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Author Topic: Rheo Blair Protein/Supplement Evolution  (Read 27468 times)
Montague
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« Reply #50 on: November 20, 2010, 06:25:41 PM »

Next post will most likely be a recap and what type of guys were bodybuilding back then and why they really didn't look too good except for guys like Reeves and a few others who had genetics.


This part sounds like it will be quite interesting.
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« Reply #51 on: November 20, 2010, 11:48:28 PM »

OK, Montegue.

If you read the above few 'sermons', you now know that something interesting is about to happen among those who lifted heavy things back in the 40's and the 50's.

And I haven't even started on the subject of Olympic and Odd lifters who played an important part in the birth of modern-day bodybuilding, but that would make this story a bit too complicated for a format such as this; so let it suffice to say that those guys also helped make it happen in some very adverse ways .......

So now we have three or more national magazines being published and each of them have little regard for one another. (See previous posts).

We also have Perry and Mabel Raider who publish a smaller format named "IronMan" . They are a nice elderly couple who never seem to argue with the others. They play well.

And we have various products that need advertisement space in weight related magazines to make us bigger, stronger, and live a lot longer.

Bodybuilding as an inherent 'unit' is slowly coming together.

All we need now are the bodies to grow the muscle and a place or places that offer the equipment to make it happen.

But back then those two 'commodities' were almost non-existent.

Let's consider the scarcity of the 'bodies' first.

Back in the early 50's you might find 5 or 6 guys in San Francisco who could justifiably refer to themselves as hard core bodybuilders.

And in Los Angeles, you might be able to double that figure.

Those individuals who frequented Muscle Beach and called themselves bodybuilders might be more accurately referred to as gymnasts and plain John Does who liked to stay in shape by performing handstands and other comparable circus acts.

Only a relative few would be called bodybuilders by most Getbiggers if we were able to time-travel back to Muscle Beach in the 50's and take look around.

Bodybuilders back then were a very rare breed of critters.

And it might be best to make an attempt to tell you who those bodybuilders were by telling you who they WERN'T.

Bodybuilders were not the Olympic lifters who lifted explosive weights in most YMCA's in most major US cities. They didn't like bodybuilders too much.

Nor were they the Odd Lifters (nowadays - Powerlifters) who wore tight Levis with tennis balls taped behind their knees to squat in access of their personal best. They didn't like bodybuilders too much either.

Bodybuilders back then were not young kids who were enrolled in school. They were not even college students. And they were not fathers with two or three kids working 40 hours a week to place food on the table.

They were not doctors, lawyers, or Indian chiefs.

All the above were respected occupations.

Bodybuilders were big guys who appeared half nude in magazines that were hidden on the top shelves of downtown bookstores.

Bodybuilders were guys who could not excel in sporting endeavors because they were too musclebound.

Bodybuilders were laughable.

And no respectable kid back then would ever be seen in public in his underware let alone a pair of skimpy posing shorts. And have his picture for the whole world to see!?

No way!

Therefore bodybuilders were immoral.

They were unfit for proper society.

But in actuality, very few people thought any of the above about bodybuilders because most people had no idea that bodybuilding even existed.

 My very intelligent brother says, "It had not been invented yet!", so just about everyone knew nothing about it, but those who did know something, didn't like the something they knew for various and asundry stupid reasons.

And the same holds true today .... as evident on this GetBig board.

Some things never change!

It took a while but a few good men made major accomplishments and changed this somewhat universal public opinion ... but that comes later.

One noticeable thing about these old time bodybuilders ... the majority of them look damn bad when compared  to today's amature contenders. And there's a major and valid reason for that!

And that reason is not roids or better training methods. It's far  simpler.

I'll go into those details next.

OBJECTIONS and CORRECTIONS are appreciated





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« Reply #52 on: November 21, 2010, 12:44:08 AM »

Funk has been posting an interesting series of photos of past AAU Mr America winners and with very few exceptions those winners are definitely not too impressive to say the least.

And that series of winners appears to look somewhat more impressive once Bob Gadja of Chicago's Duncan YMCA hit the competitive stage.

Why is that?

Here's what I think .... and this is based on actual experience in a time that was so much different.

First of all you have to realize that there were hundreds of guys throughout the US who could stand beside the vast majority of those Mr America winners and blow them away. They lifted heavy stuff at home or bailed hay for their dad or other strainuous muscle building activities.

But many of those guys refused to enter because they had no idea what a bodybuilding contest was or they did know but had no desire to stand on a stage in front of a lot of people in a pair of shorts that were politely referred to as 'nut-huggers' which were considered to be substantially immodest back then.

Modesty was very important back then ..... but changes were on its way.

So the vast majority of contest winners back then were those who were "brave"
enough to show it all without hesitation.

These Mr AMERICA winners were definitely not representative of the best built guys  in America, but they did break the mold of indecency.

Reeves was one of the best back then due to his looks and genetics and his self confidence on stage. Terpak had 'size' and strength.

But 'decency' was in  control back then so bodybuilding magazines were never seen on kitchen tables.

