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Author Topic: Muscle Beach History - by Stuntmovie  (Read 67256 times)
funk51
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« Reply #200 on: June 15, 2013, 04:09:35 PM »

 Smiley


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Joe Roark
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« Reply #201 on: June 15, 2013, 04:11:44 PM »

JOE! Lots of interesting reading there. How do we read some of those articles?


Stunt- unless you have access to those mags, I do not know. Perhaps they are online, but I do not know. Years ago I made lists of every article in every magazine I had, totaling tens of thousands of articles in the index. As I recall Bob Hoffman wrote (or was credited with) about 1,400 articles!
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« Reply #202 on: June 15, 2013, 05:01:51 PM »


Stunt- unless you have access to those mags, I do not know. Perhaps they are online, but I do not know. Years ago I made lists of every article in every magazine I had, totaling tens of thousands of articles in the index. As I recall Bob Hoffman wrote (or was credited with) about 1,400 articles!
Joe any Chance you can put some here? Reg Park .... Grin
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« Reply #203 on: June 16, 2013, 08:48:20 AM »

Joe any Chance you can put some here? Reg Park .... Grin
tim fogarty's musclememory.com has some articles archived along with other bbing info, i have most of the mags mentioned but it's too tedious and time consuming to sort and scan them all, on top of that my new computer doesn't save pics in the jpeg and qif foremats only in bmp which isn't compatible with this site.


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« Reply #204 on: June 16, 2013, 08:51:16 AM »

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« Reply #205 on: June 16, 2013, 08:52:34 AM »

now let's get vack to muscle beach... Grin


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« Reply #206 on: June 16, 2013, 10:13:02 AM »

FUNK, It's interesting to see that you have most of the magazines that Joe mentioned. Would it be possible for you to find the articles in a couple of those magazines pertaining to the formation of the NPC?

And the articles regarding the NPC / AAU lawsuit and any the rulings issued by the court as a result?

To the best of my recollection the rulings were definitely in favor of the NPC with one EXCEPTION.

That EXCEPTION  was that the NPC could not ..... or could no longer ..... use the "MR. AMERICA"  title in any future contest sanctioned by the NPC.

I don't recall if the IFBB was a party in that lawsuit, but the IFBB and the NPC no longer used the 'MR.' or 'Miss" or 'Ms." title in any event.

Those title designations were for the private use of the AAU, but I don't recall how many years after that court decision was made ... that the AAU  continued to sanction bodybuilding contests.

It would be interesting to read any article regarding the above.

Thanks, Funk.
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« Reply #207 on: June 16, 2013, 10:28:49 AM »

I just noticed that I wrote a lot of this 'stuff' back in 1965 and FUNK was kind enough to "kick it back up". (I don't know the right words for that but, Thanks again, FUNK!)

I'm gonna do the old copy and paste trick and see if my memory banks are still in some form of working order or it I have been 'lying' a bit or not.) (Lieing?)

So if you've read it before, don't bother reading it again unless you want to take the written TEST I'll be offering one and all once this subject is exhausted.
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« Reply #208 on: June 16, 2013, 11:50:48 AM »

FUNK, It's interesting to see that you have most of the magazines that Joe mentioned. Would it be possible for you to find the articles in a couple of those magazines pertaining to the formation of the NPC?

And the articles regarding the NPC / AAU lawsuit and any the rulings issued by the court as a result?

To the best of my recollection the rulings were definitely in favor of the NPC with one EXCEPTION.

That EXCEPTION  was that the NPC could not ..... or could no longer ..... use the "MR. AMERICA"  title in any future contest sanctioned by the NPC.

I don't recall if the IFBB was a party in that lawsuit, but the IFBB and the NPC no longer used the 'MR.' or 'Miss" or 'Ms." title in any event.

Those title designations were for the private use of the AAU, but I don't recall how many years after that court decision was made ... that the AAU  continued to sanction bodybuilding contests.

It would be interesting to read any article regarding the above.

