1988, $3.99, at Goodwill on Brand in Glendale
First Impression: Someone asked me if I’ve ever worked out to this, and then it manifested.
Second Impression: Exercise must be the fountain of youth, because Richard Simmons has not aged a day since this video was first released.
Of course, everyone has heard of Richard Simmons and Sweatin’ to the Oldies, but I really didn’t know what to expect. First of all, there’s a live band playing on the stage, right behind Richard and his friends. So this must be what set the precedent for having live music in exercise videos, which I had found so surprising when I first noticed it elsewhere.
Everything about this video is so wonderfully 80’s. The two girl singers are rocking their pink ruffled minis and shiny tan pantyhose. The musicians are sporting mullets, acid wash jeans, and striped shirts with short sleeves rolled up to show off pale biceps. This video is already awesome, and we haven’t started exercising yet!
Richard and his helpers take their formation in front of the band, and we start the routine. Their joy is palpable and contagious! I’m grinning like the Cheshire Cat as I grapevine and clap, knee-up and pat.
The routine is so easy to follow that I’m able to really look at everyone’s clothes. It’s an absolute time capsule. There’s a lady in a Multiples dress, with a contrasting fabric belt that could also be used as a headband, tube top, or in a pinch, a tourniquet! Someone is wearing acid wash overalls with a pleated waist and a belt, and she is working it!
There’s permed bangs, Sally Jessy Raphael glasses, and un-ironic pornostaches galore! There are spandex crop tops, scrunchies, and of course, Richard Simmons’ signature peenie shorts, which are timeless.
This video does not skimp on the showmanship. The choreography for “It’s My Party,” mimes out a timeworn tale of heartache. For “He’s a Rebel,” a dude on a motorcycle makes a spectacular entrance, dropping off the singer who then makes her way to the stage. The motorcycle dude presumably then vrooms off to craft service to munch on some carrot sticks.
But my favorite part of Sweatin’ to the Oldies has to be when Richard has everyone stop and check their pulse, and all the musicians in the band check their pulses also. Classic.