Just about every 'kid' between the ages of 16 - 24 spent summers on a river resort town 72 miles north of the Golden Gate and a fair number of them could have stolen that title if it wasn't for those darn little trunks and their intrinsic moral code.

A moral code that was soon to see a drastic change for the Hippies were just around the corner!

And they didn't even lift weights! But they smoked a lot of dope and made nudity semi acceptable.

Moral codes change, but it takes a period of time and becomes un-noticeable.

Next up: Gyms!? What gyms?
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« Reply #53 on: November 21, 2010, 08:54:15 AM »

Wow!
I've been told by "ordinary" folks who were around during that time that weight lifting was a fairly obscure activity back in those days, and I'd always been under the impression that bodybuilding simply wasn't popular as well.
But, I had no idea it was actually considered so deviant by society.

It's interesting to read the specifics here, since so many outsiders merely cluster everything from Olympic lifting to bodybuilding into one general category like "weight training" or "exercise."

I now know there was a HUGE difference in public perception of each.
You've broken it down here beautifully.

I look forward to reading more!
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stuntmovie
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« Reply #54 on: November 21, 2010, 09:18:38 AM »

Thanks again, Montegue.

You sort of got the idea of what I'm trying to say but the word 'deviant' might be a bit too harsh and somewhat misleading.

I'd prefer to say that bodybuilding/bogybuilders  were just not generally acceptable.

BUT ..... not acceptable on a very small scale due to the fact that bodybuilding and it's participants were relatively unknown among the general population.

And its difficult to dislike something if you don't know what that something is. But the majority of those who did know - frowned upon it.

But progress in a new direction has been  frowned upon by the masses throughout history. Only the pioneers are brave enough make a change and most of them have no idea of the part they played.

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« Reply #55 on: November 21, 2010, 10:58:29 AM »

Just a small injection of things I have heard old BB'ing vet's speak off.  Not trying to infringe on the excellent posts of StuntMovie.

Back in the old days BB'ing shows were held after the Olympic lifting events. Usually winding up late at night. Just something to throw in as a novelty or side show. With a best arm, leg, chest, back, etc judging included.

The old Mr America (and other more major contest) require each contestant  to preform some form of Olympic lift(s).  I believe it was athletic performance, body development (some contest judged each BB'er in normal outdoor sun light, direct indoor light and also under the posing lights..which really could make a world of difference in the final results) and character. Character required a personal interview and how you would speak and handle your self. Was said that is why the great  Harold Poole never won the Mr A title. He had a speech problem back than. The Mr A was very much like the Miss A, but with muscle.

Only my view but I don't think it was being "Brave" to jump on stage, but more ego driven. The "look at me" thing, which may or may not be a positive motivation. Some call it flair or style. But without these types I doubt that BB'ing would be what it is today.

PL'ing evolved from BB'ing. The odd lifts included. Odd lifts contest could pretty much included about any lifting combo. From curls. lateral raises, upright rowing, DB pressing/cleans, etc. But the squat, bench and DL most always seem to to the core lifts in most Odd Lift contest back than. Hence the slow birth of modern PL'ing.

BB'ing is a sub culture, and will always remain so. And now BB'ing may be on a death watch because of the drug use. Including meth/speed/dust/crank/smack etc. And the wholesale sex trade that goes on within it. Not to mention the bogus supplement rip off's that account of millions of dollar in sales each year.
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« Reply #56 on: November 21, 2010, 08:22:19 PM »

JPM, interesting comments. Thanks!

Let me expound on some of what you had to say.

AAU Bodybuilding and Olympic Lifting: You are definitely correct about BB'ing shows that were held after the Olympic lifting events.

But your statement that the bodybuilding  winded up late at night is NOT correct. You would be more precise if you said that the bodybuilding portion ended as the sun came up.

I, myself, recall more than one major BB contest that was held in conjunction with a major lifting event in which Mr Hoffman was present and the  bodybuilders did not have stage access until the lifting trophies were awarded.

By the time the BB event started everyone had gone home so only die-hard fans and immediate family members remained.

This modus operandi was just one of the reasons bodybuilding eventually became completely disassociated with the  AAU.

I was a voting member of that meeting when the NPC was initiated.

Mr. America Athletic Performance: I attended a number of Mr America events but I don't recall an athletic performance requirement, but I do recall an interview requirement.

In regards to your statement ..... "I don't think it was being "Brave" to jump on stage, but more ego driven". ..... I have to completely agree. I hereby retract "brave" which I used for the lack of a more accurate description of what I thought was occuring. I gtotally agree with you anbd I think that  most of those Mr America awards way back then should have been "Best Big Ego" awards rather than "Best Built Man in America".

Thanks for the help on that one.

Odd and Powerlifting: I go back a good long while with a lot of world class lifters ,, Bill 'Peanuts' West, George Frenn, Larry Pacifico, Gus Rethwisch, Mike Lambert (Powerlifting USA), etc., etc., but apparently not far back enough to have ever seen an organized Odd Lift event.

But I have seen a good number of odd guys lifting oddly and have participated in a few "Watch me! Can you do this?! lifting attempts when guys like Johnny Falcon would sit up nights trying to think of some new strength test in an effort to impress the following day's gym rats and determine who could do it best.

