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Steve Reeves International Society Newsletter Volume 1 Number 1

In The Beginning

In this issue, the first for (Insider's Report), we will start our coverage of the Steve Reeves story. Beginning with a look into his family history, we will follow him through his first couple of years. In the forthcoming issues, we will continue our quest, a few years at a time, until we have the complete Steve Reeves' saga.

While researching the early years of Steve Reeves' life I found, to my amazement, that very little has been written on those years. This lack of information only fuelled my interest to fill in those very important youthful years.

After acquiring as much information as possible, I wanted to verify what I had learned with Steve. The story that follows is a combination of my research and the interview that Steve gave me at his ranch in Valley Center California.  Thanks to Steve, I was able to fill in all of the gaps. I hope you enjoy reading this story and the ones, which will follow, as much as I did interviewing Steve for them.

Steve is a descendant of a combination of Welsh, Irish, German and English heritage. On his mother's side of the family, Steve's great grandfather Boyce, a tailor by trade, came to America from England and settled with his wife in a town in Ohio. Later, his son Stephen Boyce moved from Ohio to Montana and eventually purchased a hotel and a cattle and sheep ranch in the community of Scobey, Montana. Within two years all his investments had disappeared. The hotel had burned down, the cattle had contracted hoof and mouth disease, and the sheep were wiped out by some other sort of ailment.

Not to be stopped by these unfortunate events Steve's grandfather Stephen never quit. An interesting story Steve told me was of the time when his grandfather and his great uncle drove a herd of horses from Montana to Oregon. After this demanding trip, they arrived in Oregon with the horses. It is told that the boys met a fair maiden and competed for her affection. The brothers liked this young lady so much that they ended up in a fight over her. Because of hard feelings, Stephen returned to Scobey and his great uncle stayed in Oregon.

Steve's grandfather started a successful ranching business with his share of money from the sale of the horses, while Steve's great uncle continued on to the State of Washington. There he homesteaded a large piece of property which eventually became the town of Walla Walla. Stephen Boyce married and had six sons and a daughter. Two of the sons died, one from influenza and the other was hit by a car. Stephen's daughter Golden Viola Boyce became Steve's beloved mother.

On the Reeves side of the family, Steve remembers hearing about his great grandfather Manasseh Reeves, who was a veteran of the Civil War. Manasseh fought under General Sherman's Command. Steve has letters dating back to this period that his great grandfather wrote and is amazed by the clarity of thought and his excellent handwriting. Manasseh's son, Steve's paternal grandfather Sylvester Reeves who stood 6'4" and weighed 240 pounds, was born in Minnesota and moved to Montana sometime during his youth.

Sylvester married Steve's Grandmother Jessie Day and they had four boys Ted, Claude, Lester, and Archie. Archie died sometime before his twenty-first birthday. Sylvester and Jessie Reeves divorced while the children were still young. Later Jessie remarried to a man by the name of Jack W Peters.

Jack Peters and Jessie came to Scobey sometime before 1915, as the filing of their homestead was dated 1915. Jessie worked in Burton's restaurant in town to help out the family. The boys Ted, Claude and Lester all attended and graduated from Scobey High School. They were all very intelligent and had excellent memories. Steve recalls being told that his father, Lester would sometimes have fun by adding the numbers on the sides of the train boxcars as they would go whizzing by.

Steve also told about the time his father relied on his memory when he traded a milk cow for a flax field. It had not rained for a long period of time and the farmer who owned the field was concerned that the crop would not come in. Lester recalled that throughout all recorded time there had always been rain within a certain time period. Armed with this information he bargained with the farmer to trade him the flax field for his milk cow. A few days after the trade it rained, to no surprise of Lester. Not only did it rain, but it rained just the right amount and the crop came in. Steve has also been blessed with a superb memory.

Lester's brother Claude enlisted in the army in WWI and did not return to Scobey until he was asked to come back and help out on the ranch. His other brother Ted was given a scholar ship of his choice to either the School of Mines in Butte, or the University of California at Berkeley. Ted finally decided to attend Berkeley but married Geneva, whom he met in Portland Oregon on his way to California, and never made it to Berkeley.

