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  1. ** This is an old Interview from 2005 By David Robson - Edited by: Strength Oldschool Dan Lurie would sadly pass away at the age of 90 in 2013. R.I.P Dan Lurie: April 1. 1923 - Nov 6. 2013 In the following interview Dan tells his inspiring story and shares the methods that have helped him to stay in excellent physical shape at age 82. Get the scoop about Dan Lurie right here! Anyone even remotely connected with the iron game will remember one of its greatest ambassadors, Dan Lurie. Back in the 40s and 50s, Dan carved a niche for himself as the worlds strongest, most muscular man. He went on to become arguably bodybuilding’s most successful promoter, starting the World Body Building Guild in 1965 as a way to enhance public awareness, and garner respect, for a sport that was, at the time considered an oddity. Along the way, Dan published several health and fitness related magazines, the most popular of these being Muscle Training Illustrated. From bent pressing with one arm 285lbs, to arm wrestling President Regan, Dan has lived a colorful life, while continually preaching the bodybuilding gospel. Indeed, whether it be through promotion, television, competition, publishing or marketing, Dan took bodybuilding to the masses and helped to transform it from curious spectacle to legitimate sport. His contribution to bodybuilding should never be forgotten for he truly was, and is, one of its more passionate advocates. In the following interview Dan tells his inspiring story and shares the methods that have helped him to stay in excellent physical shape at age 82. (Photo below shows Dan Lurie at the age of 85!) [ Q ] Hi Dan. What have you been up to recently? Well Dave, I just spent the whole day with my son and we went to the Hall of Records in New York. I’ll tell you something crazy Dave. I used to be partners with Joe Weider for several years in the early 1940s and we had a falling out in 1948. In 1947 I registered the name International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) and I held the first IFBB contest on January 15, 1948. Pic above: Joe Weider & Dan Lurie This was the first IFBB show in America. So I came up with the name, but had forgotten about it for 55 years until my son accidentally found the program for that contest, and what we are trying to prove now is that Joe Weider stole the name from me. The IFBB became very famous, but I was the first one to come up with the contest and use the name. So I went to City Hall to find all the records for 1947 – very interesting. [ Q ] And what do you hope to achieve if you can prove you came up with the name? My wife says, “what are you going to get out of it”. If I discovered the airplane, and was the first one to fly the airplane, and they said, “no it was the Wright Brothers who did it”, how would I feel? I am just hoping to get the recognition I deserve. I was forgotten in this field for so many years and would like some acknowledgement. [Q ] Your resume is quite an impressive one and you have been involved in bodybuilding for some time. How old are you and what kind of shape are you in now Dan? I am 82 years young! On April 1, 2006, I will be 83 years young. I am in good shape right now. I workout every morning and I don’t overdo it. I use about 50 lbs and do a lot of repetitions. Pic above: Dan Lurie at 79 years old [ Q ] At what age do you feel you reached your peak as a bodybuilder? At the 1945 Mr America show. Bob Hoffman ran this show and for four years he had everyone from York win the contest. I always wanted to win America’s most muscular man. I did this three times. No one in the world has ever done this three times. In 1945 they had me disqualified saying I was a professional. It was because I was getting too good and was in partnership with Weider. He didn’t want us to get too strong and competitive. They got the AAU to make me professional and I quit competing. You know what happens today when you quit competing. You don’t train like you used to train. In my case I got married. I always worked out, but not with the intensity of one who is competing. I had nothing to prove anymore. [ Q ] How did you get started in bodybuilding Dan? What gave you your big break? I trained for three years at the age of 13 and, at this time, the Daily News in New York was running the Golden Gloves boxing tournament. They put you in all the local arenas and at the end the main show would be at Madison Square Garden. Well I trained for three years and was a pretty good boxer. I was about 5’5″ and 118 lbs. When I was ready to have my first fight, they rejected me because they found I had a heart murmur. A man told me... “Don’t cry kid, I used to be a good boxer but sooner or later someone comes along and beats the dickens out of you so you are better off if you don’t fight.” He told me I had good muscular development and suggested I go into bodybuilding. You know what I said to him? What’s bodybuilding? His name was Terry Robinson (see pic below) and he was Mr. New York State. He will be 90 years old on March 9, 2006. He gave me directions to my first gym with weights. Terry Robinson was a great man. He raised Mario Lanza’s three children. He was the first one to know when Mario died in Italy. He raised Mario’s children after Mario’s wife died a couple of months later of a broken heart. Terry lives in California. He was my mentor and he gave me the direction I needed at that time. So I went into bodybuilding and entered my first New York City contest. I was so bad I came out last. I thought… these guys are monsters, what am I doing here. I was only 17 at the time. But by the time I was 19, in 1942, I was first runner up at the AAU Mr. America contest. They gave me a lot of body part awards and America’s most muscular man title after that. [ Q ] How did you prepare for your first show? What sort of mistakes did you make initially? I didn’t train right. I was too young. It takes time to make your body grow. You can’t just plant the seed and say, “let the vegetables grow tomorrow.” My body was growing and it just needed time and the right training. There were no supplements. I just ate whatever good food I had. My problem was that I could never put weight on. Until I was 125, 130, and then 140 lbs; it took a couple of years. I used to train so hard I burned all the calories. [ Q ] What was your weight when you were at your peak in the 1940s? 168 lbs. I did a one hand bent press of 285 lbs. I never knew how good I was at the time. I thought it was no big deal. [ Q ] And you traveled the country performing feats of strength? I did this when I got on television in 1950. I was a strongman on the TV show, the very famous kid’s show, called The Sealtest Big Top Circus Show. And there I traveled the country doing feats of strength and exhibitions and everything else. [ Q ] What was the bodybuilding culture like back in the 40s and 50s? Whoever did bodybuilding was considered to be a mental nut job. They went crazy and couldn’t see why people would do this. You have to remember, I started because I had a heart murmur. The exercise cured my heart condition. [ Q ] So bodybuilding helped you to improve your health. What else did you find attractive about the sport back then? I enjoyed running all the WBBG shows that I had. All the worlds best built men appeared at my shows, and I had the greatest bodybuilding shows ever. The highlight for me was to get someone that everyone considered a god to appear. They said I would never get him. He lived in Switzerland at the time. His name was Steve Reeves. Pic above: (W.B.B.G) Lou Ferrigno - Dan Lurie - Warren Frederick Pic above: Steve Reeves - Dan Lurie and Aline Reeves I got Steve to come to my show and we put on a great show. We had coming attractions on the screen and in a very famous part of his picture Hercules, Steve Reeves broke down the columns with all his muscles tensing. My son worked the projection room and as Steve Reeves broke down the columns he with his wife and myself walked out on stage and… I’ll never forget how wild the crowd went. They were uncontrollable. They all wanted to jump up on the stage. That would be one of the highlights of all the shows I ran. [ Q ] What other highlights have there been in your bodybuilding career? The hall of fame honoring dozen’s and dozen’s of bodybuilders and movie stars. [ Q ] What was it like to work with Steve Reeves? What kind of guy was he? A nice guy. We used to visit each other at each others homes. When he used to come to my house, he loved to go up to my attic and put on my Seal test Dan muscleman cape that I wore on the TV. I didn’t know, but from 1950 to 1957 he used to watch the show. At that time he was on a Broadway show called Kismet. But we never really met until the 70s when I honored him. We were very good friends and we used to go to Broadway shows together. In fact I had a big fight with him at one time. People were saying – did you have a fight with Steve Reeves. Yes. A snowball fight. We threw snowballs at one another and he loved it. Living in California, he didn’t see much snow. [ Q ] You have been involved in bodybuilding for a long time. At what period was bodybuilding’s greatest era do you think? The golden age of bodybuilding when they didn’t have steroids. Steroids have ruined bodybuilding, and not only for men. If I ever competed in the women’s division today in my best shape, I wouldn’t even place. They would make me look like a beginner. That is how advanced they are – like men. You know how many dozens and dozens of our greatest athletes have died as a result of these drugs. In 1971 I came out on the cover of Muscle Training Illustrated – my magazine – and alerted the world to the dangers of steroids. I said they were killing our athletes. Now some 35 years later it’s all coming out, what with the baseball and other sports also. It’s getting into the colleges and girls are taking them – they are dying by the dozen. That’s why I campaigned to them to save some lives. ** [ STEROID INFO ] ** Strength Oldschool Note: For 100% All Natural Drug Free Vintage Physiques check out the video below: [ Q ] In light of what you have just said, what are your thoughts on the current state of bodybuilding? I don’t follow it like I used to, but when I see these people I don’t believe what they look like. They make Sergio Oliva and Arnold look like beginners. They all seem to look the same. Probably using the same bottle of steroids. Strength Oldschool Note: A bodybuilder by the name of Paul Dillett would have likely made Sergio and Arnold look small. I don’t know if you heard about this in New Zealand, but Arnold’s calves were very poor when he first began competing, and lost to Frank Zane in his first contest in America. Then all of a sudden his calves went from 17 to over 19 inches. [ Q ] This was a result of hard training though. “No, it was a calf transplant.” Today he must have lost a lot of weight but his calves are the same size. If you drop a lot of body weight your whole body shrinks in proportion. Any doctor examining could tell you if he still has the transplants in his calves. [ Q ] This was never covered in the media. They didn’t want to say that about him. Before you say that you need 100 percent truth. I can only say it was rumored for many many years, but I never printed it. By the way, when Arnold came to this country in 1968, my wife and I were the ones who greeted him and Franco Columbu at the airport. Pic above: Thelma - Franco Columbu - Dan Lurie and Arnold [ Q ] Tell me more about this. It was good except he did certain things I didn’t like. He used to fondle the girls in the restaurant. [ Q ] In hindsight, it still must have been good to meet one of the sports icons. I publicized him and helped make him famous and he ended up suing me, period. The whole thing was, he needed money in those days and Joe Weider told him that in America you can sue people and settle, and make a lot of money. [ Q ] Did you get to know Arnold very well? We met a couple of times. We had dinner’s and breakfast’s together. We did TV shows together and he was at the AAU Mr. America shows. He always wanted the publicity and me being a publisher, I could help him. [ Q ] As a publisher what magazines did you have? Besides Muscle Training Illustrated I published Boxing Illustrated, Karate Illustrated, Wrestling illustrated, I had a couple of rock and roll magazines and I had a women’s magazine. [ Q ] How did you get into the publishing business and why? When I broke up with Weider there was no communication to reach bodybuilders for a contest. You can’t get contestants to enter if they don’t know about a show. You can’t get an audience. So I started my magazine in 1965 and I had a partner at the time. After 15 issues he said it wasn’t making money so he wanted out. I knew a little about publishing, but after two and a half years in the industry I got to know quite a bit and I took over the magazine at issue number 16. I started to make money on the first issue I put out because I cut my overheads. He had an office in New York City with secretaries. I didn’t have any of that. I used my own office and my office was my business. All I paid was for running costs for the office, pictures and for an editor. So I had a fixed salary; I would know what each issue was going to cost me. If I didn’t I would have gone broke. [ Q ] Before your publishing career you say you were in partnership with Joe Weider. Tell me more about this. I wasn’t involved in his magazines, only the barbell and exercise equipment. He lived in Canada at the time and if you ship anything from Canada they charge 10 percent duty tax. When it got to America you had to pay another 10 percent duty tax. So that means whatever was selling was going to have a 20 percent duty tax as well as all the freight costs. It was easier to find someone to ship from the United States. We became partners because he needed someone to help him distribute. Just like Grimek did for Bob Hoffman, he used me in his ads. I was shown as the skinny kid with a weak heart who became America’s most muscular man using his system. That’s what got me disqualified because I was in his ads and I was a professional. John Grimek was always featured in Bob Hoffman’s ads but he was considered an amateur. [ Q ] How did the falling out occur? When we started in business maybe we made about $ 5,000 dollars in each year. That was gross. By the time we got through maybe we made one thousand dollars or five hundred dollars each for the year, which was nothing. But when we started to go over $ 100,000 dollars he didn’t want to share the profits with me. So he just cut my name out of the ads in the magazines and put his own name in. He was established already so he didn’t need me. He is a very unscrupulous guy. No loyalty at all. There are a lot of things I could tell you about him but it will have to wait until my new book is out. [ Q ] What can you tell me about Joe Weider? “Joe Weider would put a knife in your back. He would use people, and throw them out.” All I can say is he was an extremely hard worker, but very ruthless in business. He would put a knife in your back. He would use people, and throw them out. There were lawsuits. He did a lot of bad things. But that was him. That was his character. I introduced him to his first wife. [ Q ] Have you had any recent contact with Mr. Weider? No, I don’t see him. Years ago I heard he was in hospital having a hernia operation so I called him and we spoke for an hour or so. We spoke about the good old days when we were kids. You tend to forget about these things. We went our own ways. I was successful as far as I know, but I always felt I was a fly and he was an elephant. I just wanted to make a living. Pic above: Joe Weider - Dan Lurie - Peary Rader [Q ] Tell me more about the World Body Building Guild. I started it back in 1965. I never knew I was the creator of the IFBB. Incidentally, Sports Illustrated is going to follow up on this and do a story on how the IFBB name was created by me and how I ran the first IFBB show in America. The World Body Building Guild was very competitive. Joe was always making it his business to run shows on the same day I would run mine in New York City. At one time Tom Minichiello, one of my gym members and a good friend, was involved with the IFBB and was told by Weider to bury me. He was told to run the contest the same day Dan Lurie runs his show. Of course I had such complete sell-outs. I never disqualified