I always thought that Powerlifting was just the new name for Odd Lifting which also consited of the bench press, squat, and deadlift.

Have I been wrong all these years?

Regarding ... "BB on Death Row!": I can't agree entirely but I have a strong suspicion that
something is underway and won't be fully disclosed until next year. I have no idea what that may be .... just a hunch that something is underway.

Thanks again, JPM


 

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« Reply #57 on: November 21, 2010, 08:59:09 PM »

GYM!!! WHAT GYM!!!

There were no gyms back then that came anywhere near resembling the gyms we're familiar with today.

Various YMCA's had various types of gym equipment which always consisted of medicine balls, bowling pins (I never did figure those out), vibrating belts, and long walls of wooden bars that were specifically intended for something no one knew anything about.

Plus 10x10 or 20x20 canvas mats stuffed with cotton wads making them four to five inches thick in various locations which were used to sit on between exhaustive sets orfextensive flappings of the jawbone.

And needless to say there were always bars and plates that had to be found and screwed together to meet your lifting capability. No continuous rack of barbells in 10 pound increments back then. You'd have to look for an empty, unused bar and then look for the plates and build your own with the screwdriver that was always missing.

Olympic sets???!  What the hell were Olympic sets!!?

A few hard core guys got tired of this daily hunt, search, and build routine and decided to open their own lifting establishments.

Ed Yarick opened his small gym in Oakland  .... and a kid named Steve eventually made it famous all over the Bay Area.

And an eccentric sort of young guy by the name of Lalanne open a 'gym' on the fifth floor of a very old high rise office complex on San Francisco's Market Street.

And a Yoga instructor whose name was Walt Baptiste and his beautiful wife opened a studio on Van Ness Avenue just a few miles from Jack's place.

The ball was rolling in Northern California and it refused to stop because roughly 400 miles down the coast there were also YMCA's and guys whose first names were Joe and Vince and Leo who had gym building plans of their own.

Now serious lifters would have a set of options and numerous offers  that they could not refuse. The gym business was going to be big in Hollywood and its surrounding areas.

Continued later ...
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« Reply #58 on: November 22, 2010, 10:56:22 AM »

Stuntmovie:

More interesting stuff. Kind of interesting to learn the roots of lifting, including BB'ing, from you.

 Just to let you know where I'm coming from: I was born in 1972 and came to the mainland when I was ten. My two uncles worked on the Paramount lot (near Van Ness & Melrose) for awhile and hung around the original Muscle Beach in the 50's & 60's. And if memory (and spelling) serves me right ,also trained a bit at Goodrich (Hollywood Blvd), Macey( Sunset Blvd), Connors (little Santa Monica Blvd) among some others. Even at the downtown LA YMCA, when Franklin Jones (BB'er or Lifter) was arrested. Seemed like people hopped from gym to gym back than. Through them, and some of their friends, I use to hear endless stories about the good old days.

Another friend of the uncles had a stack of old Iron Man magazines he let me borrow for a while. Iron Man also put out a lifting news letter . Some priceless information in both the mag & news letter. Wish I had them all now. Worth their weight in gold. Anyway, the Odd lift contest were listed and recorded. Not all had the same lifts. Some may have had curls, DB presses, upright rows, etc.  Another might have Hack squats, lateral raises, DB cleasl & presses, etc. But the core movements were the squat or DL and bench. They called Hack squats reversed DL's at times.

I do remember reading that the old Mr A (probably 40's or 50's) had. (don't know how old you are, but probably before your time) a lifting requirement. Not only did you have to look strong but be strong.

The uncles, both in their 70's , are still around. One lives above The Whiskey, up the hill. The other , down the block behind the Bodhi Tree on Melrose. Both snagged rich wife's. Another benefit of Lifting for some guy's.

Keep up the excellent post, always interesting.
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« Reply #59 on: November 22, 2010, 11:51:38 AM »

Was there such a thing as the BEST GYM back then?

The answer to that is, "Yea!". But by today's standards each of them was very small and laxked 'amenities' such as shower stalls and drinking fountains. Some were less than 1,000 square feet where you could walk in the front door, take a few steps, and be out the back-door.

Joe Gold was a welder, so he made all his own heavy and solid equipment out in back. Most of the other gyms provided 'wobbily' benches and other half-assed gear that is mostly non-existent today ... except for the suprising return of Kettle-drums and seemingly worthless equipment that vibrated fat, muscle, and bones.

So looking back, I'd have to give Joe Gold that Best Old Time Gym award even though you could almost spit from corner to corner. His equipment far excelled the others. Joe's heavy duty squat rack was the first I'd ever seen and sure beat the hell out of squatting between two upright 'broom handle polls with little cradles at the top'!

And at approximately $24 a year (if I recall correctly) it was a great place to train and never crowded except  on Saturday mornings when USC and UCLA football stars hogged the single squat rack,

Joe's equipment was so good that every once in a while someone would sneak in with a camers and take up-close photos while Joe was in the back welding his latest muscle enhancement creation.