Jack Peters, Jessie Reeves Peters and Lester Reeves leased land for a ranch about nine miles north of Richland, Montana. Lester did carpentry work and was a contractor. He also worked very hard on the ranch. Lester Reeves and Golden Boyce were neighbors in Scobey and were considered by the people in Danials County to be the most desirable and attractive couple.

Lester was an extremely fit man who stood 61" and weighed 200 pounds. He had broad shoulders and a fantastic build. His physique was genetically passed on to him and was honed by hard physical work. Steve's mother Goldie was a very pretty, loving and giving person. Through the years, Lester and Goldie became very close and fell in love. They were married on April 3, 1924 in Scobey and were very happy. They had only one child, Stephen L. Reeves. We know him as the one and only Steve Reeves.


Born to Win

Steve was born on January 21, 1926 in the home of his uncle Stephen Boyce, Jr. in Glasgow, Montana. When Steve was 6 months old, Goldie entered Steve in his first contest in which he received the title as the "Most Healthy Baby" in Danials County. Those were the happiest of days for the Reeves family.

Then one day in October, 1927,  tragedy struck in the form of a terrible accident. Lester was in the field's one day watching the harvesting operation. While Lester was talking to someone, one of the workers got his pitchfork caught in the belts of the thresher. The pitchfork was yanked from the worker's hands and it soared back towards Lester without warning the pitchfork drove into Lester, piercing his intestine. He was taken immediately to the local doctor in Scobey.

The doctor administered some medication internally, but Lester only got worse. Infection set in within 48 hours and Lester was put on a train to the nearest hospital many miles away in Minot, North Dakota. A short time after arriving at the hospital, Steve's father Lester passed away. Steve was just 20 months old at the time.

When the citizens in Scobey found out about his death, they grabbed a rope and headed to the doctor's office to string him up! Luckily for the doctor, the citizens were convinced to not carry out that sentence. The day of the funeral, a small boy about 6 years of age looked sadly at his mother and said "I wonder what will become of his son?" Well, we know what be came of him. He became a real Hercules among men. Many years later, Steve met up with this same boy, now in his seventies, and told him the whole story.

That's it for the first addition of the Steve Reeves story. Next time I'll tell you about how Steve had a run in with a car at close range. You won't believe it, but it's all true!

Also in this Issue:

  • SRIS Unchained - Introduction to SRIS by President George Helmer

  • Nutrition and Fitness - Interview with Steve by John Little on Steve's power drink formula

  • Steve Reeves Mailbox - Questions from fans around the globe

Steve Reeves International Society Newsletter Volumne 1 Number 2

Angel on My Shoulder

In our last segment, we learned that a farming accident resulted in the untimely death of Lester Reeves, Steve's father, when Steve was almost two years old. The bleak months that followed Lester's death found Goldie, Steve's mother, coping as best she could with endurance and bravery. She finally gathered the courage to make some profound changes in her life.

With toddler Steve in tow, Goldie packed up their belongings and headed for Scoby, Montana, where Goldie's family lived on a ranch.

Little Steve took to ranch living and became fast friends with a kindly work horse named "Old Dan." Steve was quite independent for a three year old and quickly learned to ride Old Dan. This was a relief to Goldie who would let Steve ride Old Dan into the pasture every day.

When she wanted to check on them or to call Steve back for lunch, she would ring a loud, clanking bell. At the sound of the clanking, Old Dan would plod back to the ranch house with little Steve on his back. This ritual holds fond memories for Steve.

Goldie and Steve Move to the Big City

During the time, she lived with her family, Goldie searched for employment throughout Scoby. There just were not any jobs available in the small town. When Goldie's church friends got wind of her plight, they pooled their funds and gave her the money she needed to journey to Great Falls, Montana, approximately 380 miles southwest of Scoby, where jobs were more plentiful. Soon after arriving in Great Falls, Goldie secured a job as a cook at the renowned Rainbow Hotel.

Steve and Goldie had a little place in town, nearby the Rainbow. In a short time, Goldie gained a reputation as a really great cook and was offered a position as the personal cook for Dr. Porter, one of Great Fall's most prominent physicians. Dr. Porter had room for a single live-in employee, but no accommodations for a child. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity or the money offered by Dr. Porter, Goldie sought out care for Steve.