anyone. I don’t care who you were with. If you were a member of the IFBB and entered any AAU or my shows, you were disqualified. That’s not fair. A bodybuilder is free to do whatever he wants. Pic above: Owner of Mid City Gym Tom Minichiello Spots Wrestling Legend Bruno Sammartino (1966). [ Q ] What did the World Body Building Guild achieve? We started the hall of fame that had a lot of famous people being honored. I even honored President Regan. [ Q ] I read that you arm wrestled President Regan. Tell me about this. Who won? He beat me, twice. I wasn’t going to try to beat him. I wanted to give him respect. Besides, he was the oldest man who ever ran for president and they wanted someone to show how strong and youthful he was. So I helped with this, and I have a good ten minute tape. When we left you know what we did to each other? We hugged and kissed each other. Now that’s something for two men to do. And that’s what we did in the White House. [ Q ] What else do you remember about this occasion? He said “Dan when I was a kid I used to read all of your ads in the comic books.” I said, “Mr. President, what were you doing reading comic books.” He said, “I still read them today.” He was the president and he still read comic books. That was an amazing thing. He was a down to earth, warm guy. You see, I went there to honor him. I didn’t complain about anything, about what I wanted him to do. I just went there to honor him. We warmed to each other pretty good. And when we arm wrestled, and he beat me, he said “Come on, you dumped it, you let me beat you.” I said “No Mr. President, you beat me fair and square.” Pic above: President Ronald Reagan and Dan Lurie (60 years Old) Arm Wrestling - 1984. [ Q ] I understand President Reagan was very fit, and was bodybuilding enthusiast for many years. Yes, he used to chop wood on his ranch and horseback ride. We kept in touch after the White House thing. We were supposed to have a rematch but it never happened. It was planned just never happened. The picture of him and me arm wrestling went all over the world. It was on the front page of the New York Times. Many countries featured that picture and ran the story about how the president was so strong he beat a famous strong man. I loved President Regan. He was a warm, decent, down to earth president. Pic above: Young Ronald Reagan. [ Q ] What are some of the strength records you have set over the years? I did 1665 push-ups in 90 minutes and 1225 parallel dips in 90 minutes. I lifted 285 lbs. with one hand over the head. That one was a specialty. I did 1200 pullovers with 55 lbs. Crazy things. Things that involved endurance. People today don’t do this type of training. They train with heavier weights and they end up with injuries and have to stop for a while. I wasn’t going to get hurt. I found my body responded to hundreds and hundreds of repetitions with a lighter weight – 100 lbs. [ Q ] Is this the way you have always trained? Yes and I sweated like a pig. I wore a sweatshirt and people would say “don’t drink water while you workout.” But I was so thirsty I used to gobble it up. They now say “drink water when you workout, it’s good for you.” So who knows. [ Q ] What diet methods have you followed? I always wanted to gain weight so I ate whatever I wanted to. I would lose around three to five pounds every workout. I sweated a lot. Also, I tried not to do much resting in between sets. I rested as little as possible, and it still ended up being a three hour workout. [ Q ] How do you eat today to stay in shape? I eat very lightly, a lot of salads and health foods. And I exercise every morning for about half-an-hour, that’s it. I don’t do too much. I have nothing to prove. [ Q ] What training methods did you establish over the years? When I started manufacturing my own barbells I established the Dan Lurie Barbell Course. I gave it out with a book and pictures and posters. It was very instructive. I was the first one to sell barbells in sporting goods stores. They weren’t sold by York. They were selling mail order and I came out selling to stores. From a $ 5,000 dollar a year start it exploded. Many, many years later I was only doing a small amount because I was only one man. [ Q ] What were gyms like in your day? The equipment was mostly very crude and there were a few mirrors. Now everything is chromed. [ Q ] You discovered Lou Ferrigno. Tell me more about that? Yes, he came to me at 16 years of age. The first thing I asked him was “how far do you want to go in bodybuilding”. I said “You want to be Mr. America?” He said “Mr. America? I don’t want to be Mr. America. I want to be the best built man who ever lived.” That to me was shocking. So I put him on the cover of my magazine and I issued a challenge to Arnold. I said in three years this skinny kid of 6.5 and 185 lbs was going to give him some competition. And he did. And I kept showing the improvements he was making over the years. I had Lou for about six or seven years. Pic above: 1972 Muscle Training Illustrated - Lou Ferrigno Challenges Arnold Schwarzenegger. [ Q ] And Lou ended up switching to Weider. That’s right. He had no contract with me. It was more like a friendship. Weider offered him a $50,000 contract for five years. He did that with Arnold – paid him a big amount over a number of years. Lou switched the night I had Steve Reeves at my show and his father was upset with me because the year before he lost out to Bill Grant who represented Weider. Lou lost out because he took some sort of water pills. The night before he looked unbeatable and when he came the next day I couldn’t believe the change. I don’t know what the heck he was doing. He lost all his definition. [ Q ] How would you like to be remembered Dan? I would like to be remembered as a bodybuilder who loved bodybuilding and treated everyone fair and square. I never hurt any athlete. There were two bodybuilders who sued me – Lou Ferrigno and Arnold. I never said a word about it in my magazine. Now Weider claims he discovered Ferrigno. Bullsh*t. It’s a lie. Just like he said he started the IFBB in 1946. That’s a lie. We have all the old issues and his involvement is not even mentioned. We are doing the research now. He gave me a third page in the Your Physique Magazine when I ran the January 15, 1948 show. He lied and made up stories and people believed it. Joe was a big reader of the Hitler books. I said “Joe, you and I are both Jewish, why are you reading the books on Hitler?” He said, “Think of the power the man had.” He was a 19 year old kid. Who is looking for power at that age. One of Hitler’s sayings was, if you print a lie often enough people will come to know it as the truth. That’s what Joe does. [ Q ] What is most important to you Dan? The most important thing in my life is my wife, my five children and 15 grand children, and soon to be three great grandchildren. That’s the most important thing in my life. Not money. Weider, with all the money he could ever want, has no children although there was some talk around him having a girl at some stage, but who knows. [ Q ] What are the secrets to a long and healthy life? There is no secret. It is all in God’s hands. When I was a kid they said I would live to about five or six years old. People who are healthy die of heart attacks in their 30s 40s and 50s. People in their 70s and 80s… all their lives live until their late 90s. It’s all in God’s hands. We don’t know. [ Q ] Hi Dan. When you went to City Hall to look at the 1947 records to prove you started the IFBB, what exactly did you find? I went to downtown Kings to look for the registering of the name IFBB. But in those days they didn’t keep a register of a name, only corporations. So I could not find a record of it. No record of the sanction. That was done by private clubs. So what I have done is hire the law firm of Adam Atlas from Montreal Canada and I will know within the next two weeks. Ben Weider said he made the IFBB a Non Profit Corporation in 1946. That is not the truth. He never had it registered. So we are trying to find out when it first came up on the Canadian Government Records as an IFBB Non Profit Corporation. Ben Weider says he registered it as such in 1946. This will involve a complete search of records. It could be a Pandora’s Box I am opening up. Could you imagine? They never paid taxes on their shows and they never had the shows registered. When it first started it was no big deal. They (the Weiders) didn’t know what it (the federation) would turn out to be. [ Q ] What exactly did you find at City Hall? They found the records of the gyms I had formed in 1947. They found the corporation of the Dan Lurie Barbell Company that I formed in late 1948, the year I broke off with Weider. But they could not find any record of the International Federation of Body Building, as it was not a business, not a corporation, but only a sanction. They did not keep records in those days, but there is no question I ran the first IFBB show ever in the world, because Weider ran a show in 1947 (the Mr. Canada in October) but I have the program and nowhere does it say IFBB on it. They may have thought about it at the time though. There was a fellow who later worked for Joe Weider by the name of Emanuel Orlik. In 1965, when I published my magazine, he became my editor. So I never knew him from 1940 up to 1965, but I read his articles and he always mentioned his son, who was involved in the International Federation of Gymnastics. So that is how I came up with the name. I stole those three words “International Federation Of” and just added Body Building. [ Q ] And that’s how you say you originally came up with the name? Yes, because it sounded good to me. [ Q ] So now you are waiting on confirmation on whether Ben Weider registered the IFBB as a Non Profit corporation in 1946. Yes. We are waiting for the lawyers to conduct a search which will give me a complete report. This report will include taxes that were paid and everything you would want to know about the Weiders. [ Q ] In our last interview you say you forgot having started the IFBB. Did you get sidetracked? What happened here? This was because I came up with the name, and then broke off with Weider in late 1948. Then I had no way of getting enough contestants to run a show. If you want to run a show and you can’t reach contestants how do you advertise? So I was out until I started up my own magazine in 1965 – with Reg Park on the cover. Then I was able to start the World Body Building Guild and do what I have been doing for years. [ Q ] So you forgot about the circumstances surrounding your conception of the IFBB name? I forgot about it until my son went to look through all my junk as part of the process of doing a book on my life. Everything was put in boxes and my son said “What is this?” The program he found said International Federation of Body Building. I didn’t remember. I said, "Oh my God, who would believe me after all these years.'” This was about three years ago, since he found it. Weider (Joe) claimed they started the federation in 1936, but Weider is four months older than me. So even if he was born in 1922 he was only 14 in 1936. That’s ridiculous. Joe also claimed he discovered all the air in this world, as well as the peaks on the mountains. He discovered them all. I have a picture of what he really looked like when he started – pathetic. But he became large when he took a statue of the body of Robby Robinson and put his head on top. Pic above: Robby Robinson Posing for Joe Weiders Bronze Statue. Now there is a big lawsuit going on because Robby didn’t say anything initially, because Weider gave him a lot of free publicity. But now that it’s over, and he is not competing, he (Robby) wants his image back. [ Q ] So this clearly was not Joe’s physique you say? Joe Weider used retouching art work on several of his pictures. Putting his face on well built men is not new for Joe. I was in London in the mid-1940’s to cover the NABBA Mr. Universe. In the tall men’s class there were only two entries. “Joe said to me, ‘If I enter I have to come out third.'” Joe never had posing briefs. He came on stage with his pants on. Joe was awarded 3rd place. Now here is the kicker: when Weider printed the story and photos, Joe’s head was put on a very muscular body. He claimed this body was his. A real fraud. What a phony. Joe was always slender and never muscular. I still have the original photos. Joe as he really looked in those days. Earle Forbes took the pictures. How pathetic he looked. Remember Weider’s famous arms crossed chest shot? Joe, never looked like that in his entire lifetime. This picture was created by the late artist George Quaintance, in New York City. Pic above: Your Physique Magazine - Joe Weider on Cover - Artwork by George Quaintance. George was the art director of Your Physique. I was in Quaintance studio when he was working on Weiders retouched picture. George made a drawing of me that appeared on the cover of Weider’s Your Physique magazine. Quaintance was head judge at one of my muscle shows. [ Q ] Joe says he discovered Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. What are your thoughts on this? Joe Weider did not discover, or develop the physiques of Arnold or Lou Ferrigno. Arnold was the NABBA Mr. Universe for several years. In 1969, my wife Thelma and myself went to see Arnold and Franco Columbu off at the TWA JFK airport. Arnold won the Pro and Boyer Coe won the Amateur event. Pic above: Arnold Schwarzenegger - Dan Lurie and Franco Columbu at TWA JFK Airport - 1969. Arnold was already discovered and his picture’s appeared in foreign muscle magazines. How strange it is that I printed photos of Arnold in Muscle Training Illustrated way before Weider did. Weider only printed results of his contests. Pic above: 1967 Arnold and Kurt Marnul. [ Q ] Have you had any contact with Joe since you called him at the hospital? I recently tried to reach his office because they said he had back trouble. His secretary told me he was recovering from his back surgery. [ Q ] So to your knowledge Joe Weider is doing well physically? His secretary says he doesn’t come into the office as often, but he would be 83 now. [ Q ] You explained in our last interview that you worked with Lou Ferrigno for six years. Exactly what was your role here? Lou Ferrigno developed his own physique. I gave him advice and helped him. All I could do was encourage him and give him advice on training, but I found out that he spoke to dozen’s of people and got advice from many different people. When I first met him he was a skinny kid. He told me at the time he would like to be the best bodybuilder that ever lived. Of course we made a challenge to Arnold in Muscle Training Illustrated, and I put Lou on the cover and started publicizing him. From the time he was 16 to the time he left me at around age 22, we had a little more than six years together. Pic above: Young Lou Ferrigno at 17. Pic above: Lou Ferrigno at 20 years of age. [ Q ] What actual involvement did you have in Lou’s training? I would correct his posing all the time. I even paid his expenses to go to his first AAU Mr. America show. I paid for him to go to his first NABBA Universe contest in London. I did a lot of things for him but we didn’t have any kind of written contact – it was like a father and son deal. I would meet Lou at least two times a week, especially on Fridays. He would come over to my office around six o’clock and leave around eight or nine at night. We would go through posing and discuss training. What got his father upset with me was when Bill Grant beat out Lou in 1972 at my WBBG Pro Mr. America. Pic above: 1972 WBBG Pro Mr America - Bill Grant Beating Lou Ferrigno. Although Bill Grant represented Weider, I didn’t care. I just wanted the best man to win. I actually wanted Lou to win. They had 18 or 19 judges. The night before, Lou looked unbeatable but he took some pills on the advice of his friends and I couldn’t believe how the definition was gone in one night. He was lucky he even placed second. His father was angry and said “why didn’t you make sure your number one boy won”. But I run an honest contest and the best man has to win, with the judges deciding this. The next year Lou never showed up at my show. He entered the Weider show and I had my Steve Reeves show where I had to put seats on the stage to fit all the people in. [ Q ] But you did have a pretty good friendship with Lou over the years you were with him? Yes. Lou’s friend Tony Badal brought him to me. In