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Author Topic: Bodybuilding From the Start - Almost!  (Read 6247 times)
stuntmovie
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« on: October 14, 2005, 03:47:17 PM »

A couple of the GetBig members have asked me about the "sport" of competitive bodybuilding from the very beginning while a couple of others have asked me not to use so many words (in one case. "more words than I even know").

I'll do my best to satisfy the former request, but I cannot write in  the latter format. Sorry about that.

And you guys who decide to read this stuff have got to realize that it happened a long time ago and I'm depending on a fading memory, so please feel free to correct me if I make some obvious mistakes on the whos, the whys, and the wherefores.

Recalling this stuff could be a lot of fun on my part, so I hope you find it enjoyable too; but please feel free to rant and rave when and if you feel it's necessary. I've faced tougher audiences than you radical bodybuilding fans out there and in tougher climates than my kitchen table in the dam-dest places on this big blue marble, so fire away when you feel the need.

I learned to duck when shit goes flying overhead while others didn't and lay there dead! (Old saying. Sorry.)

OK, so here goes Bodybuilding History 101-B. (Someone else has got to do 101-A. I just ain't old enough.)

So here it is from MY beginning .....  101 - B

1940's - 19540's ..........  Steve Reeves and the Russian River

I first got "involved" with bodybuilding in the mid 1940's when I first met Steve Reeves at some lake in the Oakland Hills (Lake Tamescal?). He was 13 years older than myself, so I must have been around 5 or 6. I was sitting on the shore with my legs in the water (probably eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich) when this "big guy" comes walking out of the water and pats me on the head saying, "Hi, Kid" and keeps on walking up to the parking area to join his friends.

Later on that afternoon, my dad told me,  "That was Steve Reeves. He lifts lots of weights."

So Steve Reeves was the first  "weight lifter" I ever met and I had no idea what bodybuilding even was. The word "bodybuilder" wasn't used too much back then, but "weight lifter" was the prevalent terminology. (Physical Culture was pervalent too.)

A couple of years later my dad and I met Steve once again while waiting for the "train' that used to run from San Francisco to Oakland on the lower level of the Bay Bridge. Steve was waiting for his ride in the other direction with a friend of his, so we didnít have much to say except, "Hey! How ya do'en?".

During the summer months we'd hang out at our summer shack on the Russian River which is about 72 miles north of the Bay Area. It was a great place back then among these giant Redwood trees and a fairly decent river that attracted families from Oakland, San Francisco and the Peninsula. Thousands of kids from all over the Bay Area would congregate there every summer weekend.

Steve and a couple of his friends would come up to the river and soak up the sun on Rio Nido Beach and mingle with all the other "youngsters" outside the dancehall in the center of the resort. Got in a fight there one night but I wasn't present to witness it , but the next day all the kids were talking about it. Seem like he got punched by someone who "thought he was to damn muscular" and ran off.

I recall reading one of the Oakland newspapers at this time that did a human interest story on Steve by interviewing his mom. She told the reporter that Steve never had a cold or a cavity and had a good heart and all the other stuff that proud moms tell newspaper reporters.

Steve set a good example for kids back then and a lot of us bought or made barbells so we could be just like him, but there were no decent gyms to join when I was that young (or I was just too young to join those few that did exist).

But it was evident that more kids were lifting weights when they showed up on the beach the following summer and Steve was the major influence on each of us.

The first bodybuilding magazine that drew my interest had Steve's picture on the cover. It was shot by Arti Zeller who I would also be calling a friend many years in the future. Arti shot a whole series of a Reeves' photos at Stenson Beach on the Pacific Coast roughly 30 miles north of San Francisco. (Anyone recall the date of that photo session?)

Those photos were a major contribution to Reeves' success and the success of Arti too. My favorite shot taken at that photo session was the silhouette shot of Steve doing a double bicep at the ocean's edge.  Maybe someone can post it here.

So Steve started getting lots of publicity in the "bodybuilding magazines".

And I use the term "bodybuilding magazines" somewhat loosely .........

(to be continued - Those Questionable Bodybuilding Magazines ....... )


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stuntmovie
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2005, 07:30:16 PM »

You ever approach a magazine rack and feel a bit sleazy reaching for a particular publication?
 
