Muslce Power, Vol 7 No 6, Page 13, May 1949

The I.F.B.B. "Mr. California" Contest and Strength Show

(As seen by a spectator)

MUSCLEMEMORY NOTES: The following info helps put this article in perspective. 1) the Canadian AAU washed its hands of bodybuilding in the mid 1940s, so pretty much all Canadian bodybuilding shows are considered IFBB. 2) Dan Lurie's 1948 Mr New York contest used the IFBB name, but the Weiders distanced themselves from him. This California show was one of the first Weider IFBB shows in the US. After this, there were only a handful of IFBB shows in the early 50s, then nothing until 1959. 3) The US AAU considered the IFBB an "outlaw" organization, and would ban anyone who entered an IFBB contest. 4) AAU contests were for amateurs only. If you owned a gym, worked at a gym, was a physical fitness instrucutor, wrote an article in a bodybuilding magazine, or got paid for any physique photography, you were considered a professional and were not allowed to compete in an AAU sanctioned event. Note that the contestants here were all already considered professionals by the AAU, so had nothing to lose by entering.

WOULDN'T this be a wonderful, powerful nation if every man in the U.S.A. was required to build his body to Herculean proportios. Just imagine if every man in the nation was striving to attain the muscle power, PEP, ENDURANCE, STAMINA and VITALITY of our "MR. AMERICAS" -- what a colossal force our nation would represent.

Our health rating would soon become the highest in the world. We'd greatly minimize the need for Doctors and health insurance. The U.S.A. would soon become known throughout the entire world as the nation of powerful, dynamic men. The American male would be highly respected, admired and looked up to where ever he went.

Yes, it's just a dream! That would be an ideal situatio, but one that is not possible over night. However, if we had more organizations like the International Federation of Body Builders, this UTOPIA of powerful men could be visualized with but little imagination, because it is evident that this fine organization is doing more than any other one movement to bring us closer to the realization of this imaginary land of SUPER, healthy men. One could not help but feel keenly the influence, in this direction, of this vital organization at the recent "MR. CALIFORNIA" contest and Strength show.

It is shows such as this that creates in the minds and hearts of those present that burning desire to possess a healthy, magnificent physique. Every strong man present was a real inspiration to all as he cleverly displayed his superb muscular body. I have never before witnessed such a display of POWER, PEP, ENDURANCE and well proportioned bodies on one stage. The theater became a veritable POWER HOUSE OF STRENGTH.

The "MR. CALIFORNIA" contest and "STRENGTH SHOW" was held in the Oakland Auditorium, Oakland, Calif., on January 21st. All of the eligible outstanding strong men in the state of California competed. Immediately after seeing the contestants line up on the stage it became obvious that the judges would have difficulty in determining the winner.

Norman Marks of Oakland, Calif., won first place. He was crowned "MR. CALIFORNIA ". He was awarded a beautiful trophy. A trophy worthy of his outstanding accomplishment. He accepted it with a big smile that expressed his gratitude for having been chosen as the top man among the contestants. Congratulations, Norman. May your fine physique win for you many more honors for which you can well be proud.

Norman's body emphasizes that "V" that all strong men strive to develop, broad shoulders with a slim waist line. I don't believe many other men have developed the "V" shaped, upper body to such a pronounced degree. It was no doubt because of this outstanding body Structure, developed to such perfection that won for him the title "MR. CALIFORNIA ".

Norman Marks operates one of the outstanding physical culture studios in Oakland. He is doing his part to help other physical culture movements to make this nation one of the most powerful in the world.

Bob McCune won second place and was also awarded a beautiful trophy. Mark my word you will be hearing a lot more about Bob McCune. He possesses a powerful, well developed physique. He represented a lot of tough competition for Norman Marks.

You have already read a lot about the outstanding physique of the third place winner. He really needs no introduction, because he is the world famous operator of the Walt Baptise Physical Culture Studio of San Francisco. He also received a huge trophy in recognition of his fine physique. We shall be looking forward to seeing your fine trophy at close view on display at your studio, Walt.

