Debbie Does Exercise

Debbie Does Exercise - title page

Debbie Drake’s Easy Way to a Perfect Figure and Glowing Health

I love these really old books and I was dying to find out all about Debbie Drake.  A quick perusal through the interwebs told me she was one of the first female exercise gurus on TV, sort of like a female Jack LaLanne. This book is 50 years old this year and for a modern public library, it is beyond awful.  As a piece of TV history, or for a health archive, absolutely keep it!  The pictures are wonderful and I am having a “Mad Men” type of flashback.  Work it Debbie!



I think she is eating raw carrots while doing scissor kicks but I am not sure.

Debbie Does Exercise - scissor kick

Better yet, try these leg lifts:

Debbie Does Exercise - leg lifts

Librarians: While you are weeding those books, try a few of these exercises to increase your bust size and shelving strength.

Debbie Does Exercise - arm exercises

Wrinkles are not a problem:

Debbie Does Exercise - jaw twist

You can even exercise your HAIR!!!

You can even exercise your hair

Debbie Does Exercise - massaging and brushing hair

Hair exercises


  1. All other amusing aspects aside, the idea of eating carrots while talking on the phone just made me laugh out loud!

    Eh, what’s that? I couldn’t quite hear you, there was some giant crunching noise going on…

  2. I’ve heard of massaging your scalp to stimulate growth but pulling your hair sounds counterproductive.

    In the first two pictures does she have tights on?

  3. In my experience, it’s a lot easier to exercise if I’m NOT wearing my rocket-boobs bra. Under my leotard. Which has a collar. (Does she have a shirt on under there, too? I’m so confused.)

  4. I think her collar is a dickie. (The thirteen-year-old in me says: “Heh. I said ‘dickie’.”) My mom had lots of dickies.

  5. This seems like stuff to do when you’re really, really bored. (Since it was the ’60’s, maybe she was a housewife — and didn’t have kids yet.)

    On the positive side: At least, she doesn’t look like a stick. Debbie Drake looks healthy instead of anorexic. Nice!

  6. Those first few pics reminded me of Reese Witherspoon putting on her ’50s bra in ‘Pleasantville’ – “I could kill a guy with these…”

  7. This book got things off to a great start here in our office today because when my co-worker walked in I was trying the cheek reducer exercise and effectively making “fish lips.” Always a good thing to see when you first walk in the door to make you wonder what the crazy tech girl is up to today.

  8. Man, I try to keep my “collecting” in the 19th century, but some of the hilariously outdated 1940s-1970s stuff always calls my name. I would happily shelve this at home with “Walt Disney Presents Our Friend the Atom” and “150 Hot Dog Recipes for the Microwave.”

    1. @sarah, I totally want to get a look at a 150 Hot Dog Recipes for the Microwave…

  9. I tried doing scissor kicks while at the circ desk and bruised my foot. Maybe I should work at a couch?

    Love the leotard with the collar.

  10. And now we segue into librarianship as the ideal career path for the fitness-conscious! Hair-pulling can easily be done on a daily basis in my school library! And shelving helps keep the girls from heading south!

  11. I came here through a link at another blog. This is really hilarious, especially since Debbie Drake looks a lot like my Aunt Sheila and I can’t picture my aunt doing anything that might make her break a sweat. Her bouffant ‘do in the early 1970’s was never out of place.

    Regarding the comment that tugging the hair seem counterproductive – I agree that it seems that way but I have a friend whose daughter was almost completely bald when she was 18 months old and she felt like it would never grow. Her babysitter was African-American and told her that she could make it grow, so she would put it in really tight little ponytails all over the little girl’s head. She claimed that it was the tension that would stimulate the hair to grow. I don’t know if it can be proven scientifically but this seemed to work because the girl’s hair grew longer very quickly. Not sure if pulling is the same thing but it seems similar.

  12. Exercise was so classy in those days, now its all sweat and mess. On a weeding note, I once reprieved a book on minature stone gardening that had never been borrowed, for the sole reason that it was older than me! Must check if some more diligent, younger librarian has done the right thing and tossed it out.

  13. I can remember when women used to stand on that weight and fat reducing machine that was basically a pedestal you stood on with a wide piece of fabric (bar towel?? lol) wrapped around your mid section, and the whole thing would vibrate and this was guaranteed to make you lose fat. My mom had several friends who owned these. sad. so sad.

    on another note – what is up with her toes?

  14. @ michelline

    I believe she is wearing nude pantyhoes, they are squishing her toes. It would have not been proper to not wear pantyhoes in the early 1960’s.

  15. I had a book by Debbie, Spanish version. someone mistakenly left in my house and so as I get moved. I would love to have a copy in Spanish again. Anyone know where I can get one. I live in Mexico. but I have friends in several places in u.s.a. Really I would like to have a copy… loved this book. Thank you. =)

  16. Debbie, for the last 50 years (or more) when you were pictured in “Life” magazine, I have done my “Debbie Drake exercise” daily….on my back on the floor with fingers on shoulders and alternate knees over to touch floor. I do 44 of them thinking about you as the most attractive woman I ever knew.

    Sincerely, George Irish
    (now a widower)

    P.S. ….would do ANYTING to meet you or to attend one of your shows!

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