Muscle Builder, Vol 17, Num 3, Page 41, April 1976
Fun City's muscle zealots are spoiled rotten, and being a member in good standing, I can drink to that. Decades of the world's greatest physiques have been delivered to our doorstep with the regularity of the NY Times. All we do in return is demand bigger and better shows with more muscle, more stars, and more excitement.
Thusly, Tom Minichiello and Peter Vita the co-producers of this year's fall spectacular were informed the IFBB was awarding South Africa with the Mr. Universe / Mr. Olympia jewel, and Los Angeles with the AABA Mr. Americas sparkler. Tom and Pete were in the pickle jar now with the riddle to solve of how to stage a Big Apple Big Show with a Brand X title and a probable mixed bag of flakey contenders vying for the crown. I'll let you in on a quick secret. The riddle was halfway solved when a band of this hemisphere's best built amateur bodybuilders sent in entry forms and the ranks included two unbelievable newcomers; Danny Padilla and Robin Robinson.
The second part of the mini-riddle came together when in the month of April, AABA Sages developed a new title - Mr. USA - to be the alter ego of Mr. Americas. In any given year the east is to have one show and the west the other. Nashing fangs of hungry IFBB heroes starved for trophies began salivating in preparation for the freshly minted event.
New York also got Mr. World, the backup gala to Mr. Universe for Western Hemisphere bodybuilders who aren't up to a transoceanic voyage around Cape Horn. This popular contest generally draws well in both contestants and fans. Tom and Pete began to find the pickle vinegar easier to swallow now, especially when Joe Weider decided to pay the freight for ten more monsters to be winged in from distant parts of the Big 50, to compete in both contests.
Miss Americana - the cutesy girlie show was also added, and it has a rightful place on an agenda that sometimes gets a little heavy with "lat spreads". But the planners still needed The Certified Blockbuster, one that could guarantee a whammo reaction at the turnstiles.
While brainstorming for fresh ideas, someone suggested taking the time to head up into the Northwest and trying to sling a trusty lariat around Big Foot's hairy neck and drag him east. But Tom and Pete protested that they already had a promise from Lou Ferrigno to appear, and he's probably bigger than Big Foot and a tolerable mite tamer. However, there was no assurance from Lou's camp that he'd ben in blue-chip shape. He was obviously pointing for the Mr. Olympia title and in no mind to peak for an exhibition, even if it was in his own backyard. An Arnold - Louie posedown became a thought to consider, but it had a fat chance. The Oak was down to a lean 215 for his movie thingie, and this called for his hibernation to Santa Monica to reconstitutionalize himself.
Franco Columbu was an invitee, and though the faithful never tire of the Sardinian, he had posed here within the recent year. The Dynamite Attraction that could rivet thousands of fans britches to seat cushions wasn't on the marquee yet.
The think tanks were refilled, and those involved began recollecting the all-time NY crowd pleasers. Arnold, Sergio - hmmm. Reaching back further: Wayne, no . . . Poole, no . . . but what about SCOTT, Larry Scott ??? Back in 1962-1966, the world record holder in creating joyous pandemonium, demolishing box office records, and embalming all opposition, was the classy Larry. Even if he were to appear in a Velour sweater, he would drive veteran fans bananas and freak out the kids. Imagine squinting through an Instamatic and seeing the Reincarnation of Somebody greater than Peter Proud. The Myth - the Legend - all could be rekindled, and the thought almost was hallucinatory. Too bad nobody had heard from Scott in ages. He was rumored to weigh in at about Lafitte Pincay's jockey weight.
Contact was finally established in July, and Joe Weider told Larry by phone, "Money is no object, they really want you. How do you look?"
"Great," Larry responded. "I've been training tough, almost as though I knew this offer was ordained. I'll see you in September."
That's how he was summoned, but whether he was really in condition could only be answered the night of the contest. Nevertheless, "The Name" was now on the billboards, and the countdown toward Saturday, the 27th of September was resumed, and for the first time the promoters began to emote with a tinge of cautious optimism.
