Steve Reeves International Society Newsletter Volumne 3 Number 1
1948: Raves for Reeves from Europe to Hawaii!
Vive La France!
The next day Steve and Oscar boarded a boat in Dover England for the ride across the Channel to Calais, France. From there they took a train through Paris and on down to Cannes. The Mr. World contest, entitled "Plus Bel Athlete du Monde" in French, and the Mr. Europe contest was scheduled for August 16, and would be preceded on August 15 by the Mr. France finals. All of the events were held at a magnificent outdoor theatre located be hind a hotel casino. It was an fantastic setting. The stage was decked out with the colorful flags of various nations. The backdrop was the deep blue Mediterranean Sea and lots of sunshine.
Plus Bel Athlete Du Monde
On Sunday, August 15, the Mr. France finals took place. There were ten competitors including Robert Duranton who took first place, and Marcel Raveraud, second place and Maurice Weinberg was awarded third place.
But Monday August 1 6 was the day Steve awaited for. Both the Mr. Europe and the Mr. World contests were held that day in the outdoor theatre. An enthusiastic crowd, composed mostly of vacationers, filled the theatre. Contestants were from around the world: Steve Reeves (USA), Oscar Heidenstam (England), Sylvester Lindberg (Sweden), Jacques Estella (Spain), Jean Laafeuze (Belgium), Marcel Raveraud, Maurice Weinsburg, Guy Broquerie, Andre Drapp and Robert Duranton (France).
For the event, each contestant was required to perform three poses on stage. The first was forward facing, the next a back pose and the third a side view pose. After the completing the poses, the contestant performed a short posing routine. Steve chose to do the same posing routine he performed at the Mr. Universe contest.
After the posing routines were completed, the contestants were required to show some type of suppleness or acrobatic ability. Steve did the only one he knew-the same hand stand he performed at the Mr. Universe contest. After all the contestants finished, the judges conferred to compare score cards in order to declare a winner.
Steve Wins the 1948 Mr. World TitleWithin a short time the judges declared Steve Reeves the new Mr. World I The crowd went wild with applause and stood and cheered as Steve was handed the Mr. World trophy. He was definitely the audiences favorite competitor. The president of France then presented Steve with a very exquisite blue and gold porcelain vase, about two feet high. (Even today, Steve still treasures its beauty.) He was also presented with a huge bouquet of flowers. This made him feel a bit awkward, so as soon as he was off the stage he handed them to the prettiest girl he spotted in the audience.
The second place trophy went to Sylvester Lindberg, third place was won by Robert Duranton, fourth place went to Andre Drapp and fifth place to Oscar Heidenstam. Oscar had to hurry back home, so Steve thanked him for his help and friendship during their stay and Oscar left for England. That meant Steve was on his own in a country whose language he did not speak!
Although Steve originally planned on being in Europe a total of ten days, he was forced to extend his stay in France by four days due to not procuring ship passage back to the USA. It was the end of August and the transatlantic ships were already filled with Americans returning home after vacationing in Europe.
After Oscar left, Steve had no one to interpret for him. So Steve, ventured out on his own. He made the most of his time on the French Riviera by relaxing in the sun, swimming and running on the beach. He managed to get his three squares per day using good old Yankee know how.
Every morning he walked to a local cafe and ordered a cheese and mushroom omelet (omelet fromage aux champignons) the only dish he knew how to order in French. For lunch he would go to the fruit stand and point at the piece of fruit and hunk of cheese that he wanted. Dinner got a bit boring for Steve who only knew how to order filet mignon and salad. He finally did meet a young man named Pierre who helped him translate the French to English.
One local custom he especially en was that on several occasions while he was lying on the beach with his eyes closed, a beautiful young lady would stroll by him, stoop down and plant a big kiss on his lipsl This happened several times and Steve never complained-not once!
Finally he was able to book passage to New York on the S.S. America, a passenger ocean liner. He boarded the ship on August 27, 1 948 and said au revoir to France and its beautiful ladies.