Thanks, Funk.
i'll have to look ,unfortunately most of my weider mags of that period are stashed in a crawl space i mostly have ironman's , hoffman mags  m/digest, mti and odd ball stuff down due to space constraints. it might take awhile.i do know that the aau won the right to use the mr.america title soley by themselves.they folded in 1999 as far as bodybuilding. i remember lurie got around this by calling his contest mr americus or something like that.in the mean time those interested can check the aau mr america thread in the history section.it spans from 1939-1999. in acuallity mr america title was used in 1940 first year it was best built man in america i think.
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« Reply #209 on: June 16, 2013, 12:01:03 PM »

a side note those interested in purchasing bill starr's book the strongest shall surrive can do so from roquefitness for 24.95. starr's system seems similar to reg park's 5x5 workouts.
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« Reply #210 on: June 16, 2013, 05:59:55 PM »

My intent here is to offer my insite on the history of the 'Sport' of bodybuilding and its relationship with the AAU and the NPC and the IFBB as I personally witnessed it.

But in order to do that I have to set the stage and start at a time way before I knew anything about the AAU or the NPC or the IFBB or competitive bodybuilding.

Bear with me. It could be ed-u-ma-ka-tion-al. And please feel free to offer your comments if you have a "second opinion".

My real involvement with the 'sport' of bodybuilding goes back to the early 1950's.

Earlier than that I had a few occasions to meet Steve Reeves and a few other prominent local bodybuilders in the San Francisco Bay Area, but it wasn't until the mid 50's that I realized that some of the 'weightlifters' were competing once or twice a year in a couple of bodybuilding contests held at local Y's or community centers in the Bay Area.

A San Francisco police officer by the name of Bill Stathis was lifting a lot of weight at the Golden Gate YMCA and promoted a small bodybuilding contest that was apparently sanctioned by the AAU.

This event was held n the Golden Gate YMCA 'theater" (downtown San Francisco) and it would  usually draw about 6 to 10 competitors mostly from the city and Oakland across the Bay.

Like today the prejudging was held in the early afternoon and the finals in the evening with maybe about 50 to 100 in the audiance.

The winners got trophies just like the amateurs do today, but I don't recall if the event or the winners received any type of publicity whatsoever.

The only 'real" bodybuilder in the area who received any publicity was a young kid by the name of Reeves and that was only because one of the newspapers interviewed his mother and the most impressive part of that interview was that "her son never had a cold or a cavity and he learned to ride horses on some ranch in Oregon".

Back then the term 'weightlifter' was more prominent than the term 'bodybuilder' and any coach who was worth a pound of  beans was convinced that lifting weights would only make you 'musclebound' and unable to excel in athletic endeavors. And those coaches were very outspoken in proclaiming that 'unquestionable fact'.

Back then the gyms were local YMCA's with some rusted plates and bars stacked haphazardly in the corner over by some cotton stuffed canvas mat. You could usually find a medicine ball and some rope assisted wall pullys and a vibrating belt that supposedly shook the fat off of your mid section.

And if those old reliable bowling alley 'pins' weren't available, someone was sure to complain. I never did find out what I was supposed to do with those things.

In many cases that was the extent of the bodybuilding gear unless the Y was advanced enough to include a couple of York Barbells and a couple of benches which was where most members sat an talked about last night’s activities.

A mile or so away Walt Baptiste and his beautiful wife were doing a decent business in their Yoga/Gym off Van Ness avenue, but Yoga was pretty strange back then so no serious lifter paid too much attention.

And some downtown, 5th floor gym owner by the name of Jack Lalanne was getting a lot of notice for doing crazy 'strongman' stunts such as swimming across the Bay handcuffed while pulling a boatload of very fat people.

And he had his own daily TV show showing old folks how to do jumping jacks and sit ups and he talked a lot and had a white German Shepard that made a daily appearance.

And another weightlifter had a Saturday afternoon show for kids and other less than mental-giants. He was in the process of lifting (squatting) a calf each weekend until it grew into a full size cow (or was it a bull?) … until that calf decided to shit all over him and the whole damn TV studio.

The TV crew went hysterical and filmed the whole damn thing with a shaking camera and that show ended that very same week for some unexplained reason, but it wasn't due to lack of laughter.

That particular show was discussed in school-yards daily until the summer offered an escape from the fog that covered the city of good old San Francisco,

I forget who or what started it all (most likely Vic Tanny and associates), but towards the late 50's gyms started opening with chrome plated weights and barbells in an effort to be more appealing to the general public.

Somehow Jack Lalanne went big time (was it due to Win Paris? Yea, most likely!) and opened up a fancy chrome plated place in the Los Angeles area. Possibly in the San Francisco Bay Area also but I don’t recall ever seeing up North of LA.