By seven on the Big Nite, at least one question was at last answered No Red Ink on the gigantic production. A frenzied SRO herd continued to shoehorn its way into the Garden's Felt Forum. On that balmy evening, everything was roses along Eighth Avenue. There were no visible signs of Fun City's impending collapse. No one could spot any of the thousands of fired municipal employees. Tons of rubbish had yet to be scraped from the cement, and the Mets and Yankees were finishing garbage seasons. However inside the warm auditorium, super vibes permeated the confines, and the multitudes on hand to view the IFBB men were in a buoyant and festive mood.
IFBB President Ben Weider kicked off the fourteenth annual NY muscleorama amidst thunderous applause. His short speech was well received by the audience, and we became enlightened on the subject of the far reaching goals of the federation. The most important point made was concerning the plans to relax efforts towards participation in the Olympic Games in favor of helping to organize the new "World Games." They would be an alternative olympiad held quadrienally for the important amateur sports neglected by the International Olympic Committee. Supported by a ten million dollar contribution from the host country (the Philippines), the first World Games will begin in August '77, and IFBB style bodybuilding will playa dramatic role.
KILLA PADILLA PRODUCES A MR. USA THRILLA
This year the AABA instituted procedural changes in their sincere attempts to arrive at fairer judging, keener competition and a more equitable way of dispensing awards. Best body part subdivision judging was scotched, leaving more money to be spent on trophies for each Height Class, and for the first time, fourth and fifth place finishers received chromed statuary. Considering the past when the first two or three best builds usually gobbled up all the body part accessories, this is a decent and needed innovation.
The pre-judging policy of having all height-class entrants pose side-by-side for comparisons and judgment re-evaluation was extended into the evening's competition. The audience now had a chance to form its own opinion on what was happening overall before the solo posing began.
As the group posedowns for the Mr. USA flexed along to the cadence of countless flashbulbs popping, even untrained eyes could determine that Danny Padilla, Roger Callard and Denny Gable were the standouts in their respective divisions. Spectators as well as the competing phalanx of muscle culturists were stunned by the magnificent proportions of Padilla. He is a new and devastating force in heavy-duty bodybuilding. Under his white as porcelain skin, an ungodly amount of muscle danced and wove, and the pallid covering failed to detract from his awesome display of striation and fibrous muscle density visible ever in the far reaches of the pavilion. Danny, the Short Man's Class victor swept to an overall conquest in the Mr. USA. This is an uncommon AABA occurrence, and it gives credence to his incredible physique. He's 5'3" and 171 pounds, and it took him ten months of ferocious and diligent training to get in shape for the contest, and it showed. With the precision of a Mafia mechanic, he scattered the opposition with his powder keg muscle explosion. Danny hails from Rochester, New York.
A rumble of healthy dissent floated up from the seats at awards time. Callard and Gable had lots of support, but in this opinion, the two may have lost because they overworked the finishing touches while overlooking the basics. Their blemish free good looks, Moroccan Leather tans, trimmed mustaches and stylish locks added to the lustre, but the swaying factor to the judges had to be Padilla's enormity.
Franco Columbu was up next and really made a show of it doing his strongman shtick. Thick metal rods were bent; hot water bottles blown up like toy balloons, and he generally astounded everyone with his strengthmanship. He followed this with ten minutes on the dais and almost made people forget Arnold was out to lunch. It's hard to explain how only sixty-three inches of compacted muscle appears like the next ten best built guys put together. The enigmatic and confusing Bermuda Triangle is as mysterious to figure out how it got that way, as it is to figure out how Franco got all that muscle. In fact, with his lats flexed, he even looks like the Bermuda Triangle.