As was the custom at the time, the ocean liners always sent a telegram ahead to New York with the list of passengers. They always listed the celebrities who were aboard so the press could meet them when the ship pulled into the Port of New York. Sure enough, a phalanx of press and photographers were waiting as Steve arrived with his handsome Mr. World trophy in hand. After several interviews and many photos, Steve hailed a cab and headed for the airport and his flight to San Francisco.
As soon as he arrived in San Francisco, he headed to Oakland for a two-week visit with his mother and stepfather.
Back in Santa Monica
When he returned to Santa Monica, Steve signed with a new talent agent who found him several guest parts on television shows such as the "Dinah Shore Show." In between acting parts, Steve worked part-time on weekends at a friend's service station and parked cars one day a week at the Captain's Table Restaurant on La Cienega. His part-time lobs helped pay for the housing he shared with his friend, Les Wray from Santa Monica.
Mr. and Miss Honolulu Competition
While living in Santa Monica with Wray, Steve was invited to go to Hawaii with Les and Abbey Stockton to be part of a physical culture exhibition in conjunction with the Mr. and Miss Honolulu Competition. The Stocktons told Steve that George Eiferman, who had been appearing around the country at high school assemblies, would be joining the three of them. Steve thought it would be fun to go to Hawaii and to spend time with his old pal George Eiferman.
The Stockton's made all the travel arrangements and the four of them left Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday, April 20-destination: The island of Oahu!
Their 11 pm flight brought them into the Honolulu Airport early the next morning. A Hawaiian A.A.U. official and many physical culture supporters were on hand to greet them. The Stocktons, Steve and George were invited to participate in four separate events on the islands of Oahu and Hawaii.
They began at the Mr. and Miss Hawaii Competition where the Stockton's performed a "Feat of Strength and Classic in Hand Balancing." George's performance included his "Feat of Strength, Posing and Muscle Control" routines. Steve gave the crowd a magnificent posing routine and was honored to present the awards to the winners of the competition.
On Saturday, the 23rd, the group left Honolulu and flew on Hawaiian Airlines to the "Big Island, "Hawaii. They stayed at the Moana Hotel in Hilo. The plan was for them to perform at the Hilo Center Barbell Club on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. They ended their last show on the 24th with a splendid Hawaiian feast around 9 pm.
Monday, the 25th was a free day for the foursome. They spent the day shopping and visiting a sugar cane refinery. Tuesday was their last day on the Big Island and the promoter of their trip gave them a fantastic Hawaiian Luau on Waianae beach. While there, Steve met some young ladies from his hometown of Oakland who were on the islands to play in a softball tournament. Just before the luau everyone was taking photos at the waters edge. That was the spot where the great color photo of Steve on lava boulders was taken.
The foursome flew back to Honolulu where they were invited to the Ishii Gardens Tea House for an "Aloha-farewell" dinner. Steve recalls that they each were given colorful Japanese kimonos to wear and presented with many lovely gifts. One of his favorites was a taro-leaf bowl carved from moneypod wood given to each of them. Each bowl had a small brass plaque engraved with the recipient's name. Dinner was an authentic Japanese feast served at low tables. Steve and the group really en themselves!
After thanking their hosts for a delightful time, the foursome left for the airport where they boarded Pan American World Airlines Flight 806 at 11:55 pm. Come morning, they were back in os Angeles. They had said, "Aloha" to a memorable trip-and we'll say, "Aloha" to you until next time!
Also in this Issue:
SRIS News - Five articles on recent SRIS activity
Nutrition and Fitness -The Steve Reeves Home Gym
Steve Reeves Mailbox - Questions from fans around the globe
Celebrity Profile - Extensive interview with Lou Ferrigno
Steve Reeves Exclusives - Many photographs, Steve's new book, etc.
Official SRIS Products
Steve Reeves International Society Newsletter Volumne 3 Number 2
The Making of Mr. Universe!
We pick up our story shortly after Steve returned to California from his Hawaiian trip with George Eiferman and Les and Pudgy Stockton. He was now more focused than ever on getting that big break in show business and keeping in the best shape possible.
He was working out at Vic Tanney's gym in Santa Monica and landed several cameo guest appearances on television. He appeared every couple of months on such top shows as "The Dinah Shore Show," "Topper" "Red Skelton," "The Ozzie and Harriet Show," and "Burns & Allen to name a few. Besides the TV appearances, Steve continued working part-time parking cars and helping out at his friend's gas station.
