ]

More Photos from Other Sources Page!

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[6] Music from :20 MINUTE WORKOUT!   All are Wave files.

Snd.  - Intro voice "This is the :20 Minute Workout".   [ 28 KB ]

Snd.  - :20 Minute Workout Music one.   [ 288 KB ]

Snd.  - :20 Minute Workout Music two.   [ 293 KB ]

Snd.  - :20 Minute Workout Music three.   [ 336 KB ]

Snd.  - :20 Minute Workout Music four. (peak workout)  [ 357 KB ]

Snd.  - :20 Minute Workout Music five. (cooldown)  [ 211 KB ]

Snd.  - :20 Minute Workout Music six. (cooldown 2)  [ 215 KB ]

Snd.  - :20 Minute Workout Music seven. (endcredits)   [ 218 KB ]

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[7] WORK!OUT  by Brian Lowrey.  Reprinted from Prevue Magazine, April/May 1984.  Subtitle: TV's Hottest Exercise Show Has Viewers And Critics Worked Up In A Sweat!

Prevue Magazine Photos

( Click on above image to load larger picture [866x276, 77 KB].)

"Attractive, athletic, fit, successful, slender non-smoking male, looking for female. Fit and beautiful enough to be on the 20 Minute Workout show at 6 AM."

Almost two-and-a-half million television viewers have something in common with the author of that personal ad: an attitude which defines a new version of the all-American woman. They share an appreciation of the bodies beautiful on the syndicated exercise show that, unlike most similar shows, deals exclusively with exercise. It is the aesthetics of the series, however, that viewers find most seductive.

"The fantasy of being involved in such a production is always greater than actually doing it," says Ron Harris, the show's creator and director, from his Westwood, California home. "Then again, I've been a fashion photographer for years; I've always dealt with beautiful ladies."

The manner in which Harris deals with the Workout women has been celebrated for its artistic as well as commercial success. The show has become to the out-of-shape what the Statue of Liberty is to immigrants: "Give us your flab, your high blood pressure, your cellulite!" Aerobics will make the heart beat to 80 or 90 percent of its capacity for those who work along with the girls - perhaps even more for those who just look. Some watchers tune in to tone thighs, but, between the viewers and the voyeurs, a good time is inevitably had by all.

Workout is a purists' exercise show. No guests, no snappy patter, no recipes, just two or three instructors with pretty smiles moving to music in an endless white room reminiscent of Siberia - a trademark of the Harris style.

"I like to isolate things for their intrinsic beauty," the 50-year-old director says, explaining the look of the show, which utilizes a large turntable that rotates continuously for four cameras. Gorgeous women in constant, sensuous, fluid motion against a pristine setting - photographed from every conceivable angle - are the focus of 20 Minute Workout.

While Harris says there is no set criteria for instructors, "their bodies appear about the same: quite balanced, not big-busted. We never found any with big busts who were in great shape. If they were very busty, they bounced, which looked terrible. Jiggling or shaking is a negative with me. Exercise reduces the size of the bust, as it does with marathon runners, ballerinas or gymnasts, who have no breasts. If they stop, they'll develop a bustline because they get more body fat."

Fat in any form is difficult to find on the show - from its austere presentation to its superb participants. Surprisingly, their average height is only 5'4". "They all look like amazons because I shoot them from the toes up," Harris reveals.

Although countless girls have auditioned for the show, he says those chosen were really very obvious: exceptionally attractive, athletic, having the ability to move with grace and confidence - a talent more difficult to find than one might suspect. "Even dancers who have studied for 20 years get out there, and really don't move that well. Maybe they do in costumes with colored filters and lights, sure, but not when it's just them and a white backround."

As an actress who has this sort of aerobic body, Harris cites Heather (T.J. Hooker) Locklear. "TV stars and movie queens generally aren't into aerobic exercise. When they're between 18 and 25, they look pretty good without doing anything!"

Harris does not see the growing interest in exercise as a fad, but rather as a change which has been slowly developing in America - one which is here to stay. "My guess is the new generation will exercise a lot more than the old one," he predicts. "Aerobics can't be a fad because it's what keeps us alive. We're aerobic animals. We were meant to run and climb trees - that's part of our evolution. We sit around computers and TV sets now, so we must exercise - or die!"