Another wrinkle not seen in previous formats had the Miss Americana sweeties pirouetting on the dais after every four or so musclemen, and the dolls dazzled us with shapely and delicate fleshy brilliance barely concealed by the scantest of bikinis. Noting that a pair of boobs sells better than a double biceps shot when advertising in the sex-oriented Daily News, Tom Minichiello with the patience and finess of the Maitre-d' at Maxim's, combed the local area, Canada and Puerto Rico for a gourmet's selection of beauty contestants for the girlie pageant. His menu was a definite success, and a lovely, leggy apparition, APRIL NICOTRA, stopped the show. She became only the second repeat winner since the inception in 1962 of this spectacle. After her win last year, her then-boy-friend roasted your reporter for the big ink given Kelly Evarts. Therefore, this year I've put April's name in caps to atone for the garbled mess in the '74 report. Besides her being decorative, she is also charming and devinely sweet, and April's victory was certainly deserved. Runners-up, Joann Rougeau and Nitza Maldanado still fascinate my memory with their voluptuous radiance.
Rosemary Hradek, a professional model, copped Miss Shapely, and seemed genuinely surprised to garner her trophy. A few weeks earlier she had finished out of the money at the WBBG Miss Body Beautiful, but was informed days later that a recheck indicated she had won, and prizes, cash and the title would be forthcoming. By early October nothing had arrived but grief, aggravation and confusion. In addition to those irritants, she was threatened with a law suit by the bogus winner (?) if Rosemary used the title for any reason. She was also embarrassed on TV by the uncertainty of whether the title actually belonged to her. Confiding her thoughts with me, she believes that the WBBG contest judges are playing jerkoff games at her expense. Such are one's delicate fortunes in the good ol' WBBG.
THE PAST AND THE FUTURE OF BODYBUILDING IN A FLASH
Rumor's of Lou Ferrigno's exhibition being laughable because of him being out of shape, injured or nonplused by Arnold's no-show quickly evaporated. Lou was in 110% of Mr. Olympia winning condition. Displaying more "muscle maturity" than last year, the giant two-time Mr. Universe depressed the hell out of any competitors thinking they can be Mr. Olympia before 1990. Louie's so far ahead of the pack that like the 'Oak' before him, Ferrigno should be able to hold the title until it gets boring. This nite it was quite obvious that even with 22¾" arms and a 59" chest, his frame can handle more beef. One world-class muscleman who'd probably be hidden by a monstrous Ferrigno thigh, said in exasperation, "Posing against him is like trying to bag a Cape buffalo with a cap pistol."
After Lou's awesome flaunting of brawniness, The Great Scott made his long awaited return to muscledom's limelight. Idolatrous worshippers shrieked their lungs out the instant Larry made his entrance. From there, his perfection at executing poses of herculean splendour and proportion began to weave a fascinating spell. The routine was embellished by his uncanny gift of gauging the accelerating throbbing of an audience's pulse, and the enraptured masses responded with a thunderous cauldron of applause and cheers. Larry's control over the Big Apple muscle fans taints of mesmerism. Who can blame us Gothamites; his professional stage manner remains best-in-the-business.
Everyone should know that 'Mr. Everything' retired nearly a decade ago, and at his present weight of 183, he isn't quite as spectacular as he once was, (weighing 30 less), but he still has more muscle than is legal, and could pull the ego out from under all but a pocketful of the present greats.
No one expected the absorbing interlude that followed. Scott delivered an inspirational and humble speech in which the oratory encouraged and inspired everyone. Praise and thanks were heaped on the audience for their interest in him, and with poignant sincerity, he also thanked those most instrumental in aiding him in a long and fantasmal career. Singling Joe Weider out for special mention was a fitting touch of sincerity by Larry. In a nutshell, Larry said, "Joe's help was indispensable to my success. Besides him being the divine force behind the sport of Bodybuilding, he is the Master Trainer. This great man is one of my revered friends." The boss was in attendance, and all of his attempts at keeping the tears back, failed. A lifetime of devotion to the sport certainly has strong sentimental and emotional attachments engrained in our mentor, as well as the other attributes necessary to be on top.
For the rest of us, this had to be an all-time great moment in muscle show experiences. The promoters have every reason in the world to pat themselves on the 'delts' for the master-thought in bringing Larry Scott out of retirement.