fact Lou was supposed to be the best man at Tony’s wedding. Lou never showed up. I was there. He never told Tony why he didn’t show up. [ Q ] What kind of training program did you have Lou on? I always told him to use a lighter weight. He didn’t agree with me. He couldn’t do the endurance that I used to do. I would take a lighter weight and do maybe five or 10 sets of 15. That was too much for him. He had to take a heavier weight and do three or four sets. That was not my way, but whatever he did it worked for him. Now here is the main thing: I always said “Lou, are you taking any steroids?” He always said, “Are you crazy, I would never take steroids.” He knew of the side effects and the fact they could kill so many people. Well, he lied to me. When I met his father I got proof that Lou was on steroids. And I told Matty (Lou’s father), “You know that Lou is on steroids and that could kill him.” You know what his answer was? “It is not important that he dies, it is important that he wins.” I said, “Matty you are crazy.” Who would want their son to die just so they could win a lousy muscle contest? It’s nothing. I always wanted to put Lou into the insurance business – he was a sheet-metal worker – and I said, “With the publicity you are getting, people would call you to handle their insurance. I would send you to insurance classes.” But he didn’t want that. He wasn’t interested in money. He just wanted to be popular and he almost succeeded in Africa when he came third to Arnold in the Olympia. My friend Reg Park ran the show. Reg came to some of my shows to guest pose. Pic above: 1975 Mr Olympia - Arnold Wins Beating Serge Nubret (2nd) and Lou Ferrigno (3rd). [ Q ] Why did you get sued by Lou Ferrigno? I was sued because I used his picture in the back cover of my magazine selling Jet 707. He was featured with Steve Michalik. I had releases from both of them, but Lou stated that even though he signed the release he was under the age of 21. He claimed that he was under 21, but I proved that he was over 21 when he signed the contract. The release contract had the date and this proved he was over 21. My office secretary put her name down as a witness, and it wasn’t until I had to go through the records and check that I discovered this. In fact, I have the complete file – I looked at it last week. [ Q ] And Lou was successful in suing you? Yes. They had two good lawyers and one of them was associated with the judge. So I ended up having to pay quite a bit of money. And then when I went to a Mr. America contest in California, a couple of years later, and I went backstage. At this time, Lou had forgotten that he sued me, and he greeted me with open arms. He was so glad to see me, an old friend. But when I went backstage again a second time, as Lou passed by, this is what he said to me: “You dirty Jew son of a b*tch, the day my father and I bury you will be the happiest day of our lives.” I was ready to kick him in the testicles, but he would kill me. I’m a little guy. I had one chance, but nothing happened because people separated us. I said, “Lou, there is only one person in this world who is going to take care of you. God will take care of you and judge how I tried to help you and what you turned into.” That was the last contact I, or any of my family made with Lou, except for a few years ago when they were having a sports show in Atlanta Georgia. My son was in the crowd. Lou was on stage talking about the people he was representing. He spotted my son and got off the stage, and he said, “I have to say hello to a very dear old friend,” and they hugged each other. Of course, Lou had nothing against my son Mark. Mark was almost his age. They grew up together. Mark did nothing to hurt him, they were like friends. Mark said Lou was so nice he was like a different person. That was the last contact my son had with him. This would have been around 15-20 years ago. [ Q ] Did you have any contact with Lou at this time? No. He left me after the appearance of Steve Reeves at my show. It was verified at the time that Weider offered him $50,000 for five years. Sounds good, but when you break it down it is only $10,000 per year. That is all he was getting for writing and letting Weider use his name for advertising. That was how Weider operated. By the way: Weider didn’t bring Arnold Schwarzenegger into this country. It was someone who worked for him. A guy called Lud Shusterich. He won America’s Most Muscular Man in 1941, and he worked for Weider in Europe. Pic above: Joe Weider - Arnold Schwarzenegger - Franco Columbu - Lud Schusterich. Lud came from Brooklyn. Later on I became partners with Lud in an equipment company I opened in his home town. He made the arrangements to bring Arnold to America. He said to Joe, “I have someone who is going to be good for you in the magazines; he’s known in Europe and has won NABBA (National Amateur Bodybuilding Association) five or six times.” Pic above: 1969 Letter from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Dan Lurie. Pic above: 1969 Letter Response from Dan Lurie to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Of course Weider never publicized the NABBA Universe – only the IFBB shows. Arnold also got a $50,000 contract for five years. Then they worked things out and it became like a father and son deal. Lud Shusterich was an architect – he built the Weider buildings in Woodland Hills. [ Q ] Why did Arnold sue you? He sued me because he claimed he never knew about the Sergio and Arnold Challenge, which was to take place in New York City, on September 1974. I offered, at the time, $5000 to the winner of this contest. He accepted and Sergio Oliva accepted. I waited until the show, and the Arnold and Sergio Challenge was to be one of the main features we had. The day before he was supposed to come, a fellow by the name of Andy Bostinto who was a friend of mine and Arnold’s, said I have Arnold’s private number in California and we (Dan and Arnold) spoke for about 20-minutes, making arrangements and determining what flight he was coming in on so he could be picked up. He was telling us that Weider didn’t want him to go because I would fix the contest so he would lose. I said to him, “I have some other news. Sergio has agreed to split the prize two ways.” Whoever comes out first or second, still gets $2500 each. At that time Arnold was getting paid $500 to do an exhibition. Plus I had to pay his expenses to come in from California to New York. Arnold said, “with that money, I’ll be there.” Of course he never showed and all I ever printed in the magazine was that he lost on default, because he never showed up. That’s all I ever said. A couple of years later, while running my first WBBG show in Los Angeles, Arnold calls and wants to have breakfast with me and Franco Columbo and, of course, my wife. So we met at the Century Plaza Hotel, and we had breakfast for about two to two-and-a-half-hours. They must have eaten about three breakfasts – steak, eggs. They ate like they had never seen food in their lives. The bill came to close to $300, just for breakfast. I had a normal breakfast – maybe $15-20. Arnold was telling us how unhappy he was with Weider, that Weider was not publicizing great European bodybuilders. He asked if I would publish some of their pictures, along with some of his articles. Of course I said yes, I would be happy to. Arnold had a bunch of papers in his car and when he pulled up to leave, he gave me the package – about an inch thick. I looked at the package and saw a blue paper. That is how he served me with a summons. I immediately called Franco Columbu and asked him if he knew about this. He said, "Dan, Arnold is my best friend and all I know is that he laughed like a madman after the breakfast". Not only did Arnold get me to pay for the breakfast, he got to serve me with papers at the same time. Franco said he swore he knew nothing – he gave me his word. Franco did however say that Arnold laughed like he got the greatest pleasure in the world. Years later, at another AAU Mr. America in Atlanta City, my wife and I walk in and behind us is Arnold. So I walk in the opposite direction. He went to the left so I went to the right. All of a sudden an arm was put on my shoulder and it was Arnold. He said, “Dan, let’s be friends again.” I said, “Arnold, I could never be your friend after what you did to me.” I helped make him famous. In one issue of Muscle Training Illustrated Magazine, I had 19 pictures of Arnold, before Weider ever published any of his pictures. I said, “I helped make you famous.” He said, “I needed the money then.” We left and my wife said, “Wasn’t Arnold nice?” and I said “No, screw him.” Years later I was scheduled to give Regis Philbin an award for being the most physically fit announcer on television. Regis started with my weights when he was 13 years old and kept in great shape. He said, "Dan I will let you know when you can come and present me with the award". Pic above: Regis Philbin and Hulk Hogan. A couple of weeks went by and I get a call, which asked me to be there on a certain date. When I got there, everyone in the green room was saying that Arnold was there. I didn’t know he was going to be on the show. I was reading my newspaper and my son was with me and I have this big plaque that I’m going to give Regis. Arnold walks into the room and he says, “Dan is that you?” I hadn’t seen him for 20 years or so. I didn’t answer him. Then he said “Lurie, is that you?” I said, “Aren’t you ashamed to even talk to me after what you did?” Again he said he needed the money then. I said, “Arnold, I have three words for you. Give it back.” He went on first and did what he was there to do and then left. He wanted to know what Dan Lurie was doing on the show. He thought I was going to expose him for the rat he was. When I did my part with Regis I didn’t say a word about Arnold. I presented Regis with a nice plaque and that was the end of it. [ Q ] So what exactly did Arnold sue you for in the end? What was the outcome? He claimed he new nothing about the contest between Sergio Oliva and him that I had organized. He wanted a million dollars because I had made a fortune on the show, and since he never gave his permission, which was a lie, he sued me for using his name without his consent. He wasn’t really known at that time though. He was just known among a few muscle fans. It wasn’t until he made the picture Pumping Iron that he got known nationally. He sued me on a false claim. We both agreed not to expose what he got but it was well over six figures, plus the legal costs I paid. Read this great article entitled: "Pumping Iron at 40: An Interview with George Butler by Shawn Perine". Also, I had all my witnesses going back and forth. Every time I had my witnesses go there it was postponed, so we went back about three or four times which cost me. In the end, the judge said he had to settle the case. He got me in the corner and said, “Dan, you could lose a fortune, you are better off settling.” Then he got to Arnold and said, “Arnold, you could lose everything. This guy (Lurie) has a strong case, anything you get from him, take it.” He worked one against the other. I was stubborn and didn’t want to give a penny. My lawyer said my fees were going to be more than that if I were to continue like this. [ Q ] People want to know more about Arnold. What else can you share? I’ll tell you one thing. When I first met him at the airport in 1968, when my wife and I greeted him there, we took him out for lunch and he would grope the waitresses. He would touch their breasts and their behinds, and say to them three words, "I vant sex". I said to Arnold, “You don’t talk that way.” Now he is accused of so many things of that nature. I called him on television a slimy snake. [ Q ] Is there anything about Arnold that you did like? He has a good sense of humor, but he is very sneaky, very untrustworthy. He’s not honorable. He uses people like Weider (Joe) did – he had a good teacher in Weider. Weider was the one who encouraged him to sue me, I know that. Do you know how I know? Because the lawyers Arnold had were Weider’s lawyers. How would he get Weider's lawyers if Weider didn’t give him the name of the law firm. Of course, Weider didn’t like me to be successful with my magazines. He even took me to court to try to stop me from using the name Muscle Training Illustrated. He said it was too close to Muscle Power and Muscle and Fitness. Of course, he lost. He tried to stop my distributors, tried to do everything possible to hurt me. [ Q ] Who would you consider the greatest bodybuilder of all time and why? In my opinion it would be Steve Reeves. Steve Reeves had the most beautiful face to rival any Hollywood actor. He was a soft-spoken gentleman, and he never took steroids. He had a natural body, used to ride his bike up the hills of San Francisco all the time. To me he was the greatest of all time. We used to visit each other at our homes. He loved to put on my Seal test cape. I never knew that he watched the Big Top Circus Show. He liked my kids and my kids would visit him at his farm in San Diego. [ Q ] Did you ever train with Steve Reeves? No, but we used to go out to Broadway shows and share lobsters and steaks together, after the shows. We always enjoyed one another’s company. Strength Oldschool NOTE: Check out this book by Steve Reeves: "Building the Classic Physique The Natural Way". [ Q ] What other qualities did Steve Reeves have that made him, in your eyes, the greatest bodybuilder of all time? He had what the French call ‘armench,’ which means he was a very, very, nice person. [ Q ] I understand you had some involvement with Bernar McFadden and his man Charles Atlas. I was the associate editor on Bernar McFadden’s magazine Physical Culture. He used to take me for lunch to the downtown athletic club – where he was a member. I had him judge some of my muscle shows in the 1940s, and every time he judged a show he would hand me a check for $1000 when he left – for being kind to him. Pic above: 1910 issue of Physical Culture Magazine by Bernarr Macfadden. I gave him a nice build up. But people didn’t respect him in the muscle field. He gave Charles Atlas the title of Worlds Strongest Man. This was done through his magazine. I was supposed to honor Charles Atlas in 1971, I believe. I gave him the date and he phoned me a month before and said he had a problem with some property in Florida, and asked me if I could hold the plaque and give it to him in 1972. That was the year he died, so I went to his funeral and was the only bodybuilder there. I gave the plaque to his sons. The Beach that Atlas went to was Point Lookout in Nassau, Long Island. He had a summer home there. Did a lot of running on the beach. He always treated me nicely. In Charles Atlas we lost a great man who helped many thousands to develop their bodies. Atlas always knocked weights saying only his Dynamic Tension could do the job. It was a lot easier selling paper courses than shipping & packing heavy barbell equipment. Atlas used weights to build up his tremendous body, but never gave credit to the exercise equipment. He was a gentleman all the way. [ Q ] What about Bernarr McFadden did you respect most? He treated me very nice. I was a young kid in my late 20s early 30s. He died at the age of 87 I believe. He always liked to walk fast and in his later years he would jump out of airplanes. He was not a tall man, probably only about 5′ 6″, but he was a very good looking man. Pic above: This book can be checked out and purchased from here. [ Q ] Tell me more about your Instant Action Positrain course. Is it still selling? They aren’t really selling that well today. I had an injunction brought against me by someone who posed in the book. I was partners at the time with a fellow by the name of John Lima, who at one time was partners with Joe Weider. With the lawsuit, they said they didn’t give me any permission to use the image and they missed out on thousands of dollars with the sale of the books. I have a couple of hundred books left. I don’t sell many of the books today. I used to sell them to Amazon, and they were doing very well – I sold maybe a thousand or so copies, which was good. And then they put a new rule in that if they didn’t sell X-amount, the amount I got would be cut in half. So it didn’t pay for me to continue selling them, so I stopped. [ Q ] What exactly did and/or does your course, provide? Well, you have to try to satisfy all people, from beginners to advanced. It is hard to put it all into one book. The book is a good way for a beginner to get started. In a lot of gyms today, people don’t lift enough weights. They put them on the treadmill. Back in those days I must have had a dozen different gyms running. It was different then because you knew everyone by name. Today it is completely out of hand – you don’t even know who the members are. So there are more in the way of different fitness needs today. [ Q ] And the book provides different ways for people to train, gives people different options? Yes, as much as I could. I always say the most important thing, even today, is walking. It is the greatest thing people can do. [ Q ] What is so great about walking do you think? Because with walking you strengthen the heart and live longer. People, who have walked long distances for most of their lives, have a record of longevity. Anything that is good for the heart is a great thing. I’m coming out with something and we are in the production stages – my grandson is pushing me. It will be called the Dan Lurie Fitness Rope. This will be a type of rope that no one has used before. A beginner finds it very difficult to jump rope, because the rope hits their feet. With my rope, there is no hitting of the feet. A person will never have to stop because the rope has not gone the complete turn. It is in the works of being patented, so I can’t talk about how it works right now. The new rope will be for people of all ages for weight loss. They don’t have to go out in the rain to walk. They will get just as much benefit if they can jump a rope for 30-minutes-a-day. That would be tremendous for the average person. 