IronMan, Vol 19, No 2, Page 11, October 1959
EACH year we think that surely we will run out of perfectly built men and that the standards will drop, but each year it seems there are new men who are just as well built as those of the past. We often hear a heated discussion as to whether present day bodybuilders are as well built as those of the past when Grimek, Reeves, Ross and others reigned supreme. You will find some who feel the men of the past will never be surpassed while others feel present day men are better. It is perhaps a matter of opinion and mental conditioning. Surely it would be hard to find men any better than appeared at the Mr. America Contest this year. All the older fellows seemed greatly improved and there were so many new ones who had never been in a Mr. America Contest before who were just as good as the best, that the judges certainly had a difficult task. There were at least 12 men in this year's meet who could not be criticized as a Mr. America had they been selected.
One thing we must mention is that the public too often misunderstands the selection of a Mr. America due to the fact that Athletic ability and other aspects of the contestant's character count a full 5 points and this sometimes places a man higher than another who you may think has a superior physique. The reason they have these points is because the leaders of the game feel that the Title of "Mr. America" denotes something more than just physique -- it should include all characteristics such as education, personality, athletic ability, moral character, etc. which would be included in "Ideal American Manhood".
If the contest was run as a "Most Perfectly Developed" man in America contest such designations would not be necessary and only, the physique need be considered. A Mr. America as now selected might or might not be the most perfectly developed. I believe that since this system has been in operation we have had very little dissatisfaction among some of the District or Area contests where they feel that sometimes men with inferior physiques win the "Mr." titles. Always remember in these instances however, that when a contest is designated as a "Mr." that other things must be considered than the physique. Quite often a man may have everything you could ask for in a physique and it is quite conceivable that the world's most perfectly developed man might fail to win a "Mr." contest because he was low in the so-called Athletic points altho Athletic ability is not all that is or should be considered under this heading.
The men who failed to place at the top this year should, therefore, not feel too bad, nor should they feel that their physique is lacking in any respect other than possibly in athletic ability. Your athletic accomplishments have to be considerable to justify a full 5 points and those unable to qualify in this respect should develop some athletic specialty which will qualify them for the full points. Probably the simplest method of accomplishing this is to develop ability in the Olympic Lifts sufficient to give you the required total. Your A. A. U. rule book will give you the requirements.
Thirty-two men were entered, but four of them failed to show up for the contest. This still left an ideal number to run through.
The first night or July 31st, the men competed for the Most Muscular title. No winner was announced in this category until the next night. Most of the men appeared in this contest and some of them certainly looked great. The lights were ideal to show them to best advantage -- although we suspect they looked real tiny from the seats of the audience which were about half a block from the posing platform at the big York Fair Grounds where the contest was held.
On the second night, this great array of athletes paraded onto the stage in two groups as there was not room for all of them at one time. They looked wonderful out there under the lights with all of them having the nice tans, most of them not real dark, but just a good golden tan. You could hear gasps of amazement from the audience as the men first stood relaxed in front pose, then turned the left side, then the back, then the right side to the judges and the audience, holding each position for about a minute to give the judges a chance to study them. Then they marched off and another group came on. After this they came on one at a time and posed on the pedestal, each presenting three poses. It became increasingly difficult to select a winner and the seven judges were busy marking their score sheets, then rubbing out, as still better men appeared. What a job.
Finally each man had his chance to pose and all retired while the judges totaled their score sheets. During this period which usually takes about half an hour, several athletes gave demonstrations of their ability. Ron Lacy, a former Mr. America came on to give a posing demonstration of his massive and muscular physique. Ron is a blocky, chunky fellow, yet he combines it with a lot of grace and excellent posing ability to give a very impressive demonstration and he seems to be in just as good a shape as ever.
One of the Physique contestants gave an excellent tumbling demonstration. It was quite a sight to see one of these tall and heavily built men doing back flips and combination tumbling stunts with ease and grace. Little Dave Moyer then demonstrated seven ways of doing pushups, and in addition to the regular dips on one and two hands as well as hand stand dips, he performed straight arm planches from all directions. In other words, he did the bridge with arms straight in front and also to the side, then a planche or straight arm lever from the floor, popping up and down in reps as if it were nothing to him. It looked as if he might have done a one arm planche. This is remarkable when you consider his heavy body and legs.
After Dave put on his show and also did some tumbling, Ed Jubinville gave the most outstanding muscle control act we have ever seen. He demonstrated many controls we have not seen before or even heard of. If you ever have the chance to see Ed's act don't miss it. It is a highlight of any show. Ed is not heavily built, but he does have a masterly control of all his muscles.