So eventually similar looking Joe Gold creations appeared in other locations.

Size wise, I recall Vince's Gym on Venura up there by Studio City and the old Universal Studios being even smaller. And most definitely darker.  Vince would get the Dark Gym of the year award most definitely. But he did have a shower stall that could accomodate smaller people. And a water fountain in a dark recess.

And Leo Stern's gym in San Diego was even less appealing. It was on the second floor of an old building on a main downtown street full of bars and inebriated sailors. Open a nondescript door, walk up a flight  of wooden stairs and you'd find yourself in a weight strewed room full of weights and equipment. I kind of recall it as being dark and somewhat unorganized but it was where Bill Pearl preferred to train, so it must have had some value fof serious lifters of that time.

Up north in the San Francisco Bay Area there was Yarick's. Lalannes, and Walt Baptiste ,,,, none of which were worth bragging about.

But these were the pioneers of the eventual gym BOOM and they stepped in no one's foot-prints. They saw something coming, but no one saw how big that 'something' was gonna be!

Next up ,,, Gym Pioneers - 2nd string or 2nd generation!
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« Reply #60 on: November 22, 2010, 12:37:10 PM »

JPM. thanks again. I read your most recent post after submitting the one I drafted above,

A major problem of attempting to write some form of bodybuilding history is that many of the real pioneers are overlooked due to the fact that I never met them. Our life cycles have failed to coincide as one of my Poker shrink buds might so aptly state.

Om a few occasions I have spoken with the likes of  Jeff Everson (I'm his only fan), Mike Lambert (Powerlifting USA), Pete Grymkowski, Mike Mentzer (while he was still with us), Bill Starr (Only the Strong Will Survive), and my super intelligent  good friend who lived the life as a serious lifter until 'tommoow' - Steve Dussia, and Gene Mozee who has been actively involved since the says of Sandow (or damn close) and definitely Tommy Kono.

That joint authorship would most likely assure that pioneers such as those you have mentioned - and whom I have never had the pleasure to shake hands with - would not be overlooked.

Include in the above your uncles.

(BTW, I have met, worked with. or trained with a good number of those Mr America champs whose photos Funk has been posting under another topic, plus many of the guys he mentions in passing whose photos were not included. I plan to list everyone he has mentioned inaqn that great topic and mark those who I have met during my lifetime and under what occasion that occured qnde hopE to eventually post it on GetBif for anyone who may be interested.)

Speaking of your uncles  .... Just a few years back I was visiting Muscle Beach (the original) and unexpectedly stepped into a reunion of the original Muscle Beach inhabitants.

Some were in their 80's and 90's, but the majority were in their 70's and most of them had scrapbooks full of Muscle Beach memories. (Such as Steve Reeves in full shirt shots on his very first-day visit.)

A couple of those old scrapbooks were so damn interesting that I considered running off with the best one from that old guy in the wheelchair, but my conscience took control and I departed empty handed.

And DAMN! That was probably the only day in my lifetime that I went down there without my camera!

Ask your uncles if they showed up on that occasion a few years back. When I left while they were all sitting around looking at pnotos and talking story while waiting for some professional camera crew to dociment the occasion.

Thanks again, JPM

PS I just might have met one or both of your uncles at one time or another.

 
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« Reply #61 on: November 22, 2010, 01:21:37 PM »

I remember back in 83' I did the American Cup Championships (armwrestling) at the Shrine Auditorium in LA.  I remember when I arrived all the people that were there.  I couldnt believe all these people were there for armwrestling.  Well when I got inside the stage had these two curtains seperating the stage into 3 sections.  I find out that there is armwrestling, powerlifting and a bodybuilding show all going on at the same time.  It was really cool.  It was very loud and I had no idea how all the other guys (powerlifters and bodybuilders) could hear anything.  I know the bodybuilding had their finals that night I think.  Ut it was really cool to have that place packed and everyone really enjoyed the arnwrestling.  Met a guy there who ended up being one of my best friends.  He was (and still is) the youngest person to ever compete in the WSM.
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« Reply #62 on: November 22, 2010, 03:55:14 PM »

Thanks, Keith! I recall reading about that event. I wonder if it ever continued after that first year? I'll call Gene and ask him about that one.

But , Keith, you're talking '83 while the rest of us are still in the early 50's and 60's with occasional leaps a few years forward.

Hell, you weren't even a twinkle in your dad's eye yet! (You might have to be Irish to understand that one though!)

But stick around cause when (and if) we reach the 80's I'll be asking ya to give me a kick to refresh my memory and probably tell ya stuff that you were involved with but have since forgotten.

Hints: The German's, Bill "Peanut's" West, Zuver's, the Smorgasboard that the bodybuilders ruined, humorous Pete episodes, serious Jeff E. stories,  gym showers with the ladies, etc., etc., etc.

Your period within BB history is forthcoming. Stand by!

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« Reply #63 on: November 23, 2010, 01:04:55 PM »

Joe's equipment was so good that every once in a while someone would sneak in with a camers and take up-close photos while Joe was in the back welding his latest muscle enhancement creation.