If you ever had that feeling, then you have a good idea of what it felt like when you pulled one of the early bodybuilding magazines off that rack to look at it.

Those magazines were definitely not something you would want to purchase and "take home to mother". I always felt that you would have to show your ID at the counter if you wanted to make a purchase.
 
They were usually sold at downtown magazine racks opposite bus terminals and cable car turnabouts and were placed high up on the rack so young people under six feet in height could not reach them.
 
If the original Weider organization had a hand in publishing them, they wouldn't admit it today.
 
I need help here in naming these early publications but I do recall two in particular.

Young Physique and Demi-Gods....... These were probably two of the least offensive back in those more pristine times.
 
A very young Frank Zane appeared on the cover of one of those magazines and we had a humorous talk about that so many years later.

But I got to admit that there were also some legit bodybuilding magazines published years earlier.

I somehow gained access to a whole series of real old Physical Culture magazines (era around 1920's) that spent a lot of time promoting the benefits of electricity and hot water on muscle gains and a lot of other snake oil salesmen stuff somewhat similar to the supplement claims we see today.

Jeff Everson has those magazines now and I hope to get my hands back on them and show how very little and how very much things have changed today.

Let it suffice to say that most early bodybuilding publications would be offensive to many even by today's standards, but in my opinion they represented the cradle of civilization for the present slew of bodybuilding periodicals currently offered to the bodybuilding masses.
 
(To be continued) ........ Meanwhile Down in Santa Monica.
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JPM
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2005, 08:57:15 PM »

I believe that when Reeves won  the Mr.America '47 title he was challenged very strongly by a BB'er by the name of Eric Petersen (or a name close to that) and that Reeves won by a 1/2 a point. I've seen old pictures of Petersen(?) and he looked to be on par with Reeves (Reeves changed the spelling from his original last name..he said for the movies but some say for the number value of the letters). Another top BB'er about that time was a guy from Oakland (I believe) by the name of Jack Dillinger, some what on the short side but massive. And of course Grimek, in my view,who looked thick, muscular & powerful from any angle. Ever come across any of these gentlemen?
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619Rules
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2005, 09:40:39 PM »

I believe that when Reeves won  the Mr.America '47 title he was challenged very strongly by a BB'er by the name of Eric Petersen (or a name close to that) and that Reeves won by a 1/2 a point. I've seen old pictures of Petersen(?) and he looked to be on par with Reeves (Reeves changed the spelling from his original last name..he said for the movies but some say for the number value of the letters). Another top BB'er about that time was a guy from Oakland (I believe) by the name of Jack Dillinger, some what on the short side but massive. And of course Grimek, in my view,who looked thick, muscular & powerful from any angle. Ever come across any of these gentlemen?

Reeves trained at Ed Yarricks gym in Oakland. I would bet that Dillinger did too. Jack Dillinger ran an exercise equipment store in Oakland until he died. I was there in the early 80's.

Other guys from Oakland were JackLalanne and Norman Marks. Marks had one of the very first 10,000 sq/ft gyms when he moved into the facility he is currentlyl at in 1982. Nice gym but no parking. 

Winn Paris had gyms in the are also-in fact he had a chain that sold out to Family Fitness (of Nor Cal-seperate from So Cal FF), which sold hundreds/thousands of "lifetime" memberships and then folded. That was 1984-and after that the Cal. legislature then changed the gym business where you coud not sell lifetime memberships-and they also gave the right to cancel a membership within 3 days of purchase- if you wanted to (I did this once).
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619Rules
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2005, 04:03:34 PM »

More GOOGLED insight from our own OLD SCHOOL GURU

Thanks, pops.
Hey Double XL why you using this fag handle again?
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knny187
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2005, 04:26:33 PM »

More GOOGLED insight from our own OLD SCHOOL GURU

Thanks, pops.

beefcurtain


homo

 Grin
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funk51
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2013, 10:35:49 AM »

topic resurected. Grin


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a_ahmed
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2013, 08:16:03 PM »

^omg is that for real, i thought it was a joke lmao.. that's terrible haha
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funk51
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2013, 08:45:30 AM »

^omg is that for real, i thought it was a joke lmao.. that's terrible haha
lurie and weider were actually friends at one time.


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