NO LETDOWN AS THE WORLD TURNS
Any thoughts of the Scott/Ferrigno duo having finally climaxed the evening's excitement had to be as ill founded as a "two-headed triceps." The sizzling whirl of the Mr. World competition was next on the dockette, and the audience became hyped up visually by some more of North America's finest, splayed shoulder to shoulder across the stage.
New levels of hysteria were reached when the gasping Garden-tators zeroed eyesights on the flashy ebony sensation, Robby Robinson. Immediate comparitives became shouted and whispered back and forth, and Oliva was the flattered individual when some bantered Robby's name about as 'a new Sergio.' Envision this package: 5'7" and 210 pounds; a waspy waist; gargantuan arms and shoulders; and the muscularity and vascularity only seen on a Van den Steen or a Columbu. Robinson has to be the most formidable discovery since Lou Ferrigno back in 1972. More than likely he'll be Lou's serious challenger after Arnold's retirement. Although Dale Adrian defeated Robby in the recent AAU Mr. A contest, I'd like to lease the scoreboard as a fireworks concession the next time they posedown against each other.
This was Robinson's first Northeastern appearance, and with stoic detachment he watched an audience become-unglued-raving-bananaiacs over him. This is only natural, because they only knew of him via the photos in Muscle Builder magazine. Nonetheless, his astounding victory, though extremely popular, wasn't exactly a waltz through the park. Challenges from muscledom's Most Muscular Nut, Ed Giuliani, and Darcy Beccles (the cousin of the fabulous Albert Beccles) had the judges working overtime. Nabbing a trophy In this event was as difficult as nailing jello to the wall. Kent Kuehn and John Isaacs the renowned Santa Monica blasters, could do no better than third and fourth in their divisions.
A VETERAN FAN SUMS IT UP
Danny Padilla and Robby Robinson represent an improved generation of AABA/IFBB athletes and Weider superstars. They're living proof of the soaring excellence and quality developing in these organizations which are becoming the proving grounds for future greats. Gable, Callard, Kuehn and Dupre all were recent conquerors in important physique confrontations, but however impressive they were, this time out, new talents made it tough for them. The competitive climate is heating up, and today's hotshot can be displaced by an ambitious newcomer with a hotter training hand.
Let's face it; there's a lot of new blood in the game now. Superior training and nutritional innovations as espoused by Joe Weider and this magazine make it possible for interested individuals to build bodies that in the past were only dreamed of, but now can be a vibrant reality. The possibilities are enormous, and some change is evolving at this very moment. Unfamiliar names are tenaciously aspiring to find a niche on the conscious mind of the collective body which selects and acknowledges a certain few as the accepted superstars of this era. Perhaps shortly, a few new names will be added, and maybe others deleted. It is an interesting mind game, now isn't it?
- AABA MR. UNIVERSE WINNERS: (From left) Roger Callard - Medium Class Champion; Denny Gable - Tall Class Champion; and Danny Padilla - Short Class Champion and 1975 Mr. USA overall winner.
- Joe Weider awards the huge trophies to the Mr. USA height class winners - Roger Callard, Denny Gable, and Dan Padilla.
- IFBB MR. WORLD WINNERS: (from left) Ed Giuliani - Short Class Champion; Robin Robinson - Medium Class Champion and Mr. World overall winner; and Darcy Beccles - Tall Class Champion.
- TOP LEFT: Mr. World 2nd place winners: (L to R) Franklyn Greene, Ken Covington, Loftus Roach.
- TOP CENTER: Mr. World 3rd place winners: (L to R) Kent Kuehn, Louis Sa, Bill Mitchell.
- TOP RIGHT: Mr. World 4th place winners: (L to R) Earl Katwaroo, Alex Baez, John Isaacs.
- BOTTOM LEFT: Mr. USA 2nd place winners: (L to R) Joe Nazzario, Mike Mentzer, Carlos Rodriguez.
- BOTTOM CENTER: Mr. USA 3rd place winners: (L to R) Len Archambault, Rock Stonewall, Anibal Lopez.
- BOTTOM RIGHT: Mr. USA 4th place winners: (L to R) Joe Ugolick, Dave Dupre, Eddie Bates.