That's crazy!
I suppose he never thought to get patents on any of those designs?

I don't know how lucrative Joe's gym business was in the early stages, but I'd imagine it was doing very well at the time he sold it.
I still laugh at the story of how he agreed not to open another "Gold's" after the sale, and in the same proverbial breath, opened "Worlds" down the road, to which all of the big attraction names flocked and joined.
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« Reply #64 on: November 23, 2010, 01:43:32 PM »

You ain't got that last post right, Montegue!

PATENTS: First of all I don't think many people understood the patent business back then, Especially gym owners of that time.

I don't think gym equipment patents came into vogue until Universal gear came on the scene. I could be wrong though.

And regarding the sale of Gold's Gym ..... I was in the LA area around that time and here's the story if I can recall it properly. Maybe another GetBigger can fill in the blanks or make corrections.

Ken Sprague was an X-rated movie star which was deeply frowned on back then, but he was one hell of a great guy and we talked often.

Somehow Ken bought Joe Gold's Gym and shortly after that Joe Gold planned to open another gym with the name of Gold's because that was his very own last name of course.

Apparently Joe did not realize that he had also transfered his last name to Sprague and I sort of recall the need to go to court to get it resolved.

At present I have no idea why Joe sold out to Ken but with a couple of phone calls I can get it from the horse's mouth and not from the other end.

Apparently Joe legally lost the use of his last name and eventually decided to call his new gym "World Gym" which was located just about a mile south of Ken's 3rd Street location in Santa Monica.

I don't recall how long Ken owned Gold's Gym nor the year he sold it but Pete Grymkowski and Ed Connors and two others joined forces and bought it from Ken who was in the process of moving with his wife up to Seattle or thereabouts. It is my understanding that Ken retained the rights to publish books and articles about the newly owned Gold's Gym.

I understand that this new partnership had a difficult beginning and relied on Gold's Gym T-shirt sales to keep the door open. And Keith is more familiar with the Guido Gold's Gym logo than I am.

But before leaving Ken Sprague up north, I should let you know that he promoted one of the finest bodybuilding events of all time. Unquestionably!!

It was the year that Dave Johns won the title and Mae West was escorted on stage by Bert Goodrich to make the presentation after politely asking that I step aside to that they could do their thing.

Mae was quite old and frail at that time and simply appeared to be a little old lady backstage wondering what in the hell she was doing there, but as soon as she cleared that curtain she was once again the Mae West that everyone loved (and wanter to go up and see some time.)

It was one hell of an amazing transformation!

Once Dave got his trophy, Mae and Bert returned backstage and she once again became that little, bewilderd, elderly lady and was quickly escorted to a waiting limo ,,,, never to be seen again in public (as far as I know).

That was the same year that the city of Santa Monica printed thousands of newspapers hailing the arrival of the Mr America event in their fair city and that was the day when the Mr America Parade came to down and drew many thousands of parade loving folks.

And all the contestants played a part in that parade. Some even rode the elephants.

And that was the year the contestants were told that they would not need to bring their recorded music for their posing routines  .... as Ken had made arrangements for a full and live symphony orchestra to play all the tunes required.

And that was the day when a fully equipped gym was installed backstage for the pump up area.

And as far as I know, none of that has ever been repeated and problem never will be.

Ken did one hell of a great job.

ken, if you happen to be reading this .... correct me when I've been in error and add some interesting stuff. What the hell year was that anyway!?

BUT I've jumped ahead too far! Let's get back to the 50's and Steve and his good friend George and lots of  other pioneers.
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« Reply #65 on: November 23, 2010, 05:32:59 PM »

As an addition to the above post, I should mention that Pete Grymkowski decided to place a bench on the inside of the front window by the doorway so that the people who were always stopping on the outside to look into the inside could come inside and have a place to sit and watch all the crazy gym activity.

That small act of kindness was a blessing in disguise because many of those bench sitters would end up buying the Gold's Gym Guido t-shirts that helped keep the place open.

OK, back to the 50's in Northern California .... the San Francisco Bay Area to be specific. (I hope I'm not repeating myself here because I wrote this part once before while in the process of posting it, but somehow it got lost and has been so far 'unfound')

So back in them days there was the YMCA and some minor gyms scattered around  the bay ...... notably Lalanne's in San Francisco's old downtown area, and Walt Baptiste's on Van Ness Avenue which was actually a Yoga Studio, and Yarick's Gym over in Oakland across the bay from the big city of San Francisco. Head on east past Oakland and a few minutes later there was nothing but empty pasture-land until you got to highway 99 an hour or so later. Turning south on 99 would take you all the way to Los Angeles and Santa Monica where Muscle Beach was located ... about an 8 hour drive through fields of garlic, onions, artichokes, asparagus, almonds and little bergs named Fresno and Bakersfield.

At least three young kids made that trip on a semi frequent basis, but Steve Reeves and George Eifferman and another named Jack Dillinger are no longer here to verify exactly how many trips were actually made. But on a couple of those trips to Muscle Beach they stayed at a placed called "Muscle House" .. the exact history of which has escaped my memory but I believe that they were the short term guests of Pudgy Stockton and her husband, Mr. Stockton.

