Ed Spielman

Biographer of the Mighty Atom

Ed Spielman
Interview Date:
February 1 2008


Ed, screenwriter and creator of the 1970's television series "Kung Fu" starring David Carradine, is also the author of "The Mighty Atom: The Life and Times of Joseph L. Greenstein" (The Viking Press, 1979). Ed's family was from Coney Island and he first took interest in strongman the Mighty Atom upon seeing him perform at a martial arts show at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Ed writes, "The crowd watched in silence as he bent horseshoes with his bare hands and bars of steel across the bridge of his nose, exploded chains with the expansion of his chest, and drove spikes through planks of metal-covered wood with nothing more than the power of his palm. Then the crowd came to its feet, and with good reason. This man was eighty-two years old. A half century after my grandfather had first seen him, I sat ringside, watching the strongman. I could hardly believe that Joseph 'the Mighty Atom' Greenstein was still alive. As if deposited by a time machine, he stood in the center ring at Madison Square Garden and seemed to transcend age and time."

Ed spent the next several years interviewing him. Here he recounts some of his most notable memories of those interviews.