30 minutes non-stop with the rope is a long time. There is going to be an infomercial – I have people from television interested. First I want to get everything right. [ Q ] I understand you began your own corporation in the 1980s? I became 50-50 partners with John Lima in the 80s, in a separate Corp. We formed a separate Corp and had our office and Fitness showroom located on West 48 St. and Broadway in New York City. Right in the middle of Times Square. I had my own Dan Lurie Fitness World in my own building located in Queens, New York. I was 100 percent owner and it had over 40,000 square feet of space, with a large Parking area. At that time, it was the world’s largest fitness store. [ Q ] In the 40s and 50s would you have considered yourself one of the worlds strongest, most muscular, men? I won America’s most muscular man three-years-in-a-row: 1942, 43 and 44. I was the only one in the history of the AAU to win it three times in a row. The closest was twice. [ Q ] On that basis, would you consider yourself to be one of the most muscular men of that era? Oh sure. I didn’t realize how strong I was until I started out with the bent press. Maybe I was able to do 150 lbs. I remember the first time I did 100 lbs with one hand I thought, wow am I strong. But it’s all in the technique. I then went up to 150 lbs. At Sig Klein’s show I think I did 200 or 210. As the years went by I kept practicing. It has to do with strength, but the strength is not as important as the technique. [ Q ] Could you describe exactly how you would perform the one arm bent press? Bending away from the weight. Getting under the weight – you had to be flexible. The heavier you are the less you could do. Then I ended up doing 285lbs with one hand, at a bodyweight of 168lbs. [ Q ] Was this ever verified? Yes. The AAU people watched it. It was all done in front of a panel of AAU people. They were there also when I did my push-ups and parallel dips. I didn’t know who they were, but I know the names of them now. One was Rudy Zabo. He was in charge of the AAU in New York City. Another by the name of Morris Weissbrot. He was one of the judges in the 1972 Munich Olympics, which was held at one of the Jewish camps where 11 athletes were killed. [ Q ] Was the weight you lifted ever recorded? Yes, but I don’t know what they did with it. They gave me a certificate and that was it. Records weren’t kept like they are today. [ Q ] How close did you come to winning the AAU Mr. America? Bob Hoffman controlled the sport of bodybuilding in the 40s. Four of his men won. In 1942, Frank Leight (photo below), who represented York, won. In '43, Jules Bacon (photo below), who also represented York, beat me although we both won three body parts each. The contest was only between the both of us. Although the other guys were good, they weren’t in our class. In '44, Steve Stanko (pictured below) won. He also represented York and was the only Mr. America in history that could not walk on the stage, and walk up a posing platform. He had trouble with his legs, and he died from that. When it came time for him to pose, they put the lights out and they helped him out on stage. The 1944 America was held in a boxing ring in Chattanooga Tennessee. They turned the lights out, carried him into the ring, helped him up the steps, and put him on the platform. Then the lights went on. When he was through posing, the lights mysteriously went off, and they helped him off the stage. Same thing when they announced the winners. They had to put the lights out. People didn’t know what was happening – they thought it was a black-out or something. All of a sudden you have 20-30 people on stage and they announced the finalists. He won the 1944 Mr. America. Here’s something interesting: in 1942, Frank Leight won the Mr. America contest in Cincinnati, Ohio, but I was picked as the winner the night before. When they gave out the awards, they announced it as a tie between Frank Leight and myself, and they were going to have an independent judge break the tie. You know who the judge was? Sigmund Klein (pictured below). Frank Leight was the manager of his (Sig Klein’s) gym in New York City. Sig should have disqualified himself. So he picked his man. His answer was a taller man is always better built than a shorter man. [ Q ] When was the World Bodybuilding Guild started? It was started in 1965 or 1966. My first dinner was for Sig Klein. The guy who took away my title. I honored him. He never entered any competitions, but he was built nice from the waist up. His legs were weak though. He never competed, just like Jack LaLanne who never competed in any of the AAU Mr. America contests. Famous People Dan Has Met: Prime Minister of the UK, Winston Churchill. Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the US. USA Senator Jacob Javits of N.Y. Mayor Abe Beame of N.Y.C. Mayor Ed Koch of N.Y.C. Mayor Ed Juiliani of N.Y.C. Mayor David Dinkins of N.Y.C. Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Bagin Prime Minister of Israel, Sholm Peres Prime Minister of Israel, Itsik Schmere Prince’s Grace Kelly of Monaco Prince Reniure of Monaco Senator Al Da-Mato of N.Y. Gov. Soapy Williams of Mich. Gov. Hugh Cary of N.Y. and Son Chriss Gov. Mario Como of N.Y. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of Calif. Special Awards To Dan: AAU Hall of Fame Downtown Athletic Club. NYC King Neptune in Coney Island Parade Daughter Sandy Carl – Queen in Coney Island Parade Sports People: Jackie Robinson – Baseball Mel Allen Yankie – Announcer Joe Louis – Boxer Al “Bummy” Davis – Boxer “Schoolboy” Bernie Freiken – Boxer Rocky Graziano – Boxer Jack Demsky – Boxer Tiger Woods – Golf Sonny Liston – Boxer Red Hollsman – Basketball Ivan Putski – Wrestler Super Star Billy Graham – Wrestler Bruno Sammartino – Wrestler Vince McMahon – Wrestling Promoter “Captain” Lou Albana – Wrestler “Andre the Giant” – Wrestler Antono Rocca – Wrestler Show Business People: Alan Burke Regis Philbin Jan Murry Johnny Weismuller Buster Crabbe Mae West Steve Reeves Clint Eastwood Jack Sterling – Ringmaster, Big Top Circus Bob Russell Barker – Big Top Circus, Miss America TV Show Ed McMahon – Clown on Big Top TV show, Johnny Carson’s Sidekick George Burns Woody Allen Lou Costello Eddie Cantor Al Johnson Soffie Kucker Ruth St. Dennis’s husband Ted Shawn Georgie Tapps George Gerswin Ira Gershwin Steve Allen Walter Cronkite Joe Franklin Marilyn Monroe Jerry Lewis Milton Berle Jane Mansfield and husband Mickey Hagerty Bing Crosby Eddie Fisher Eddie Gormay and husband Steve Lawrence Joey Bishop Alan King Jackie Mason Buddy Hackett Carol Channing Excvia Cuget and Wife Charro Mario Lanza, Terry Robinson Shecky Greene Joel and Joan Gray Billy Rose and wife Joyce Matthews Todie Fields Ray Parker Norm Crosby Harry Bellefonte Dom DeLuise Bob Hope Jerry Colona Jan Pierce Debbie Reynolds and her Mother Ed Sullivan Sam Levinson Jack Albertson Danny Styles Jack Albertson [ Q ] Can you elaborate on the World Bodybuilding Guild, and what exactly is the bodybuilding hall of fame? I started it because I wanted to give credit to top bodybuilders in our sport. I felt it was a nice way to get closer to all the people who are interested in our sport. You go to a muscle contest; you sit in your chair. You may wave at some people there and say “how are you?” At a dinner, you can walk around and talk to people – everyone has a badge on with their name. You can go up to the Dias and talk to whoever is being honored, and you are free to take any number of pictures. It was a good thing to do for the people, and it was a good thing to publicize it in my magazines. And we would run a weekend. The Saturday night would be the contest and Sunday would be the dinner. So all the people who entered would come to the dinners too. It was a nice thing to do, and I enjoyed doing it. Of course, after a while I felt there weren’t enough muscle men to honor and I wanted to get a bigger crowd. I therefore went to sports people and movie stars. Dan’s Hall Of Fame Honorees: WBBG Hall Of Fame Dinners & Awards 1965- Sigmund Klein 1967- Bill Pearl 1968- Ricky Wayne 1969- Boyer Coe 1970- Dennis Tinerino 1971- Sergio Oliva 1972- Reg Park 1973- Steve Reeves 1974- Peter Lupus & Bert Reynolds 1975- Robert Redford & Mae West, Joe Bonomo-Chris Dickerson, Dave Draper & The “Mighty Adam” Joe Greenstein 1976- Johnny Weissmuller-Buster Crabbe, Sergio Oliva-Bruno Sammartino 1977- Steve Reeves-Billy Graham, Serge Nubret- Sylvester Stallone & the Greatest Boxer-Joe Louis 1978- Robert Blake- Clint Eastwood, James Bolin-Sen. Jacob Javits, Jack LaLanne-Jim Morris, Bill Pearl & Ivan Putski Special Awards To: President Ronald Reagan Three Prime Ministers of Israel: Yitzhak Shamir, Shimon Peres, and Menahem Begin Prince Rainier of Monte Carlo George Burns Regis Philbin Charles Atlas Joe Franklin Mayor Abe Beame NYC Mayor Ed Koch NYC [ Q ] Were many of the other honorees bodybuilding enthusiasts. Were they in any way connected to the bodybuilding scene? Some were, some weren’t. Clint Eastwood was a bodybuilder. Sylvester Stallone was always a bodybuilder. He was a member of my New York gym. His brother Frankie reminded me that when he and Sly were 13 or 14 years old when they were thrown out of my gym. I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “You asked me for dues and we didn’t have the eight or 10 dollars to pay.” Stallone was a very nice person. Then when we had Clint Eastwood, he called in the night before and he said he had a problem. He was in the middle of a movie and the producer left so he had to do it himself. This is something not many people could do. So he sent me someone to take his place, to give the award to – James Roland. He was the one who was married to Barbara Streisand and had a very popular show in New York called “Hotel,” based on a nice hotel in San Francisco – the Fairmont Hotel. [ Q ] You honored Mae West with an award for sexiest woman of the century. Why did you choose her for this award and what was she like? Yes, I met Mae West at her home place. After being with her the first three hours, I told her, “Ms. West, I can’t give you any more of my time.” Of course she was the one who was helping me. I said, “My wife is downstairs and she is going to be quite upset.” She asked if my wife would like to come upstairs and meet her. I said, “No, she’s not one of your fans.” She told me to go downstairs and bring my wife up. And that’s what we did. After a half an hour they were the best of friends. We found out something strange. Mae was born in Brooklyn and her father’s name was Jack West – he was a fighter. In between fights he would rent a horse and wagon and sell fruit in his neighborhood. As a kid, she would go to Rockaway Avenue to pick up the horse and wagon. My grandfather owned the place where the cart was kept so we got very warm – I mean, what a connection. We spoke more about her father and what she did when she was living in Brooklyn. She never flew, but always took the train. She was scared of flying. And of all places, she is now buried in Brooklyn. [ Q ] What else can you tell me about Mae West? I must have sat no more than two feet from her and her skin was so soft – no wrinkles, nothing. She was in her 80s at the time. She looked great. She kept saying, “Feel my arms, I work out.” I felt her arms. She said, “Feel my breasts.” I said, “I’m not going to touch your breasts.” [ Q ] A special time in your life. Yes. I’ll tell you another story that is very special to me. In 1943 I went to Los Angeles to compete in the AAU Mr. America. I had a room-mate who was a 118 lbs weightlifting champion, Joe DePietro. He was like a dwarf – about three feet tall. He came from Patterson, New Jersey. Joe said to me one day, "come with me I want to visit my old friend, he has just bought a house in Beverly Hills". Pic above: Weightlifter Joseph DePietro - 1948 Olympics. He didn’t tell me who this friend was. It turned out to be the home of Lou Costello from Abbott and Costello. But Lou Costello had a heart problem and he was on a hospital bed. They would wheel him from room to room. He couldn’t walk, but we spoke and he grabbed my chest like he was going to beat me up. He was just joking of course. Pic above: Abbott and Costello - 1950s. I took pictures of his swimming pool and his yard. But when I developed the pictures, I found a picture of a baby carriage right next to the swimming pool. The day I left his house, after taking the pictures, his son, who was less than a year old, climbed out of the carriage and drowned. I have the only picture of the baby in the carriage before he died. Last picture probably ever taken of him. I tried to give it to the family but this never happened. This story will be in my book. ** More on this sad and terrible tragedy can be read here. [ Q ] Very touching story Dan. When will your new book be out and what will it entail? It is in the hands of the agents and publishers right now so I don’t know just yet. This book will be my life story and also about the dangers of steroids. It will teach how to become a champion without the use of steroids. ** Dan Lurie's book (Heart of Steel: The Dan Lurie Story) can now be purchased by clicking here. [ Q ] You had some dealings with another anti-steroid campaigner, Steve Michalik? Yes, the 1972 Mr. America. He now talks about the dangers of steroids. They made him mentally crazy. His brother worked for me as an artist and when Steve was about 13, he would come with his brother to my home in Long Island to deliver me the artwork. That’s how far back I go with Steve Michalik. Steroids almost killed Steve – he went through divorces and beat up his friends. The anger. He used to eat the glands from monkeys skulls to get big. [ Q ] Joe Louis and Superstar Billy Graham were others you presented awards to? Yes. I honored Joe Louis the day I honored Steve Reeves. Superstar Billy Graham and his boss Vince McMahon, who was just a youngster at the time, were there. Superstar Billy Graham introduced Steve Reeves. Billy Graham was not a speaker, but no one could have done a better job of introducing Steve Reeves. The God coming down to earth to the people was what Billy Graham said about Steve Reeves. It probably embarrassed Steve Reeves, but he was so loved by the people there. I was Superstars manager for a while, then my son picked out his home no more than five miles from me, and Superstar trained at my gym in Lynbrook L.I., New York. Pic above: Superstar Billy Graham. I gave him a key so he could train at five o’clock in the morning. I also found out that as big as he was, Superstar was taking steroids. He almost died from them with kidney problems and other things. He is crippled today. He could have been the biggest star in wrestling but drugs destroy and they destroyed him. [ Q ] On that note we have to end things Dan. We should talk again. I would like that Dave. Thanks.
