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Author Topic: Muscle Beach History - by Stuntmovie  (Read 50384 times)
Powerlift66
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« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2013, 05:58:31 AM »

May I suggest this thread be pinned, please?

Joe, I agree, this is gonna be a good one!

~Dave
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« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2013, 12:30:34 PM »

JOE, Remind me to email you in a week or two.

VINCE, Sorry but I never did see that shot of Strohl.

SIDE NOTES:  Here is a bit of info I should have added earlier which JOE might be able to elaborate on.

Back in the very late 50's and the 60's when bodybuilding contests in the LA region were only held in three facilities that I am familiar with .... Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, the outdoor theater on Venice Beach, an the Embassy Auditorium in Downtown LA.

And since bodybuilding and competitive bodybuilding were almost non-existent within the MINDS of roughly 99.9% of the US population .... and considered pretty damn foolish by the majority of that remaining .1% ...... there were actually very few real bodybuilders in the SoCal area.

Few enough bodybuilders that any bodybuilding contest that was held in the region only drew 8 - 12 competitors .... and 5 or more of those competitors shouldn't have been up theire in the first place.

HELL! I think that Bill "Peanuts" West even competed in one such event. (For you who don't know of whom I speak, Google "Bill Peanuts West". And while you're at it, Google "George Frenn" also.)

I'm too lazy to do that right now but they were the two leading individuals within the Odd-Lifting world back then.... and total characters and loyal supporters of all things that involved the lifting of heavy things and replacing them in proper places.)

Bodybuilding Competitor who usually showed up in the early 60's.

Reg and Sheiri Lewis ....  Reg was a great bodybuilder and his wife was a real beauty back then.
 
Ed Holovchik ... Edd was tall and good looking so he appeared in 38 Hollywood and foreign movie and TV shows.

I'll have to call Gene Mozee and recall the names of at least 6 others. Gene MC'd a lot of these events and still stays in contact with many of those who are still among the living.

(Just called Gene, but there was no answer. He must know it's me! Time to call Everson who has a better memory even though he was still a twinkle in his father's eye!)

One last bit of info before I continue with the 'history lesson' if and when my memory allows.

There was a guy whose name I have long forgotten whose year-round diet consisted of nothing but tuna and honey and water. (Actually ... it could have been less than year-round.)

He would scoop a can of tuna into a nylon stocking and squeeze it till the tuna was completely void of oil. (Tuna was not packed in water back then.)

The result would be tuna with the consistency of dried sawdust.

I've never seen anyone as ripped as that individual and he won every beach event he entered and the "tuna in the nylon sock" type of diet became popular as a contest prep.

The smell of tuna was a common 'fraquance" (odor) at ever bodybuilding event in southern California for a good long while........

...... and the above is probably of primary interest to Johnny F.

PS.. SORRY FOR THE SPELLING ERRORS.
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« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2013, 12:47:30 PM »

added a pic of ed h aka ed fury , if you don't mind.


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« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2013, 12:55:32 PM »

Stuntmovie, creepy schmoeism with class
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« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2013, 01:07:01 PM »

ARMY, I don't know if I should thank ya or punch ya. What branch of the service are you in?

FUNK, Thanks.
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« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2013, 01:15:20 PM »

reg lewis


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« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2013, 04:07:55 PM »

Found a similar Strohl kneeling lat shot.


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« Reply #32 on: June 03, 2013, 04:29:26 PM »

I have a question, is Muscle Beach where they have the fenced in gym?  How does that work?  Do you have to purchase a membership or is it like a public park?  How do they keep people from vandalizing it/stealing the equipment and plates?  Huh
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« Reply #33 on: June 03, 2013, 11:33:05 PM »

reg lewis
man. U know your fucked up wen there r two good looking women on that cover but u just can't stop looking at that guys build. Sorry to say never heard Reg but what a classic build. Great thread.
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« Reply #34 on: June 03, 2013, 11:34:15 PM »

I have a question, is Muscle Beach where they have the fenced in gym?  How does that work?  Do you have to purchase a membership or is it like a public park?  How do they keep people from vandalizing it/stealing the equipment and plates?  Huh
currently yes there is a membership fee. If I recall there is an area that can lock the weights up but I'm not sure about that.
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« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2013, 11:14:05 AM »

 Wink


* muscle b 50's.jpg (35.96 KB, 550x404 - viewed 1158 times.)

* muscle bitedchh.jpg (67.81 KB, 600x751 - viewed 1179 times.)

* muscle_beach_makeover_f.jpg (127.32 KB, 800x600 - viewed 1173 times.)
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« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2013, 01:55:21 PM »

This will be how I remember that 2 mile stretch of beach that started at the Santa Monica Pier (Original Muscle Beach area) and ran south to what I think was the Venice Beach Pier and is presently simply Venice Beach which houses the PIT we now know as the present Muscle Beach.

Will include pictures that I have taken over the years as well as some taken off the internet.

Please share G4P stories too.
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« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2013, 02:56:38 PM »

Joe, I agree, this is gonna be a good one!

