IronMan, Vol 19, No 3, Page 12, January 1960
THE 1959 Mr. Universe competition held in London recently consolidated the reputation of the world's most important physique contest. The wonderful atmosphere, fine presentation, and most of all the excellent representation of many countries all combined to produce a competition second to none.
The Palladium, the Capitol's premier theatre, was packed to capacity and spectators from all over Europe, plus some from much farther afield acclaim the new champions. America's Bruce Randall won the Professional title and Britain's massive Len Sell captured the Amateur award. These were worthy title holders, men who had worked long and hard to reach their present position and the opposition they had to face in this 1959 event was extremely impressive.
Let's review the leading entries in the various classes before telling you how the judges reached their decisions.
Naturally as well as winning the professional title, Bruce Randall also won first place in the tall men's division of this class. His is an unusual physique with many eye catching features. His rib box must surely be one of the biggest and most flexible ever seen. His arms must carry more beef than any others for not only are they big and well defined, they are also extremely long! His back was extremely good and this would be an appropriate place to note that of all the Americans competing in the 1959 Mr. Universe, Randall had the only back worthy of comment and the others greatly neglected displaying this body part during the judging sessions.
The tall men's professional class also included Reub Martin, the versatile strength athlete who has represented his country as British Heavyweight W/L champion and also appeared in the current Mr. Universe show with his wonderful herculean balancing act, The Trio Ruvane. Andre Coutella, the classically built Frenchman was yet another powerful contender.
Broad shouldered Reub finished as runner up and Coutella third. In the other height division Paul Wynter of Antigua took first place. This colored boy has a wonderful physique--thick, wide, sweeping latissimus, terrific arms and really well developed legs. Leopold Merc of Austria had improved greatly since last year and placed 2nd. Ernie Coates bodybuilder turned professional wrestler, was third.
In the amateurs, the most outstanding line up was seen when the tall men appeared. There was little to choose between the first three. The title however, went to big Earl Maynard of Barbados; bearded Henry Downs was second and Pete Ganios, who placed third in the Mr. America contest, was again number three. Maynard is extremely muscular and poses well. He has, however, some minor faults which caused him to lose to Len Sell when it came to awarding the eventual Amateur Mr. Universe title, as opposed to the class award. Henry Downs and Pete Ganios were both very impressive and if the latter had possessed a little better definition on this occasion, the decision may well have been reversed. I was told that Pete had terrific muscular separation at the recent Mr. America but had gained some weight since that time. He carried this weight extremely well and if his present muscular size could be maintained and separation improved again, then he would be a real world beater. I am confident of this and would like to see him back for another attempt. John Carson, the giant Irishman, was fourth. Although Bob Burke, a last minute entrant from the States, did not place, he had, in my opinion, one of the best pairs of arms in the contest.
Class two, the medium height division, has often the highest standard but this was not so this time. The current Mr. Britain, John Hewlett, was a most popular winner and more experience and training will make him a very hard man to beat. Bill Golumbick of Leo Stern's gym, considered himself lucky to place 2nd but with his fine tan and chiseled abdominals, I thought his success was well deserved. The third and fourth places were filled by Malcolm Stringer and Dave Stroud. Other notables were Rachan Phanchukawongs of Thailand, current Mr. Asia, who possessed magnificent thighs, Mohomed El Zole of Syria, Orlando Varandas of Portugal and Salvatore Ingunati of USA. Kamal Bhandari showed his development to good advantage but some of the judges did not think it was necessary to do very complicated kneeling or lying poses for what was basically intended to display the arms.
Going on to the class for men up to and including 5'6" we find Len Sell of London the unanimous winner. It is hard to find fault with this boy's physique. He is a real strong man and has been well groomed by his trainer, Ramblin' Reub Martin. His arms, legs, chest and mid-section are all symmetrically developed and he looks in very hard condition. Proportions too are excellent. Yvon Pernal, a negro from Guadelope, was second and I have very mixed feelings about this physique contestant. Language difficulty for once was a big problem. Oscar Heidenstam, talented linguist though he is, could not convey his instructions and even Gregor Arax, the great physique photographer, had difficulty. Pernal was spectacular, no doubt about that. What arms he had! His posing was very strange to say the least of it. It could have been part of a native jungle ritual dance without the foot movement.