Then American Health Studios followed suit with fancy gear in an old, abandoned basement on Golden Gate Avenue half a block from Market Street and shortly after … a second gym in the West Portal neighborhood of the city.

Both soon folded with a brief notice on the door ..... Out of Business!

That was the start of the gym business in the SF Bay Area, except for a gym in Oakland where Steve Reeves trained (Ed Yarick's Gym) which I never saw back then, so I'll let someone else tell you that part of the story.

At this time, I would guess there were really less than a dozen guys in the Bay Area who called themselves "Bodybuilders" - (Names I can recall but really can't remember too much in detail - Curt Freeman, Mel Knoll, Dave Heilbron, Bill Stathis, Curt Freeman, Dr. Lloyd Latch, and Reeves of course.

If you wanted to really get involved with serious bodybuilding, you had to travel 400 miles south to Muscle Beach.

And I traveled south many times.

I wanted to get a job in the movie studios.

________________________ ________________________ ____

Back in them days (50's/60's) it was somewhat simple to categorize bodybuilding within various areas of the United States.

The East Coast had the Weider brothers and their various publications (some of which you wouldn't take home to mother) who were in direct opposition with Dan Laurie who published a magazine relating to the bodybuilding world in those early days…. The name of which I have forgotten.

Florida had a lot of decent beaches but not much in the way of bodybuilders or BB activity that I'm aware of back then. But that would change veery soon.

Then there was Bob Hoffman and his York Barbell Company in Pennsylvania with numerous warehouses stuffed with various iron equipment that was offered for sale in his own weightlifting publication.

A few wild stories here but I have to leave them up to the individuals who actually participated.

Then there was Perry and Mabel Raider who published a respectable magazine called Iron Man which catered to all the "lifting sports". They were great folks to meet and talk with.

My recollection is that they were real down to earth, basic country folk who had a genuine interest in the sport and the parties involved within the ‘sport’.
 
Jump to the West Coast and you found Muscle Beach in Santa Monica and the well equipped Joe Gold's.

Muscle Beach was a major tourist attraction where the "circus folks", gymnasts, and bodybuilders would hold court and take center stage. The small fenced in weight area was about 600 square feet of rusted metal and bent bars and worn out wooden benches, but it did offer a place to train in the sun even those you sometimes ha to bring your own equipment.

Joe Gold's place was down the road a bit on Pacific Avenue. You parked on the street and entered right off the sidewalk.

Joe was usually in the back someplace welding some new piece of equipment  together and most of the guys training seriously were either football players from USC or UCLA or stunt guys in the movies or on TV.

I kind of recall that the membership back then was about $30 a year but it could have been ten dollars more or close to $10 less.

And then there was The Dungeon in a basement of one of the Santa Monica high rise structures.

The Dungeon was dark and dingy and not well known but kind of like the Mecca of the game way back then.

You had to be pretty serious to train there and I never saw anyone who looked like they ran the place.

Out in the valley on Ventura Bl was Vince Gironda's Gym. Nothing exceptional at all put a lot of stars trained there under the direction of Vince and so did Larry Scott except in those days squatted elsewhere because Vince was an avid believer that heavy squats gave produced a heavy waist..

Rheo H. Blair supposedly had the best protein on the market as there wasn't really much protein on the market at all.

So Blair's was considered to be the best available on the West Coast. You could buy Weider's productsf through the magazine but that was considered to be a waste of three dollars and fifty cents.s

Bell Foundary was out in the Watts area casting cheap metal barbell plates that usually ended up 10% lighter or 10% heavier than inscribed, so you usually had to do a good  balancing act while doing overhead presses or heavy squats.

And all the areas at Camp Pendleton had simple lifting areas that were seldom used.

Meanwhile down in San Diego, Leo Stern had a decent place in the downtown area off the main street up a narrow flight of stairs to the second floor. Nothing elaborate  by any means but it was well equipped for those days and Bill Pearl's name was frequently mentioned in connection with the place …. and that gave it some added prestige.

I don't recall the year that Bill opened his Pasadena gym but that's got to be mentioned here. Bill's was well run and well equipped with a mixed bag of members consisting of college athletes and businessmen within the area. And Bill’s wife, Judy, did a fine job helping the ladies during certain hours on certain days.