~Dave
x3 pin this please, mods.
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« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2013, 09:11:07 PM »

  Great thread Stunt ......I look forward to all you have to share here with us ......I recall call you remember guys that were around during the early that were better than Reeves and just as Handsome ......Reeves is one of my all time favorites ......Did any of those guys ever compete ? Or do recall their dimensions?  ....Who were the hardest training ? And the strongest back then ? [ Can you give some examples ]  Thanks again ......keep this thing going ...
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« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2013, 09:43:06 PM »

i wouldnt mind visiting there someday
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« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2013, 11:34:44 PM »


Love these historical stories from Venice Beach!   Thanks.

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« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2013, 04:12:58 PM »

bumped for next installment.


* Muscle_Beach_1.jpg (295.79 KB, 1221x1500 - viewed 1041 times.)
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« Reply #42 on: June 05, 2013, 06:15:01 PM »

ALL you GetBiggers who are posting these old time photos .... Thanks! It saves me a lot of time in an attempt to make this more interesting.

Here is the question I have for anyone who may be knowledgeable and not simply "guess-able" or "rumor-able" which I highly think do not exist.

"WHAT WAS THE EXACT REASON WHY THE CITY OF SANTA MONICA CLOSED DOWN THE WEIGHT PIT AT MUSCLE BEACH?"

I have heard a few rumors that would make Hurricane Beef perk up his ears, but  maybe he can enlighten us with the facts.

One such rumor was the talk of sexual shenanigans beneath the pier between one of the bodybuilders and a young lady which could be factual because if I recall it correctly, it was only the wt lifters who were affected.

I say "weight lifters" because no other group of Muscle Beach participants were effected by the closing of the PIT and the gymnasts and circus type folks continued to do their thing every weekend in front of a very large crowd of beach-goers.

And I gotta end this post to tell you all that the vast majority people who used the pit to lift those rusty weights were not bodybuilders. A good number of them were simply guys who wanted to see how strong they were or to show off in front of their friends, etc.  

But it was the relatively, very few actaul bodybuilders who got the recognition and believe me when I say THERE WERE VERY FEW.

Most of the folks you see in those old Muscle Beach photos were hand balancing performers, contortionists, acrobats, and circus folks. And even some side show freaks.

One weekly visitor could squeeze himself into a box no bigger than an Army footlocker and there were more than one performer who had rubber bones. And one real old timer who had an amazing muscle-control routine.

How it got the name Muscle Beach is still a mystery to me.



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« Reply #43 on: June 05, 2013, 06:27:18 PM »

This is a great shot of what appears to be the old Santa Monica Muscle Beach weight pit.

I'm not sure if it was called a 'pit' back then but this photo will give you a damn good idea of where on the beach it was located if you are somewhat familiar with that part of Santa Monica.

The pointed roof in the background appears to be the Merry GO Round building and now there is a Life Guard Headquarters complex that stand two floors tall between the PIT and the Pier on which the Merry GO Round sits.

One interesting bit of information for our GetBig historians is that some of the old Muscle Beach photos will show some old beachfront homes in the background.

They are not there any longer but we had the opportunity to buy one of these old beach homes in the early 70's for something like $34,000 but failed to do so. E

Today ven that vacant parcel of land would be worth millions.

Next up or soon to follow .... How we met Steve Reeves and a bit of history about that subject.

Steve has or did have a relative on this Board. Maybe she'll pitch in and help me with the dates.


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« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2013, 07:08:34 PM »

NOTE; IF YOU HAVE SHORT ATTENTION SPAN OR GET BORED EASILY … DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING……..

This one goes back to the very beginning of my memory bank so you gotta excuse me if you think I’m lieing.

I won’t bE lieing but I might be forgetting how it all exactly happened.

My dad was born and raised across the Bay from San Francisco on some country land a few miles east of Oakland.

My dad was a tree cutter when he was a kid (yea a lumber-jack but only when school allowed, and Yea, he cut down redwood trees which he came to regret later on in his lifetime.)

He knew Steve and he also knew George Eifferman and a couple of the other weight lifting pioneers back in them good old days.

So when I was real young we somehow all got together at a lake in the Oakland Hills for a picnic or some other friendly gathering.

That’s when I met Steve and that’s when he said, “Get big, kid!”. I was so young that I was sitting at the water’s edge with a shovel and a bucket. (Wild guess here but he must have been 18, 19, or 20).

A few years later we spent the summer months in a poplar spot called RIO NIDO on the Russian River. Out cabin was on the river and we knew just about everyone in Rio Nido,

But on the weekends it seemed that the whole of Northern California would arrive in Rio Nido for fun, dancing,  romance and a lot of hard core drinking.

I was the kid that was always there so eveeybody sort of knew me as 'the kid who's always here!'

I had a great tan!

So one weekend evening Reeves and his power-lifting buddy showed up to have a good time and some friends came by the cabin to tell me that there was a big fignt going on and Reeves was involved.

The ‘fight’ must have lasted all of 12 seconds because by the time I got there the participants were long gone but everyone was talking about how Reeves got sucker punched by some obnoxious asshole and so did his friend by another obnoxious asshole . (Their words, not mine.)