The Montana Deaconess School, a very fine religious boarding school, was highly recommended to Goldie. After thorough introspection, Goldie enrolled Steve in the school. This was a very difficult decision for both Goldie and for Steve, as the school was more than 90 miles from Great Falls. Steve thrived, gained even more independence, and received a good education at the school. However, he and Goldie only got to see each other once a month and sometimes during the summer over the next four years.

Steve showed his competitive spirit and keen intelligence early at Deaconess. Six year old Steve entered a school Bible contest and, of course, won first place. To win he had to recite from memory ten pages from the Bible. His prize was a special Bible, which he cherishes to this day. Although Steve claims to only have been an average student, he was blessed with a superb memory, as was his father.

Summers at his Uncle's Ranch

Some of Steve's favorite times were the long, warm summer months he spent with his cousins on his uncle's ranch. During one of Steve's ranch visits he was riding his favorite horse, Smokie. All of a sudden Smokie spooked and reared up and Steve ended upon the ground with Smokie on top of him! As Steve struggled to get the horse off of him, he could feel his ribs breaking. He struggled in pain for ten minutes until the horse rose. But, that did not stop Steve, who in true Steve Reeves fashion, climbed back on the horse and rode back to the ranch - broken ribs and all!

Rescues his Cousins from a Bull

Steve performed his very first rescue and heroic act while at the ranch.  One day, Steve and his cousins, Violet and Viola, all climbed on one of the ranch horses and trod off in search of adventure.

After reaching a likely looking pasture, the children dismounted and started to play.  That is when they spotted a bull! The bull also spotted them and began snorting and pawing the ground. As the bull started toward the trio, quick-thinking Steve grabbed each of the girls with one arm around each of their waists and hoisted them back up onto the horse. Then he quickly jumped on himself and they rode away before the bull could even break into a run. Leave it to Steve to save the day!

Steve vs. Car

During one of Steve's stays with Goldie, he encountered a problem with a car - it hit him!

Just six years old, he was walking back to Go!die's house and attempted to cross a street before the oncoming car reached him. Steve did not even know he had been hit until he realized the car was dragging him as he held on to the front bumper with bare hands.

After dragging him approximately 100 feet, the car came to a screeching halt. The driver, a very distraught woman, rushed to the front of the car, where Steve was still holding on. "Are you okay?" She asked, "May I take you home?" She repeatedly asked him how he was and where he lived. He refused to tell her because he was afraid his mother would be mad at him for running out in front of a car. But, being a hardy soul, Steve got up and brushed himself off. Then he walked back to where the car first hit him and picked up his sneaker that flew off during the impact. He put his shoe back on and continued his walk home. He was pretty dirty, as you can imagine he would be after being dragged by a car!

When he reached the front door and saw his mother, she looked at him as though he had been run over by a car. "What happened to you?" she asked. Always the quick thinker, he replied, "Oh, I've been playing with this dirty old stick!" It was not until many years later that he told his mother what really happened on the way home that fateful day.

Even now, Steve will rely on the "dirty old stick." When he gets grimy working on his ranch, Deborah often inquires, "What happened to you?" He falls back on his old excuse and, with a shrug of his shoulders tells her, "Oh, I've been playing with this dirty old stick!"

The Montana Earthquake of 1935

During Steve's boarding school days, Helena, Montana experienced two severe earthquakes. The first hit October 3, 1935, and registered 5.0. Since the area was sparsely populated, damage was minimal, just when everything was getting back to normal, the earth shook even more violently. On October 12th of that year, Montana experienced the results of a 7.0 earthquake! This time, there was significant damage to structures, including the Deaconess Boarding School.

The boys' dormitory, where Steve lived, was on the third floor of the brick school building. Since the jolt hit in the early morning hours, the boys were all sleeping in their beds when it struck. What a way to wake up! Not knowing what happened, the boys quickly filed down the stairs and out of the building. The teachers could account for all of the students EXCEPT STEVE. After calling his name and looking everywhere outside for him, two men decided to search the dorm for missing Steve.

The old brick building had suffered major damage. Some of the exterior walls had collapsed and debris was everywhere. The electrical power was out. Regardless, the two men made their way to Steve's room. The outside wall of his room was gone and his bed was hanging out about a foot through the opening and was covered with fallen bricks.

To the men's amazement, there slept Steve - who never woke through all the commotion! The men very carefully awakened Steve and held him tightly to prevent him from jumping up from the side of the bed and falling out where the wall used to be! Steve was unharmed and proceeded with his rescuers down the stairs and outside to join the rest of the student body.