And I can't overlook Ralph Kroger's small little gym right along the side of  highway 101 between Oceanside and San Diego down there by the race track. If I recall this correctly, the beach was right outside his back door and Hwy 101 was less than 20 feet from his front entrance. It looked like an ocean breeze from the Pacific could have blown it over.

Ralph eventually closed up that place and started another gym in the Hilo area on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Bob Janus had a real small gym and handball court in Oceanside but nothing much brag about other than Bob himself was a darn nice guy.

Further north towards San Francisco there was the Moonlight Health Studio by or within San Jose which was the training center for John Corvello and a couple of other California contenders.

Most of the contests that I frequented were held at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica and then later on at the enclosed outdoor stage arena at Venice Beach which is no longer there. Once that place was torn down the contests were held right in the vicinity of the Venice Beach Weightlifing Pit.

The well worn Embassy Hotel Auditorium in the worst part of downtown Los Angeles was the home to many of the better contests of the period - such as the prestigious Cal and the LA and the AAU Nationals and Mr America on one particular occasion.

Gene Mozee would always arrive with what would appear to be a major Hollywood starlete at his side and Don Howorth always showed up with shoulders bursting out of his cardigan sweater and always takeing a seat up front on the left side of the auditorium.

Mac Bachelor would arrive sometime during the proceedings and take a seat in the back away from the eyes of his many fans.

In those days, if anyone appeared on stage in less than contest shape, the audience would yell and scream in protest and on a few occasions some object would arrive on stage hurled by a fan who felt that that guy had no right to be up there.

It was always a tough, rough crowd who spent hours in the gym each week and expected the best of anyone who entered a contest.

 Any less and they voiced a unanimous voice of discontent.

Most of today's guest posers wouldn't last more than 20 seconds on the podium back in them days.

Believe it or not but at one contest they had a big hook back stage to  pull dubious entertainers off stage center, and it was used more than once that evening on dubious bodybuilders.

As the sport gradually grew and became somewhat acceptable, it moved to places such as the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, but that's the subject for another posting.

Back in those days, the AAU ran bodybuilding and often used it to supplement the sport of Olympic Lifting which was somewhat like watching white paint dry on a sun-lit wall without a pair of Poloroids.

On this one particular occasion, Bob Hoffman and the York crew were running the AAU National Olympic Lifting Championships and Mr. America Contest at the Embassy Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles.

I recall the weigh-ins being held at the YMCA a couple of blocks away about 10 in the morning and the lifring starting on the Embassy stage around noon.

By 2:15 the NEXT MORNING, they were leisurely clearing off the stage of weights, sweat, blood and bananna peels to start the Bodybuilding Championships.

And it was the AAU National Bodybuilding Championships - the somewhat prestigious Mr America.

The faithful bodybuilding fans who waited were mostly family members with kids sleeping in the aisles under the watchful but bloodshot eyes of various family members who stuck it out to see "their boy" win the championships and go home with a ten dollar silver trophy.

Between 3 and 4 AM the decision was made and the awards presented but the majority of the audience were too damn sleepy to know who won it or ….  even give a damn.

It was evident to one and all that the AAU was useing the bodybuilders to keep the asses in those seats for the lifters so a sort of rebellion was born which would soon change the sport forever.

It would just take one more problem to strike the match and blow the whole damn setup sky high and over the edge and into the hands of a group that was yet unknown.

The NPC was yet not born but would soon be on its way.

And the IFBB would surely follow.

But no one knew that yet!

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« Reply #211 on: June 16, 2013, 06:18:29 PM »

Stunt, I believe you refer to Bill Stathes.
2nd place Mr. Central Valley 1958
3rd place Mr. Pacific Coast 1959
won Mr. Bay ARea 1959
won Mr. Western America 1959

that is all I have for him in the late 1950s.
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« Reply #212 on: June 16, 2013, 10:23:48 PM »

Thanks, JOE! Bill was a friend of Carl Noberg .... a steveador in SF who was quite old but exceedingly strong. More on that later.

