Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton

“Foremost Female Physical Culturist, Writer, Authority on Feminine Figure Contouring, Cover Girl.” 

“There, you can go ahead and grab those keys that were wedged under this 5000 pound weight now”.

So read the business card of one Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton, a pioneer of female bodybuilding and weight lifting in the 1940s and 1950s. She also briefly ran a gym on Sunset Boulevard named “the Salon of Figure Development”. With credentials like those, you’re Funny Names Blog- bound from the start.

Abbye had acquired the nickname “Pudgy” as a child, and as nicknames tend to do, it stuck. It wasn’t a particularly apt name, considering at 5’2” she only weighed about 115 pounds, but it does sound funny and personable so we at Funny Names Central are certainly delighted she kept it.

Pudgy found fame after her husband Les bought her a pair of dumbbells to help her shed some of the weight she had gained working as a telephone operator. Not long after, she and Les found themselves frequent visitors to Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach. They soon attracted huge crowds who came to watch them perform acrobatics and displays of strength.

Pudgy was a breath of fresh air in an age when women weren’t exactly synonymous with weight lifting. She was featured on the covers of dozens of magazines in her patented two-piece swimsuit, and wrote an advice column in Strength & Health magazine for years.

Moments after this picture was taken, a stray bird ruined the party.

She helped organize the very first sanctioned women’s weight lifting contest way back in 1947  in Los Angeles. In 1948 she acquired the title of “Miss Physical Culture Venus”, a rare honor in an age where women’s “physique contests” barely existed.

We remember her fondly not just for her great accomplishments and amazing job titles, but also the unusual spelling of her first name and delightful nickname.

Those of you expecting girls, go ahead and add Pudgy to your list of potential names. It’s only a fitting tribute to a great woman who literally smashed through gender barriers.

About Arto

Co-founder of the Funny Names Blog, Hawaiian shirt enthusiast, and holder of a funny name himself with too many vowels for any sensible person. Currently residing in San Diego, California, scouring through obscure documents on a hunt for more funny names.
This entry was posted in Greatest hits and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton

  1. Dave says:

    This is a very good post.

  2. Jim Maher says:

    One question is why these bodybuilding shots from the 50s were always taken on the beach. Good for ‘Pudgy’!

    • Arto says:

      It sounds like she spent most of her time on the beach, so that would explain why they always snapped her there. And for a good photo op, if there’s a beach nearby, why not go for it? A beach is always photogenic!’

      • Jim Maher says:

        Good call, you can’t go wrong with a beach. It might look a little odd to have a woman in a bikini lifting a barbell in the middle of a shopping mall.

    • Arto says:

      Hahaha, it certainly would, although I’m sure it’d attract an audience.

      • Jim Maher says:

        Or one of those human towers. That would be WAY better than a flash mob. Or combine it with a flash mob. Then you’ve got something new and exciting.

  3. Good Evening Gentlemen-As always loved the post-and it brought to mind a certain Pancho Sanchez-I’ve always liked the individual-and the name…well go type it in to Google and see what ya get

    • Dave says:

      Very cool! You know as well as anyone that we have a soft spot for people with good facial hair, and he definitely qualifies.

      Off the top of my head, I also can’t remember ever doing a Spanish-sounding name on this blog, so it’s about time we got around to that… Thanks for the tip!

      P.S. If you know any good Asian names as well, I’d love to hear them. We haven’t done an Asian name so far either, I don’t think.

  4. asklotta says:

    Reblogged this on asklotta and commented:
    Dear Readers,
    I thought it would only be appropriate to reblog this in honor of my niece, for today is her birthday! “Celebrating Great People With Greater Names.” Sweet E was named ITA Carolina Region Ass’t Coach of the Year (2012) while finishing up her first master’s program. Hard work, commitment, honor, respect and beauty are words she lives by every single day. In August she will begin her second master’s program to complete what she will need for her future vision.
    Today Asklotta and Staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS by letting you know there are incredible kids (Sweet E) making a difference today for the future! Happy Birthday Sweet E!
    Auntie (Asklotta)

  5. SUSAN says:

    Pudgy was my distant cousin. I was introduced long distance to her by her brother. I never got to meet her in person, but she was nice enough to send me two books on Muscle Beach.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s