- OPPOSITE: The IFBB judging panel momentarily relaxes while another height category is brought on stage.
- Mr. "Show Bix" munches on a ¾" steel bar while corkscrewing it pretzel shaped.
- Franco's strongman antics were a sensational prelude to his spectacular posing display which earned him several encores on the posing dais.
- Is he wider than the Bermuda Triangle? How's this for a show stopping lat spread!
- Franco treated the crowd to his impression of the Goodyear Blimp by blowing up a thick hotwater bottle.
- Loftus Roach, formerly of the West Indies, was 2nd in the Mr. World short class.
- 45-year old John Isaacs caught in a pulsating flash of sinewy vascularity, is always a threat for the most muscular man.
- Denny Gable won the tall class "Most Muscular Man", "Best Poser" and nearly walked off with the overall Mr. USA title.
- Franco Columbu, Lou Ferrigno, Robin Robinson, Kent Kuehn, Franklyn Greene
- Denny Gable, Dave Dupre, Joe Nazzario, Ken Kovington
- Mr. World Short Class contestants in a compulsory side view during prejudging. Mandatory stances such as this make it difficult to conceal flaws from the judges.
- At age 40, Ed Giuliani was at a lifetime best, and added the Mr. World Short Class trophy to his collection.
- Phenomenal Robin Robinson out-muscled, out-rippled and out-classed the field in the Mr. World contest.
- The Giant Killer, Danny Padilla, made an incredible IFBB debut by winning the Mr. USA title.
- Franklyn Greene gets a quick pump from doing pushups before taking his spot on the posing dais.
- Dynamite Denny Gable (left) outdueled Joe Nazzario (center) and Dave Dupre for tall class honors in the Mr. USA.
- Ken Covington also made his IFBB debut, and exhibited spectacular muscularity.
- The top four finalists of the Mr. USA Short Class - (from left) Anibal Lopez 3rd, Danny Padilla (1st), Carols Rodriguez (2nd) and Eddie Bates (4th).
- Danny Padilla's massive size, hard muscularity and balanced proportions were the margin of victory in the Mr. USA contest.
- Mr. East Coast, Bill Mitchell, was massive and cut-up, which was good enough for 3rd in the short class in Mr. World.
- Competition in Mr. USA Tall Class was tough, but a clear edge belonged to razor-sharp Denny Gable (third from left).
- Superstar wrestling champion, Bruno Sammartino, throws a double waist-lock hold on "Miss Americana", April Nicotra (left) and second place winner, Joanne Rogeau.
- Darcey Beccles rough-hewn musculature and contoured thickness, earned him 1st place in the Mr. World Tall Class and the "Best Poser" trophy.
- Eddie Giuliani's backstage jocularity evaporated when he reached center stage. Sensational muscularity poses like this stunned the audience and impressed the judges.
- Robin Robinson has one of the greatest upper bodies of all-time! It was all over when he hit this shot.
- Mr. USA Tall Class contenders reflect tension and uncertainty as they await the decisions naming the finalists.
- Roger Callard (right) and Rock Stonewall put forth their best efforts during the posedown for Mr. USA Medium Class honors.
- Nine years after his second Mr. Olympia victory and 25 pounds lighter, the great Scott dazzled the excited New York audience with a superb posing display.
- One of the most popular superstars of all time, Larry Scott still possesses the magnetism that attracts a crowd of admires wherever he goes.
- IFBB International President Ben Weider discusses future AABA/IFBB events with bodybuilding's "Mr. Show Biz", Franco Columbu.
- Robin Robinson needed only four blockbuster poses to win the Medium height class, Most Muscular Man and the 1975 IFBB Mr. World title.
- Joe and Ben Weider are centered in the awards ceremonies. Co-producers Peter Vita (white suit - right) and Tom Minichiello (dark coat - left) were justly proud of the successful extravaganza.
- Winston Roberts, IFBB International Secretary (behind Franco), joins the festivities as the show comes to a conclusion.
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