Muscle Builder, Vol 7, Num 4, page 11 , November 1956



By Barton Horvath

The GREATEST Mr. Universe Contest of all time once again proves to be a sweeping victory for Weider Methods of Training

THE 1956 MR. UNIVERSE CONTEST, held at London, June 15 and 16, 1956, has already gone down in bodybuilding history as being the greatest physical spectacle presented anywhere, up to this time.

With 66 superbly conditioned athletes representing the best in bodybuilding from the four corners of the earth vieing for the coveted Amateur and Professional Crowns, the audience was treated to such a dazzling array of muscle talent, that they practically sat spellbound throughout the entire length of the show.

The judges, however, found themselves confronted by an almost impossible job. To establish absolute winners out of 66 of the world's best, required experience, integrity and a fair share of hard work. But with NABBA officals handling the job, no one ever doubted that the best men would win. Oscar Heidenstam, George Kirkley, Emlyn Jenkins, David Webster, Peter Seldon, Bert Loveday, Jack Boddington and Ted White were the 7 reputable judges who did their work well.

The advance entries filed with the NABBA, which included such internationally famous bodybuilding names as Jack Delinger, Paul Smit, John Isaacs, Arnold Dyson, Gerald Roach, Paul An, Reub Martin, John Lees and Henry Downs, to mention only a few of the celebrated stars who filed entry blanks well in advance, indicated that 1956 would indeed be a different type of Mr. Universe Contest, one which would be long remembered for its stellar array of stars. But--when last minute entries were received and accepted by the NABBA, bearing the names of Bill Pearl and Ray Schaefer of the United States, the contest was removed from the 'different' class and everyone, including the judges, knew that this Mr. Universe would represent an important milestone in the history of bodybuilding.

With the present popularity of Weider Methods as being the accepted training procedures in the United States, Canada, England, France, South Africa, and throughout the entire bodybuilding world, no longer are bodybuilding contests dominated by one or two outstanding physiques which was the common experience in competition of the past. Today, as judges will testify, thanks to modern Weider Methods, competition is keener, the difference in points between the first and the last place man in any event is smaller, and physique standards are constantly reaching new all time highs!

As reported in another article in this issue (The Story Of The Mr. Universe Contests) the actual judging is conducted privately, the day before the various contestants appear on the stage. The winners in the various height classes and in the Amateur and Professional Divisions are selected by the judges at this private showing, and then the next day at the public presentation, they are announced.

In officiating in this manner, the judges can take their time in evaluating the respective physique merits of the competitors; check and double check their score cards to make certain that they have arrived at correct decisions, and in the event of a really close contest, they can request various contestants be lined up in whatever manner they feel best to permit the fairest judging.

First they segregate the different height classes in both the Amateur and Professional Divisions. These are judged separately.

Then each judge requests that those who have scored best on his card from all the classes first in one division and then the other, appear together in another line-up. From these top men, the 'overall' Mr. Universe in the Professional and Amateur Divisions are selected.

Competitors are judged for how they look in a natural, unposed stance as well as for their appearance in muscle poses. The condition of the skin, hair, eyes, teeth are all taken into consideration. How they walk, how they stand, their overall appearance and stage presence are taken into account. And, the men who, eventually emerge as the Professional and Amateur Mr. Universe winners are always the ones who are superior in all respects.

From the start of the private judging, it was evident that in the Professional Class, Jack Delinger and Bill Pearl would be the ones to fight it out for the top spot. In the Amateur Division, the standouts were Ray Schaefer and big John Lees. All other contestants were fabulous-each, right down to the last place, would have done justice to a Mr. Universe Crown. But the 4 mentioned stars possessed such fabulous proportion, hard muscularity, superb skin tone and flawless posture along with masterful posing ability, that the aurora of true greatness covered them with a brilliant light.

With the judge's work finally completed, and with no announcements about the possible winners made at that time, the tired contestants were discharged for the day, and each went through the agonizing ordeal of waiting patiently until the following night when the winners would be made known.

The next afternoon, the huge London Palladium was filled with spectators who had come from far and wide to see the champions in action.

There, one by one, the great stars stepped onto the posing platform and permitted the world to view the physical excellence that was theirs.

Except for spontaneous bursts of applause, the audience was completely entranced. Bill Pearl, Ray Schaefer and John Lees received ear-splitting applause as each, presented his majestic posing display. Jack Delinger, however, seemed to cast a spell, because before hands were moved to loud clapping and voices to shouting in acclaim for the greatest Mr. Universe of all time, mere whispers broke the silence and amazed spectators gasped:-- "It's Grimek at his best!" or -- "He's greater than Grimek ever was!"

And then, and only then, did excitement reign supreme when to the man the audience stood up and gave Jack the ovation he deserved.

One look at his muscle-magic was enough to convince them all that here was indeed a great champion, a star who couldn't fail to win.

But the audience had to wait for the official announcements to take place and in-between the various posing routines they were treated to a variety of handbalancing, comedy and novelty acts which were presented to add variety to the Mr. Universe Show.

At long last, the time to award the trophies arrived, and rather than to prolong the anxiety the winners were announced at once. "The Professional Mr. Universe is Jack Delinger," was heard first. And then, "Ray Schaefer has been awarded the Amateur Crown!"

