Strength & Health, Page 24, December 1946

Professional "Mr. America" Contest

by Alyce Stagg

HELLO, readers. Here I am again to give you the facts and results of the contest that was presented on September 27, 1946, in San Francisco, to choose the Professional "Mr. America," It was the first of its kind and was put on by Walt Baptiste.

Ever since I began writing reports of the various Pacific Coast shows, it has been my policy to give my honest opinion, and I shall continue to do so. There were ten entries to be exact. Among them were Leo Stern, who operates the studio of Progressive Health Training in San Diego, Bud Mucci, and Harpo Andrews, from the California Health Studio in San Francisco, Norman Marks and Jimmy Payne, owners and operators of a new studio in Oakland, California, and Clarence Ross, "Mr. America" of 1945 who operates his fine studio in Alameda, California, The other four contestants were Phil Courtois, from his own studio in Oakland, California, Floyd Page, who is the instructor at Walt Baptiste's Gym, Pete Carbello, who owns a gym in San Leandro, California, and Walter Marcyan of Los Angeles.

Now to provide you with a summary of this show. It opened with Jack LaLanne doing a solo hand balancing act on pedestals. He also performed his famous block trick in his exhibition. Then Magana Baptiste and Lorrie Price, dressed in Turkish costumes, read from a large book the accomplishments of muscle control and introduced Walt Baptiste, who did his muscle control act, LaLanne looked fine and Walt was tops. Neither of them were contestants in the show. I can't understand why Baptiste didn't enter the show. But why not Jack LaLanne and a few of the other outstanding gym owners? This question keeps coming to my mind and I hope to have the answer soon. Maybe a talk with a few of them would reveal that answer.

The judges for the evening were Frank Forester from San Jose, Carl Cathay from Oakland, Ralph Lapolla, hair stylist from San Francisco, William Cahill from Portland, Oregon, and Ralph Briango, theatre operator from San Mateo. The contestants were lined up as a group before the audience and then went backstage. They returned one by one doing four poses, each held for three seconds. The judges were seated throughout the audience. As Frank Forester was sitting only two seats away from me, I was able to notice that there were no score cards used. Instead each judge had a blank sheet of paper on which to write their decision. After the scores were in and were being tallied, we witnessed a dance by Magana Baptiste. Walt Baptiste, our master of ceremonies, returned to give the 3rd, 2nd and 1st place winners of the Professional "Mr. America" contest. Third place went to Phil Courtois of Oakland, second place to Leo Stern of San Diego, and first place went to Clarence Ross. He looked more outstanding than when I saw him win the "Mr. America" of 1945 contest in Los Angeles.

Well, that must about wind up the show. But wait, what's this? Walt is coming back to make an announcement. Surely they couldn't have made a mistake. But, yes, there has been a mistake in the second place winner, which was given to Leo Stern, "Mr. California" of 1946 and third place winner in this year's "Mr. America" contest. You probably wonder what happened to Leo Stern. Did he win third place? No, Leo placed fourth. The points I learned after the show while discussing the show with Walt. There were as follows: Ross - 98, Marks - 88, Courtois - 84, and Leo Stern - 79. While backstage I asked the fellows if they would stay and have some pictures taken. They were pretty disgusted and I can't blame them.


- CLARENCE ROSS, winner of the first professional Mr. America contest ever held, in a chain pulling pose which shows his massive chest and wonderful arms, shoulders and trapezius development. Ross was winner by a fairly wide margin over the other contestants.

- Here we have LEO STERN of San Diego, California, who was shifted to fourth place in the recent Professional "Mr. America" contetst soon after it was announced that he was the second-place winner. This undesireable mix-up has produced considerable criticism. Impressively developed Leo Stern ranks as one of the top athletes in physique. He placed third in this year's "Mr. America" contest.

- This group photo shows the majority of the contestants on the stage while the Professional "Mr. America" contest was being held in San Francisco. Looking left to right we see WALTER MARCYAN, LEO STERN, HARPO ANDERSON, JIMMY PAYNE, an unnamed athelte, PHIL COURTOIS and BUD MUCCI.

- An excellent trio pose taken at the conclusion of the Professional "Mr. America" contest with CLARENCE ROSS, the winner, in the center. PHIL COURTOIS is displaying his well developed back a the right of Ross and Leo Stern is posing at the left.

- The "Mr. America" of 1945, CLARENCE ROSS, looks more outstanding than ever in this photo taken after he added to his honors by winning the Professional "Mr. America" title recently. His victory in this contest was decisive and popular. This excellent photo like all of the other from this contest was taken by Tommy Simpson of San Jose, California.

- PHIL COURTOIS is exampling the trophy he was awarded as the third-place winner in the Professional "Mr. America" contest. His gym in Oakland is one of the most successful on the Pacific Coast.

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