Piere Vandensteen, the ever smiling Belgian, was third and his compatriot, Nicolas Kemp, was sixth. With Piere Swertz, Johnny Roelandt and Louis Lanhove, the Belgians were greatly welcomed to the contest. Tony Rothwell, another of England's up and coming young enthusiasts, was fourth and George Cox, fifth.
The overseas competitors are always impressed by the thoroughness and democratic method of judging and therefore this is worthy of mention. First and foremost, this is a physique contest and therefore athletic and educational ability are not considered. The judges view the physique from all angles, seeing the competitors together and also individually. They see the men relaxed and performing their posing routines too. There is no limitation on the number of poses done at the judging. The number and type of posing is left to the entrants' discretion and in all, almost a full day is spent judging the various classes. Each judge makes his own decisions and may not consult other judges on any point. Before the commencement of the competition they are warned not to make any adverse comments about any of the competitors or to discuss the relative merits of the various entrants. They are allowed to use their own personal method of judging with regard to allocation of points etc. and after a thorough viewing of the competitors, the judges submit the numbers of six which they think best. The secretary counts the votes and returns the judging sheets on which is listed the six competitors who had fared best on the preliminary vote. The judges then place these six in order of merit and having submitted their sheets, they continue with the next class without knowing the result. When this procedure has been followed with each class, the secretary gives the judges the numbers of the class winners only (not the finalists or even the runners up). All the competitors are then lined up again and the judges cast their votes. They are allowed one choice only, they do not consider who should be 2nd or 3rd. The competitors are very pleased with the judging procedure and the judges are selected for their long experience, personal integrity, and they must not be connected with any commercial concern which would profit by the placing of individuals in the contest.
The judging was followed by a reception and dinner party which everybody that was anybody in British physical culture attended. There were speeches galore and one of the most enjoyable was by Bruce Randall on behalf of overseas guests. On Saturday morning there was a show rehearsal, very necessary for the spectacular opening parade and the varying presentations of each class. The impressive finale was also rehearsed using "dummy" winners and still the result was not known by anyone apart from the judges' secretary.
Afternoon came and the Palladium, large though it is, was jammed to capacity. The curtain went up and the show was on. Between the classes first rate balancing and tumbling acts entertained the audience, and the 16 piece orchestra and the TV compeer did excellent work. There was a diversion when yours truly ushered the one and only Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay into the Royal Box. Talking now from personal experience, I can say that this charming couple richly deserve their success and popularity. After the show they talked to the competitors, posed for pictures with all and sundry, signed autographs by the score and generally made many people very happy. The final results of the 1959 contest were very well received and at the dance in the evening the top liners met their fans and a great time was had by all.
It was a marvelous experience and the United States entrants greatly enhanced the show and on behalf of fellow enthusiasts on this side of the world, I would like to say "Hasten back and bring many of your friends with you".
- Bruce Randall, weighing 222 lbs. in this photo, was top man in the Professional Mr. Universe contest. Bruce usually weights about 12 or 15 lbs. more than this but trains down for physique contests. his muscularity and definition is amazing for such a big man. As you may recall, Bruce is the fellow we wrote up in Vol. 16 No. 6 issue of Iron Man describing his big gain of from 200 lbs. bodyweight up to 401 lbs. bodyweight where he was able to exceed some lifting records on odd lifts then trained back down to 183 in 18 month's time, then back to 225 and finally this Mr. Universe title.
- Photo below shows the back spread of Bruce Randall
- The exceptionally muscular Len Sell of England won the Amateur Mr. Universe title. Len has been tops for a long time and finally won the coveted title.
- In the photo below we see Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay presenting a trophy to Len Sell.
- Len Sell, who, in addition to winning the Amateur Mr. Universe title, was also first in class 3 while Yvon Parmal on the right was 2nd in class 3.
- In the photo below we see Mickey Hargitay and his wife, Jayne Mansfield as they present trophies to Len Sell and Earl Maynard.
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