I put two and two together and figured it was a coordinated sucker punch due to some form of jealousy because Steve was not the type of guy who went looking for trouble.

Reeves was sort of a popular teenager because of the publicity he got in one of the Oakland newspapers when his mother gave an interview about her son and the fact that he never had a cold nor a cavity and his class-mates always did a lot of bragging about knowing him and what a good guy he was.

The next time I saw Reeves was while I was doing some heavy bench-presses at a small gym called American Health Studio in the downtown area of San Francisco before heading off to work in the SF Post office as a nixie picker. (That's the guy who goes around picking up all the mail that was sorted incorrectly. A monkey could do it if he could count to 10.)

My math was good so I got that job.

I finished a heavy set and looked up and there he was with a kind of congratulatory nod. After my final set, I looked up and he was gone.

Then many years later I called him and invited him to be our Special Guest at a show we were promoting.

He agreed and did show up and spend a week meeting people he had never met before.

I gotta admit that that was a memorial get together because a few short years later he would pass away.

We discussed many things ,,,, the present ‘condition’ of the bodybuilding world as he saw it, the use of roids which he felt was ruining it, and a lot about his movie career. We even had to take a break at a  function that was showing his first Hercules film so he could sit down for a few minutes and watch it. But once the credits rolled he got up and shook hands with everyone in the room.

There’s much more to this because I have neglected Eifferman and a couple of other of Steve Reeves’ friends, and passing bys on numerous occasions,  but they were all great and colorful characters and I’m glad that I had the chance to know them a little bit while they were all here on Planet Earth.

So that’s the facts with no exaggeration.

I hope it didn’t bore no one to death.
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« Reply #45 on: June 05, 2013, 08:38:53 PM »

Excellent memory and good stories.

Ever meet Malcolm Brenner (name wrong?) who was top level during the 50's, around Muscle Beach. Rumor Isaac Berger(Olympic lifter) had something to do with that underage girl thing, back then. The city padlocked the equipment after that.

The old Embassy Aud (Grand Blvd?) held the Mr. LA, Mr.SoCal and Mr. California, usually every year for quite a while. The BB'ing shows were held after the Olympic lifting matches were all done with.  BB'ing was more like a side show back then. Considered all freaks. Culver City Aud, held a few shows later on.

George Eiferman had a gym, on Cahuenga, in Hollywood.  Sorry to say, it soon went belly up.  Redpath and Marcy had fairly successful gyms and equipment businesses. The Connors (name wrong?....on little Santa Monica Blvd) gym had quite a few athletes working out there (UCLA, etc). Bert Goodrich (Hollywood Blvd, second floor) had show business/movie people (actors, etc) working out there. This all during the 50's and early 60's.

From what I have read, and stories from men who had first hand experiences back in the day, things seemed so much simpler back than..more friendly in BB'ing.

Thanks again for all the stories...love any kind of history.
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« Reply #46 on: June 05, 2013, 08:40:18 PM »

This is a great shot of what appears to be the old Santa Monica Muscle Beach weight pit.

I'm not sure if it was called a 'pit' back then but this photo will give you a damn good idea of where on the beach it was located if you are somewhat familiar with that part of Santa Monica.

The pointed roof in the background appears to be the Merry GO Round building and now there is a Life Guard Headquarters complex that stand two floors tall between the PIT and the Pier on which the Merry GO Round sits.

One interesting bit of information for our GetBig historians is that some of the old Muscle Beach photos will show some old beachfront homes in the background.

They are not there any longer but we had the opportunity to buy one of these old beach homes in the early 70's for something like $34,000 but failed to do so. E

Today ven that vacant parcel of land would be worth millions.

Next up or soon to follow .... How we met Steve Reeves and a bit of history about that subject.

Steve has or did have a relative on this Board. Maybe she'll pitch in and help me with the dates.

I know some bb drugs were around in the 1950's, but is it safe to assume those guys in the photo are natty? Huh
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« Reply #47 on: June 05, 2013, 11:46:07 PM »

JPM !! WOW!!! You have mentoned individuals I've lomg forgotten and I hope  to respond in a later post.

TIMES WERE SO MUCH SIMPLER THEN is definately  an understatement which I hope to address shortly.

Were you at any of those Embassy events when GENE MOZEE served as MC?

Or were you there when Corvello won the CAL title or when some guy was pulled off stage by a  big hook for being  really bad  and ignoring the rotten tomatoes? Or when Jerry Daniels wlon the A

I have a feeling that our paths could have possibly crossd.
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« Reply #48 on: June 05, 2013, 11:56:32 PM »

PIP, I'll be responding to your "were they natty" question shortly and I think I'll make a few decent enemies in the process.

Remind me if I fuck up and forget.
 
And remind me to address your ' better than Reeves back then' question also.
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« Reply #49 on: June 06, 2013, 12:02:18 AM »

PIP, I'll be responding to your "were they natty" question shortly and I think I'll make a few decent enemies in the process.

Remind me if I fuck up and forget.

Cool, that's something I've wondered about.  I look forward to it!

I have a photo of my grandfather in Korea (during the war) with some guys that are more jacked than anyone at my gym.  It's something I've also wondered about.
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