Also a reminder for myself to post Paul Anderson story.
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« Reply #213 on: June 17, 2013, 12:45:32 AM »

I don't recall if the IFBB was a party in that lawsuit, but the IFBB and the NPC no longer used the 'MR.' or 'Miss" or 'Ms." title in any even

2011 & 2012 IFBB World Mans Championship was advertised as MR.Universe, also there is Amateurs IFBB MR.Olympia & Ifbb Pro Mr.Europe
so  Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #214 on: June 17, 2013, 03:54:04 AM »

Thanks, JOE! Bill was a friend of Carl Noberg .... a steveador in SF who was quite old but exceedingly strong. More on that later.

Also a reminder for myself to post Paul Anderson story.
i was gonna mention karl norberg , there a pic of karl with pat casey and john kojian at a bench press contest that all three won their respective divisions. i just put a small thread on karl in the history section. karl was supposrd to have almost matched john grimek in a weightlifting contest before karl ever formally lifted barbells.


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« Reply #215 on: June 17, 2013, 09:18:15 AM »

Thanks, KNIGHT! I did notice that on one of the posters .... so I must be mistaken or maybe it was just the NPC that had to refrain from using the Mr./Mrs. titles.

Would be interesting to get more detailed info on this.

FUNK, Small world! Thanks for the photo.

I met Karl and Pat Casey way back then but didn't know either of them real well.

A while back I posted a story about Pat's successful 600 pound bench press that occured during the early 60's at a Police Academy in San Diego close to the SD Zoo. I believe that  was the world's first 600 pound bench press and when his attempt was successful and he racked it ... a lion roared immediately ...... and so Pat and that lion got a standing ovation from the 40 or so people in attendance.

OFF SUBJCT HERE BUT ..... Does anyone recall the name of the San Diego bodybuilder who had a serious mishap with a chainsaw that mess up his leg pretty damn bad during the early 60's time frame?





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« Reply #216 on: June 17, 2013, 08:25:59 PM »

Stuntman, I remember Ralph Kroger living in and having a gym in Lakeside, CA.  This is a part of the east county of San Diego.  Met him a couple of times and he was a very nice man.
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« Reply #217 on: June 17, 2013, 09:14:13 PM »

Scott, Do you recall the year when Ralph ha that LAKESIDE GYM? His gym along the Pacific Coast Highway was a small stand-alone building with the beach directly  behind it somewhere in the vicinity of the race-track south of Oceanside.

I have a feeling it was  just before he moved to Hilo, Hawaii and opened a small place there.


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« Reply #218 on: June 18, 2013, 02:28:46 PM »

Having difficulties typing due to a messed up curser so I'll throw in some beach area photos..

Here's an oldt shot of Bill Pettis.

Bill is quite old now but he had some serious arms when he was much younger. I'll see if I can find those 'serious arm' shots and post one here.

For more info on Bill .... http://www.ironguru.com/bill-pettis


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« Reply #219 on: June 18, 2013, 02:39:00 PM »

This is a present day photo of the Venice Beach weight pit showing the area in the rear where some of the equipment can be locked up.

Bill Howard used to run all the contests here but Joe Wheatly took over recently and Bill was relieved of his duties as mentioned in an earlier post.


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« Reply #220 on: June 18, 2013, 02:52:43 PM »

If you have ever taken a walk on the beachwalk and about 500 yards north of the lifting area, you will remember this apartment house with the interesting paint job.

I lived here for a short while when the monthly rent was dirt cheap.


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« Reply #221 on: June 18, 2013, 03:00:50 PM »

Another shot of Bill taken a long while back .....



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« Reply #222 on: June 18, 2013, 06:54:40 PM »

Scott, Do you recall the year when Ralph ha that LAKESIDE GYM? His gym along the Pacific Coast Highway was a small stand-alone building with the beach directly  behind it somewhere in the vicinity of the race-track south of Oceanside.

I have a feeling it was  just before he moved to Hilo, Hawaii and opened a small place there.
shows you how bbing has gone astray,,,try finding even now on local beach guys that look like this,,even with modern chemicals,training ,machines,info on eating,,,these guys had genetics.training,and used them to get these looks u still like i said see every day,,,
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« Reply #223 on: June 19, 2013, 01:01:16 AM »

Stunt - I just started reading this but damn - this thread is awesome!!  Thx for starting it and going forward with it.

RS
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« Reply #224 on: June 19, 2013, 10:43:53 AM »

 :)ralph was on the cover of the first mag i ever bought pic'd here. he did pretty decent in weightlifting too, as that was needed to secure the 5 athletic points needed to win mr america aau version.


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