Host Segments for

Joe Bob's Library
July 24, Bodybuilding
conan the barbarian

"Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars-Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with itl chivalry, Koth that borderd the pastoral lands of Shem, Styfia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hykania whos riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom in the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west. Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a theif, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet."
- The Nemedian Chronicles by Robert H. Howard (not to be confused with The Chronicles Of Narnia)

[Close-up of Ab-Roller]
Well, it's week three of "Joe Bob's Summer School," and tonight we have an upper division course: Body Building 304: Applied Anatomy and Biomechanics. Which translates to a good excuse to ogle women in Spandex. Our special guest-lecturer, fitness expert Karen Voight, will be whipping our hineys into shape while we watch "Conan the Barbarian," the movie that started it all for Arnold Schwarzenegger and the even greater sequel, "Conan the Destroyer."

image 1 Speaking of body building, my Ab-Roller came in the mail so fast I didn't even have to wait four to six weeks. Wanda Bodine was with me the night I bought it. We were watching "Gorgeous Ladies of Rasslin," and the bimbo in the pink swimsuit came on, doing her Ab-Roller sit-ups, and I said to Wanda, "You know, this commercial's been on for 97 years. There must be something to it." And Wanda was skeptical. She said, "That thing looks like one of those cheap plastic sleds for sliding down hills in the snow." I said, "It can't be cheap plastic, even though it LOOKS like cheap plastic, because it costs $19.95." And Wanda said, "Not that you couldn't use a little Ab-Rolling." And so that was it. I called the 800 number in Canton, Ohio, and told em, "I want an Ab-Roller."

image 2 One thing you should know, if you're thinking about getting an Ab-Roller, is that it comes in a giant white box that has AB-ROLLER written all over it and advertising like, "Firms Stomach!" and "Safer for Your Lower Back!" and "As Seen on TV!" and a big picture of the Ab-Roller so that everybody in your neighborhood will know you ordered it even before you get it. Scrim Wilks saw the mailman carrying it around and he called me up. "Joe Bob, your AB-ROLLER is here." And then he couldn't stop laughing. He kept saying "Ab-Roller" over and over again in a way that sounded like "You hopeless ignorant beer-belly dufus." It's humiliating. So I said to Wanda, "That's okay, if it doesn't work out, we'll use it for a sled." This was before we opened it up and read the silver sticker that said "NOTICE: This unit is not to be used as a sled or otherwise misused." I'm not kidding. They KNOW that people order em as sleds.

image 3 Anyhow, I started getting real excited about changing my life with exercise when I read the instruction booklet for "Ab-Roller: The Intelligent Sit-up," and it started off with about 17 safety warnings, including "Recommended maximum user weight: 300 pounds" and "Instructions for Full Hips." Finally we got down to the nitty-gritty: "Sit on the Ab-Roller in the area marked SIT HERE." So I sat there. "Your tailbone should be just over the Posturing Seat, also called Sit Here." I adjusted my tailbone. "The Sit Here area should be flat to the floor when you are in the full upright position. Place your hands into the handle slots on each side of the Ab-Roller." Along about page 5, you finally get to actually do your first Ab-Roller sit-up. I gave it everything I had, and then Wanda said, "How did that feel?" "Felt like I was rocking back and forth on a piece of cheap plastic." And Wanda said, "Actually, you were rocking back and forth on a piece of expensive plastic." I asked her, "How long should I do this?" and she said, "The book says until you experience momentary, slight abdominal fatigue." "I experienced abdominal fatigue before I ever got down here." And Wanda said, "Probly time to stop then." And I said "Good. That was an excellent two-sit-up workout. My stomach already feels better after that workout." And Wanda said, "Which phase of the workout did it for you, Joe Bob? The first sit-up or the second one?" I can't stand it when Wanda Bodine gets like that.

image 4 Okay, we're gonna be working out with Karen Voight as we watch "Conan the Barbarian," Arnold Schwarzenegger's first serious dramatic role, where he goes around wallopin people's heads off with his sword and being real rude to Sandahl Bergman. Sandahl is a fox in this baby. This was kinda her first big break, too, even though a lot of her stuff ended up on the cutting room floor. Let's get it started -- I'll do the drive-in totals later. Roll film.

[fading] By the way, I went to buy some terry-cloth headbands for my future workouts, and when I got back, I noticed the moisture on the bottom of my Ab-Roller. I swear Wanda got snow on it.

"CONAN THE BARBARIAN" Commercial Break #1

image 5 And there you have it -- Conan telling us what is best in life: "To krosh your enemies, to see dem driven before you, and to hear de lamentations of der vomen." And since we've graduated to college-level here at "Joe Bob's Summer School," I actually looked that up and found out that that's based on something Ghengis Khan once said. Ghengis Khan said: "The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters." But can you imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger saying THAT? Arnold wasn't exactly fluent in 1982, when this flick was made. He was still de-toxing from all the steroids he took when he was Mr. Universe. That's why they only gave him about ten lines in this movie. And speaking of people who are in good shape, we've got fitness pro Karen Voight joining us at the next break, so let's get those drive-in totals out of the way. We have:

Seventy-two dead bodies.
One dead snake.
One dead vulture.
Three breasts (two of em on Conan).
Ancient professional rassling.
Heads roll.
Camel punching.
Virgin sacrifice.
One orgy.
Gratuitous Speechifying by Max von Sydow.