Let's Get Physical
During the summer of 1949, Steve was hired as the fitness instructor for Bernarr MacFadden at the Arrowhead Springs Hotel in Lake Arrowhead, California, a mountain resort about 90 miles east of Los Angeles in the San Bernadino Mountains. So Steve jumped into his beautiful 1946 green Buick Roadmaster convertible and left Santa Monica for his new job in Lake Arrowhead.
As the fitness instructor, Steve would arise each morning at 6 am and lead the guests in the 'morning song," followed by stretches and callisthenics. After that, he led them on hikes and guided them on trail rides.
Bernarr MacFadden was quite an interesting character. He wore custom-made shoes that had strips of metal in the soles that touched the bottom of his feet and the ground as he walked. Bernarr believed the shoes were a means of maintaining a connection with the earth's magnetism.
After working there for three months, MacFadden added "dancing with the ladies" in the evening to Steve's duties. Steve informed him that he could do either the early morning routine or the evening dances, but not both. MacFadden could not understand why Steve was opposed to doing both, and insisted that he do it all. Steve told him that under those circumstances he would have to quit, and he did.
Me Kimbar, You Jane
Back in Los Angeles, Steve met a gentleman who wanted to cast him in the lead role of a television plot entitled, "Kimbar, Lord of the Jungle." The project was to be financed by this 24-year-old soon-to-be movie producer. He was using the money he had inherited from his late aunt's estate to fund the project. He covered the entire sum needed to produce the 15-minute pilot. The producer convinced the investor that this move would make him a bundle of money! In those days, everyone was shooting 15-minute episodes, which is why the pilot was that length, a decision the producer would later regret.
The pilot was shot in about a week in the San Fernando Valley, around ten miles north of Hollywood, where many of the old westerns were filmed in the thirties and forties. Steve found it was really interesting working in a film with live, wild animals. All the stunts were performed by Steve, never a stunt double, and he did what was needed to get the job done.
One day, Steve was wearing sandals on the set and unknowingly cut his foot while running through the brush. In the scene, he was working with a panther, and the panther started acting a little strange. Unaware that his foot was cut and that the panther was smelling blood, he was surprised when the panther started acting very aggressive. Even the trainer couldn't figure out the problem until he noticed Steve's cut foot. He told Steve, "You better get that cut looked after before you become 'Kimbar Meal of the Jungle'."
Just as you would expect, Steve wore only a small loin cloth in his Kimbar role, but the television censors wouldn't allow his navel to show. To solve the problem, a leather strap for Kimbar's knife always covered the tell-tale belly button!
By the time the pilot was completed and ready to sell to television, the required length of an episode was 30 minutes, not fifteen. The producer could not gather enough money to shoot the extra fifteen minutes, so the project died, without Steve's knowledge of it.
The filming was completed in late November 1949, and Steve was very pleased with his portrayal of Kimbar. A couple weeks later Steve and some friends were in Hollywood to see the famous Hollywood Lane Parade, a holiday tradition in the Southland. While watching the parade, Steve suddenly saw a huge elephant parading past him. Riding on the elephant was Lex Barker who was the current Tarzan. Steve thought enthusiastically to himself, "Next year it will be me, 'Kimbar' riding in the Hollywood parade." But it was not to be.
Life After Kimbar
During the beginning of 1950, Steve continued his quest to break into the movies. He wasn't getting where he wanted in show business, and felt a little discouraged. He knew he had to get his movie career in motion.
On one occasion, he auditioned with Universal Studios. Because of his bronze tan and smooth skin, the casting people accused him of wearing body make-up and insisted on seeing him without it. Steve took his fingers and ran them across his face and turned him palm towards them and said, "Look, I'm not wearing any make-up." But, not wanting to be corrected, they quickly dismissed him.
A few days later when Steve was at the gym, some of the guys told him, "Why don't you get yourself in shape and win another title? Maybe something will happen for you in another field - forget the movies."
Steve was determined to keep pressing forward and not give up on his efforts to become star, but thought, "Maybe they are right, maybe I'll compete again." He had just learned that the Mr. Universe Contest would take place on June 24 at the Scala Theater in London. After his conversation at the gym, he seriously considered competing again in the Mr. Universe.