The school suffered a total loss and had to be rebuilt. When the earth finally settled down, Montana had experienced 1,346 aftershocks from the '35 quake.

These are just a few of the many adventures experienced by Steve Reeves during his formative years. How did he get through them without a scratch? Remember that angel?

Also in this Issue:

  • SRIS News - Five articles of activity by Steve and SRIS

  • Nutrition and Fitness - Interview with Steve by John Little on today's steroid use and Power Walking

  • Steve Reeves Mailbox - Questions from fans around the globe

Steve Reeves International Society Newsletter Volumne 1 Number 3

Our continuing Steve Reeves' story left off in Helena, Montana on October 12, 1935. We learned Steve how narrowly escaped from the Montana Deaconess School when a 7.0 earthquake tore through the area and caused major damage to the dormitory building. Classes were soon resumed and nine year old Steve finished out the school year at Deaconess.

Goldie Heads West 

Early in 1936, one of Goldie's closest friends from the Rainbow Hotel Frances Chamberlain, moved to the Oakland, California community of Oak Knoll.

Frances, who Goldie had known since her late teens, tried hard to convince Goldie that there were many more employment opportunities for her in Northern California than in Great Falls. After thinking it over for a couple months, Goldie decided to make the move. It would soon be summer and she would have time to prepare for the move west.

By June, school was out and Steve received an invitation to spend a few weeks of summer with the Hall family at their cabin on the Smith River in Montana. The Halls were Goldie's old family friends.

Summer at the Halls' Cabin

Ten year old Steve spent his last Montana summer vacation with the six Hall children at the family cabin. The Halls' seventeen year old son, Vernon was in charge of his three brothers, two sisters and Steve. The Halls had a rustic, yet comfortable cabin located on the Smith River just southwest of Great Falls. Reaching the cabin kept Steve and all the kids in tip-top shape!

The cabin could only be reached by trekking down the side of a steep hill. Vernon would shop in town for supplies and haul them back in his car. He would park the car at the top of the hill, the closest spot to the cabin. The only way to get the supplies to the cabin was by backpack. So Vernon, Steve and the other kids would strap on their backpacks, trek up the hill, fill their back packs and trek back to the cabin. It would take several trips to get all the food and supplies down to the cabin. These "backpack expeditions" were Steve's introduction to a lifetime of fitness training.

Steve really enjoyed that summer with the Halls and all of the hiking, swimming, camping and rugged outdoor living. Another favorite activity of his was helping Vernon with the fire wood. Vernon would split the logs with a huge ax and Steve would gather up the chopped wood.

"I really became interested in body building because of Vernon's great physique," remarks Steve. When Vernon would take off his shirt and swing that hefty ax his muscles flexed with every move. This greatly impressed Steve who told Vernon, "Boy, I wish I had arms like yours!" Vernon just smiled and replied, "Maybe

by the next time you see me you will."

The very next day, Goldie picked up Steve at the Halls' and started off on a vacation to visit the World Exposition of 1936 being held in San Diego. That was the very last time Steve saw Vernon. Goldie wanted to show her son all of nature's wonders along the way, so their trip to the Expo took them through several national parks including Yellowstone, Glacier, Mt. Hood, Mt. Rai nier the California Redwood, and Yosemite.

Ride'em Cowboy at the Worlds Exposition

Finally, they arrived at the expo and the first thing Steve wanted to do was ride the ponies. After getting his mother's O.K., he got in line. The expo's pony ride was similar to the ones at fairs today- wooden fences bordered a large circular pathway that returned the pony and rider back to the starting point.

When Steve turn came and he was mounting his pony, one of the pony tenders noticed his spurs and asked him why he was wearing them. Steve stated in a rather matter-a-fact manner, "Because I'm a cowboy from Montana!" Everyone laughed and thought it was very funny. Although Steve was only ten, he had spent a good part of his life on a horse and was a very good rider.

As soon as the pony started down the pathway, Steve realized how boring this was and spurred his mount. The pony took off like he was shot out of a cannon and, with a huge jump, cleared the top rail of the fenced path! Steve went for quite ride galloping all over the fairgrounds. People screamed and hollered for Steve to get off - afraid he would be hurt!

