The recently created organization bearing the title International Federation of Body Builders experienced a failure in their initial U.S.A. show in defiance of the Amateur Athletic Union. Variety shows of this kind conducted in the Metropolitan area have, with the exception of a commercial fiasco at the Brooklyn Central Y.M.C.A. last October, have been successful. In most instances the previous shows were supported by a capacity audience and in a number of cases there was an overflow of fans. The poor response to this affair conducted by Weider's International Federation of Body Builders can not be attributed to a lack of advance publicity or to a poor location. A lack of good will combined with a loyalty to the Amateur Athletic Union played a major role in the failure of this show promoted by Lurie. The fans and athletes alike appreciate the efforts of the Amateur Athletic Union in promoting sports to best advantage and in governing them judiciously. The sacrifices made by the A.A.U. officials, such as the unselfish efforts of the hard working National A.A.U. Weightlifting Chairman Dietrich Wortmann, have contributed immensely to the progress of athletics and the sports public is fully aware of this. When an organization attempts to disregard A.A.U. to serve the best interests of amateur athletics, the prospects of attaining success are doomed.
It appeared that the starting of the show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on the evening of January 15th was delayed hoping that tardiness was responsible for many of the vacant seats. This did not prove to be the case for when the show commenced less than a thousand of the 2,207 seats were occupied. The orchestra was sparsely occupied due to the steep admission prices for this section.
The meager number of participants in the physique competition overshadowed the poor response of the fans as spectators. It is very fortunate that all but a few of the athletes heeded the warning of the A.A.U. concerning this competition. This competition was wisely boycotted by nearly all of the athletes for they were aware that this event was being conducted by an organization which is classified as an outlaw association insofar as A.A.U. is concerned. All those who foolishly disregarded the warning of the A.A.U. have sacrificed their eligibility to compete in any of the sports that are governed by the A.A.U. Thus, the winner fo the event most certainly will not be permitted to compete in the official "Mr. America" contest at Los Angeles in May. This ineligibility applies to all of the contestants in this recent Brooklyn show and prevents them from participating in any A.A.U. sanctioned competition.
There were but twelve contestants in this Brooklyn physique event. After observing the parade of the contestants and witnessing each one perform the customary solo posing display the final outcome of the contest became quite evident. The general reaction of the audience indicated that they expected the winner to be either Frank Leight or Santo Leone. Among the remaining ten contestants, Fred Massaro, Jack Gottesman, Fred Hacker and Tom Fitzsimmons proved to be outstanding. Tom Fitzsimmons is certainly deserving of praise for his courageous spirit of determination in developing an extraordinary upper body development, for he is handicapped by paralysis condition involving the legs. The physique competition consumed but approximately a quarter of an hour due to the scarcity of participants. The decision of the officials was scheduled to be released as the concluding event on the program.
The first of the variety acts to be presented was the Nathan Brothers. They performed a series of difficult balancing feats, including the playing of musical instruments while maintaining a head to head balance. There first rate vaudeville act was greeted with the appreciative applause it deserved. The popular Ed Theirault of Montreal made a brief appearance in a posing display showing his herculean physique to advantage. The spectators were disappointed that Theirault did not also perform the hand balancing stunts that had been advertised in the advance publicity. The Four Mangeans added feminine appeal to the program in their acrobatic act. An extraordinary muscle control display was presented by Ed Jubinville, Rudy and Renald performed their outstanding hand to hand balancing act. A short solo posing display was provided by Gen Jantzen. his poses are out of the ordinary in that they stress the element of grace in their execution. Jack Holst, a very capable high bar performer, did a number of gymnastic feats, many of which had a spectacular appeal, on his double horizontal bar apparatus unit. He should eliminate the needless discourses for they only server to detract from the merits of his act. The gasping manner in which he spoke provided the audience with much unintentional amusement at his expense. It is unfortunate that this outstanding gymnast permits his background to be falsified. In publicity and on the stage he is referred to as the Olympic champion. The records prove that Jack Holst was the national horizontal bar champion in 1933 but was never an Olympic champion.
The featured act on the show was not the final number on the program. Clarence Ross' first appearance in the East was the climax of this show. The audience realized from the instant he appeared upon the pedestal that they were observing a physical marvel in action. Photos most certainly do not flatter this former "Mr. America" for he appears even more impressive in person than he does in photos. His posing routine combined physique display poses and muscle control. The poses were executed with professional finesse and registered in an appealing and impressive manner. Needless to say, Ross was the sensation of the show.
The concluding number on the program was the announcing of the decisions in the physique competition and the presentation of the awards to the winners. The first five place winners reappeared and posed briefly. It was revealed that the judges were undecided between Frank Leight, the "Mr. America" of 1942, and Santo Leone as to the winner of the contest. They posed again and then it was announced that the officials had selected Santo Leone for the first place position. The reaction of the audience, when this decision was released, indicated that it met with the approval of the majority of the spectators. Fred Massaro was selected as the most muscular athlete in the competition. The position of the first five contestants in this physique event were as follows:
The other seven contestants were Carmine Abbondandelo, Edward Antaki, Al Berman, Solomon Bernstein, Thomas Fitzsimmons, Carmen Nero and Martin Waxman. The judges for this contest were Harry Shafran, Earle Forbes, Lon Hannagan, Al Horrow and Pat Ryan. Lew Dick served as the master of ceremonies for the entire show. Incidentally, it is unfortunate that two of the individuals serving in an official capacity with this show have through this unwarranted cooperation jeopardized their own status with the A.A.U.
The show terminated before ten thirty so that the actual length of the program was approximately an hour and a half. This is brief for a show of this kind and especially so considering the scale of admission prices. The first section of the orchestra cost $4.20 per seat. The briefness of this show was largely due to the fact that a number of the attractions that were listed on the program did not appear. The publicity indicated that Barton Horvath, Leo Robert, Allan Paivio and the Olympic gymnastic champions would take part in this show. The failure of so many of the listed attractions to perform was a source of much disappointment to the spectators. The advance publicity also inidcated that Alan Stephan, Abe Goldberg, Everett Sinderoff, John Farbotnik and Joffre L'Heureux, plus others were expected for this show. None of these noted athletes participated in this show. It is very fortunate in the case of John Farbotnik and Eerett Sinderoff that they were not inveigled into performing for they would have sacrificed their eligibility as amateur athletes. We know from John Farbotnik directly that publicity linking him with this show was released without his consent.
Though this show was a failure in more ways than one it was announced that the International Federation of Bodybuilders plans to stage other shows in the future. In this connection the warning of the Amateur Athletic Union should be repeated. All athletes who wish to retain their status as amateur athletes or their eligibility to participate in amateur sports should not make the mistake of taking part in any event that is sponsored by this recently created organization which is operating in opposition to the Amateur Athletic Union, the official governing body for sports.