  2. * Written by Ray Nobile with assistance from his beautiful wife Marion and Magnus. * This promotional article has been edited by Strength Oldschool. NOTE by Strength Oldschool: Ray Nobile has a new ebook out which I highly recommend all serious bodybuilding and strongman fans read! As a teaser guests can read Chapter 1 and Chapter 5 below for free to get a taste of what the book entails. To purchase this eBook, at the cost of only 5 Euros, (price may be subject to change) please contact Ray Nobile directly at the following email address: raynobile@gmail.com. INTRODUCTION: Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be a worldclass powerlifter? Or a European champion bodybuilder? How about a world record breaker in strongman competition? My name is Ray Nobile and I have been there, done that and got the t-shirt as the saying goes in ALL THREE!! Join me on a journey through the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s as I lift, hold, carry and flex my way through my iron game career. Meet the super-strong highlander who gave it up for love while still in his prime! See the eccentric lifter who raised 700lbs with the help of a foot pump (or did he?)! How about the giant lifter who ran away... from an oily salad? And much more! Meet legends of lifting that became friends of mine, and experience what it was like to compete against them. Stories from my life PLUS chapters featuring Marion my wife and her record breaking success, PLUS various training routines and diets I have used over the years. More than 100 pages of drama, laughter, tragedy and entertainment awaits you within this e-book from a former topflight competitor in the iron game…enjoy! CONTENTS: Chapters / Page No. Foreword by Strength Oldschool – Page 3 1: My first 5 years in the Iron Game: 1965 -1970 – Page 6 2: 1970-1980: From powerful-looking to powerlifting champion – Page 15 3: 1976 – 1980: Power, politics and personalities on my way to the top – Page 25 4: 1977-1980 Worlds to conquer and Battles to the Finnish and Swedish – Page 37 5: 1979-1980 Winning, whingeing and record breaking strong men! – Page 51 6: 1981 to 1985: Big totals, Strongman titles and bowing out of plifting! – Page 65 7: 1986 to 1999: Bodybuilding, gym owner and fire-fighting games! – Page 76 8: Marion tells Magnus about her own career in the iron game – Page 90 9: Some of my training routines – Page 105 10: Dedications and Thanks – Page 112 CHAPTER 1: My first 5 years in the iron game: 1965-1970 Hello Iron Game brothers and sisters, I am very glad you decided to read my story and I will do my best to entertain you along the way. If you don’t know anything about the iron game and it’s all new to you welcome anyway, I will try to explain things and make it entertaining for you as well. I have been living in Bulgaria for about a decade along with my beautiful wife Marion who is a strength athlete and title winner in her own right. Even though I am now over 60 years of age we train hard 6 days a week and eat a disciplined diet, maintaining bodybuilder physiques that are pretty good, even if I do say so myself! We have come a long way from where we started and experienced great triumphs and the odd loss along life’s highway, but here and now I would like to take you back in time and tell you how it was in my early days. I started life’s journey in April 1951, living in a village in South Lanarkshire in Scotland called Bothwell which is roughly 12 miles south-east of Glasgow. The river Clyde runs through Bothwell and the remains of a castle sit on Bothwell Bank. There is a lot of history tied up in this place but when I started training I never imagined at all that one day it would be me making history myself. I was lucky to have inherited good genetics for the iron game which became evident when I was very young. In fact when I was 3 years old I was spotted by a man who was in town with the circus as I ran along the seafront in Largs with my parents. This man offered to buy me from my parents, saying that he had never seen such a well-developed child before and I would make a very good circus performer as I grew up. Luckily for me my parents decided not to take the money! At 13 years of age I started working weekends and school holidays at my father’s hairdressing salon, learning how to deal with ladies hair under the direction of my uncle Adam who managed that side of the business. At 15 years of age I left school and worked full-time hairdressing and attended Stow College of Hairdressing on a day release scheme, picking up my diplomas in tinting, perming and other hairdressing skills. While I was taking my apprenticeship I became inspired to become a bodybuilder when I was 14 years old as I watched the Hercules movies that starred the legendary Steve Reeves and Reg Park, and Gordon Scott as Tarzan. At 14 I possessed a well-proportioned but wiry physique and I thought these guys had incredible physiques. There was even a muscle control act on the talent-spotting TV programme called Opportunity Knocks. A guy called Tony Hollands performed muscle control routines to music, and I just had to build some muscle for myself after seeing all of these bodybuilders. My father bought a Weider barbell set and with little more than the instruction leaflet that came with it I trained in my bedroom for a year. Then at 15 years of age I joined a gym and finally started learning much more about how to train properly. The year was 1966 and the Koby Osaka gym was situated above a Judo studio in Glasgow which had a tremendous reputation in the Judo world due to it being owned and run by a guy called Tommy Morris who, if I remember correctly, was the first man in the UK to attain a 10th Dan grade. Training became more advanced now as I followed routines pinned to the walls of the gym and also sought advice from the more experienced guys that trained there. It was also the gym where I met Robin Love who became my training partner for five years and also became a great friend, more than once being my best man. Thinking of Robin reminds me of one occasion when we went to Blackpool for the weekend and created a bit of chaos in Woolworths while we were there. We went in and told the girl at the counter that we were making a special visit to test the hot water bottles that they were selling there. She said “what do you mean, test them? ” We explained we were checking for leaks and she proved to be a practical jokers dream as she asked if we wanted all of them. She must have been either a new member of staff or a ‘weekend girl’ because she was so gullible she accepted everything we said without question. We settled on one each and after removing the packaging took a count of three then started blowing them up. In next to no time a crowd gathered to watch us and we had the bottles about halfway there when the manager came storming into the room accompanied by a couple of staff members, shouting “what the hell is going on here? ” Robin let his bottle go and it shot up to the ceiling then bounced down onto shelving sending things flying. I was still determined to burst my bottle but was grabbed by the elbows by members of staff and they were forcing me towards the exit. Before we got there Robin dead-panned “here, unhand that man he is not finished yet, the bottle is about to burst so let him continue.” At this I burst out laughing and the bottle took off like a bat out of hell straight into the baby food shelves. We were then booted out onto the street and while we were walking away an old man who looked about 90 called after us “come back lads, you are not well, you need treatment,” but we just kept walking and laughing. Back to the gym and training moved up another notch. I then went on to follow Reg Park’s Bulk and Power routine, which was based on all the basic lifts worked for 5 sets of 5 reps each exercise. Yes young guys, there are 5 x 5 routines by Madcow, Stronglifts, Bill Starr etc. these days, some of them talk as though they invented 5 x 5, but Reg Park was training this way in the early 1950s. And Reg got so strong he set many official British weightlifting records including becoming the second man in history to bench press 500 pounds! I also followed routines from the magazines, especially those created by John McCallum in his ‘Keys to Progress’ series of articles that were published in Bob Hoffman’s Strength and Health and Muscular Development magazines. Years later Randall Strossen of Ironmind reprinted John’s entire series as a book. If you want good advice and funny entertaining articles you cannot do better than to get a copy and read about John’s quirky characters and his admiration for real guys such as the Canadian Hercules Maurice Jones and of course Reg Park. Anyway, I am getting a bit ahead of myself. Let’s go to the first contest I ever attended (as a spectator) which was the Mr Hercules organised by Bob Sweeney who was the owner of the Olympic Health Studios chain of chromed and carpeted health studio gyms spread throughout Britain. The winner of this contest was Bernard Bradford who went on to be runner-up in the Mr Britain contest. The junior division of this contest was won by Dave Caldwell. This would not be the last time I came across Dave at a contest! The icing on the cake was the guest poser, none other than Larry Scott (pictured above), fresh from his Mr Olympia victory! Although he seemed to be somewhat shy off stage, when he posed on stage he just exuded charisma from every pore, no wonder Ricky Wayne (pictured below) raved about him in Joe Weider’s Muscle Builder magazine. And the strange thing was in the pictures we saw of Larry he looked quite smooth, but in the flesh he was not just cut, he was ripped to shreds (cut and ripped means the muscles stand out and are highly visible). I said I was just a spectator at this contest but I did get up on stage and compete but not as a bodybuilder. The Milk Marketing Board held an audience participation contest during the break and I won it. What did I do? I had to eat a pie, drink a pint of milk and blow up a balloon until it burst. I had to take two buses to get home from Glasgow and I received some funny looks from other travellers as I carried my prize home, as I had won 12 pints of milk, 12 pies, 24 cartons of yoghurt and a packet of balloons! Not long after I entered my first competition in Glasgow in November 1966. The contest was the junior Mr Caledonia and I placed third. The winner was Dave Caldwell (photo above) who then went on to become runner-up in the junior Mr Britain that year. Later Dave turned to powerlifting like me, and he went on to become European and World champion. Also at this contest I met Rick Wayne who was both a great bodybuilder and possibly the best writer and contest reporter on the bodybuilding world ever. Ricky said I had great potential and would go far in bodybuilding, and was extremely surprised to hear that I was only 15 years old at the time as he thought I was around 17. Over the next few years I competed in bodybuilding I won the junior Mr Scotland 3 times, junior Mr Caledonia twice, the junior Mr Edina (Edinburgh) and the junior Mr Fitness and Health. I also competed in the junior Mr Britain in 1970 and was a finalist, competing against teenage phenomenon young Bertil Fox (photo below). When I turned 18 years of age one of the girls at my father’s salon decided to go it alone and set up her own business, and she asked me to work for her. I decided ‘why not’ but unfortunately she had a jealous husband and after seven months I had to leave. I fancied a change from hairdressing so I went to work the summer season at a Butlins holiday camp, but only worked there for three weeks because John and Andy who trained at the same gym as me set up a new gym in the heart of Glasgow and asked me to be an instructor there. They named it the Nordic Health Studios and were hoping to have the same success that Bob Sweeney had with his chain of Olympic Health Studios. During this period of time in my life I met many great iron game competitors and here I would like to say a few words about some of them: Frank Richards: (photo above) Mr Britain winner in 1968 who was a straightforward, down to earth character who, even when he was competing or guest posing, could always be found in the bar or pub both before and after the competition, as he liked his drink! Frank later trained with guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu at the original Golds gym and also suffered a very bad accident in his work that almost ended his career but he made a comeback some years later and did very well. John Citrone: I first met John in 1967 at a competition where he guest posed. As well as posing he performed a strength act, part of which was to lift an anvil in one hand and an anchor in the other and hoist them overhead. The anvil had a handle welded on which made it even more awkward to lift. He challenged anyone in the audience to replicate this feat, but despite many very strong men from this era trying no one ever succeeded. John also included his wife, who was a Miss Britain winner, in this act by lifting her overhead with one arm, but unfortunately for the audience‘s strongmen he never invited anyone to try and match that feat! John’s strength was all the more impressive because he was not a huge man by any means, yet he could out-do men that were quite literally twice or even three times his size!! Paul Wynter: (pictured below) A multi NABBA Mr Universe winner who also included strength feats in his act. In those days show promoters got more value for their money as most of the physique stars were more versatile and included strength acts with their posing routines. Paul was strong but was best known for his classical shape, possessing a physique similar to Steve Reeves. Len Sell: (pictured below) Another multi Universe winner, Len was a very small man with a very unusual physique. He also promoted the Bullworker isometric training device, but despite being paid well to do this he would openly tell people that it was rubbish and weights were the one and only truly effective equipment to train with! Louis Martin: (pictured below) A star in the sport of Olympic weightlifting, between 1959 and 1965 was world champion 4 times and won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympic games in 1964 when Russian Trofim Lomakin showed up in top form and beat Louis. I met Louis when we toured Scotland together with Precious McKenzie, Dave Prowse and David Webster. Dave Prowse stood around 6 feet 7 inches and later became the Green Cross Code man on TV then Darth Vader in Star Wars, but at this time he competed as a bodybuilder and Olympic weightlifter and was British heavyweight weightlifting champion twice. He also succeeded in lifting the famous ‘unliftable’ Inch dumbbell that had beaten all other contenders during Thomas Inch’s strongman career! Drifting off the subject there, let’s get back to Louis Martin. Louis was a genial sort of guy who liked to read poetry and possessed an amazing physique for an Olympic lifter as he had started out as a bodybuilder in Jamaica before settling in England. He told me that after every training session he would drink a pint of Guinness with a couple of raw eggs mixed in it. I asked him if this helped with his strength and muscle development and he replied that he didn’t know for sure but it certainly kept his muscles happy! Magnus tells me that years ago in Portugal they called Guinness stout beer and raw eggs a ‘drink for tired horses,’ but lots of people also drank it as a tonic. Louis was by far the most successful Olympic lifter that represented Britain internationally that we have ever had. Don Dorans: In 1968 I met Don at a competition and he took me under his wing, organising my training routines and giving me advice about contest prep, diet, posing etc. His routines were very quirky but effective, and he was way ahead of his time with regards to nutrition. We became really great friends when he moved to Scotland, and I used to visit him every couple of weeks and he would introduce me to the latest piece of training equipment that he was designing. Quite a few of the standard pieces of gym equipment that all gyms have these days came from Don’s highly eccentric but also amazingly active and inventive mind. Don was also a very good cyclist for his age at that time (60 years old). I remember one time when I went to visit him and he had just returned from a 10 miles time trial which had been accomplished in 23 minutes. When he told me he was going out again to repeat the 10 mile trial I had to ask why. He explained that he was conducting a nutritional experiment on himself to see if vitamin E would be effective for his endurance, and had just taken 4,000 IU’s of E before going out again. He told me he would be back in 23 minutes but made it in 22 minutes 30 seconds, so had knocked 30 seconds off his time despite being more fatigued on the second time trial, proving that it was effective. One of the routines Don came up with for me was very effective at adding size and strength – see the last chapter for some details about it. Anyway, going back to competitions, things were very different to today’s shows. Now we have contests with lots of classes thrown in such as Miss Figure, Miss Bikini, Mr/Miss Fitness which are nothing to do with bodybuilding and really belong in aerobics shows. Also there are many different bodybuilding federations. Compare that with the 1960s when everything was far simpler and there were only 2 organisations. In the shows there were only the men’s classes, the juniors and the Miss. Everyone was also much more friendly back then, and approachable and pleasant when asked questions. Most of the top guys felt it was their duty to help the novices in the sport. Also there were no prima donnas throwing temper tantrums on stage and smashing trophies if they failed to win. Magnus asked me if I had an outstanding memory from my first 5 years in the sport that stood out from everything else that had taken place. Well yes I do, it was when I had won the Mr Fitness and Health which was staged by David Webster (photo above). I was invited to join a tour of various competitions in the company of Louis Martin, Precious McKenzie etc. (as I had mentioned earlier), and listening to the stories these guys could tell was riveting stuff to a fan like me. There was one thing that partly spoilt it, this was of course when I first found out that Webster was only really involved in it for himself as he always took advantage of us. I was promised that I would be paid for the tour as Louis, Dave etc. were being paid to be a part of it. When the tour ended and I asked for my money, Webster said the fact that expenses incurred such as food, hotel bills etc. had been paid by him, and that this was my payment and there was no cash forthcoming. This was despite numerous newspaper and TV interviews which Webster was paid for but we weren’t. This was my first experience of many with him over the years that followed where he constantly manipulated situations to suit himself. Generally though, I was