Little did they know that just a few days earlier Steve was on a very rugged horseback ride in Mt. Rainier. He was one of twelve riders led by a guide far into the mountains. Steve would hang back a quarter of a mile or so from the rest of the group. Then, he would race up to the back of the pack; hang back for a while, then again race up to the group. He did this for the entire trip through the mountains and enjoyed every minute of it.

By the time Steve got on the pony in San Diego, all he could think about was going fast. Plodding around in a circle was much too tame for him so he gave the pony a little nudge with his foot. Well, that ended his pony rides! Goldie wasted little time in hustling Steve off to other fair attractions that were as far as possible from the pony.

One attraction that fascinated them both was a "telephone television." Goldie and Steve talked to each other by telephone and at the same time saw each other image on a television screen even though they were in separate buildings located approximately one block apart! Steve is amused that after all these years that mode of communication is still not perfected.

School in California would soon begin, so Steve and Goldie said good-bye to San Diego and headed north to Oakland, where Steve would spend his next eight years.

At Home in Oakland

Jobs were not quite as plentiful in Oakland as Goldie had hoped. The best job she could find was as a cook for a wealthy family in Napa, located in California's picturesque wine country. Again, her employers had living quarters for her, but not for a child. So her dear friends, the Chamberlains, welcomed Steve into their home and their family for the next three years.

Steve attended elementary school in Oak Knoll where he made several friends. He and his friends loved to collect lead bullets they would find at the military target range near the Chamberlains' home. The kids would dig the bullets out of the hills behind the target range then Steve would take them home and melt them down.

He had saved an old bullet mold he found in Great Falls. He would melt down the bullets and pour the molten lead into the mold and make old-fashioned bullets shaped like little balls. He also used the molten lead to create ornaments in wooden molds he carved in the shape of Christmas trees and other holiday objects.

As usual, Steve was never far from horses. It did not take him long to discover the horse stables just five blocks away from the Chamberlain house. During the summers, he would ride the horses and spend hours watching the trainers work with the horses and or groom them.

Occasionally, Steve and his friends were allowed to take a half-hour bus ride to the movie house to catch the latest westerns. Steve earned extra money for these movie trips by delivering the Sunday newspaper.

The Big Tree

Another favorite pastime for Steve and his friends was playing Tarzan at a place they called "Big Tree" located in one of the vast Oak Knoll pastures. There was an enormous eucalyptus tree with a huge rope hanging from it. The boys would climb up the rope and swing from branch to branch like Tarzan. Once while playing Tarzan, they changed the game to tag. When someone got tagged, that person would tag someone else.

One day, Steve accidentally tagged a boy so hard that the boy fell out of the tree! He was a little stunned but not hurt. The boy's cousin had the rope and refused to swing it to Steve who was hanging from a branch by his hands. There he was, hanging fifteen feet in the air when the other boys took off and left him to find his own way down. His fingers and arms began to ache and he knew he could not hang on much longer. His main concern was getting down in one piece! Steve knew that sooner or later he would have to let go.

He decided to bend his knees on the way down, making his legs work like shock absorbers so he would not get hurt. Steve released his grip and started his decent. When he reached the ground his legs were such good shock absorbers and bent so much that he only lightly hit his forehead on the ground. The experience left him with just a little red mark on his forehead, which disappeared in a few days.

Break Those Chains! 

Before breaking the chains in "Hercules" Steve was breaking the chains of his bicycle. At twelve, Steve started developing his great, muscular legs by riding his bicycle over the big hill between Oak Knoll and east Oakland so he could visit his friends. This was the same route the school bus took to get to Frack Junior High School, which Steve attended. He would pedal his bike two miles up the hill and two miles down the hill.

He would start the climb by telling himself one of three things would happen: "I will make it all the way to the top, I will break a chain trying or I will be forced to stop from pure exhaustion."

Steve broke many bike chains in his quest to make it over the hill. After a couple years of pedalling up and down the hill, it became routine for him. His legs developed until they were like two mighty engines powering his single speed bike as if it were a ten speed.

It was not long until Steve experienced another major change in his life. He would soon reunite with his mother and this time would live with her until he left for the Army during World War II.

