Mr. America Magazine, Vol 5, No 8, Page 46, February 1963
WHAT'S IT LIKE BACKSTAGE at a Mr. Universe-Mr. America contest? Well, you have 3 electricians, 6 stage hands, 7 production men, 9 musicians, 10 professional artists, 12 press photographers, 26 assorted experts on "How To Run A Physique Show" and 46 guys who got backstage without passes. Added to this you have 56 brawny muscle men milling about stoutly defying the efforts of the 7 determined production men who are trying to get the show rolling. It is Bedlam with biceps!
Have you any idea how easy it is for a muscle man to get lost, strayed or stolen? You get 33 Mr. Americas and 23 Mr. Universes all lined up in perfect order ready to go on stage and bingo-two of your men are missing! You send four harried assistants to the gym; to the locker-room; to the men's wash-room and to the ladies dressing room. Your assistants finally find them and just in time; one was way off in a corner posing for a photographer and the other was signing autographs. In spite of what seemed like sound-off time in a snake-pit backstage, the 1962 IFBB Mr. Universe-Mr. America contest was the best organized, the smoothest-running crowd-pleasing physique contest ever held.
THE SUCCESS OF THE CONTEST was due solely to the efforts of one man--Bud Parker, our Associate Editor.
Bud did everything from selecting the time, the place and the talent; from the program, the posters and the press releases; from the certificates, the medallions and the trophies -- Bud did it all. Bud was the right man for the job, a job that can produce king-sized headaches. Bud taught public speaking, worked with radio and television talent and produced amateur theatricals. He arranged for fellows like Eiferman and Ross to come in from the West Coast; for Doc Tilney to come up from Florida and for Ben Weider to come down from Canada.
The program was spectacular -- beautiful girls, great singers, sensational gymnasts, amazing Karate experts and above all - the best built men in the world!
At 1 :00 o'clock on Saturday afternoon of September 15th, the stage doors of the huge Brooklyn Academy of Music opened to the greatest array of bodybuilders ever assembled at one spot. There they were met by Jim McClure who is, without a doubt, the only man in the world who could corral 56 muscle men, brand 'em and get 'em on the stage in time.
Jim McClure is an old hand at physique shows. He produced the first Mr. Universe contest in London before the dust from the Blitz had settled. Because of Jim the 1962 contest was great.
After Jim briefed the men on how to pose and how to take their time, the Mr. America contestants hit the stage at 2:00 o'clock to be confronted by the four of the best judges of the masculine physique in the country. They were: Abe Goldberg of New York City, Joe Plaia of Brooklyn, Dr. Kimon Voyage of the Bronx and Dr. Frederick Tilney of Coral Gables. No time was lost, Jim McClure broke them down into three height divisions and the judges went to work.
The contestants were judged as a group, experience having shown this to be the best way. The entire group gave a front, side and back pose all at the same time. The judges did not try to pick a winner but the best three or four from each height group; men of whom they were certain would be at the top. The judges conferred, checked and rechecked their score sheets until they were absolutely certain they had the top men in each bracket. The final decision would come when each man posed individually on the dais that night.
Photographers Jimmy Caruso of Montreal, Jack Meinero of Brooklyn, Rod Venables of Phoenix and Douglas White of New York were giving their camera shutters a hot time. The whine of the transistors in White's Strobe-light sounded like a police siren.
At 6:00 o'clock Bud Parker called for a rehearsal of the professional talent - opera star Art Perri, musical comedy singer Renee Lee, gymnasts Howard and Randall, Agustin De Mello and his Karate group and the four gorgeous Honey Girls. Bud put the stage crew through a dry run, cued the musicians and gave everybody a pep talk. Last minute instructions were to get on stage at 7:30 o'clock-the curtain was to go up at 8:00 o'clock.
