Muscular Development, Vol 3, No 2, Page 26, February 1966


Oscar Heidenstam
Secretary, National Amateur Bodybuilders Assoc.

There have been so many Mr. Universes running around that we feel our readers get confused. There is no law against having a Mr. Universe contest but this is the really big one -- the one won by such greats as Grimek, Reeves, Park, Pearl, Delinger, Routledge, Abbenda, Sansone, etc.

HE WAS THE ONLY COMPETITOR in the entire amateur contest who was voted first place 100% by the judges. He swamped the other men for sheer muscular bulk and from head to toe he had that "something" that makes a Mr. Universe. It was a most unexpected victory from a man who vowed four years ago that he would win the title. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, let's go back to the beginning.

It was the sixteenth Mr. Universe contest in London, England, sponsored by our official journal, Health and Strength. (Don't get confused, this is the famous old British magazine and not the great American Strength & Health.)

To MD readers I want to point out that this is the really "big show"; the one that saw such men as John Grimek, Steve Reeves, Reg Park, Bill Pearl, Ray Shaefer, Jack Delinger, Leo Robert, Ray Routledge, Joe Abbenda and Tom Sansone capture the crown that meant the absolute physical perfection in the whole world. It is "the great show." The Mr. Universe contest is open to both amateurs and professionals. The professionals are usually men who own gyms or otherwise perform before the public for remuneration.

The Amateur Contest

The amateur contest this year was by far the most exciting as it brought out 53 of the best built men in the world. The professional contest had only 11 competitors but there is a reason for that which I will explain later.

There were 14 judges, 11 from Britain and three from other countries. Each had more than a decade of physique judging experience and most of them had been former physique champions. They were no armchair experts.

Starting with the amateur class 3, which is for men up to 5' 6" tall we had a tough class, tougher than ever. There were 18 competitors - all top names such as Terry Parkinson, this year's Mr. Britain and Pierre Vandesteen of Belgium and one of the top men in Europe, twice winner of this height class before.

There was Lou Lifman, current Mr. South Africa and Mr. Israel, Aharon Itshach. There was John Citrone of Britain, the power lifting champion and there was Elmo Santiago from the United States.

When the judges tallied their score cards they rated Wilfred Sylvester, sensational Santa Lucian was fifth, and Citrone fourth; Parkinson third and Vandensteen, one of the world's best posers and master at displaying his physique, took second. The American chap, Santiago, quite unexpectedly, scored first place. He looked very good and we knew he would be a hard man to beat.

Next we judged Class 2, men from 5' 6" up to 5' 9". This was always a close class and has produced several of the Mr. Universe winners in the past, and as usual it was very close. The final tabulation saw Beresford Morris of Jamaica garner the fifth place and Achilles Kallos of South Africa, fourth. Third place went to the sensationally muscled West Indian, Albert Beccles of Barbados who is now living in England. Britain's Roy Perrott, who has terrific abdominals, was runner-up with Mr. South Africa, Fani Du Toit, taking the honors. Fani's arms were positively amazing.

In this class there were strong entries from South Africa and Germany but no competitor walked off with a big lead.

The tall men's class, over 5' 9", had such outstanding competitors as Val Vasilieff of USA whom MD magazine sent to the contest. Val was last year's Mr. America and we had heard a great deal about him.

Our own top men were Paul Nash and Geoffrey Whittaker. Goeffrey was twice a Mr. Britain runner-up. Pietro Tozzisi, present Mr. Italy title holder and the best from his country that we've seen to date - a huge man with all the Mr. Universe potentials, was on stage. There was a much improved Gordon Van Sertima from British Guiana and muscular Henry Greaves of Trinidad. Mr. Europe, Emmanuel Pluton of France was there to make things tough along with Leo Rosa, another fine American contestant.

It was no easy class to judge and it boiled down to Tozzisi, the Italian, taking fifth place and our Whittaker, fourth. Vasilieff had a tussle with Van Sertima for second and the American came out on top. First place went to Paul Nash, who won by a clear majority, The judges considered he was in better overall shape than Vasilieff with more muscular volume and thicker throughout. His thighs and back were definitely the best.

Then came that exciting moment - the amateur Mr. Universe. He could only be one of the first three class winners, Nash, Du Toit or Santiago.

There were over 2000 fans in the huge Victoria Palace that day in September. When the master of ceremonies, Neville Powley walked up to the mike with the scores, it was so quiet - I doubt anyone was even breathing.

Then came the announcement. Third place went to Fani Du Toit of South Africa. He was roundly applauded for Fani has a host of fans in Britain and is known all over the physical culture world.

The next moment was the most excruciating of all - both for the audience and the competitors. When the second place man would be named the last man would be the victor. I doubt any two men sweated it out as did Paul Nash, the Britisher and Elmo Santiago, the American. It was only moments, but it seemed like hours before the master of ceremonies called out the second place man - Paul Nash! That meant Santiago was the new amateur Mr. Universe.