Again a Family

While Steve attended Frack Junior High School, Goldie met Earl Maylone through the Chamberlains. Earl worked as an installer/ repairman for the local telephone company in Oakland. Goldie and Earl were married in 1939, and Steve moved with them to their new home on 76th Avenue in East Oakland. The house was within the school district and Steve was able to complete his years at Frack.

Thirteen year old Steve now increased his newspaper route from Sunday only to a seven-day-a-week delivery. This gave him more spending money for entertainment and gift-giving. One of his and his friends favorite pastimes was to attend the Saturday matinee at the local movie theatre. They loved to watch the cartoons and movie serials with those fantastic cliff hangers at the end of each segment, which is where we will leave off for now!

Also in this Issue:

  • SRIS News - Five articles of activity by Steve and discussion of Society Logo

  • Nutrition and Fitness - Interview with Steve by John Little on training, genetics and proportions

  • Steve Reeves Mailbox - Questions from fans around the globe

Steve Reeves International Society Newsletter Volumne 1 Number 4

We last left off with Steve moving back home with his mother Goldie, and her new husband, Earl Maylone. They moved into a cozy house on 76th Avenue in Oakland and Steve was able to continue at Frick Junior High School. He spent his last year of junior high school getting re-acquainted with his mother and new stepfather and becoming the king of arm wrestling among his buddies.

Lock Arms-Ouch!

One day while Steve was delivering newspapers, he met Joe Gambina, a boy about his age, who lived on his route. They got to talking and the subject of arm wrestling came up. Soon they locked arms and the match began-and shortly ended! In a flash Joe pinned Steve's arm to the table. This really shocked Steve because he was much larger than Joe. He told Joe they would have a rematch another time-when he didn't have more newspapers to deliver.

As Steve hopped back on his bicycle and continued down the street on his route, he could not get that arm wrestling match out of his mind. Just how did Joe beat him when Steve was so much bigger? Steve would not discover the answer until a few months later.

Working out? What's That? Some time after the disappointing arm wrestling match (at least it was to Steve),  he bought a bicycle rack from Joe. The day he went to Joe's house to pick it up, he found the answer he'd searched for. When he asked for Joe at the front door, Joe s sister said, "He's in the garage - working out." Steve stared at her and asked, "Working out? What's that?' "She just pointed toward the garage and told him to go see for himself.

When Steve entered the garage there was Joe lifting weights. Steve asked what he was doing and Joe handed him a copy of Strength and Health Magazine. On the front cover was a very well-developed John Grimick. After discussing "working out" with Joe and thumbing through a few more body-building magazines, Steve knew that was how he wanted to look.

Steve looked Joe right in the eye and said, "Can we workout together?" "Sure," replied Joe, who added, "I'll only charge you fifty cents a workout." For the next month, Joe and Steve worked on bodybuilding routines. By then, Steve understood what he was doing and purchased a 200 lb. set of used weights he found in a classified ad. Then Steve's garage became his "workout gym!"

He began by recording his workout schedule of weights used and repetitions (reps) on one of the interior garage walls. Steve patterned his squat rack after one he saw in a body building magazine. That "garage gym" was the start of his quest to reach the top of the body building world! By the way, Joe became a barber and Steve became Mr. Universe!

High School Days

Steve attended Oakland's Castlemont High School from 1941 to 1944. Castlemont included sophomore through senior grade levels.

Steve's sophomore year launched the start of his successful high school years. He was doing quite well in all of his classes-especially Phys. Ed., of course. The football coach always kept a close watch on the new sophomores, in case an especially talented boy stood out. In 1941 one did-Steve Reeves!

The coach was quite impressed at how Steve continually out-performed his classmates. After observing Steve for several days, the coach asked him if he would like to play defensive guard for the football team. This happened just two months after Steve began working out. Already he was gaining muscle and bulk.

After much consideration, Steve told the coach he wanted to wait until the next year to join the team. Steve wanted more time to gain in size so he could be a better defensive guard.

Ed Yarick's Gym

Ed Yarick was a noted body building coach with a gym in Oakland. After Steve had spent a few months working out in the garage and had achieved a good physical base, he learned about Ed's gym. Steve stopped by the gym and Ed explained his training methods and nutrition guidance to Steve. He liked what he heard and decided it was time to workout at Ed's gym instead of the garage.