The curtain went up promptly at 8:15 o'clock which is better than par for a course with 80 players who have had only one rehearsal. Parker, nattily attired in a tuxedo (IFBB contests have class) opened the show by introducing the judges. Ben Weider gave a welcoming speech on behalf of the IFBB and then George Eiferman took over as Master of Ceremonies.
At most physique contests the MC can be pretty dull, but not Eiffy. He has a delivery all his own. He talks slowly, never gets flustered (and he had plenty of flustering moments) and somehow manages to sound like Andy Griffith of TV.
Eiffy brought out the Honey Girls and they gave a terrific routine of fast tumbling and hand balancing. Their finale was an acrobatic twist dance that had the boys in the back rows whistling and stomping. Then came Art Perri who was once a beefy baritone but who now looked like a Mr. America contestant. Art trained with weights to trim down and is now 100 percent for bodybuilding. From the applause he got for his songs it was obvious that muscle fans were music fans as well.
The Karate exhibition was next and viewed from the wings it looked like seven Orientals making mayhem in an opium den. Agustin De Mello gave a demonstration of home wrecking by breaking bricks and cinder blocks with his bare hand. Then came the muscle antics of George Eiferman . . . Eiffy enlisted the aid of one of the Honey Girls and this honey was well stacked but when he took off his shirt some wag in the peanut gallery hollered: "Hey, Eiffy, you've got better pecs than she has!" I am an expert in such matters and I can assure you that that guy's opinion was all wet.
Eiffy made a nice try at pressing the honey overhead while playing a trumpet with the other hand! He didn't make it on the first try--he dropped the honey and they both landed in a tangle of arms and legs. Eiffy didn't seem to mind (as I said, he isn't easily flustered) and he tried a couple of more times. The audience was getting a great kick out of it and so was Eiffy. He was willing to try all night but he finally made it. The lift is now officially known as "Pressing a Belle Overhead While Playing a Trumpet." Then came the Mr. America show.
Each man mounted the posing platform to a thunder of applause and if I've said this once I've said it a hundred times -- I didn't envy the judge's job. Picking a winner was going to be harder than the Labors of Hercules.
The posing was much better than at the AAU Mr. A contest thanks to the briefing of Jim McClure. As each contestant stepped down from the platform he was decorated with the 1962 IFBB medallion by Paul Thomas, Assistant Director. The medallions were 2½ inches in diameter suspended on a red, white and blue ribbon.
I tried to match my judgment with that of judges Goldberg, Plaia, Voyages and Tilney. From the applause it sounded like Carroll Ailman, Bob Burke, Larry Powers and Chet Stoyeck in the tall men's class. In the medium height class it was all Larry Scott and in the under 5' 8" group it seemed like John Tristram was the favorite. We wouldn't know the winners until the finale, Bud Parker was going to keep us in suspense.
After a brief intermission and an overture by the orchestra, the curtain went up and Parker introduced Dr. Tilney. Doc gave a short inspirational talk for which he is famous. After listening to him you wanted to rush right out to a gym and train twice as hard as you ever trained before. Then Doc told a hairy old joke and it laid an egg but his talk was terrific.
Howard and Randall went through their hand balancing routine against a black backdrop. The orange spotlight made their bodies gleam like burnished gold. They made tough balances look easy. Jerry Howard, the bottom man, competed in the Mr. America contest.
Vivacious little Renee Lee then took over the mike and really brought out the whistles and cheers. Renee has a beautiful voice and figure to go with it. Then came Clarence Ross -- the King of Posers.
It was the first time I ever saw Ross in the flesh and believe me, his photos don't do him justice. There's no mistake -- Ross is the King. He got off to a slow start with sparse applause but as he warmed up the audience warmed up with ear-splitting cheers. When his routine was over Joe Weider rushed backstage to congratulate him. I've never seen Joe more enthusiastic over a posing routine. Then came the Mr. Universe contest. . .