Who's That Guy?
George Eiferman was leaving town within a couple of weeks to begin another session of the high school assembly tours he made for the National School Assemblies. At the time, he was driving over 50,000 miles a year throughout the country giving talks to youth about physical fitness, art, music and life. He would play a trumpet (which he learned to play at the Philadelphia Music School Academy!) with one hand, while lifting 110 lbs. over his head with the other hand. It was quite a show!
He was leaving for Pennsylvania and, coincidentally, it was about six weeks before the Mr. Universe contest. George thought it would be great for Steve to travel with him and Steve could train at the York Gym in York, Pennsylvania. He suggested to Steve, "Why don't we drive together? I will do two or three schools a day and afterwards I can meet you at the gym so we can get in a workout." Steve thought it sounded great, but first wanted to talk it over with his girlfriend.
Steve's girlfriend, Barbara Darrow, was a starlet at Universal Studios. After speaking with George, he drove to the studio in his green convertible to pick her up from acting class. Everyone knew Steve so he drove, right into the lot and parked near the building where her class was held.
While waiting for her, he got out of the car and leaned up against it, watching some guys throw a football in the lot across from him. At that time, one of the movies being filmed on the lot was "Sunday Heroes." It was a football movie starring Frank Gifford, who was playing football at the University of California.
As the guys continued kicking and throwing the ball, it bounced over by Steve. He picked it up, and without much effort, punted it back about 70 yards or so. When Gifford saw the ball flying through the air, he was heard remarking, "Who's that guy?" Just then, Steve's girlfriend got into his car and they left.
Steve told Barbara his travel plans. She did not want to see him leave but knew it was what he needed to do. (A few years later, Barbara Darrow married the son of the mayor of Beverly Hills and her uncle, John Darrow, became Steve's agent. Darrow landed Steve roles in the movie, "Athena" and in the play, "Wish You Were Here.")
On the Road Again
George and Steve made their arrangements. After packing George's Olds Coupe with a few clothes and all of George's props, they headed cross country to Pennsylvania. They made it a scenic trip, stopping at several of the national parks and really enjoying the drive. It was only five weeks before the Mr. Universe contest when Steve and George arrived in York, Pennsylvania on Memorial Day. In York, they ran into John Grimek and talked to him about the upcoming contest. Grimek invited them to dinner and afterwards helped them find a place to stay.
The next morning, Steve and George walked into the old barbell building where the York Gym was located. Grimek was there and, as Steve started working out he overheard Grimek telling another person, "Hell that kid doesn't have a chance of winning the Mr. Universe." Did Steve have a chance? We'll see next time.
Also in this Issue:
SRIS News - Five articles on recent activity by Steve and SRIS
Nutrition and Fitness -The Muscle Manna Story
Steve Reeves Mailbox - Questions from fans around the globe
Celebrity Profile - Eugene Sandow - Bodybuilding Pioneer
Steve Reeves Exclusives - Many new photographs now available
Official SRIS Products
Steve Reeves International Society Newsletter Volumne 3 Number 3
Just Believe You Can be Mr. Universe
Steve Reeves has never accepted sponsorship by any persons or organizations such as Joe Weider or the York Barbell Company. It would have helped him defray some of his expenses for travel, hotels and food while training.
Instead, he footed all of his training bills himself, because he truly believed that he could win all of the bodybuilding contests he entered, including the 1950 Mr. Universe contest.
Steve and George Eiferman arrived in York, Pennsylvania (Muscle Town USA) on Memorial Day,1950. To help reduce some of the training expenses, Steve and George traveled together, splitting their costs.
In York they were able to rent rooms in a large private home, It gave them a place to live and cooking privileges, which also helped them conserve their limited financial resources.
George was in York working for the National School Assemblies, making appearances at high school assemblies. Steve came with him to York in order to train for the 1950 Mr. Universe contest, set for June 24 at the Scala Theater in London. Eiferman was Steve's workout partner, and they did their workouts after George completed his daily duties at the schools. Their workouts would start about 4 PM and would last until 6 or 7 PM.
