As well as movie success, during the ‘80s Fonda embarked on a new endeavour: creating exercise videos. But it was a phenomenon that almost never got off the ground. Initially, she began by writing a workout book, and it turned out that there was interest in making it into a video. Yet when Stuart Karl of Mid-Vid asked her to do it, she turned him down.
“No one I knew even owned a VCR player. It was way too expensive. And there had never been a product that anyone wanted to use over and over that would justify spending that kind of money on the expensive hardware,” Fonda wrote on her website in 2012. “At first I said to Stuart, ‘No way, I’m an actor and it would be bad for my career.’”
But eventually Fonda relented. She assumed it would be a flash-in-the-pan that wouldn’t take too much time out of her life. “No one had ever done a fitness video before. I remember writing the script on the floor of a hotel room during a Christmas skiing vacation in Calgary. It was spit and prayer, flying by the seat of our tights and leg warmers,” the actor recalled on her website.