very happy with my achievements and met many interesting and famous people, and really enjoyed the experience of it all. If you told me I could live my life over again, and could change anything in those 5 years, I think I would be happy to do it all again exactly the same, yes even if I had to put up with David Webster’s interfering involvement. Okay, that brings us to the end of my first 5 years in the iron game, after which life changed. I still trained but only competed occasionally as my new career as a fireman, getting married and starting a family occupied most of my time. Then in 1976 I took up powerlifting which was a new beginning that led to some of the biggest achievements in my life, and eventually took me all over the world…..and I will be telling you all about it in the chapters that are coming up! CHAPTER 5: 1979-1980 Winning, whingeing and record breaking strong men! Hello again and welcome to chapter five! With apologies to fans of spaghetti westerns you could say in this chapter I remember some guys that were good, at least one bad (although I hear he has mellowed with age! ), and occasionally the ugly happenings and behaviour of people from my career in strength. This time the action overlaps with chapter four as it is squeezed into the end of the 1970s and the start of the 1980s; a time when my powerlifting prowess kept on growing up to some of my best-ever results and other opportunities to compete in strength-based competitions appeared: I am of course talking about strongman contests. Back in the 1970s strongman contests were rare and the competitors even rarer. Unlike today with their Grand Prix events, prize money and professional competitors that train specifically for strongman contests, there were no professional strongmen (other than circus and vaudeville type performers). A TV programme called ‘World’s Strongest Man’ was created by Transworld Sports in 1977 but it wasn’t very worldwide at all as all the competitors were Americans (except for Franco Columbu who lived in America anyway). * 1977 Worlds Strongest Man contest - Franco Columbu and Paul Anderson The TV producers looked around for guys known to the public for their strength and invited them to compete. Guys like WWF (now WWE) wrestler Ken Patera who had been America’s strongest Olympic lifter and had lifted in the 1972 Olympic games in Munich; Bruce Wilhelm the current strongest lifter at the time in America; Lou Ferrigno, at that time the world’s biggest bodybuilder and newly famous on Television as green-skinned The Incredible Hulk; George Frenn a hammer thrower and record-breaking powerlifter from the original Westside Barbell club run by Bill ‘Peanuts’ West; bodybuilder and strongman Mike Dayton who was the first to sell a training course that put the focus on mind control. Using his techniques Mike used to break real police handcuffs in his escapology act! American Football player Bob Young was the big brother of world champion powerlifter Doug Young, then came Jon Cole who was well past his best (Jon had been a fantastic powerlifter and Olympic lifter), and of course Franco Columbu 1976 Mr Olympia (and later 1981 Mr Olympia). And that was it – 8 competitors only. Wilhelm won the contest and won again in 1978 then retired. Going back to the 1977 contest, Franco lost his balance running with a 420 lb (190 kg) refrigerator on his back and wrecked one of his legs. This came back to haunt him when he took the 1981 Mr Olympia title with thighs that looked untrained and (oh no! There goes Magnus on his rant against the 1981 Olympia result again! Better change the subject fast! ) caused a storm of controversy. Anyway, you get the picture – guys were invited to compete simply because they were known to the public and usually when they tackled the strongman events they had never done them before, so records back then were much lower than today but injuries were much more common because they did not know the best techniques to use when performing these events. My first invitation to compete in strongman came in January 1979, and what I am going to tell you next will probably make you think I was crazy to accept. A powerlifting meet was being organised by Gus Rethwisch who had finished in fifth place in the 1978 Worlds Strongest Man (years later Gus played ‘Buzzsaw’ in Arnold’s movie ‘The Running Man’). The meet was by invitation only and would feature world champions and world record holders from all over the world, and it was going to be held in Hawaii. ‘Fantastic’ I thought, ‘who would not want to go to Hawaii?’ I was all set to go when a completely unexpected letter from Wally Holland who was president of BAWLA dropped through my letterbox. It said that I had been selected to compete in Britain’s Strongest Man which was being organised and would be shown on TV by Transworld Sport. The contest was going to take place in Woking, Surrey at the same time as the Hawaii trip. Now let’s see – Woking or Hawaii? With apologies to Woking, I think most people would have taken the Hawaii trip but I settled on the Woking contest (the Hawaii event went ahead without me and became an annual fixture in the powerlifting calendar) instead! There was a lot of prestige involved in this strongman contest. I had been selected as a European champion powerlifter along with Andy Drzewiecki (pronounced drev-e-at-ski), British 110 kg class Olympic lifting champion. In earlier days Andy had been a regional discus and shot put champion and won a bronze medal lifting in the 1978 Commonwealth Games. He also finished in tenth place in the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Andy was a very strong guy, regularly clean and jerking overhead 185 kg (407 lb) in competitions. I was not sure what to expect in the contest but was ready and eager to go and do my best. I travelled down to the contest with Bill Anderson and Grant Anderson (not related despite their surnames), but both of them were Highland Games legends, especially Bill. And Bill gave me some advice about how to deal with David Webster (remember him from the first chapter in my life story? ). Bill was also involved with Webster, appearing in contests and shows for him and, as a canny Scot of more mature years than I was at the time, he told me that whenever Webster arranged anything for Bill to do Bill would insist on being paid up front. He also gave me good advice, saying “don’t do anything for nothing! You are the champion in your chosen sport you have put in the time, effort and money to get where you are, so always insist on payment off anyone you deal with.” As the contest got under way I assessed my competitors, two of them in particular standing out from the rest in size – Geoff Capes (pictured above) the 6 foot 6 inch 22 stone (140 kg) International shot put competitor, and just a fraction shorter but lighter at roughly 19 stone (121 kg) professional wrestler Pat Roach. Similar in size they may have been but as the competition progressed I found they were almost opposites personality-wise. Pat Roach (pictured above - 3rd from left) became famous for his role as Bomber in the much-loved TV series ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet,’ and much like the character he played was a quiet, genial gentleman who worked hard to stay in shape for wrestling, not only going to the gym but also doing hundreds of bodyweight-only squats throughout the day no matter where he was. Pat also appeared in lots of movies. Ironically he usually played the bad guy heavy roles, but in real life Pat was most definitely a good guy. To read more of this chapter and the rest of the chapters on ‘Ray Nobile – My Life in the Iron Game’ contact Ray Nobile at raynobile@gmail.com to purchase this eBook, at the cost of only 5 Euros! (price subject to change). NOTE by Strength Oldschool: A fairly recent Interview with Strongman Geoff Capes can be viewed below...
  3. I have collected first-hand accounts on how Arnold Schwarzenegger really trained including info on his diet. I'm a massive fan of Arnold, but let’s face it, there’s a ton of bullshit information out there online, in books, in magazines etc which makes it difficult knowing what to believe. Well here’s first hand accounts taken from people who have trained with Arnold and observed him training in real life. FIRST HAND ACCOUNTS David C New mentions: Dan Brillantino's response to David C New: For anyone who is not familar with Dr. Michael Walczak... Dr. Michael Walczak (photo below) was a sports nutritionist and helped bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger early in their career. He was a judge at bodybuilding competitions and had a front row seat on most competitions where he photographed the competitors. Jerry Brainum mentions: Dan Brillantino's response to Jerry Brainum: Jerry Brainum's response to Dan Brillantino: Dan Brillantino's response to Jerry Brainum: Jerry Brainum's response to Dan Brillantino: Some info on Rheo H Blair and his special protein mix by Montague: * Part of the article below displays information on bodybuilding legend Larry Scott taking Rheo Blair's protein supplements. More info on Rheo Blair's Protein. Nathan Pearl responds to Jerry Brainum: Ric Drasin (RIP) talked to Jerry Brainum to discuss how Arnold Schwarzenegger really trained [The video could not be embedded - Click on Ric's name to watch the video]. Another video of Ric talking to Jerry about how bodybuilders like Arnold really trained back in the day. Arnold's Steroid Cycle If you have an opinion on how Arnold really trained, add your comments below. Take care, Keep training hard, Strength Oldschool
  4. Photo from 1955 of Weightlifter and Strongman Paul Anderson. I believe Bob Hoffman appears in the background.

    © Strength-Oldschool.com

  5. While Bob Hoffman had the greatest influence on Olympic weightlifting, bodybuilding, and other strength sports in the sixties, Doc Ziegler (pictured above) had the greatest impact. Doc was a pure scientist who became fascinated with strength development. His innovations did more to alter the course of this aspect of physical training that any other individual, before or since. John Bosley Ziegler was a fourth generation doctor. His great-grand-father served in the Civil War as a physician for the Union Army. Doc was a Civil War buff with a large collection of medical paraphernalia from that era who often dressed up in garb to attend some Civil War convention or reenactment. His grandfather was a country doctor and his father a combination of practicing physician and research scientist. Appropriately, he attended Gettysburg College as a pre-med student in 1938 and upon graduation joined the Marines. Fighting in the pacific, he was badly wounded and was told by the attending doctors that he would never be able to walk without the use of crutches because he had lost his right collarbone and would never lift his right hand above his head again. Doc had always been an active person, so he ignored what the military doctors had told him and began experimenting with a variety of exercises to help remedy his physical defects. After he was discharged from the Marine Corps Hospital, he enrolled in the University of Maryland Medical School. All through medical school, he continued to get corrective surgery at the Veteran’s Hospital. After graduation and four years of internship and residency, he set up a private practice next to his home in Olney, Maryland. He was using resistive training for his ongoing rehabilitation when he learned that the center of Olympic weightlifting was located just across the Mason-Dixon line in York, Pennsylvania. He made several visits to the York Barbell Company located on Broad Street. He was extremely impressed with what he found there: John Grimek, Steve Stanko (pictured below), two of the greatest Olympic lifters and bodybuilders in the history of physical culture. He got to meet Tommy Kono, Dave Sheppard, Norb Schemansky, Issac Berger, and Jim Bradford as they came through for workouts prior to some major contest. He also met Hoffman, who understood right away in the value of having a medical doctor associated with the York organization. Doc, in turn, liked the idea of having what he considered to be the strongest athletes in the country at his disposal. So a deal was made and when the US Olympic Weightlifting Team traveled to Vienna in 1954 for the World Championships, Doc Ziegler went along as the team physician. This trip set the stage for what would eventually become a revolution in not only Olympic weightlifting and bodybuilding, but in every sport that needed greater strength. Which basically means all of them. In Vienna, every night the coaches of the Russian team and those lifters who had already competed would party hard into the wee hours of the next morning. Americans didn’t fraternize with the Russians. For a number of reasons. The Cold War being the main one, but they were also very loud, most didn’t bother to bathe very often, and they reeked of garlic. Doc didn’t care and soon they adopted him as one of their own because he was able to hang with them drink for drink. Doc had purposely made friends with the Soviet team, but it had nothing to do with creating good will between the two countries. He wanted to find out as much as he could about how the Russians were training. Plus anything else that might have an influence on their programs. It didn’t happen right away since the Russians had been well-trained to keep their mouths shut. But after a full week of everyone getting drunk together he discovered that they had been experimenting with testosterone. He carried this information home and used the hormone on several lifters at York. John Grimek (pictured below) was one of them. After a few weeks, Grimek told Doc that he never felt any effects one way or the other after taking the testosterone, so Doc gave up on that idea and set about designing the first anabolic steroid. He took the idea to CIBA Pharmaceutical Company and soon thereafter Dianabol was born. The New Jersey-based company wanted the drug to be used for patients who were severely debilitated. In theory, it would help build muscle with only a minimum of activity. The tests showed remarkable results, even for burn patients and those who were so weak they were confined to wheelchairs. Doc understood immediately the implication for weightlifters and wanted to test it on one of the York lifters. However, he wasn’t trying to build an army of super strongmen, he merely wanted to see what would happen when a healthy, well-conditioned athlete used Dianabol. At this same time, he had read some German research where the athletes were using isometric contractions to gain more strength. The idea of pushing or pulling against a stationary object had its roots in Dynamic Tension, but what Doc came up with was something quite different. He expanded on the basic concept and came up with a complete training system and began using it himself on a power rack that he designed in his home gym. He started making gains on a regular basis and could even lift very heavy dumbbells overhead with his bad right arm. Something that the doctor at the Veteran’s Hospital had told him would be impossible. He needed a test subject for both Dianabol and his new form of training. This person had to meet some specific requirements. He had to live fairly close to Doc’s place since that is where all the training would take place. He had no intention of driving back and forth to York five times a week. It was a 180-mile round trip. Doc was also looking for a young athlete who hadn’t as yet made his mark in Olympic lifting. And most importantly of all, this individual must possess a high degree of dedication and be able to follow instructions to the letter. This was essential since the subject had to come to the training site, Doc’s home gym, every scheduled training day and a skipped session would disrupt the entire experiment. This would, in effect, be a full-time job. Ziegler approached Hoffman with his idea, but Bob wasn’t all that excited about it. He felt it reeked too much of Dynamic Tension, a method of training that he had been blasting for years in his magazine, Strength & Health. But when someone sent him an article about the usefulness of isometric training, he agreed to foot the bill for Doc’s experiment. Hoffman informed Doc that he thought Bill March would be the ideal subject. Bill was an outstanding athlete and had recently won the Middle Atlantic Championship in the 181-pound class with a 745 total. Hoffman approached Bill about the idea and March quickly accepted. It was suggested that Bill stay with Doc. There was plenty of room in Doc’s big house, but Bill rejected this notion right away. He wanted to sleep in his own bed with his new wife. He just wouldn’t be comfortable living with Doc. It appeared that the plan had hit a major roadblock. There was really no other lifter living in the area who fit the bill. Then, Smitty came forth with a solution. He volunteered to drive Bill to and from Doc’s house every training day. The 180-mile round trip on back country roads didn’t phase Smitty in the least. There was nothing he loved more than driving and the longer the trip, the better. There was really no way to drive from York to Olney easily. The back roads in Pennsylvania were laid out following animal trails and the route to Olney consisted of lots of sharp curves, narrow roads, most without shoulders. Few realized how important Smitty was in this whole process. Ziegler had a very short interest span. If this experiment didn’t happen right away, he would just turn his attention to something else. But it did happen and the results changed the face of Olympic lifting and bodybuilding quickly and eventually spilled over into other sports that utilized some form of resistive training. Bill March made gains that seemed unbelievable, going from an average light heavy, to becoming a national champion in the 198-pound division in only a couple of years and capped it off with a world record press of 354 ½ . Shortly after Bill began the drive to Olney to receive his daily allotment of Dianabol and go through the isometric workout under Doc’s guidance, Louis Riecke (photo below), a 35-year-old from New Orleans who had been competing for twenty years and was no more than a second-tier lifter, became the second test subject. By this time, Doc had modified his rack routine so that the bar was moved a short distance before being locked into an isometric contraction. This proved to be much more effective than just doing pure isometrics. Riecke, another exceptional athlete like March, took off like a comet. He broke the world record in the snatch, using the split style, with 325 pounds as a light heavy and in ’64 became a member of the Olympic Team that competed in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Hoffman was selling isometric courses and power racks like crazy. They couldn’t turn power racks out fast enough at his foundry to satisfy the demand. Nearly every high school and college in the nation began doing isometrics. And all were achieving a certain amount of