The world famous, Jack LaLanne performed an outstanding strength and endurance act before the contest He broke a record by doing a hand stand act on eleven blocks (4" sq. by approximately 7 1/2" high) each placed vertically one on top of the other. This stack of blocks extended well over his head. He demonstrated his phenomenal endurance (which few men can equal) by starting at about six blocks and adding one at a time, performing the hand balancing act on each stack before adding the next one. The spectators nearly tore the house down when he finally performed the hand stand act after the addition of two, blocks beyond his previous record. Jack dramatically demonstrated the power, smooth coordination, control and endurance that can be accomplished by developing your physique by the use of the modern barbell.

Alan Stephan, "Mr. America" of 1946 and 1949, displayed his well developed physique by striking several artistic poses. Alan, is not only massive and powerful - a real "HE MAN" but he is also handsome with a winning smile. (I wonder why Hollywood hasn't snapped him up, as he is the type lad men like to see in the movies). Alan was brought here by the I.F.B.B. from Minneapolis, Minn., to appear in the show. Our good friend Steve Reeves, "MR. AMERICA" of 1947 and "MR. WORLD" of 1948 also thrilled the spectators by flexing his massive muscles, during his posing routine.

To give the show "class" of an unusual nature and beauty that cannot be surpassed that lovely creature, Val Njord "Miss U.S.A." of 1948 posed during the enthusiastic whistling and yelling of the male spectators. She is a beautiful girl with a gorgeous figure. She is an ideal pin up girl as demonstrated during her posing act.

No strength show is complete without the personal appearance of that world famous top notcher - a man whom every body admires not only for his symmetrical, powerful body, but for his winning personality - none other than our beloved friend and pal, Clancy Ross. Yes, he too was there. His outstanding popularity was felt keenly when his name was mentioned by the M.C. The thunderous applause that followed his appearance on the, stage gave testimony of the admiration that every one holds for this grand person. He is a real inspiration to all of us, and no outstanding Strength show (in my opinion) can possibly be a complete success without the presents of that magnetic personality, Clancy Ross.

Ed Jubenville was brought all the way from Holyoke, Massachusetts by the IFBB to display his famous Muscle Control routine. After witnessing such acts as this lad put on it became evident that the IFBB will spare no expense in giving the public their moneys worth in presenting the best there is in entertainment.. Immediately after Ed appeared in the spotlight and began flexing his muscles the audience went wild with excitement because you just couldn't believe what was going on right before your eyes - it was difficult to believe that one man could possibly control so many of his body muscles in such a pronounced degree. His muscular definition is phenominal and the way he has trained himself in controlling his muscles is unbelievable, You'll just have to see it to believe it, so if you ever get an opportunity to see him on the stage don't miss it, because he is one man that does an apparently impossible act right before your eyes. Don't forget his name. It is Ed Jubenville.

Another one of the outstanding acts that proceeded the contest was performed by Jim Payne and his two-year-old son. His specialty act, in which he did gymnastics with his son, was unique to say the least. His well trained son, who liked to clap his hands after performing an outstanding hand balancing feat, won the hearts of everyone present. It is evident that Jimmy has spent a lot of time perfecting his act, because it is not difficult to imagine the hours of patience that was no doubt required to train a two-year-old baby to perform the outstanding gymnastics that became such a sensation at the show. The "babe" performed liked a veteran.

Our sincere thanks and gratitude goes to the International Federation of Body Builders for giving us such an outstanding, entertaining and inspirational show. It was a job well done. We shall look forward to seeing many more in the future.


- The great competition which existed in the recent Mr. California show is plainly evident in this photo showing the three winners. Left to right: Bob McCune, 2nd place, Norman Marks, Winner, and Walt Baptiste, 3rd place. Just look at the fabulous tropies awarded by the I.F.B.B. for this event. Norman Marks will compete in the Mr. North America Contest and is in even greater shape now than when he won this contest.

- Happy Norman Marks, Mr. California posing with the great trophy awarded him.

- Bob McCune, 2nd place winner gave Norman a great fight for the title.

- Walt Baptiste took 3rd place and this pose shows that he was a hard man to beat.

- Famous Steve Reeves caught by Bruce as he presented his specatcular posing routine which caused a sensation.

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