In the midst of congratulatory handshakes from fellow contestants, the flashing of camera bulbs and the accepting of trophies, first Jack Delinger, then Ray Schaefer and finally Bill Pearl were invited to the microphone to say a few words. Jack was filled with emotion as he told the crowd that his Mr. Universe triumph fulfilled a dream of 13 years. He managed to add that his friend Joe Weider had made it possible for this dream to come true, and then he retired with tears in his eyes to a side of the stage.

Ray Schaefer, as well, found the words hard to form, but he too thanked those who had helped him up the ladder of bodybuilding fame.

Last but not least, Bill Pearl who placed second to Delinger, gave credit to Jack as a worthy winner. Bill also assured the Palladium audience that he planned on returning the following year to vie for the professional title again.

With Jack Delinger and Ray Schaefer both Weider Pupils, the Weider record of having had its methods used by all Mr. Universe winners still remains intact.

Not only did the Weider System continue to rank supreme, but Joe Weider as well added to his fame. For the past year he has been personally supervising Jack Delinger's training. And, for the first time in the history of the Mr. Universe Contests, all 7 judges voted first place to one man. Jack Delinger, trained personally by Joe Weider, received this unprecedented honor!

Ray Schaefer and Jack Delinger as the Amateur and Professional Mr. Universe kings deserve a bow of appreciation from the muscle world. Once again they pave proved that determination and training right are what the bodybuilder needs most to reach the top. If you follow their lead and train right and hard too, someday the Mr. Universe crown may be placed on you.

And, while naturally, the most glory belongs to those who won in fair competition, in closing this report let us not forget all the other sterling athletes who made the battle a really tough one to win; men like Bill Pearl, John Lees, Paul Winter and Gerald Roach who either won their respective height classes or who finished very close to the top, as well as all others who contested and who conducted themselves so well.

To give them credit where credit is due, here is a detailed report of exactly how the full list of Mr. Universe contestants placed in this big event.


Class One-Over 5'8"
1, Bill Pearl (U.S.A.) 2, Reub Martin (England) 3, Arnold Dyson (England) 4, Peter Farrar (England) 5, Pierre Vandervondelen (Belgium) 6, Rene Campigilia (France) 7, Andre Picavet (France).

Class Two-Up to and including 5'8" Height
1, Jack Delinger (U.S.A.) 2, John Isaacs (S. Africa) 3, Jim Saunders (England) 4, Jack King (England) 5, Henri Glorieux (Belgium) 6, Jean Long (France).



Class One-Over 5'9" Height
1, Ray Schaefer (U.S.A.) 2, John Lees (England) 3, Paul Smit (S. Africa) 4, tie between Peter Deakin and Henry Downs (both England) 6, Dennis Stallard (Wales). Also competed:--Ronald Thomas (England) Ibrahim Hussein Elahmadi (Egypt) Gerry Crampton (England) Pierre Fallais (France) Len Shires (England) Carol Khaaleel (Jamaica) and Hubert Tomas (Wales).

Class Two-5'6" To And Including 5'9" Height
1, Paul Winter (Antigua) 2, Harry Henry (Grenade) 3, Bill Parkinson (England) 4, Mohammed El Zole (Syria) 5, tie between Rene Montchablon (France) and Wally Emery (U.S.A.) 7, Ken MacDonald (Australia) . Also competed :--Maurice Arnaud (France) Keight Pickering (England) Malcolm Stringer (England) Alex Moore (Ireland) Cecil Addison (Jamaica) Leslie Clarke (England) Gerald Leung (Hong Kong) Edmund Haworth (England) Mohammad' Iobal Khokhar (Pakistan) Ken Latham (England) Beresford Morris (Jamaica) John Stringer (England) Jan Hofstede (Holland) Daniel Murray (Scotland) Pierre Hini (France) James Winston (Scotland) Ernest Martinson (England) Norman Mann (England) Derek Manthorpe (England) .

Class Three-Up To And Including 5'6" Height
1, Gerald Roach (Jamaica) 2, Khurshid Ahmed (Pakistan) 3, Paul An (South Vietnam) 4, Leonard Sell (England) 5, Albert Fink (Belgium) 6, George Gutteridge (England) . Also competed :--Reuben Govender (India) George Rowan (England) Raymond Morris (5. Africa) Irwin Paris (U.S.A.) Mohammed Umar (Pakistan) Derek Davies (England) Ernie Coates (England) Lloyd Young )Jamaica) Michel Pinon (France).


Editor's note. Watch for future articles in our magazine giving the exercises, routines and training principles used by both Jack Delinger and Ray Schaefer in their training for their Mr. Universe conquests.


- Here's a real Mr. Universe line-up. The NABBA contest had competitors from all over the world, from Europe, Africa, Asia, East and West Indies and America. India and Egypt sent men too. When will the AAU run such a meet and make sure good officiating prevails?

- A great physique, yet Paul Smit, Mr. South Africa only placed 3rd in tall man's class.

- Gerald Roach, Jamaican bodybuilder won 1st place, amateur, short man class.

- At close to 40, Muscular Reub Martin had physique good enough to take 2nd, Class 1.

- Charming Billie Anthony, England's top singing star sits on the stalwart shoulders of Jack Delinger and Ray Schaefer, 1956 Kings of the bodybuilding world.

- Biggest man in the show was John Lees, who placed second to Ray Schaefer in the Amateur Class 1. Recently making sensational improvement, John's great.

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