I first met Reeves when he must have been around 17 - 18 years of age. I am guessing at his age but I think I was about 4 or 5 when I first 'met' him and Steve was 13 years older than myself. But maybe we were both somewhat older as I'm not too good at recalling dates.

My dad had taken me and my mom to a lake in the Berkley Hills named Lake Tamescal. He had grown up in that area as a kid and always liked to return to see how much it had changed. Back then it used to be in a very rural and wooded area within the rolling hills of Berkley but today it is surrounded by fancy homes and a major freeway.

I was about 5 I think and this big guy came walking out of the water and tapped me on the head and said, "Get big, kid!" and proceeded over to talk to my dad for a few minutes before heading off to join his friends. At that time I thought he was a large sized football player.

Back then every teen ager who lived in the vicinity of the Golden Gate used to spend as much summer time as possible in a heavily redwooded vacation area on the Russian River called Rio Nido. It was merely 70 miles north of the Golden Gate and the ideal spot for all the Bay Area kids to get together and spend summer days on the river and summer nights in the dancehall which featured big named bands such as Harry James and Dick Crest and many others.

Steve and his friends would show up often and enjoy themselves but they'd always head on back to Oakland late Sunday afternoons to make sure they were ready to lift some weights the following day.

We'd cross paths on a number of  occasions but we'd merely say, "Hello" or "What's up?" and continue on our way.

Then a few years later I was reading an Oakland newspaper and there was an interview with Steve's mom about her son and what a good kid he was and the fact that he never had a cold nor a cavity. (It was a small news day, I guess!)

And shortly after he had his picture in Look Magazine and then he appeared on TV on a recurring basis .... an afternoon talk  show called something like the "Ralph Edwards Show' and eventually received a major part in an MGM movie with Debbie Reynolds called. "ATHENA" which eventually led to his discovery and lead in Hercules Unchained which was so bad that I got a stomach ache
 
And then he sort of disappeared from the Bay Area and continued making movies. But we were destined to meet once again many years later after his retirement.

But in the meantime back in the Bay Area the gym business started awakening.

A group of local bodybuilders opened American Health Studios with a few branches around the city but that didn't last too very long and all us regulars found the front doors locked one Saturday morning and it never did reopen.

And Vic Tanny opened a very fancy, chrome plated barbell place on Market Street across from the Powell Street Cable Car turn around thing which appeared to be doing damn good business but was just too fancy for us regular gym rats.

And business was even booming faster down south in Los Angeles where jack Lalanne was opening health studios all over town. I've been told that Win Paris was the main man who helped get that chain off the ground and make it very successful, but LA was too far away to know for sure.

Now the pioneers who refused to expand were having competition.


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« Reply #66 on: November 23, 2010, 09:06:33 PM »

Injecting some stuff I heard from a old BB'ing vet.  It was said he got more Hollywood ass than a toilet seat. Anyway, that's was the exact quote said about him.

Mae West owned the Rossmore Arms (on Rossmore about a half block south of Melrose & Vine). According to eye witnesses  many a BB'er, wrestler and pro boxer's had over night, or weekend, stays there. Her father was a pro boxer and she seemed to like the muscular strong type of male (the father thing I guess) she was heard to say once. She was probably in her late 50's or middle 60's around then.  May be the same time she also had the Vegas show. Pretty active in the sex department. BB'ers would always drop by for a "visit". When I heard this tale I didn't even know who Mae West was. And as Stuntman suggest, they did have to prop her up at time, but not so much because of old age. Maybe because of the inch of makeup and the heavy wigs she wore back than. Very, very rich lady.

Muscle House by the Sea, owned by another rich lady, was know for offering room and board to BB'ers. Don't know if the Stocktons ran it than or not. This guy told be another name. Peanut West, as Stuntman mentioned, use to have a well equipped home style gym/garage (like the kind I usually train at) in Culver City (not far from the beach) where strong men gathered and some serious workouts took place, I had been told.

The movie Athena also had an Mr A winner by the name of Dick Dubois (or something like that) who had a similar body frame and height as Reeves. Just about Reeves equal in a lot of ways. He later became a preacher. A couple of BB'ing vet's told me he was one of the biggest A wipes back than. Maybe religion changed him...yeah right!

Stuntman asked about my Unk's, but they dropped out of the Muscle Beach and any serious training thing long, long ago. Moved down to Oceanside/Carlsbad for a while. Came back to Hollywood for some home security work years later. They each bought a old California stucco style house and remodeled them both themselves.. Nice property value increase now. I'll probably be going to West Hollywood this or next weekend.  Their both near 300lbs, over 6 feet and somewhat trim for being in their early 70's. But still have to turn sideways to get through a normal size door. South Sea island genetics.

The Unk's were the one's who got be doing 20 rep heavy breathing squats. Old time secret they told me. Gained 30lbs for football in 3 month's.
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« Reply #67 on: November 24, 2010, 11:14:41 AM »

Thanks again, JPM.