I give it three and a half stars. Roll it.

[fading] I'm glad I've been working out. I've got buns of steel. And abs of steel. In fact, you hold up a big magnet, I get sucked right across the room.

"CONAN THE BARBARIAN" Commercial Break #2

image 6 Who was that gal Arnold just had sex with, and more importantly, where does SHE work out? Cassandra Gaviola is her name, and she has got some fine pectorals, if you know what I mean and I think you do. It's Body Building 304 here at "Joe Bob's Summer School," and our guest-lecturer is warmed up and ready to go. She owned two very popular gyms in El Lay during the peak of the fitness-crazed eighties, and since then she's been making work-out videos, writing books, and training big-time celebrities.

[Karen Voight demonstrates exercises and Joe Bob follows]

Boy, it's a good thing I'm starting now, cause I might actually be able to do this by the time I'm 60. All right, let's get back to "Conan the Barbarian." More working out at the next break.

[fading] Am I doing this right? We also need to talk about nutrition, right? Like everybody in this movie we're watching eats shishkabob. That's the only food in "Conan" movies. Shishkabob.

"CONAN THE BARBARIAN" Commercial Break #3

[picture of Joe Bob's face on a muscle guy]

image 7 And as Sandahl Bergman and Arnold the Barbarian prepare to make warrior love, we do a modest little fade-out here on TNT so that the young and impressionable won't see just how outstanding Sandahl's cantilevers are. Did I say that? Okay, that could have been a valuable LEARNING TOOL here on Body Building Night, because I'm here with our guest lecturer, Karen Voight, whose three new workout videos are coming out sometime soon: "Yoga Sculpt," "Body Strength," and "Exercises for Old Guys Who Can Barely Even Lift Their Remote Control."

You know, Sandahl and Arnold were both so buff in this flick, they had to do their own stunts, cause they couldn't find decent body-doubles. In fact, Arnold had to tone down his workout, cause his muscles were so big, he couldn't wield a sword right. Just like me. Did you ever see a picture of me before TNT made me slim down for this show? [shows picture to Karen and camera] I know, I think I look better now, too. All right, what are these balls here used for?

[Karen Voight shows Joe Bob exercises with weight balls; Joe Bob does them]

Okay . . . back to the movie.

[fading] How many of these do I have to do, cause I think I'm gonna have a heart-attack.

"CONAN THE BARBARIAN" Commercial Break #4

Lot's of TREKKING in this movie. Trekking across the desert. That was Max von Sydow as King Osrik, being his usual long-winded self. Every movie Max von Sydow is in, he has a scene where the action comes to a halt so he can speechify. Struggling actors are probly in classes all over the country goin, "This is the monologue from The Ultimate Warrior where Max von Sydow asks Yul Brynner to join his commune," or "I will now do the speech from Needful Things where Max von Sydow admits to being the devil."

image 8 Our Body Building 304 guest-lecturer, Karen Voight, is now going to have me do something truly challenging. Okay, Karen, challenge me.

That doesn't look that hard. [Joe Bob tries it] That's hard. Help.

Let's get back to "Conan."

[fading] Do you make Tina Turner do this?

"CONAN THE BARBARIAN" Commercial Break #5

"Who will not face emptiness?" That's the big catch-phrase of evangelist James Earl Jones. He's got em lined up, because it's such an attractive philosophy. "Come to emptiness." "This is CNN." Is my watch broken, or was that one of the shortest segments in the history of television? And by the way, nice wig on James Earl Jones, huh? They were going for that "Little Suzie gives her Barbie a haircut" look.
image 9 Workout pro Karen Voight is still here with us. So, Karen, I think my muscles are a little fatigued. Maybe we can bring somebody else in here to do the next exercise. I see Rusty and Cheryl hanging out in the hall. Without a hall pass, no doubt. Girls, come on in here and do Karen's exercises.

[Rusty and Cheryl enter]
Maybe yall can show us some yoga while I sit over here and enjoy my protein drink. Isn't that convenient that they're wearing work-out clothes.

[Karen and girls do yoga while Joe Bob watches]
Oh, now this is the kind of exercise I like. Okay, we're gonna get back to confusing but muscle-filled "Conan the Barbarian." Go.

[fading] Can I join whatever gym you gals workout at? Do you know that gyms have rules now designed specifically to keep guys like me out?