It was almost unbelievable. Santiago had received little advanced publicity and to many he was a complete stranger. But what muscles! Santiago competed in the Mr. Universe in 1961 and he placed third in his class. From that day on he vowed he would win.

He trained hard and long at Enrico Tomas' Gym in New York City with but one thought in mind - to win the big title.

In 1959 he won the Junior Mr. America title and the following year the Mr. North America crown. After his excursion to England in '61 he entered few contests and almost dropped out of sight in the physique world. Perhaps that is why his winning came as such a surprise but the ear-splitting applause of the 2000 fans in England last September is ample proof that he is the best built amateur in the Universe.

The Professional Event

THE PROFESSIONAL Mr. Universe title seemed almost won before the contest started. Maybe that is why so few entered it. There was a very formidable competitor whom no one seemed anxious to tangle with - Reg Park. That should answer the professional class.

Two height classes were judged and the first on the stage was the class of men under 5' 8" and there were such greats as Paul Wynter of Antigua, the 1962 professional Mr. U who manages a health studio in Milan, Italy. With him was Yvres Permal of Guadeloupe Island, now a pro-wrestler. There was the fabulous Leopold Merc of Austria, now a Berlin gym owner. Also entered was Nicolas Kemp, former Belgian weightlifting champion and a Mr. Belgium.

When the scoring was in they called out Merc for third prize and gave second place to Permal. The winner, and a man with a near perfect physique and certainly one of the most beautiful of all time was - Paul Wynter! That our audience agreed was evident by the long, loud applause.

In the tall men's class, over 5' 8" there was Reg Park. Is there anything more to say.

Third place went to Reinhard Smolana of Germany, formerly Mr. Germany and Mr. Europe and now a Munich gym owner. He looked very well and we expect much from him in the future. The runner-up position was well taken by the phenomenal American, George Paine. George is known to physical culture enthusiasts all over the world and he was in fantastic shape for a man of 38 years. At any other time he would have won the professional title but there was Reg Park. . . Reg won, yet three of the judges were not afraid to put Paul Wynter ahead for sheer beauty and a flawless physique.

Reg, as you all know, is an Englishman now residing in Johannesburg, South Africa. He operates the finest gyms in the Republic. He is a movie star, having made scores of movies and of course, you know him as an MD author. (They say, if you want to look like Reg Park, read his articles in MD.)

That was it for 1965. One more Mr. Universe battle was fought and won fairly and squarely. I have already started to make arrangements for next year's contest. Who will come next September? We know only that the finest physiques in the world will be there and perhaps - this may be a wild dream. . . none other than the greatest. I leave that up to your imagination.


- The line-up of the more than 60 NABBA Mr. Universe contestants in London. Loveday photo

- A section of the jammed-packed audience that crammed the Victoria Palace on September 25th to see the great NABBA Mr. Universe contest. This is the biggest physique show of the year. Arax photo

- The husky physique of Paul Wynter, a former winner of the professional contest, was rated very favorably in this year's judging and placed second in the pro-event.

- Elmo Santiago, a USA entry, was the "dark horse" in the competition who came through with flying colors. Once before, back in '61, Elmo participated and failed to palce. Came back this year to take top honors.

- The winners line up to receive their trophies. Left to right: Reg Park, winner of the professional title, Elmo Santiago, winner of the amateur division, and Paul Nash who placed second in the overall competition. Next is Fanie du Toit, Val Vasillieff, Roy Perrot, Pierre Vandensteen and Gordon Van Sertima.

- Top - left and right: George Paine was in magnificent shape for this event and placed second to Reg Park in the professional category. Right, a fine pose of of Reg Park, who won the event. Far left: Al Beccles, who placed third in his height division, displays finely chiseled biceps in this pose, and left, Val Vasilieff who took third in the overall amateur competition. All photos on this page by Gordon Wright.

- Top left: The two top men in this year's Mr. Universe contest. The powerful Hercules on the left is Reg Par, Johannesburg, South Africa, winner of the pro-title, and Elmo Santiago (right), New York City, won the amateur event.

- Top right: Reinhard Smolana, on entry in the pro-division from Germany, placed third in that category.

- Lower left: Pietro Tossisi, Mr. Italy title holder, made a very favorable impression on the judges and the audience. His physique is husky, muscular and symmetrical.

- Lower right: The Muscular physique of Terry Parkinson, the current title holder of Mr. Britain, shows unusual striations and sharp muscularity in this pose. Was runner-up in the short man's division.

- The secretary of NABBA, Oscar Heidenstam, was asked to "show his muscles" at the dance, a get-together after the Universe contest, and though he was reluctant to pose he eventually complied and showed that even with his hectic schedule he manages to stay in excellent shape. Oscar is in his mid-fifties.

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