Harris disagrees with the idea that TV's aerobic arenas will negatively impact on health clubs. "There are a lot of reasons for going to them - they're the pick-up bars of the '80s."

Contrary to what many would assume, most viewers who work up a sweat watching Workout actually do the exercises. Harris says demographic studies show that 85 percent of the audience is female, and the show's mail proves it. The majority is from women, often requesting that broadcast time be changed to accommodate their schedules. "We recently received a petition with 276 names on it which asked, 'Would you please reschedule the show from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM?' It was signed, 'Working Women of Arkansas."

"We also get 'men-in-the-penitentiary' type letters. They write to say Workout is the greatest thing since the bikini." To heavy breathers huddled around TVs in male dorms, frat houses and on loading docks, however, Harris flings down a gauntlet in the form of a Danskin. "It's just boring to watch and not exercise. I'll tell those guys something - if they try it, they'll realize it is not sissy stuff," he says emphatically, as one who has struggled with a weight problem (he appears to still be struggling) and who does the routines himself. "I don't care if they're joggers or third basemen, if they think they can just do it, they'll be very surprised."

Every 20 Minute Workout begins with a warning against over-exertion, distinguishing it it as perhaps the only TV show which acknowledges that viewing it can be hazardous to one's health. Fortunately, the production taxes only the body and not the mind. The manner in which Harris dismisses his competition is rather unceremonious: Body Buddies: "Boring." Richard Simmons: "Not exercise." Morning Stretch: "All right for what it is, but it doesn't provide the benefits of aerobic exercise."

Workout has become something of a multi-media sensation, running even more than once a day in several markets. Additionally, it sells millions of dollars in videos, albums, (a book is on the way) and a popular cable incarnation on Showtime called Aerobicise. While Harris admits that Aerobicise has a certain male appeal, he insists Workout has been "de-sexed" as much as possible. Sure, Ron, what's so sexy about hot, healthy, sweat-covered girls who have more legs than a family of centipedes - all dressed in skintight outfits?

"We try to eliminate all 'tit and crotch shots,' he says. "There are no low-cut leotards, and every time the girls are facing so their crotches are showing, we focus on a hand or a head." Nevertheless, Harris' productions have been labeled "soft porn," particularly the more controversial Aerobicise.

"The cable show is really more like exhibition aerobics than 'follow me' aerobics," he confesses. "But, any sex is in the eye of the beholder, because there are no bumps and grinds. Workout is meant to work out to, and those who exercise can't see the screen half the time, with their heads between their legs or looking at the ceiling. That's why the instructions are so explicit."

The girls' outfits, according to the director, are also standard equipment. But, all equipment considered, it's what they do in them that makes the difference. For instance, some of the girls uninhibitedly flirt with the camera, as if some Hollywood producer were on a couch on the other side. "I guess the cameras just turn them on," Harris says.

While the instructors undeniably harbor ambitions of jumping from the slimming segments to bigger things, Harris' only concern is that viewers are jumping to get rid of bigger things. "I've given the girls exposure on the show; anything else is up to them."

Workout features beginners' classes on Tuesday and Thursday, with a more advanced regimen (they play faster music) on the other days. Regardless of the pace, however, the show's beautiful instructors make it all look easy.

"We need role models to live up to, someone to identify with and say, 'I'd like to look like that.' Even diet clinics suggest patrons picture the ideal figure when they're about to eat something. I've given viewers healthy bodies to see that are perfect to emulate. Women would do well to say, 'I want to look like Bess Motta or Nicole Nardini' - and work toward that end."

If all the fair sex were in that kind of shape, men would be in serious trouble, although there are probably worse ways to go than being outloved and outlived by women in perfect physical condition. It has also been proposed that female viewers have an equal opportunity to see an exercise show featuring men demonstrating how to go from having sand kicked in their faces to powerhouse Weider bodies.

"I used some men on Showtime," Harris says, "but I wasn't satisfied with the quality of their movement. We've auditioned over 2500 girls, and very few potential male instructors. Besides, women are used to taking it from women. Wherever they go, the instructors are female."