TIME TO TRAIN
There was only five weeks for training before the contest. On the first day, Steve walked into the gym in great shape, but not quite contest shape. Working those many months in show business had left Steve a much trimmer 200 lbs. That was below his champion ship weight of 215 lbs., his weight at the time of winning the Mr. America title three years earlier.
When John Grimek saw Steve at the gym that day, he didn't believe Steve had a chance of winning, or even placing at the contest. A few times during his stay in York, John Grimek and his wife invited Steve and George to their home for dinner.
Week One began Steve and George's training foundation that set the pace for the next several weeks. They hit it hard, really hard. From the first moment in the gym, Steve's only thought was to train to the maximum, eat plenty of the right foods and get the rest required to rejuvenate his body.
Steve knew the person he had to beat for the Mr. Universe title was Reg Park of Great Britain. So Steve focused on beating Park during his training. Every time he got to his tenth repetition in a set he would count out Park's name instead of the number ten. This gave him motivation and the extra willpower to complete the full ten reps every time.
At the end of the first week, he had already begun getting that great Reeves look back again. Week Two brought more improvement, but Steve felt he needed better equipment to bring his legs back to their former greatness.
He asked Jules Bacon, manager of a local machine shop, to fabricate a special hack machine for him. What Bacon made was a platform about three feet above the ground. A rod extended through a hole in the center of the platform so you could add weights below and had a tee handle at the top. Steve would place the handle behind him and lower himself into a squat position then grab the tee handle. He would then perform squat exercises. That was how he brought his legs back to their former greatness. He also had Bacon make him a low row handle, which is still used today. Steve was always innovating his workouts with new ideas and equipment, much like he still does.
Week Three became a real challenge for Steve as he came down with a severe case of the flu. He could barely make it through his daily workouts, but he persevered. Working out just as hard as he could the entire time, coughing, fighting a fever and hanging onto any thing that was handy after a set. He was constantly on the verge of passing out, but kept working out with more and more intensity all the time. Beat Park. Beat Park. His life consisted of eating and sleeping, working out and napping.
The only thing he changed during his illness was the amount of weight he used. He would lighten the weights a little so he could get through that time of reduced strength. That untimely illness, though, seem to provide some unexpected results. He noticed that the illness seem to have made his muscles more defined.
Week four he was still recovering from the flu. He was feeling much better and his workouts were improving along with his overall appearance. By then everyone in the gym could not believe what they were seeing. More muscle and definition, he had packed on a good solid fifteen pounds of muscle. Not quite there, in his eyes, but he felt by the end of the next week he would be in contest shape. Beat Park. Beat Park.
Week Five went by very quickly for Steve. He put the finishing touches on his physique and everyone in the gym knew it would take a Greek god to beat him now. Steve had transformed his body into a rock solid 215 pounds in less than five weeks!. Now Grimek was heard in the gym, as he pointed at Reeves, "Well, there's the next Mr. Universe."
It was now time for Steve to leave his friends in York and board a train to New York. Within a few hours he arrived at Grand Central Station in New York City. He was very familiar with New York since he spent so much time there developing his acting career a few years earlier.
He rode a bus to La Guardia Airport where he boarded a flight to London and the Mr. Universe contest.
A THOUSAND CONVERSATIONS, BUT NO SLEEP
Steve arrived in London Wednesday about midmorning, two days prior to the contest. It would give him Wednesday afternoon and Thursday to rest before the contest on Friday.
He took a taxi from the airport to the hotel. His popularity had proceeded him and it seemed everyone knew where he was staying London. Shortly after checking in the hotel, Steve hurried to his room, planning to take a nap before dinner. No sooner had he settled in and fallen asleep, the telephone rang, waking him up. It was a fan asking questions about posing routines and training tips. Steve was always happy to share his experiences, but he was trying to get some needed rest. He knew right then and there that rest was going to be impossible.
Shortly after 4 pm there began a continuous stream of people coming to his room and calling on the phone. After putting up with it with as much grace as possible, he devised a plan.
He told the group of people hanging around his room that he had to go downstairs to eat. When he reached the lobby he made a quick exit to the street and found another hotel to stay in under an assumed name just a few blocks away. He then arranged for his belongings to be transferred - after he finally got his rest!