Now it was time for the judges to announce their decision, but here comes the announcer who says that there has been a tie for first place and all judges have been called in to vote off the tie. This takes only a short time and they are ready to announce the winners first the "Most Muscular" winners. This is a very close thing with Art Harris winning over George Orlando by the very narrow margin of only one half point. Both men are very outstanding. This is the second time Art has won this title and there was some talk among the officials that a rule would be created at the next annual convention to bar anyone from winning the title more than once just as was done when Grimek won the Mr. America title twice.
Now they were ready to announce the Mr. America winners and as usual started with the 5th place man, Vern Weaver. Then they called George Orlando as fourth place winner with muscular Pete Ganios third. Now everyone was on the edge of their seats wondering who would come next. Two men had tied but no one could guess who it was. Second place man was announced as popular Ray Routledge. He deserves a high place and still has plenty of time to win this coveted title. FIRST PLACE MAN? Yon could hear a pin drop, as the saying goes, as the audience awaited the final announcement. FIRST PLACE AND THE NEW "MR. AMERICA" HARRY E. JOHNSON. There was wild cheering as this very popular athlete, a man who has tried for the title untiringly for many years, took his place on the victory pedestal to receive his trophy. Harry was so excited he could hardly stand up. I have never seen a man to whom winning the title seemed to mean so much. His wife, who has been one of his most enthusiastic booster's, ran up on the pedestal and gave him a big hug and kisses as the photographers snapped their cameras.
It was a real surprise to Harry as he had no idea he would win and before the show, while sun bathing, he had asked me how he looked. We had, in previous years, advised Harry to add more bulk and still keep his definition as we felt that was what he needed. Harry had worked hard at this and had added 15 pounds over his previous contest bodyweight and looked much better for it. Harry talked about his plans for next year when he was again going to try harder than ever to win the title -- not having the least idea that this was to be his big year, so you can imagine his amazement when he was selected.
Harry, who at 35 is the oldest man to ever win the Mr. America title, will be a real credit to this important post for the coming year. A father of four children of whom he is very proud, he is a clean young man of high ideals and principles. We hope that he will not be victimized by some of the fast operators who always hang around trying to make a 'fast buck' on new physique stars. We think Harry is level headed enough to avoid these dangers.
Here are a few facts about the various competitors which will interest you.
Art Harris looked far better than I had ever seen him. This man has to be seen to be believed. His development is fabulous whether in repose or tensed up. His definition is without peer and his measurements are huge.especially of the arms and shoulders and his back is unbelievable. His photos certainly never do him justice.
This was the first time we had seen George Orlando who has been winning contests in the east this year and we were much impressed with his muscularly, definition and general over all good appearance. Tho rather short and weighing about 160 when trained down for a contest he is undoubtedly one of the best in the world for his size. He should go far.
Buddy Basil who won the third place in the Jr. Mr. America is very good too. I might mention here that some of these boys need more athletic points to place higher. Both Orlando and Basil come in this classification. If you wish to know where you placed in this respect you can write to Clarence Johnson and he will tell you how you placed and where you need improvement.
Mike Ferraro who won the Mr. Teenage two years ago has a nice physique and will do well in the future with more improvement.
Pete Ganios has a really outstanding physique of the rugged type with very large measurements and lots of definition. He placed high as you will see by the point scores. Pete trains hard and uses heavy weights. The squat is his favorite and he does 6 to 8 sets of 10 with up to 500 Ibs. and has made 550 squat and 425 bench press. He has also made an 825 total on the Olympic lifts while weighing 225. His weight is usually around 240 but he trains down to about 220 for a physique contest. He would have undoubtedly won the best chest title had there been such a title available.
Kenneth Hall who is originally from the British West Indies has a much better physique than his photos would indicate. With a little more bulk he will be real outstanding. He has good shape and very good definition. He had made a 750 Olympic total at a 175 bodyweight. Art Harris incidently has made an 800 total on the Olympics too. Walter Cuzzimano has been competing a long time and has a really fine physique which gave him a lot of points. He has won a lot of contests. Charles "Tommy" Johnson is a young man with an outstanding physique and a lot of athletic ability who deserves a lot of credit for Tommy is a deaf-mute. He is doing a wonderful job in spite of a handicap that would cause most people to want to lie down and die.
Harry Johnson who has been trying for so many years and who is probably one of the most popular bodybuilders we ever had was looking better than ever this year and told me that he had added considerable bulk to his physique and still retained all his fine definition and shape. About three years ago Harry asked us what he needed to bring him to the top and we recommended that he add more bulk and still try to retain his shape-this is a difficult task but Harry did it even tho his training time is limited since he is a family man and works at two jobs. It paid off as you will see later in this report.
Lloyd J. Lerille, Jr. is a husky red head who reminds.us a little of Ron Lacy and Lloyd has won the Mr. Armed Services title in Hawaii a year or so ago and he looks very good. We feel that he will improve a lot and get right up there at the top. Bill March has a fine physique as does Sam Martin. Both will improve a lot and should climb higher on the Mr. America ladder.