Harris is always looking for a few good women. He re-casts the show every year, screening hundreds of applicants, all of whom are provided with a full taped audition. As they say, it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. "I'm serious about what I do. Let's face it, it's better than most jobs," Harris admits with a machine-gun laugh, "but, it's still a job." Jack LaLanne, eat your heart out!

Fortunately, 20 Minute Workout has no problems with consistent storylines, actors holding out for more money or burnt-out creative people. As long as Harris can find five girls with great bodies - to emulate or excite - the show will go on.

Harris' formula for broad success is simple: thin is in! In the great gymnasium of life, 20 Minute Workout has proved to be a 24-karat dream, no matter how one views it.

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[8] Questions from a short interview with Jim Bach by Mark L. made in January 1999.

Q: Was Aerobicise the original version of :20 Minute Workout?
Jim Bach: Aerobicise was the pilot for the 20 minute workout. It was shot in Nevada and at Ron's own studio in LA. He talked a lot about it when we were in preparation. The first episode he farmed out to another production company, the 2nd episode he built the set and turntable in his photo studio, (he is and will always be a photographer) at great expense to his backers. The concept and the turntable came to Toronto in 85 (I think it was 85) and we got the pleasure of making his vision a reality.
Back to Aerobicise -- I only saw the tape of one episode very early in preparation and it was classic soft porn. I said that I could do a better job of teasing and Ron went with it. At one time they were playing the show in slow motion in bars in Japan but I don't think that they saw anything that you wouldn't see at regular speed. I was very good at dissolving away just as the camera came to the private parts.

Q: Do you have any preferences for any particular episodes?
Jim Bach: We produced the first 65 episodes in 21 days -- at 5 shows a day, 7 days preparation, 13 days shooting, and 1 wrap. The next 30 or 40 something were made 9 months later in 8 days. We had a 10 day schedule so we used the extra time to make the 60 minute version "Aerobic Jam" so I couldn't tell you if one stood out from the others -- but it was magic about day two when all the elements clicked.

Q: Where did the shows originally air in the USA?
Jim Bach: They were shown in 80 markets in the states. I think there are 120 total so it was an instant success. I had just packaged the first two shows when they got the sale and we were then packaging the shows a week at a time.

Q: What are you doing now?
Jim Bach: I work in visual effects as a video coordinator for all the american shows that we make here in Vancouver. I spent 5 years on the X-files as well as servicing Millenium, Viper, Nightman, Strange World...

[9] Videotape Information

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New videotape box cover

20 Minute Workout   20 Minute Version

20 Minute Workout (1984)   60 Minute Version

These are probably no longer available, sorry about that!

Also by Ron, but without our 20 Minute gals.
Aerobicise 2000 box cover

Aerobicise 2000 - A Workout for the Next Generation (1993)

Aerobicise 2000 - Power Body (1993)

Aerobicise 2000 - Young Body (1993)

Aerobicise (original) - The Beginning Workout

Aerobicise (original) - Beautiful Workout

Totally Nude Aerobics

Nude Aerobics 2 (by Ron Harris?)

Nude Aerobics 3 (by Ron Harris?)


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[10] Why a Page for :20 MINUTE WORKOUT?!

Because :20 MINUTE WORKOUT was, without a doubt, the most watchable exercise show on the air! No other exercise show has ever even come close! Not only a great workout it was great for those who didn't feel like exercising as well!

Currently I don't know that :20 MINUTE WORKOUT is being shown anywhere!  If you know where and when the show is being rerun in the U.S., Canada or any other country, please e-mail me!

This small but exciting part of the WWWeb is brought to you by Robert Haycock.  E-Mail me with any questions, comments, suggestions, or information about :20 MINUTE WORKOUT, Bess Motta, Arlaine Wright, Nerise Houghton, Nicole Nardini, Holly Butler or any of the other great aerobicizers.  Sorry, but because of Massive SPAM problems my E-Mail link has been "hidden". See the info box at the bottom of this page for more info, thanks!
I do not sell videotapes of the show.  If I know where tapes can be purchased from it will be listed in the Videotape Section above.

And I'd like to thank Randall M., Bryan T., Mark L., and Many others for their comments, suggestions, and support of this page and the :20 Minute Workout!

FastCounter people have overexerted themselves since July 1st, 1997.

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