IronMan, Vol 10, No 1, Page 6, January 1950

The Professional Mr. America Show

by Bob Miser

One of the events of the year which holds high interest for bodybuilders and lifters, is the Annual "Professional Mr. America" show sponsored by Walt Baptiste. This year the show was especially interesting because of the many events included and the famous names that participated. Below, our correspondent, Bob Mizer, Sec. of the Athietic Model Guild gives a brief review of the show.

THE Mr. Professional America, Mr. San Francisco and Miss Golden Gate contest were held at the Civic Auditorium, November 13, 1949. No one seemed in doubt that the new Mr. Professional America would be either Bob McCune or Armand Tanny; the other four contestants entering the contest only in hopes of a place. Most uncertain of all were McCune and Tanny, both fast friends, but equally desirous of securing the coveted title.

The judges (who included Floyd Page and Clarence Ross) were hard put to making a choice because both men had such splendid qualities -- Tanny with his magnificent breadth and definition as compared to McCune with his wonderfully proportioned "hugeness". It was only after repeat performances of their posing routine that a decision was finally reached and Armand Tanny officially became Mr. Professional America of 1949, with McCune naturally taking second place. As we mentioned in his biography published in Nov'49 "Strength and Health," taking a "place" always seems to be Bob's lot-but make no mistake, he hasn't given up yet.

Third place went to Jim Payne who has a truly statuesque build -- not great in size but beautiful in proportion. Iron Man will soon feature a pictorial display of this fine athlete.

Twenty-four men entered the Mr. San Francisco contest which was won by Jim Allen, a handsome native son. Telly Yust, a Belgian lifter placed second while Monty Wolford, recently crowned Mr. Southwest took third place in the San Francisco contest. Mr. Southwest's posing was in slow, deliberate, ballet-like rhythm not unlike Jack Delinger's -- some of the audience felt this to be a welcome relief from the more conventional rapid posing, but others were annoyed at the extra time involved. Of particular advantage to the contestant employing such a posing routine is that additional poses to the allowed limit "slip in" during the transition from one pose to another.

All of the contestants had worthy bodies and while many of them realized from the outset that they would not likely win, they entered to be good sportsmen and to get valuable experience. This factor cannot be stressed too strongly to bodybuilders who hope to try for big contests: no matter how much practice you get in front of a mirror or before a camera, it just isn't the same as being on a great stage, scrutinized by thousands of pairs of critical, evaluating eyes -- the smoothest studio poseur meets a new problem which only experience will help him conquer. Once in a long time a 'dark horse" comes through with flying colors but more often the winner is the hard worker who has tried and failed before, but has benefitted by his experience. Louis Rightmire of Phoenix, Arizona, who failed to place in the Mr. San Francisco contest, the next week entered Mr. Tucson and won the title. Members of the Tucson audience said they were as much impressed by Rightmire's posing technique as by his physique. Louis, himself, feels that his winning Mr. Tucson was largely attributable to his "priming" at San Francisco.

Miss Golden Gate was awarded to the attractive Miss Jeri Miller. Bernarr MacFadden, Father of physical culture, awarded the trophies. In a short interview conducted by Walt Baptiste (the Show's promoter) and Jim Grady (master of ceremonies) MacFadden was asked if he felt the athletes of today compared favorably with those of yesteryear such as Sandow. His answer was prompt-today's athletes are better. Mr. MacFadden also discussed his recent parachute jump. During the backstage posing, a photographer wanted a pose of Mr. MacFadden presenting the great trophy (which in one of the pictures accompanying this article you see Tanny and McCune struggling to hold up). At the moment the trophy was resting on the stage and the photographer started to help Mr. Mac Fadden lift the burden. but the beloved old man would have no assistance but rather deftly lifted the heavy object and assumed his pose. Everyone was impressed by this wonderful man whose whole life has been a magnificent symbol of healthful living.

Besides the contests, Baptiste's show featured a number of variety acts including comedy tumbling, Jack LaLanne's acrobatic group, Adagio dancing by the Harry Todd Group, Muscle control acts by Walt Baptiste and Elias Rodriquiz, Jungle Dancing by Magana Baptiste and Damita, and also a men's fashion show during intermission. An Hawaiian band played both subtle and vigorous rhythms to suit the variety acts as well as the posing routines of the contestants. The San Francisco Civic Auditorium which housed the event could comfortably seat at least 8000 but paid admissions probably did not exceed 4000 (estimated). The question arises, would more people have attended if the lowest priced ticket had not been $1.80? Yet how can these important contests be financed except by admission proceeds? Very rarely does the promoter of one of these shows make a profit after he has paid auditorium rental, orchestra, contestants prize money, entertainer's fees, trophy costs and hundreds of other incidental expenses. Rather the promoter such as Baptiste must dig into his own pocket to help keep competition alive. Iron Man would like to have the ideas of its readers on the relation of admission cost to show attendance -- would a lower price mean enough additional admissions to compensate for the proportionate loss on the tickets of those who would attend anyway, regardless of cost? Do you feel as do some officials of the A.A.U. that there are too many contests, too many titles which overlap to the extent of making them meaningless? What are your views?


- Above and left is BOB MC CUNE and ARMAND TANNY holding the giant trophy that Tanny won as "Professional Mr. America" of 1950. At right is "Mr. Southwest", MONTY WOLFORD, who won third place in the "Mr. San Francisco" contest. Center is the winner JIM ALLEN and on the right is TALLY YUST, a Belgian lifter who placed second. In photo at lower right we see the fine back display of BOB MC CUNE and ARMAND TANNY. On the right is "Mr. San Francisco", JIM ALLEN. Photos with this article by Athletic Model Guild.

- Miss Golden Gate (JERI MILLER), BERNARR MACFADDEN and ARMAND TANNY as the presentation of awards was made.

- BERNARR MACFADDEN, the Father of Physical Culture posed with ARMAND TANNY, the new "Mr. America" and MAGANA BAPTISTE and WALT BAPTISTE, the sponsors of the show. Below we show Tanny, McCune, Baptiste and Gironda as they appeared in the "Mr. 1949" contest which Tanny won with McCune second and Baptiste third and Gironda fourth place.

- ELIAS RODRIQUEZ displayed his amazingly muscular physique at the show. He has unbelievable separation.

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