"CONAN THE BARBARIAN" Commercial Break #6

I think we need to summarize the plot so far, so Karen, do you mind continuing to Yoga Sculpt the girls, there? Okay, the film starts off with little Conan learning about a god named Crumb who has some kinda phallic sword fixation. Then James Earl Jones and a bunch of other guys in bad wigs cut off Conan's mother's head, and William Smith gets killed by a bunch of German shepherds -- which I just realized musta got cut out, cause I don't remember seeing it. Then they capture Conan and make him push a big food mill around 24-hours a day for fifteen years till he turns into Arnold Schwarzenegger in a bad wig. Then they get him to fight in professional rassling matches. Then he gets cut loose and finds a dead guy with a sword and he wanders around until he has sex with a babe who turns into a comet. Then he and Gerry Lopez and Sandahl Bergman steal a big jewel during a virgin sacrifice in a big tower with a giant snake in it -- wonder what the symbolism is THERE--and Max von Sydow speechifies and Arnold bails on Sandahl to go steal Max von Sydow's daughter. But James Earl Jones catches Arnold and ties him to a tree, and then Arnold's wizard friend draws all over his face, and Sandahl cries, and maybe Arnold's dead and maybe he's not. Is that about it? Okay, back to the flick.

[fading] I left out the part where Arnold punches the camel, didn't I? And Arnold punches out a camel.

"CONAN THE BARBARIAN" Commercial Break #7

[book: "Jumping Rope"]

So James Earl Jones is really . . . a snake? An orgy-loving snake? I should point out that the fake blood used in "Conan the Barbarian" was a concentrate you had to mix with water. But the weather was so cold, they had to use vodka to keep it from freezing, and instead of spitting the blood like they were supposed to, the actors kept swallowing it and then going back to the special effects guy for more. And I'm startin to think John Milius and Oliver Stone were knockin back a few when they were writing the script. John Milius and Oliver Stone -- what am I thinking? Those two would never TOUCH spirits.

Karen, all our guest-lecturers get a special gift when they leave. Since it's Summer School, everybody gets a book. And this is the one we got you. It's called "Jump rope!" See, down here it says, "Jump for health!" We figured if you ever start looking for a new kind of exercise to teach, you could use this. Karen Voight, thanks for being here. And thanks to Rusty and Cheryl for helping out.

Okay, back to the movie.

[fading, looking at girls] Oh, if only we had a couple jump ropes right now.

"CONAN THE BARBARIAN" Commercial Break #8

Well, is this a Dino De Laurentiis production or WHAT? Hand-to-horse combat, spirits of dead Amazons waging battle, and Conan swinging that wicked blade. Poor Sandahl Bergman, though -- she dies in this movie and ends up ten years later making cheap erotic thrillers for Showtime. Not that there's ANYthing wrong with a good cheap erotic thriller. You know, I think we should all adopt Arnold's attitude about Body Building. Here's a quote from Arnold -- pretend I'm doing this in an Austrian accent: "In the old days, bodybuilders talked about eating two pounds of meat and 30 eggs a day, how they had to sleep 12 hours a day couldn't have sex, and so on. And I said to myself, 'Who the blank wants to be part of that kind of sport?'" Except, of course, he didn't say "blank." Wait a sec, two pounds of meat, 30 eggs, 12 hours of sleep, no sex . . . that actually DOES sound like my workout regimen! But I don't lift weights. That's the only difference. You guys wanna know what Arnold's measurements were at the peak of his bodybuilding career? Okay, he's six-foot-two; that remains the same. He weighed 235 pounds. His chest was FIFTY-SEVEN inches. His arms were 22 inches--the equivalent of the waistline of your average Playboy centerfold. His thighs were 28 and a half inches around, giving true meaning to the words "thigh master." His calves were 20 inches, and his waist was 34 inches. I don't have his hip measurement -- I guess that's a chick thing. Okay, it's time for the barbaric conclusion to "Conan the Barbarian." Roll it.

[fading] Did you guys know Arnold developed a rehabilitation- through-weight-training program at prisons in California? And thank goodness. Cause I don't know what those prisoners were doing with their time before Arnold showed em how to work out. And now, in a cruel ironic reversal of all Arnold's good work, legislatures are passing laws across the country making it ILLEGAL to work out in prison. Can you believe that? What is THAT about? "Naw, we don't just want em locked up, we want em sickly and weak -- after all, it's PRISON."


And so ends "Conan the Barbarian," with Arnold throwing James Earl Jones' head down the steps because he just wouldn't stop yappin. The Mattel Toy Company had actually started making Conan action figures, but then when they saw the film, they didn't want to be associated with a movie containing such graphic sex and violence. You have to remember, we just saw the toned-down, TNT/Amish version. So Mattel made the dolls' hair blonde and called it "He-Man." He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Big hit with the feminists.

Back to Monstervision

Host segments continue with Conan the Destroyer

Conan movie theatrical trailer
(click to play clip)

Click here if video won't play

Fun fact:
Maria Shriver fell in love with Arnold when he lost a tennis match to a little girl and, to redeem himself with the crowd, ripped off his shirt and began flexing his muscles!

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