THE SANDOW TROPHY
Unknown to Steve at the time, a British body building fan and a huge fan of Reg Parks was donating the first place trophy. The trophy was no less than the original bronze Sandow trophy awarded to A.C Smythe for his third place finish in the world's first bodybuilding championship in 1901, held in Great Britain.
Smythe had agreed to part with that significant piece of history because he thought Parks was a sure win for the contest. A few of months prior, someone related seeing Steve on the beach in Santa Monica and that, in their opinion, Reeves didn't have any chance of winning. Based on this report, Smythe offered his trophy up for first place, feeling that the only threat to it remaining in British hands was safely out of the picture.
Now with the stakes even higher, it was evident the first place award would be that much harder to capture from the British. Steve knew he had to do a lot to impress the judges. He was going to have to show more energy on stage and add more snap and class to his posing. He had to do everything perfectly.
THE LINE UP
The judges for the contest were George Walsh, George Hackenschmidt, George Greenwood, Professor C Raeye of Belgium, Aeax of Paris, Andre Boulard of France and Alexander Carali of Egypt.
The competitors were sorted by height into four divisions. There were 14 competitors in the Class 4 Division, which is for competitors shorter than 5'6". The winner of the Class 4 Division was Don Dorans from Britain, with Himitian placing second and Levy in third.
Class 3 Division competitors were between 5'6" and 5' 8 '/4". First place went to Ferrero, Klejniak took second and Coutoula third.
Class 2 Division competitors were 5'8" to 5' 11". The winners in that class were Nasr from Egypt, Lees taking second place and Heidenstam in third. Both Lees and Heidenstam were from Britain.
Class 1 Division competitors were over 5'11". Competing were Dardenne of Belgium, Hubert Thomas of Wales, Reg Park of Britain and Steve Reeves of the United States of America.
In this class, each competitor was called back for short intervals on the stage. Each of the judges informed the head judge, George Walsh, that regardless of all other class winners, first and second places in the supreme Mr. Universe competition was, as far as they were concerned, between Reeves and Park with third place taken from Class 4. At the end of this part of the final competition an hour was allowed for the judges to evaluate their decision.
What follows is a personal account from head judge, George Walsh
IN HIS OWN WORDS
"There is an hour or so before the great show commences. Time for a shower, a change of clothes and a hasty sandwich. I am grateful for the break; but deep within me, is the apprehension (I can think of no more appropriate word) that fate might call me again to cast my vote for the greatest of all physique titles."
"All my judges are here at the theater in good time and a hasty conference is convened in the dressing rooms to decide upon procedure. We have cast our votes for the winners and finalists in each of the three junior classes (junior of course, only in respect of height classes) and these are irrevocable. We have decided that the winner of Class One shall be the winner of the Mr. Universe title and that the runner-up in the same class shall enjoy second place. There remains to us, therefore, only the selection between Reeves and Park and the election, from the remaining class winners (or, of course, the third place winner in Class Four) the third position in the supreme contest itself."
"The crowd is giving us all a great reception as we are introduced from the stage with, need I say? a particularly warm welcome for the great George Hackenschmidt. The competitors from the lighter classes (none of whom, of course, are aware of our previous decisions) are appearing one by one and it seems to me that most of the audience agrees with the final six we have selected in each category. But everyone is waiting, of course, for the appearance of the two Big Guns of the competition-Parks and Reeves. And so, in great trepidation, am I!"
"Here, before me, I have five completed judging sheets. Two of my judges have found it impossible to separate the American and the Britisher and have recorded a joint vote of each. One had voted outright for Park and two have voted outright for Reeves. If the remaining judge should decide for Park and if none of the others decided to alter his decision, the unwelcome task of making a casting vote will descend upon me."
"I can hear the deafening applause that is greeting the appearance of Park and Reeves as they display their breath-taking poses before the worlds most enthusiastic audience. How I wish I could be sitting up there in the gallery or with my wife and son in the stalls! I marvel at these two supermen in the ruthless daylight of the afternoon. How much more would would we have enjoyed their matchless posing beneath kind and co-operative overhead spot-lighting! But I am waiting now, for confirmation or retraction from five of my judges and, first of all, it is the confirmation of the previous decisions that I receive."