I have a favor to ask of ya.... Would it be possible for you to shoot some photos of the places  you mentioned if and when you are in that area and it they still exist? In particular - the Rossmore Arms and Muscle House.

Was Muscle House located in the Santa Monica/Muscle Beach area or  further on down the beach in the southern direction? I doubt if it's still standing but a few of those old structure are still facing the sea.

I once saw one of those grocery store, cash-register rags with a story on the front page claiming that Mae West was actually a man in drag, but I never picked it up to read it.

ANd I sort of recall that she and W.C. Fields made some old movies together. I gotta look that one up on IMDB.

Mae West did have a live traveling show that did feature four or five top bodybuilders of that time and a couple of friends of mine did appear with her in one of her last movies, but that was so long ago that it similar to remembering shadows.

I knew Peanuts and his pal, George Frenn, when they were both at the height of their lifting career, but I never did get a chance to see his garage gym which was often talked about back then. I also heard that years later before he passed away, he entered a bodybuilding contest .... but that could have been a funny rumor only.

I never did met Dubois nor did I ever meet anyone who knew him personally, but I did see Athena when it first came out and was surprised that Steve was in such great shape in a couple of scenes in that movie because I had seen him a bit earlier and he looked like an ordinary well shaped athlete. Is that movie available on DVD? I think I used to own the VHS version which is useless now. I see Debbie Reynolds on rare occasions here in LV and it I get a chance to talk to her I'll ask about the making of that film.

I bet your uncles were familiar with Zuver's Gym and Bob who owned the very small Oceanside gym (more like a handball court gym) on the east side of the freeway, and possibly Paul Edney who owned the Gold's Gym there, or possibly even  the very small roadside gym owned by  ------?------- further on down the highway sort of in the racetrack vicinity. Or possibly even Leo Stern and Bill Pearl down in the San Diego area. We used to travel up and down the So Cal coastline collecting trophies for winning pushup and pullup contests that those small beach towns used to promote on busy weekends. And occasional bench press events also.

Those were the days when beach-front parking was never a problem.

I'll see if I can find some old on-line photos of some of these above mentioned places and post them here to show what they old days really looked like.

Thanks again, JPM      PS... As your uncles if they ever attended any of the old Embassy Hotel Auditorium contests in downtown LA and it they know or have ever met Gene Mozee, Arty Zeller or any other of those old timers who began it all in one form or another.
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« Reply #68 on: November 24, 2010, 11:45:31 AM »

CORRECTION:

I recall that in an earlier post on GetBig that someone offered the following statement which is in conflict with the above post ...

I believe the lady who ran the Muscle House By The Sea was Joy Crettaz, not Pudgy Stockton.
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« Reply #69 on: November 24, 2010, 12:33:50 PM »

Thanks again, JPM.

I have a favor to ask of ya.... Would it be possible for you to shoot some photos of the places  you mentioned if and when you are in that area and it they still exist? In particular - the Rossmore Arms and Muscle House.

Was Muscle House located in the Santa Monica/Muscle Beach area or  further on down the beach in the southern direction? I doubt if it's still standing but a few of those old structure are still facing the sea.

I once saw one of those grocery store, cash-register rags with a story on the front page claiming that Mae West was actually a man in drag, but I never picked it up to read it.

ANd I sort of recall that she and W.C. Fields made some old movies together. I gotta look that one up on IMDB.

Mae West did have a live traveling show that did feature four or five top bodybuilders of that time and a couple of friends of mine did appear with her in one of her last movies, but that was so long ago that it similar to remembering shadows.

I knew Peanuts and his pal, George Frenn, when they were both at the height of their lifting career, but I never did get a chance to see his garage gym which was often talked about back then. I also heard that years later before he passed away, he entered a bodybuilding contest .... but that could have been a funny rumor only.

I never did met Dubois nor did I ever meet anyone who knew him personally, but I did see Athena when it first came out and was surprised that Steve was in such great shape in a couple of scenes in that movie because I had seen him a bit earlier and he looked like an ordinary well shaped athlete. Is that movie available on DVD? I think I used to own the VHS version which is useless now. I see Debbie Reynolds on rare occasions here in LV and it I get a chance to talk to her I'll ask about the making of that film.

I bet your uncles were familiar with Zuver's Gym and Bob who owned the very small Oceanside gym (more like a handball court gym) on the east side of the freeway, and possibly Paul Edney who owned the Gold's Gym there, or possibly even  the very small roadside gym owned by  ------?------- further on down the highway sort of in the racetrack vicinity. Or possibly even Leo Stern and Bill Pearl down in the San Diego area. We used to travel up and down the So Cal coastline collecting trophies for winning pushup and pullup contests that those small beach towns used to promote on busy weekends. And occasional bench press events also.

Those were the days when beach-front parking was never a problem.

I'll see if I can find some old on-line photos of some of these above mentioned places and post them here to show what they old days really looked like.

