Antonio Clevio Massimo Sabatino was a strongman performer better known as Clevio Massimo on the stage. He was born in 1895 in Italy with good genes, since his father and two uncles were quite large men, known as “the three giants”. Antonio grew up in Buffalo, NY where his family emigrated when he was a little boy.
As a kid, Antonio mastered the violin which eventually proved to be a big help once he started appearing as a strongman on the stage. He became interested in the world of physical culture during his regular school boy life in Buffalo, inspired by popular acrobats like Rigouletta brothers, Belleclaire brothers and many other extremely skilled teams. Sometimes they would come to Buffalo, but in most cases Antonio had to travel to watch them in New York City.
When he turned 17, Antonio realized that he could make a living using the knowledge he gained and that’s when he teamed up with Charles Blair to begin a weightlifting career. With the new beginning, Antonio Clevio Massimo Sabatino dropped his long name and went for Clevio Massimo instead. At this time he was performing a single lifting act as a part of their performance, but once he teamed up with Joe Lambert, Massimo introduced hand balancing, juggling, posing and more lifts to his acts. He was fairly successful in all these areas, but when he started performing hand-to-hand balancing acts on a regular basis, it became clear that this area is the one he was most successful at. As Massimo’s population grew, he toured major cities of the United States and Mexico before appearing at many popular night clubs, such as Palais Royal, Shanley’s, Reisenwebers and others.
Even during the World War Massimo kept performing, but he had to improvise. While he was stationed Camp Gordon, Massimo use a 135 pounds soldier instead of a rifle to perform exercises from the manual of arms. Clevio Massimo was also involved in a professional wrestling for some time as well.
In case you are looking to start working on hand balancing, make sure to check out Professor Orlick’s book Hand Balancing Made Easy.
I would love to get copies of these images. We have the book Modern Hercules, but since this is my husband’s great uncle I would love to give him more images like these as a gift.