"Now for that last judge who, I see, is approaching me from the wings. If his decision should be for the Britisher it will be my most unenviable task to render a casting vote; and although I am ready to shoulder this responsibility, it is one which I would infinitely prefer to avoid...
I am overwhelmingly relieved! Had it been my fate to have decided between these two great physical culturists I should have cast a vote for Reeves. But, I am relieved from this responsibility. My sixth judge has declared his decision so that I am not compelled to render any sort of decision at all. I am not quite sure of the words I am choosing but to judge by the tumultuous applause that greets my halting phrases at the microphone I imagine that the audience understands."
"What I am trying to say is: 'Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The Mr. Universe of 1 950- STEVE REEVES of the United States of America!' "
Also in this Issue:
SRIS News - Five articles on recent activity from Steve and SRIS
Nutrition and Fitness -New exercises from Steve
Steve Reeves Mailbox - Questions from fans around the globe
Celebrity Profile - Steve Reeves, by 1950 Mr. Universe Judge, George Walsh
Steve Reeves Exclusives - New photographs available
Official SRIS Products
Steve Reeves International Society Newsletter Volumne 3 Number 4
From Mr. Universe to Mr. Movie Star
Steve returned to the U.S. after his win at the Mr. Universe contest in England. John Grimek picked Steve up at the airport in New York and drove him back to York, Pennsylvania. He was greeted by members of the gym on his return to York, and stayed few days before heading back to the West Coast.
Country Roads Take Him Home
One of the gym members overheard Steve telling John that he was looking for a car to drive back to California. The member approached Steve and told him that he would sell him his car, a beautiful 1948 V-8 Ford convertible, for which he was asking $500. Steve had the money, but not enough to pay for the car and his trip home. Another member offered Steve a loan until he could pay him back. After the financial transactions were completed, Steve was ready to head West. He figured he had just enough money to make his trip back to Oakland, if he was very careful with his spending.
Early the following morning, he placed his suitcase and his first place "Sandow" trophy into the car's trunk and headed for California. He planned to visit his aunt and uncle on their cattle ranch in Montana.
After traveling for only a couple of hours, the car began overheating. He had to stop at a gas station and put water in the radiator. This scene repeated itself every hundred miles or so for the remainder of the trip. (Steve later found that the car had a cracked block, which he had to have replaced.)
Steve finally arrived at his uncle's ranch and was given a warm welcome from his uncle and all of the Boyce family (his mother's side of the family). For the next few days he helped his uncle with the ranch chores and did some riding and cattle branding. It was truly a time to reflect on everything that was going on, and a time to "recharge" himself. Finally, it was time to say, "Good-bye" to his family and the wonderful Montana ranch land, and continue his trip home.
Upon leaving the ranch, Steve checked his wallet and counted the money remaining. He calculated that he had just enough money to fill the gas tank for the final leg of his trip. The hardy meals he'd enjoyed at the ranch would have to last him until he arrived home.
Steve drove without stopping for the next 24 hours. Driving with the convertible top down, any time he got a little sleepy he would kind of stand up with his foot on the gas pedal and let the fresh air blow though his hair to get refreshed.
After many hours, he finally arrived in the town of Auburn, just outside of Sacramento, California. Since it was still dark outside, he decided to pull off the road for a couple of hours and get a little rest before completing the final three-hour trip to Oakland. As the day dawned, he awoke and headed into Sacramento for that last tank of gas and another radiator full of water.
It was early morning when he finally drove into the driveway of his mother and stepfather's home in Oakland. His mother was very happy to see him and quickly fixed the champ a hearty, home cooked meal.
A New Beginning
After a couple of weeks in Oakland, Steve packed his bags again and headed to Southern California to pursue his dream of becoming a movie star. He drove down to Santa Monica and moved back into the "muscle house" where he and George Eiferman had previously boarded.
George, in fact, had moved back to the house couple of weeks prior to Steve's arrival. Their landlady, Joy, always kept a couple of rooms in her boarding house available for the two Mr. America's, and now for the new Mr. Universe!