Thanks again, JPM      PS... As your uncles if they ever attended any of the old Embassy Hotel Auditorium contests in downtown LA and it they know or have ever met Gene Mozee, Arty Zeller or any other of those old timers who began it all in one form or another.

stuntman go on youtube.com ric drasin takes you on a tour of the old musclebeach stomping grounds.
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« Reply #70 on: November 24, 2010, 07:58:20 PM »

Very interesting read to say the least. Bob Janis ran the Oceanside Gym and was the area district chairman for the AAU. Ralph Kroger had the seaside gym in Del Mar before opening his gym in El Cajon. Anyone remember Maylon Wiltse-aka Maylon the Magician, had a very informative conversation with him in the early 80's.

Be safe and strong,

Big Pat
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« Reply #71 on: November 24, 2010, 08:11:04 PM »

Big Pat, thanks! I knew Bob Janis very well back then in the 60's but had forgotten his last name. Do you also recall a friend of his with the first name of Roger? Also a great bodybuilder who used to live on one of the boats in the Oceanside Harbor who would most likely be in his 60's now?

And Ralph used to own a gym in Hilo Hawaii before he returned to the mainland. If I'm not mistaken he was very religious.

Did you train at Bob's or were you in Oceanside while Gold's was located there?

I have no idea who the Magician was though.

Thanks for your input. I appreciate the help.
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« Reply #72 on: November 25, 2010, 12:40:38 PM »

Stuntmovie, thank you for all your posts.

Mr. Janis issued my AAU physique card to me in 1977.

I live in the San Diego East county, so I am not that familiar with what went on with gyms in north county.  I do remember that Roger Metz(sp) had the IronMan gym in Oceanside in the late 70'early 80's. Mr. Kroger currently has a gym in Cherokee, Indiana called Victory Gym.

I have mostly trained at college weight rooms and at one time had a small commercial gym. I have had the chance to spend sometime with Leo Stern (RIP), Gene Fisher at Geo. Redpath's old gym in Spring Valley and have been in Bill Golumbick's gym more than a few times. If I had it to do over I would have taken the time to visit and train at all the gyms in San Diego. I remember Earl Clark's in the south bay. Bob Clark ( Iron Co) had a gym, Keith's Health House on the boardwalk in Mission Beach. San Diego is so rich in weight training history, I wish I had taken more advantage of it at that time.  

Be safe and strong,

Big Pat
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« Reply #73 on: November 25, 2010, 06:51:17 PM »

Big Pat, Yep! Roger Metz was the friend of Bob's I was trying to recall. Are you in contact with either of them? Small world that you knew him also.

Back in or about 1961/1962 there was a notable bodybuilder in the San Diego area who had a serious accident with a chain-saw (cutting his thigh pretty seriously). We were attempting to contact him regarding a BB seminar on Camp Pendleton around the time of his accident.

Do you recall his name?

I forget the exact year (early 60's) but I was present at a Police Training Academy powerlifting event the day that Pat Casey got his first official 600 pound bench-press. The location was/is close to the San Diego Zoo because as soon as he got that lift the lions roared and that really impressed the sparse audience.

I never had the opportunity to meet Leo Stern but I consider myself to be a friend of Bill Pearl's and lifted in his Pasadena location many times.

I am familiar with the names of the gyms you mentioned but have never visited them, but back in the early 60's there was a commercial gym in an old beach-house directly facing the Mission Beach main area a block or so north of the roller coaster and whomever owned that place used to promote fitness events on the beach.

A bunch of us Marines would go down there, enter whatever event was going on, and end up taking most of the trophies back to the base.

And I also recall a great beach bar an the side street about a block east of the beach and directly across and north of the amusement park.

Any recollection of that area, that gym, that great beach bar,  and those old Mission Beach fitness events?

AND ..... How about Rick Stephenson's and partners' Gold's Gym a bit north of that area later on?

Old memories! Thanks!
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« Reply #74 on: November 27, 2010, 10:48:19 AM »

Stuntmovie, glad I could fill in the names for you.

I only had two phone conversations with Mr. Janis, never met him in person. The only way I know of Mr. Metz was an article about him and the IronMan gym in Dan Lurie's Muscle Training Illus. in the 80's. MTI also did an article about a seminar that Ty Youngs (Mr. Yorton's NBBA winner) did at the IronMan. I do know that Mr. Metz sold the gym to a guy named C.C. Sanders, who also promoted physique shows in the North County.

I must admit the 60's were at least a decade before my time, but I have had many fine conversations with men who trained here in the San Diego area. I believe the man you are referring to with the leg injuries is Big John McWilliams. I had an older gym member of mine who trained with him at the North Park Health Club in the 60's. He was the club manager and from what I was told trained a lot of the SD Charger football players, including John Kemp. I have heard two, now three stories on how he injured his legs. One is war injuries, two is yours about the chainsaw and three, which Dr. A on IronAge forum states, from an industrial accident. Years ago Mr. George Coates (former IM writer) lent me all the photos that Mr. Stern took of him, he is always wearing long pants. There is one famous image of him that appeared in IM magazine in the late 50's that shows his right arm flexed which looks like a bowling ball . He has been given credit for having the first true 20" arm.

I have to make an appointment this morning but will continue with the Mission Beach question later this evening.
Be safe and strong,
Pat


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