Ray Routledge of Bill Pearls gym is as nice and fine a young man as you will meet anywhere, with a superb physique and an attractive personality. We want to commend him on his preparation for the judging. He had documented proof of his athletic ability which he placed before the judges without loss of time so they could make their decision on this phase without delay. So often the contestant has no proof whatever of his past accomplishments and the judges have sometimes been mislead by certain over-ambitious contestants. If you can show authentic proof of what you have done then you're safe. We hope to have a story and photos on Ray as well as many of the other contestants in this contest. Incidently Ray has made a 905 Olympic total at 198 bwt. and is very good at the hammer throw with 144 ft. to his credit. Kenneth Downs has a fine physique. He had a little trouble because someone had entered him under the name of Rosa. This was straightened out tho and no difficulty was encountered.
Elmo Santiago, the present Jr. Mr. America has a fine physique and it would be hard to find a flaw in it. He has been competing several years and has won most of the eastern titles. We thought he would place higher, he has a 750 Olympic total as a middleweight. Fred Schutz, the only man to compete in both the lifting and physique contest of course has outstanding athletic ability and a very nice physique but needs specialized bodybuilding to improve his physique to top quality. He should with proper training reach the top in the physique field.
Hossein Shokouh a young student from Iran who attends college in Calif. has an outstanding physique and many felt that he might win the title but needs more athletic points. He has a nice personality and will remain in the USA for some time yet, furthering his education. Joseph Simon is another man with a nice physique but he needs more time to bring his physique up with the best. Vern Weaver who always places high in the Mr. America contest is an outstanding athlete and has a very fine physique with good proportions and nice definition but we believe he needs more bulk to put him up there as a winner. Gene Wells and Geo. Wojnowski both have physiques that are very outstanding as their photos have shown.
Here are a few more interesting facts about some of the boys we were able to obtain. Tommy Johnson is the 177 lb. Mason-Dixon wrestling champ and this covers a lot of the south. Harry Lanehart, with broad shoulders and small waist, has only recently recovered from a very severe bout of pneumonia and had not been expected to live to say nothing of taking part in the world's toughest physique competition. Lerille had also been a state wrestling champ. Marino with a nice physique, but appearing a little slender with the other heavy built boys has his own print shop in New York City and has been working as a correction officer too. George Orlando is really outstanding for more than his physique. All that terrific body was built in his little home gym and with home-made cement barbells. This ought to be answer enough to you who feel you must train in a deluxe gym with lots of chrome and highly paid instructors. George is one of the finest built short men in the world today. Leo Downs, an outstanding colored boy is a very strong man, tho he hasn't competed as a lifter. He has pressed 280 and made an 835 total on the Olympic lifts the first time he tried the lifts. He has bench pressed 425 and squatted with 500. He has a lot of natural ability and would be one of our greatest prospects as an Olympic Champion if he could be encouraged to train on the lifts. Hank Wayne has a lift truck business. He has made an 850 Olympic Lifts total. Joe Simon is an outstanding baseball player and Vern Weaver, in addition to making 845 total, made a track coach eat his words as he remarked that Vern would be slow and stiff from lifting weights. Vern thereupon demonstrated that he could move fairly fast by running the 100 yards in 10.3 the first time he tried it. With all the evidence now before the public we sometimes wonder at the stubbornness of some coaches and some doctors to accept the fact that barbell exercise trained athletes are superior. So many college and high school coaches are training their men with weights that in the near future all others must fall in line or find their teams completely outclassed. Russia recently tried an experiment with some of her athletes and removed them from barbell training only to find that their performances were then outclassed by barbell trained men. They were quick to return all men to barbell training again.
Judges for the Mr. America contest were: Herb Lucy, Morris Weisbrott, Jim Messer, Jack Ayers, Ron Lacy, John Terlazzo and Peary Rader.
- Here are the 5 winners in the Mr. America contest. Left to light we have George Orlando who won 4th place, then the second place man, Ray Routledge, Harry Johnson, the winner, P. Ganios, third and Vern Weaver, 5th place. Photo by Mazzaro.
- Two photos of Art Harris, the sensational physique which won the Most Muscular title. His body is unbelievable either in repose or tensed up. Mazzaro photo.
- Below is the line-up of most of the contestants of the Mr. America contest. They can be identified by the numbers on their trunks compared to the numbers given at the end of this article with the report of the points received by each man. The men are numbered from left to right starting with number 1. A few men are missing from the line-up.
- Ray Routlege, who tied with Harry Johnson and then Harry won the judges' vote of 4 to 3, has a fine physique and could very well have been an ideal representative of the Mr. America title. Ray has a lot of time and should reach the top yet. Douglas White photo.
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