RICHARD SIMMONS AND THE SILVER FOXES Richard Simmons and a group of elderly parents of celebrities inspire elderly parents of non-celebrities to get into shape.

Richard Simmons and the Silver FoxesTheme Song: Drab and weird 1980s-style interpretations of big-band music performed by David Bluefield.

Interesting Dated References: Richard Simmons slightly more subdued 80s persona. He’s far from over-the-top and I can’t figure out if he toned it down just for this tape, or if he was just that much more calm in 1986.

Best Line: Addressing a group of elderly individuals — “There’s no fountain of youth”

Social Context: The Silver Foxes were (or are, it’s hard to tell if they’re still active because their website was last updated in 2005) a group of elderly parents of celebrities whose goal it is to inspire elderly parents of non-celebrities to get into shape.

Al Pacinos dad, Sal Pacino, seemed to be the driving force behind the Silver Foxes tapes. He appeared in this, the Simmons-helmed original, as well as the Simmons-less 1991 sequel Silver Foxes II: Shape Up America (directed by an Ed Pacino), and, in the late 90s, the Stefanie Powers-helmed Silver Foxes: Power Pilates. Sal passed away in 2005, and since then the Silver Foxes website has been silent.

Summary: We begin with a photo-book style introduction to the cast: Sal Pacino (RIP, father of Al), Harry Hoffman (RIP, father of Dustin), Pauline Fawcett (RIP, mother of Farrah), Shirley Simmons (RIP, mother of Richard) and Jacqueline Stallone (not RIP, mother of Sylvester and Frank). The producers forgot to include a picture of Frank next to Sylvester, so we took the liberty of adding him in. The poor guy is always getting left out.

Richard Simmons and the Silver Foxes

Richard gives on-screen instructions for checking heart rate and indicates that participants should check their rate at least 3 times during the 30-minute workout. Then the somewhat lackluster opening stretches begin.

Richard Simmons and the Silver Foxes

The workout is the exact combination of soft shuffling and low-impact excitement you’d expect from an elderly workout session. The group can’t seem to sync up their movements, but nobody seems to care. There’s a profound lack of enthusiasm from everyone except Simmons and Pacino. They’re both way into it.

Richard Simmons and the Silver Foxes

Then all of a sudden it’s cool-down time. Since each person is wearing a different color of pastel, the entire screen looks like some type of geriatric Easter musical. Between the soft movements and Richard’s calming voice, the tape has a Xanax-like calming effect.

Richard Simmons and the Silver Foxes

Then there’s a bonus section where Richard shows all the participants how to do pelvic thrusts into a chair. Even though these pelvic thrusts are outwardly sexual, Richard insists on calling them “tummy tucks.”

Richard Simmons and the Silver Foxes

Over the closing credits, Simmons leads a trove of the elderly like a Pied Piper across a golf course as they snap their fingers to imaginary music. Then Simmons gets on an elevated platform and they all raise their hands at him before ascending to heaven. This was filmed at Century Village Retirement Community in Pembroke Pines, Florida. As noted above, almost everyone featured in this video is dead. Jacqueline lives on, but looks like this now.

Poster and Box Art: Smiling faces that vaguely look like celebrities, soft pastel colors, and Richard Simmons: It’s the total package. This box would have been better if they used the awesome Silver Foxes logo, which is seen during the crowd scene in the closing credits.

Richard Simmons and the Silver Foxes

Awesome type treatment and well illustrated fox. The mid-80s were a high point for logo illustration. Someone really slaved over this and it shows. Then computers came along and ruined the artistic integrity of the entire world.

Availability: This is still in print and available on DVD. You can also watch the entire thing on YouTube.

Leave a Reply