Summer Jobs 

In the summer following his sophomore year, 16 year old Steve loaded pallets at the Del Monte cannery in Oakland. The next year he worked at the Army Quartermaster Supply Depot. He loaded railroad cars and trucks with war supplies. By that time, World War II was in full swing and Castlemont high school was put on half-day sessions. Steve attended classes in the morning and continued to work at the Depot in the afternoon. The students took mandatory classes and received credit for afternoon work.

Heavy Workout/Work Schedule

During his senior year he attended high school from 8:00 am to 1 2:00 pm, then walked to his job at the Depot where he worked from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. After work he would head for the gym and three days a week worked out from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Since Steve spent so much of his time either working or working out, it left little time for the usual high school activities including proms, parties and participating or attending school sports.

When he wasn't going to school, working or working out, he was collecting metal for use in the war effort. Residents and businesses would set out their scrap or discarded metal at the curb for pick up.

One day while Steve was picking up war metal, he found a set of body building wall pulleys in the curb pick up. He really wanted them, but knew that the metal was going to the war effort. Always thinking ahead, Steve took the pulleys and replaced them with an equal amount of iron he gathered from his home.

Since Ed only had one set of pulleys in the gym, Steve gave him the other set. Ed was delighted to get them and they immediately installed them across from the other set. Now they had the first set of cross-over pulleys in the Oakland area!

Poolside with Ed and Jack La Lanne

Although Steve's schedule left little time for leisure, he did manage to squeeze in a bit of fun time. He and his friends enjoyed swimming in the saltwater pool at the Sunny Cove Recreational Park. The Oakland bay was just beyond the pool area. Steve especially enjoyed watching Ed Yarick and Jack La Lanne perform hand-balancing feats at the poolside. He also marvelled at the way Jack would row a boat out and all around the rough bay.

Feeding Frenzy

Another activity enjoyed by Steve and his gym buddies was chowing down! Body building also builds appetites-especially in those growing teenage boys! They looked forward to the holidays because if they planned right, they were assured more than one hardy holiday meal. They set up a scheme that included a huge holiday lunch at one guy's house, followed later by a festive dinner feast at another buddy's. In between snacks filled out the remainder of the day!

Put it on Ice! 

During the winter Steve enjoyed skating at the local Oakland ice rink. On one occasion, he was at the rink with Ed and Alice Yarick and some of their gym buddies. They noticed a guy in a tight T-shirt on the ice showing off and just acting obnoxious. They wanted to put him in his place. Steve s friends suggested he take off his baggy wool shirt and skate in front of the guy. Ed immediately bet Steve $5 that he wouldn't do it.

When Steve heard "five bucks" he tossed off the heavy shirt and revealed a tight red T-shirt that showed off his great build. He glided onto the ice and passed by the obnoxious guy without even a glance back at him. The guy stared at Steve in utter amazement and nearly lost his balance before heading toward the nearest exit! Steve casually skated back to the group, collected his five-dollars and quickly put on his baggy shirt.

Just a Can of Olives

All during high school, Steve continually hid that magnificent physique behind loose-fitting flannel shirts or sweatshirts and regular Levi's jeans. No one beyond his closest friends knew he was developing such a great body.

That changed on the last day of school, the day of the senior picnic. Steve traded his usual baggy wear for skin-tight Levi's and a size small T-shirt stretched over his rippling physique. Steve was the talk of the campus that final school day! His name was on the lips of everyone at school-especially the girls.

At the picnic, Steve was still the main topic of conversation. A group of ogling girls were overheard talking about olives being aphrodisiacs. One young lady pointed to Steve and remarked, "I'd love to have a CAN of olives then go behind the bushes with HlM!"

With more than two years of hard work and dedication to body building, Steve finally wanted to show his classmates what he had accomplished. And he sure did! To this day, his classmates still talk about the sensation he caused at the senior picnic in 1944.

Those were Steve's high school days, next time we'll learn how Steve became an active participant in World War II.


Also in this Issue:

  • SRIS News - Details of Steve's 8/95 appearance at Fitness Expo in Las Vegas (many recent photos)

  • Steve Reeves Story (Part 4) -Steve's high school days, Ed Yarick's Gym, George Eiferman

  • Nutrition and Fitness - G. Helmer discovers bodybuilding's Holy Grail - Steve's first workout routine

Copyright Steve Reeves International 2017 

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