I can only repeat what I said about the Mr. A contest - picking a winner was going to be a tough job. The posing of the Mr. U men was more professional than the Mr. A men. They took their time and posed longer which was just what the audience wanted. As each man stepped off the dais, Paul Thomas draped a medallion around his neck.
While a full report of the winners of both contests is given elsewhere I would say that, judging from the applause, it sounded like Frank Klutka, Rene Leger, Jean-Charles St. Mars and Gene Shuey in the tall men. It was all George Eiferman in the medium height and Freddy Ortiz brought the house down in the under 5' 8" class.
There is always someone who "steals" the show. In 1960 at Montreal it was Serge Nubret from Guadaloupe Island, here it was Freddy Ortiz of New York City. Freddy was in the small men's class but no man of his size ever had more muscle. We'll have plenty of stories on him.
While the judges went into a huddle, Gerard Champagne from Shawinigan Falls, Quebec, tried to break his own world's record in the Bench Press. Gerard weighs 180 pounds and has done 540! It is incredible that a man of his size presses poundages that even the super-heavyweights can't approach but this was not the night for Champagne.
He took his attempts with practically no rest in between and reached only 515 pounds. He gave 545 two tries but couldn't make it. Though he failed to break his own world's record, lifting fans at the show were treated to one of the greatest displays of strength of modern times.
The curtain came down and Bud Parker took over the mike and called for the judges tallies. What happened has been fully covered by our reporter who caught the show from out front. As the third, second and first place men took their trophies (and there has never been bigger or better trophies at any contest) the cheering grew louder and louder.
When Larry Scott mounted the dais as the new IFBB Mr. America the cheering was ear splitting. When George Eiferman was called up to accept the Mr. Universe trophy, it was like an H-bomb! I have never heard louder or longer applause.
Each IFBB show gets better and if you missed this one you really missed something. Being backstage at this show was a great thrill. I talked to a lot of contestants and have a lot of interesting little stories to tell you. I learned how many of these muscular marvels train, eat and sleep and this information I will be passing along to you. And now that I know what it's like being backstage at a Mr. Universe-Mr. America contest, I want to see the next one from out in front where there is no confusion-only ear-splitting cheers.
- Emcee, George Eiferman . . . Warming up the audience.
- The winner's circle. Left to right: Joe Weider, Chief of the I.F.B.B.; George Eiferman, Mr. Universe 1962; Larry Scott, Mr. America 1962; and Ben Weider, President of the I.F.B.B.
- Mr. America 1962, Larry Scott. His competitors look on in admiration. Larry certainly deserved to win the title . . . and the beautiful trophies on the dais (winner's trophy, left; Most Muscular, right)
- Just before the winners were announced, Ben and Joe Weider posed with a few of the contestants. How many can you identify?
- An interesting photograph showing part of the auditorium . . . the Grand Opera House of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Nearly 2,300 fans attended the sell-out attraction. Here Leonard Huntley, Mr. America contender, is shown in a back pose.
- The judges. Left to right: Dr. Frederick Tilney; Joe Plaia; Abe Goldberg; and Dr. Kimon Voyages. This photo graph was taken prior to the actual show, during pre-judging.
- Mr. America 1962, Larry Scott . . . in an informal photo with Jean-Charles St. Mars, 1st Place winner in the tall man's Division of the Mr. Universe Contest.
- Shown here are three of the key men who had charge of the 1962 I.F.B.B. Mr. Universe-Mr. America Show. Left to right: James McClure; George Eiferman; and Bud Parker, Contest Manager.
- Agustin DeMello and pupils in an exhibition of Karate. Seen at stage right (left of photo) is George EIferman, emcee. Note the two trophy tables, the packed auditoriu, and Jimmy Caruso - attempting to get a good photograph of the group.
- Freddy Ortiz . . . one of the finest physiques to appear in years! Freddy took 1st Place and Most Muscular wins in the Short Man's Division of the Mr. Universe Contest. Note his unusual taper and massive upper body.
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