success for their efforts, yet nowhere near what March and Riecke had accomplished. That was because they didn’t know about Dianabol. That was a closely held secret. Doc wanted it that way because he thought that if word got out, lifters would abuse the drug. Hoffman had another motive for keeping the drug usage under wraps. Dianabol gave the York lifters a tremendous edge over their opponents and there was nothing Hoffman liked more than having an advantage in business and athletics. While Hoffman was cashing in on the isometrics, Doc didn’t receive any extra money other than his agreed on salary for being the Director of the Hoffman Foundation. Unfortunately, whenever Doc Ziegler’s name comes up in a conversation or in print, it’s always associated with bringing steroids into the athletic community. This is fact, yet what few know is how they were used in the early sixties under Doc’s close supervision. The dosages were so low they would be considered ridiculous today. A lifter started out with five milligrams of Dianabol a day for two weeks. Then this was doubled to ten milligrams for two weeks, followed by twenty milligrams for another two weeks. At that point a liver function test was done and the athlete laid off the drug for the next six weeks, or even longer, before going on another cycle. I didn’t find out about steroids until I had been at York for six months and when I started taking Dianabol I was extremely wary of what it might be doing in my body. I followed the guidelines to a tee and so did all the other lifters who were there at the time. It was only after the word got out and the lifters began taking the drug on their own that they began to be abused. And once word did leak about the ’roids, isometric training disappeared almost overnight. Coaches and athletes figured that they’d been conned. It was the drugs and not the rack routine that had made March and Riecke so strong so fast. Which was only partly true. When the isotonic-isometric contractors were done just as Ziegler taught, lifters made a great deal of progress. But in a very short span of time, the only Olympic lifters in the country who were still including rack work in their programs were the York lifters who knew how to do the program correctly. It was truly a case of the baby being thrown out with the bath water. Photos below: Bill March performing Power Rack Training. When Doc learned that Dianabol was now being used in all parts of the country, he stopped writing scripts altogether. He had predicted what would occur and he was right on the money, but the genie had been released from the bottle and there was no turning back. Hoffman lined up a local doctor, Dr. Roseberry, on Market Street in York to take care of the scripts. And also made arrangements with Schultz’s Drug Store, which was only a few blocks from the York Barbell, now on Ridge Avenue. The scripts were brought into the drug store and the bill sent to the York Barbell. This was totally irresponsible and it got worse. Soon, a lifter didn’t even need a script. He just told the pharmacist what he wanted and signed the receipt. It was like giving a kid the key to a candy store. Eventually, the drug list expanded to uppers and downers plus any new drug the lifters could find in the P.D.R. So it was Hoffman, not Ziegler, who totally disregarded the potential problems with this wholesale, reckless dispensing of drugs to any lifter who represented York. And over the next few years, this list grew exponentially to over thirty lifters and that’s not even counting the many hundreds of athletes who got what they needed through the black market. When Doc learned of this insane practice, he hit the roof. He fully understood that competitive athletes are compulsive by nature and lifters should never be allowed to waltz into a pharmacy and leave with whatever their little hearts desired. To add to the problem, this was going on when the entire country was going through the drug culture. Doc tried to persuade Hoffman to stop the usage of Dianabol, but his words fell on deaf ears. Hoffman was adding more and more top-flight lifters to the York team and he liked being in that lofty position. There was no going back anyway. If he had cut off Schultz’s the lifters would have merely found another source for the drugs they wanted. Doc once told me that he wished he had never introduced Dianabol into the experiment with March and Riecke. All he was trying to do was conduct a controlled clinical experiment. But by this time, Doc had moved on to something new, the Isotron. He had been given an exercise machine made at the turn of the century by his father. It ran on electricity. Like many of his inventions, he took an old idea and vastly improved it. What he came up with was very unique. No other machine that has come on the market that promotes muscle stimulation can come close to the Isotron. Several companies have attempted to duplicate its action, but they have all failed. Basically, the Isotron could stimulate muscles and attachments to contract without the patient doing anything. Other than holding on for dear life in some cases. Pads were applied on either side of a muscle and a dial indicated how much juice was going into the muscle. He designed it with rehabilitation in mind, but tested it on the York lifters. Doc never recorded any of the results and kept no notes, so what he did in this regard is basically lost, except for what Smitty and Bill St. John know about what transpired. It was Smitty who gave the treatments and later on, Bill learned how to use the machine as well. It worked, but since there was no statistical evidence from a large body of subjects and nothing was done in a controlled manner, few people actually believe it can produce any results in terms of strength gains. There is, however, ample verification on the empirical level, March, Ernie Pickett, Tommy Suggs, Bob Bednarski, Tony Garcy, and Homer Brannum all utilized the machine and it helped each and every one of them. Both Picket and Bednarski (photo below) broke the world record in the press after using the machine in 1968. March sometimes used it exclusively and Suggs was a huge fan. I also used it and have to admit I didn’t care for it at all. It was, to me, like being in a torture machine. When Smitty or Doc cranked up that dial, you were in extreme pain. I could get away with working my upper-body and back, but the instant the intensity was increased for my legs, the muscles would lock in a cramp. More like a spasm than a regular cramp and I was unable to handle it. I much preferred moving iron, so that’s what I did and left the Isotron to my teammates. The machine was especially useful for those who were nursing some sort of injury and couldn’t go through a full workout. Homer Brannum used it when he had a sprained wrist. Tommy benefited from it when his knees hurt him so badly that he couldn’t squat, and Bednarski made use of it while he was rehabbing his dislocated elbow. As I said, the workouts on the machine were not fun. Forget water-boarding, when Doc or Smitty locked a muscle in full contraction, sweat poured out of you and you wished you had a stick to bite down on. Doc had a rather perverse sense of humor and would encourage the person receiving treatment to vent his pain by shouting out certain words. Doc knew that he had you by the short hairs and would make the athlete shout out cuss words or racial expletives. I had just turned into the driveway of the Foundation one afternoon and I could hear Homer screaming out the N-word over and over. I knew he was on the treatment table. Bill St. John tells this story about Ernie Pickett and the machine. The two were visiting Doc at his office in Olney when a group of people showed up requesting to see the Isotron in action. Doc volunteered Ernie for the demonstration and as he was getting everything set up, he told Ernie, “If the contraction is too intense and you want me to back off a bit, you have to say ‘Ne-Ne-Na-New.'” At the time, Ernie was weighing over 300 pounds and was one of the top heavyweights in the world. He felt that it would be too demeaning to say anything that silly in front of total strangers, so he held out and held out even when his muscles were crying for relief. Doc, of course, knew he had to break him and kept increasing the level of contraction. Finally, Ernie was crying out “Ne-Ne-Na-New” so loudly that half of Olney surely heard him. You might be wondering, if the Isotron was so great, why didn’t it ever emerge on the national scene? Basically because of two reasons. Doc had been burned so many times in the past by hustlers that he was no longer a trusting man. His recent association with Hoffman and the whole steroid deal only increased his lack of trust. There were a number of companies that did make him very generous offers for the machine, but Doc believed that once they had the Isotron, they would market it as they pleased and have no more use for him or his ideas. He was most likely correct in that assumption. Also, Doc was not a businessman. Nor did he want to be one. That facet of life didn’t interest him in the slightest. He never came up with a new idea for the sake of monetary gain. He was a pure scientist. Developing a concept and seeing it bear fruit was sufficient reward for him. Readers might be surprised to know that the Isotron is still around. Bill St. John inherited it and he is the right person to have it. Bill probably received more treatments on the machine that any other athlete. He was a devoted disciple of Doc’s and an observant student. He, along with Smitty, were the only people who knew how to operate the machine correctly. And he still uses it in much the same way as his mentor did – to help people overcome physical problems. Doc was never at a loss for ideas. Long before anyone ever mentioned negatives, Doc taught Tommy and I how to do them. He came up with several nutritional supplements that were so far ahead of their time that he could have made a nice bundle if he would have marketed them. But he didn’t because the idea was the thing. One called Fruc-tabs, combined a fast-acting sugar, fructose, with a slow-acting sugar, sorbitol. They were fantastic, providing a steady, long-lasting energy that made them ideal for tough workouts and contests. He combined vitamins C, E, and B12 into a chewable tablet. He felt that these were the three most essential vitamins for athletes and they really boosted energy levels. He was the first person to note the importance of the amino acid L-lysine and believed that hard-training athletes needed to take a healthy supply of this nutrient daily. Which I have been doing ever since he started me on the supplement. Besides dealing with the York athletes, Doc was a very busy man. At one point, in the early sixties, he was seeing as many as eighty patients a day in his little office near his house. He was also the Medical Director of the W. R. Grace Company and an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine at Georgetown Medical School. Throw in Medical Officer for Committee on Civil War Re-enactments, Medical Examiner and member of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, being the Team Physician for the U.S. Olympic weightlifting teams and you understand that the man was always into something. But with all that responsibility, Doc was notorious for his ability to party long and hard. No one could actually stay with him when he went on one of his runs to blow off some steam. Tommy (pictured below) came the closest since he had a history of partying over the top himself. Doc would pick Tommy up and they would rendezvous with Kitty, Doc’s squeeze, and a companion for Tommy and they would hit every watering hole between York and Gettysburg, sometimes partying for two days and nights. Tommy would be a wreck for a week. Fortunately for his health, Kay Suggs quickly put a stop to those shenanigans. When Dr. Gourgott (pictured above - far left) came to York for the ‘68 Nationals, he decided that he would take advantage of being in the east and go visit Ziegler. His purpose was to learn everything that Ziegler knew about all aspects of strength training including how to use the power rack and also gather some insight on what Doc knew about nutrition. Gourgott called Doc and asked if he could come down for a visit. “Sure, come on down,” Doc responded. Gourgott (full name: Dr John Gourgott I believe) took great pride in his intellect, as well he should. He went off the charts on the I.Q. exam. He believed that by the time he left Olney that night he would know all of Ziegler’s most guarded secrets about strength training. Full of anticipation, he drove to olney, going over and over the multitude of questions he planned to ask Ziegler. When Gourgott (pictured below) got to the door of Ziegler’s house, Doc stepped out and said, “Come with me. I’m going out for a drink.” Gourgott readily agreed, thinking he would have Doc all to himself and that “a drink” meant just that. Or perhaps a couple. However, that was never the case with Doc when it came to drinking. Ziegler drove them to a bar when he met some of his friends. So much for having him all to myself, thought Gourgott but decided to wait Doc out. It was a long wait. Gourgott became so frustrated and tired that he ended up sleeping in one of the wooden booths in the back. In the wee hours of the morning, Ziegler drove Gourgott back to his car. Gourgott never got to ask Ziegler a single question about training since he had to get back to York. He was competing the next day. Doc was a most imposing individual, standing 6’ 4” and weighing over 270 pounds. He added to his stature by wearing wide-brim cowboy hats and cowboy boots. He completely dominated any gathering, no matter how large. When he walked into an auditorium, everyone knew instantly that he had arrived. He was exuberant, loud, and sometimes downright rowdy. And he was always willing and ready to express his opinion on a subject, regardless of the other person’s feeling on the subject. Doc Ziegler was the only person who could upstage Hoffman. A fact that Hoffman was well aware of and didn’t care for at all. He loved to startle and shock people. Better yet, a large group of people. He once built a gallows in his front yard for no other reason than to irritate his staid Olney neighbors. He wore outlandish outfits, usually some form of old military uniform from the Civil War or cowboy outfits, and threw out politically incorrect names for all races indiscriminately. Smitty tells of an episode when he and Doc stopped in Westminster, Maryland, on the way back to Olney from York. They went in a bar and Doc ordered a double shot of whiskey. Nothing unusual about that, except he was dressed as an Amish preacher. When Doc ordered a second double, he asked the bartender whether it seemed strange for him to be drinking so much. “Yes, it does,” the bartender replied refilling Doc’s glass. “Well,” Doc told him. “I’m working on a sermon about good and ee-vile. I know a lot about good, but I need to find out more about ee-vile, so keep the drinks coming.” Those who knew him well fully understood that this was all for show. Deep down he was a very caring person. He never turned anyone away who was in need of medical attention, regardless of race or creed. He provided medical care to countless minorities in the Olney community who could not afford to pay him. The local Blacks regarded him highly for he was always there for them. I got along very well with Doc. As part of his deal with Hoffman, he was supposed to write a monthly article for Strength & Health for the Hoffman Foundation. I quickly learned that he didn’t care for this task at all. It was menial work, below his intellect. When his articles came in they were invariably late and required a great deal of rewriting to get ready for the magazine. So I suggested that he give me some ideas of subjects for his articles and I would write out a first draft. Then I would bring the draft to him to go over and make notes. I would type the final draft. This worked out in his favor and he was most grateful. He provided me with a great deal of information to help me get healthier and therefore stronger. Ways to get in more work and still be able to recover from the heavier load. One time, he scared the hell out of me. He said, “Starr, you need to stop drinking milk and avoid all dairy products, Strontium-ninety is an extremely harmful radioactive isotope of strontium that is present in the fallout from nuclear power plants and contaminates the grass that cattle eat. It’s passed on to humans in their milk and other dairy products made from milk.” So for two weeks, I did without milk and other dairy, including to my great regret, the daily milkshake at the dairy bar in the Barbell. I lost an appreciable amount of bodyweight since I depended on the shakes to maintain my weight. As a result, I began to lose strength. I finally decided to take my chances with the isotope and went back to eating dairy products and drinking protein milkshakes. I never knew for sure if he meant what he was telling me or just jerking me around. Which he was often prone to do for his own amusement. After both of us had broken all ties with the York Barbell, I called him and told him I wanted to come down and talk about advertising his supplements in my magazine Weightlifting Journal. He was agreeable so I drove from Thomasville to Olney. A visit to Doc’s place was always memorable and this was no exception. I found him in his office and we discussed what needed to be done for him to market his products. Everyone who had used them loved them, especially the Fruc-tabs. The first thing he needed to do, I said, was name your company. He told me to call it Clyde Labs. Clyde was his pet beagle who he regarded with more esteem than he did most humans. I would run ads for his products in my publication in exchange for product. That settled, he invited me to stay for dinner. I accepted since Doc was a great host with lots of tales to tell. Doc lived in a rambling frame house with his wife Lillian, who he had meet in med school and graduated with him. She was the Chief Pediatrician of the Outpatient Services at Walter Reed Hospital. They had three children: James, the oldest, Carol (Murph), and William (Kneedeep). Kneedeep because Doc said he was always in trouble. Doc sat at the head of the table and in a highchair next to him sat Clyde. Clyde wore a little bib and was the recipient of the first offering from each of the dishes. I sat next to Clyde and Murph while the two boys occupied the chairs across the table. Lillian didn’t sit at the table. Rather she perched on a stool by the kitchen door where she responded to all of Doc’s requests instantly. I had a notion that all this was staged, but when I noticed that Clyde displayed perfect table manners and no one paid him any extra attention, I came to believe that this was done on a regular basis. I tried to relax and enjoy the moment, but I couldn’t. I was told that the house boa constrictor had gotten free from his cage so I was constantly checking to see if the house pet had wandered into the dinning room. This definitely wasn’t the Brady Bunch. Doc Ziegler was a pure scientist and humanitarian who had the misfortune to be associated with a greedy group of people who were only interested in money. He ended up bitter and disappointed. He died in 1987. He was 68. By Bill Starr