Once settled in, Steve sought out a good agent to represent him in Hollywood. For the next year Steve did more magazine modeling and was cast for several small parts on television shows.
In November of 1951, while Steve was working out at Bert Goodrich's gym in Hollywood, he heard that television personality Ralph Edwards was looking for someone to do some acting on the new "Ralph Edwards Show" on television.
He secured an interview and was told that someone would contact him regarding the final decision.
From Postman to Prop Man
Since Steve did not know if he would get the part on the Edwards show, he applied for a part-time job delivering mail for the Post Office. Within a few days, he received word that he was accepted as a postal carrier during the holiday season. Shortly after accepting the postal job, Steve received a call from the Edwards show, offering him the position on the show!
Two weeks, later on December 15, 1951, Steve signed a one-year contract with the Ralph Edwards Show. The show would not begin airing until January, so Steve delivered the mail smiling as he delivered to each house along the way.
Quiet on the (TV) Set
On Monday January 14, 1952 at 12:30 P.M., the half-hour Ralph Edwards Show debuted on NBC's Channel 4 in Los Angeles. The show aired three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The program's format was something between a talk show and a variety show. Besides Ralph Edwards and Steve Reeves, the other two regulars on the show were Carole Richards, a talented vocalist, backed up by a group called the "Varieteers," and Sara Berner, a comedienne better known as Mabel Slapsaddle of Jack Benny Show fame. She brought quite few laughs to the program.
An article about Steve appeared in This World magazine on March 2, 1952.
It stated: "The idea of becoming an actor struck him after he had begun to run out of awards. Strangers on streetcars, in restaurants and on the street asked him if he was in films. NBC claims that he still blushes when girls whistle at him, and what man wouldn't?
Recently on the Edwards show (KRON-TV Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:30 to 1:00pm), one of the ladies in the audience asked Edwards if she could feel Reeves muscular 18- inch arms. When the gentleman obliged, she giggled and said: 'If I didn't have heart trouble already, he could give it to me!'
In matters of the heart, the vibrations are apparently all going one way because Reeves is a bachelor.
During a guest spot on the Jimmy Durante Show recently, Jimmy wanted Reeves to Peel off his shirt and ripple his famous muscles, but the Colgate folks ( the sponsor) turned thumbs down. It would be 'vulgar' they said.
At the rate things are going, Reeves is going to do for the deltoids and the pectorals what Gypsy Rose Lee did for the bumps and grinds. Come to think of it, maybe what television needs is muscles. It's got everything else."
Happy April Fool's Day Steve!
Ralph was always pulling tricks on Steve during the broadcast. Prior to the show on one particular occasion, April 1, Steve sat in the make-up room next to Ralph while both men were having their make-up applied.
Ralph looked at the make-up artist and said, "I'm not feeling so good, I'm not feeling so good. Oh-I don't know if I can do the show or not." He then looked at Steve and said, "If I get feeling really bad, can you take over for me?" Steve said,
As the camera moved in on Steve, he looked at Carole and asked, "Carole, will you give us a song? She replied, " I don't feel like singing today and I don't have my music with me." Steve quickly turned to Joe and said, "Joe, how about telling us a few jokes?" Joe replied, "I'm all out of jokes."
At this point, Steve was running low on ideas to keep the show going and felt on the spot. All of a sudden, Ralph Edwards stepped out on stage and started laughing, telling Steve it was an April Fool's joke. Steve, with his great sense of humor, started laughing and the audience went wild.
The Edwards show was a great experience for Steve and he was well on his way in show business.
Check out our next issue for more news about his career moves and the deal that changed his life forever, without him realizing it at the time. Also we'll explore the launch of his first two movies- one of them that required him to move a huge tree using only his shoulder. Timm-berrl
Also in this Issue:
SRIS News - Six articles on recent activity by Steve and SRIS
Nutrition and Fitness - Steve's 1952 interview with Muscle Power
Steve Reeves Mailbox - Questions from fans around the globe
Celebrity Profile - A Conversation with Armand Tanny
Steve Reeves Exclusives - Many photographs, Steve's new book, etc.
Official SRIS Products
Copyright Steve Reeves International 2017