  6. In the old days, most men who lifted weights in a serious fashion practiced the standing press – and most of them were reasonably good at the lift. Let’s work together to bring that aspect of training back to the Iron Game. Make it a belated New Year’s resolution: “This year, I WILL get serious about my standing press numbers.” Having said that, let’s discuss some basic points about getting started on the standing press and increasing your poundage in the lift. Here are twelve tips for lifters who are starting to re-discover the standing press: 1.) Practice Makes Perfect There is a very precise pressing groove. You learn “the groove” through practice. To become a better presser, you need to press way more often than once a week or once every 10-14 days of heavy pressing. In the old days, Olympic lifters trained the exercise three, four or even five times a week. Personally, I think that four or five times a week would be excessive. But there’s nothing at all wrong with doing standing presses two or three times per week. In fact, many will find that it’s the best way to improve the lift. 2.) Train Heavy If you do high or medium rep sets in the standing press, you probably are not going to develop exactly the right groove for heavy presses. With light and medium reps, you use light weights, and with light weights, you can easily push “close” to the right groove, but not “in” the groove. Close only counts in horseshoes, folks. In lifting, your goal should be to make an absolutely perfect lift on every rep you do. As noted above, the standing press requires you to develop a very precise pressing groove. In this sense, it is both a “skill” lift and a “strength” lift. You MUST train the lift with heavy weights and low reps in order to learn how to do it properly. Think about how lifters train cleans and snatches. Do they do high reps? No. They do singles, doubles and triples. If you do higher reps in a “skill” lift your form breaks down and you actually teach yourself the WRONG groove. 3.) Select the Proper Rep Scheme To use heavy weights, you MUST use relatively low reps. Anything over five reps is too many. Doubles, triples and singles are great. The 5/4/3/2/1 system is excellent. And remember, you don’t need to do 50 presses in every workout. a total of 7 to 15 presses is fine. (5/4/3/2/1 equals a total of 15 reps, which Bob Hoffman considered to be ideal.) 4.) Train the Lower Back Always remember, the standing press builds, works, trains and conditions the lower back. That’s one of the most important aspects of the exercise – indeed, it may be the MOST important aspect of the exercise. But the other side of the coin is this: if you have not been doing serious work for your lower back, you are NOT ready to train hard and heavy on standing presses. Unless your lower back is strong and well conditioned, the FIRST thing to do is to go on a specialization program for the low back. After six to ten weeks of concentrated lower back work, you will be ready for standing presses. This is especially important for anyone who has been avoiding squats and training his legs with leg presses, hack machine squats, dumbbell squats, wall squats or any other exercise that takes the lower back and hips out of the picture. Ditto for anyone who does trap bar deadlifts as his exclusive lower back exercise. The trap bar deadlift is not as effective a low back builder as are deadlifts performed with a regular bar. It’s more of a hip and thigh exercise. Many lifters injured themselves by using trap bar deadlifts as their exclusive low back exercise, not realizing that it really does not work the low back as effectively as other movements. Then they hurt the low back doing squats, rows or curls, and wonder what happened. Anyone who has been training with bench and incline presses (or dips), back supported overhead presses (or machine presses), leg presses and trap bar deads — a schedule I mention because it is highly popular and similar to that used by many modern lifters – should devote serious attention to training his lower back before he tackles standing presses. Such a lifter may have fairly strong shoulders and triceps, and may THINK that he can go out and start doing standing presses with BIG weights. He can’t. His lower back will not be anywhere strong enough and well conditioned for serious work on the standing press. Let me also note that one of the very best exercises for building STABILITY throughout the lower back and the middle of the body is the wrestler’s bridge. Try 3 sets of 30 seconds per set (with no weight) and work up slowly and steadily until you can do 3 sets of 3 minutes each. You won’t believe how much stronger and more stable you are when doing your barbell exercises. In this regard, don’t forget that I started to do bridging in the Spring of 2000, and by the Fall I had worked up to 12 reps with 202 lbs. in the “supine press in wrestler’s bridge position.” At about the same time, I hit a personal best of 270 in the standing press. Coincidence? I don’t think so. If you ask someone to list a few good “assistance exercises” for the press, they’ll usually say, “dumbell presses, side presses, incline presses, push presses, jerks, upright rowing, etc.” – in other words they’ll think of “shoulder exercises” and different types of pushing movements. That’s lazy thinking. The shoulder, triceps, traps and “pressing muscles” get plenty or work from pressing. The most beneficial “assistance exercises” for the press are those that strengthen the middle of the body. 5.) Do not neglect training your core All of the foregoing points apply to training the waist and sides. Unless you already have been doing this, work hard on these areas for six to ten weeks BEFORE starting to specialize on the standing press. With regard to the waist and sides, the big problem is the crunch. The exercise gurus who have promoted the crunch for so many years have done nothing but develop a generation of lifters who lack any reasonable degree of strength and stability in the middle of their bodies. Scrap the crunches. Replace them with bent-legged situps (with weight, 3×8-12), lying or hanging leg raises, heavy sidebends and the overhead squat. The overhead squat? Kubik, have you lost your mind? No, not at all. The overhead squat builds tremendous strength and stability all through the middle of the body. It hits the inner abdominal muscles that lie BENEATH the “abs.” When it comes to strength and stability, these are the muscles that count. And while we’re talking about core strength, let’s talk about the power wheel. Paul Anderson used a simple cart type of this apparatus, described in an earlier press article in IronMan. 6.) Start Your Day With Presses Many lifters train their presses after doing heavy squats or heavy back work. That doesn’t work very well, because your lower back is tired and you are less stable. Do the presses first. That’s the way Olympic lifters did their training in the old days, and remember, those guys were all specialists in the standing press. 7.) Be Aggressive Every single one of you can develop the ability to do a standing press in perfect form with bodyweight. I mean that. Dead serious. Every single one of you . . . bodyweight . . . in perfect form. That should be your long-term goal. For the younger guys, and for the stronger, more experienced lifters, bodyweight is just the beginning. Once you hit bodyweight, set your sights on 110% of bodyweight. When you can do that, shoot for 120% . . . Anyone who can handle bodyweight in the standing press is STRONG! Anyone who gets up to 130% is handling weights equal to some of the very best Olympic lifters in the world back in the pre-steroid days. Norb Schemansky, in the 198-lb. class, handled 281 pounds. If you do the math you’ll see that Schemansky was pressing 142% of his bodyweight. These numbers show what a strong, determined man can achieve with years of proper, hard training. 8.) Try Cleaning for your Presses Many lifters find they can press more if they clean the weight than if they take it off racks or squat stands, because the bar is better positioned for a heavy press. So learn how to clean, and try cleaning the bar before pressing it. You might find it adds a little more zip to your pressing. 9.) Dumbell Pressing From Saxon to Grimek, from the beer halls of Austria to Davis, Hepburn and Anderson, many, many old-timers specialized in heavy dumbbell pressing. And guess what? The best dumbbell pressers usually turned out to be the best barbell pressers! You see, heavy dumbbells are very hard to balance. To improve your overhead pressing, you need to do plenty of overhead pressing. Heavy dumbbell exercises, however, are a tremendous assistance exercise for the standing press. Keep them in mind, and when your progress slows down, work them into your schedule. Harry Paschall used to swear by them; heavy dumbbell pressing is one of the “secrets” in his 1951 classic, “Development of Strength”. 10.) Handstand Pressing Another excellent assistance exercise for the standing press is the handstand press. Grimek used to do plenty of handstand presses and gymnastics work, and he became one of the best overhead pressers of his generation. Sig Klein used to specialize in handstand presses and tiger bends, and he managed an amazing record in the military press – a heels together, letter perfect military with 150% bodyweight. Paschall, who was good buddies with both Grimek and Klein, swore by the movement. Give them a try! 11.) Keep the Back, Abs and Hips Tight For proper pressing, you need to “lock” your low back, abs and hips. Most lifters will do best if they also tense the thighs. The entire body must be tight and solid. Pretend you are doing a standing incline press without the incline bench. Your body must support the pressing muscles and the weight of the bar exactly the same as would an incline bench. (This is NOT to say that you lean back and try to press from a 60 degree angle or any similar foolishness. I don’t want you to lean back as if you were ON an incline bench, I want you to understand that your back, hips and abs have to give you that same level of support that a solid bench would provide.) 12.) Specialize for a While The standing press is an exercise that responds very well to specialization programs. Try a schedule devoted to very little other than heavy back work, squats or front squats and standing presses. Remember, the great Olympic lifters of 30’s, 40’s and 50’s devoted almost all of their time to cleans, snatches, presses, squats and jerks, with a significant amount of their training being devoted to the press. They built enormous pressing power and tremendous all-round strength and power. You cannot do better than follow their example. The foregoing tips will help anyone become not just a good, but an EXCELLENT presser. And remember one more thing – pressing is LIFTING. The standing barbell press is one of the most basic tests of strength ever devised. It has been a standard measure of a man’s physical power since the invention of the barbell. When you become a good presser, you can rightfully claim your place among the lifters of the past and present. Do it! Brooks Kubik
  7. Strongman Paul Anderson Push Pressing 625 Pounds (1955) By John Grimek Edited by: Strength Oldschool This article refers to Paul Anderson Push Pressing 625 lbs from shoulder to chin level – incredibly strong! Before the USA team left for Munich they worked here in York. Clyde Emrich and Jim George, however, arrived almost a week before and have been training regularly with Chuck Vinci, the bantam. Jim George is the younger brother of Pete, who lifts almost identically in the same style as Pete. Many of you will remember that Pete was a poor presser as compared to his other lifts, but by persistent practice and conscientious effort he succeeded in reaching the point where he can press 260 to 270 lbs in excellent form. His brother Jim is about the same; good on the quick lifts but still lagging in the press, which he is working on to improve. Being only twenty years of age and a good competitor, he should improve considerably. No one expects him to win but outside of the Russians we doubt if anyone will beat him, so he should win a place in the championships. In training here last Friday, the lifter who continues to amaze everyone is the massive Anderson, and massive he is! He looks as if he gained another 100 lbs in the past year. Most of us agree that he might tip the scales at 400 lbs before too long, although he weighs around 345 lbs (24 stone 9 lb !) now. While the fellows continued to warm up and make lifts, Anderson calmly sat on one of the benches sipping honey and gulping some milk, and then decided to warm up himself. He began loading the barbell until the chap who was helping him asked, "How much weight do you want? " "235 lbs " was the casual answer! It's been a long time since we saw that much weight used for warming up. He brought the weight to his chest easily and then, much easier than we anticipated, he pressed it several repetitions, just as any lifter who could press 300 takes 200 and makes a few warm up Presses. Back again he sat on his bench. Another sip of honey, another gulp or two of milk. After five or ten minutes they loaded the bar to 395 lbs. This was his second attempt with a weight that was near his world record. We heard some rumours that he was pressing around 440 lbs, but when we asked him this question, he said it was just rumours. He brought the 395 lbs to his chest by employing a fairly low clean squat, but came up as if he were doing a squat without any weight at all, so easily it appeared. He then pressed it overhead easier than I've seen other heavyweights press 300, not once but three times! He might reach 450 lbs ! Everyone who witnessed this lifting had to yell with laughter at the ease which Anderson pressed this weight. More resting, more honey and milk and then he was back again asking for 415 lbs. This poundage represented more weight than his accepted world's record, but no one will deny that he did not press this weight overhead with ease. Everyone agreed this was more weight than any, who were present, ever saw pressed, and it seemed evident that Anderson would press at least 425 lbs at the world championships and possibly the 440 lbs he was rumoured to have pressed previously. He did say, however, that if his clean was easy he could press easier. We're looking forward to him making 450 lbs before long, possibly at the next Olympics, if all goes well with him. As the lifters warmed up for the Snatch, Anderson sat by watching, still taking a sip of honey and drinking his milk. When the lifters had progressed to a heavier weight, Anderson took 270 lbs for his warm up, making it easily. Back to his resting place... by this time, he was working on his second quart of milk and called for 305 lbs for his second attempt. The weight flew up nicely and this concluded his lifting workout. When asked why he didn't practice more snatching and cleaning, he replied that he doesn't train too much on actual lifting but practices more of the power exercises, and his favourite is the one I have always recommended to those who wanted to improve their Presses and Jerks - by supporting a heavy weight on the chest in such a way as if you're going to press it. No one but Anderson! Anderson amazed everyone by loading the bar to 625 lbs and sent the weight almost to the top of his head several times! I've held that much weight on my chest years ago, but I have never been able to move it, much less get it that high! And I doubt if anyone ever did outside of Anderson. Later he performed several squats with this weight... just to keep his thighs limber, or so he says! Everyone seemed to enjoy their last workout before they left the next day. Bradford, however, didn't show up till later and took his workout that evening. Pete George was flown over earlier by the army. His brother Jim informed us he was in the armed service. Members of the team included Chuck Vinci, Tommy Kono, Jim George, Clyde Emmrich, Jim Bradford and Anderson. Hoffman was coach, Terpak trainer and Johnson manager. Alan Hool our Mexican representative, went along on the trip as a spectator. Norbert Schemansky (photo above) and Sheppard didn't make the trip because each was confined to his job and unable to get off. I hinted at Sheppard giving up lifting last month, but then I wasn't positive and felt sure that he might get back into training. However, he doesn't seem to be interested at the moment and may never be again, but there is still some chance that the lure of the coming Olympics may stir within his chest and find him getting into shape for this event. But only time can bear out this statement. Schemansky is so busy learning the finer points of police work that he is attending a special school for the police, so could not get the time off to compete in the world championships. He planned entering the midheavyweight class. With he and Sheppard holding that position, it's doubtful if the Russians could score against them, but the sad part of this is that both these men, who were potential winners, didn't even make the trip. The American team has little chance of winning. They have some hope of getting three, possibly four championships, but actually, the only sure title which can be preconcluded is in the heavyweight class. The others who have some chance and might come through are: Chuck Vinci, Pete George and Tommy Kono (photo below). * The Saturday Evening Post - Aug 23 - 1919. The Saturday Evening Post (photo above is not the actual issue), the October 8 issue, features a rather lengthy article on Paul Anderson, pointing out reasons why he is the world's strongest man. The article is interesting and should bring about many additional converts to the lifting game. Ever since the Americans visited Russia, lifting has had an added boost, and placed Anderson in the limelight. The governor of Georgia already proclaimed a "Paul Anderson Day" but now the Jr Chamber of Commerce in Toccoa, Georgia, have plans to erect a statue of Anderson at the cross-roads! Goodness only knows what other proclamations will come to pass before the fame of Anderson dies down! * A recent photo of the Paul Anderson Statue. One thing I will lay my money on, is that Paul Anderson, providing he wins and makes a record or two, will receive even more outstanding publicity than he did up to now. I predict that after these championships, every man, woman and child will hear or know about Anderson. * Strongman Paul Anderson did actually go on to win the 1956 Olympic Weightlifting Championships. John Grimek NOTE by Strength Oldschool: The above article comes from the attached photos below...
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