Friday, December 28, 2007

In Living Color - Floyd Page by Russ Warner

I don't recall ever seeing this gent before today. I found this image trolling through eBay, trying to find something cool for you. The image really struck me -- just so damn sexy! Floyd was the 1948 Pro Mr. America. He had a short competitive career from 1946 through 1950, but he continued to appear on magazine covers until 1960. He died young at the age of 38. My thanks goes out to Muscle Memory for this info.

(I'm giving this photo a tentative attribution to Russ Warner, as he has taken several other shots of Floyd and was a regular cover photographer for the Weiders at this time.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Leonard Chambers by AMG

From "Physique Pictorial" for Summer, 1956 --

WAS THE KILLING OF LEONARD CHAMBERS BY TWO OFF-DUTY POLICEMEN "JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE"? Acting in the employment of a private bail bondsman, two Southern California policemen forced Leonard Chambers to get in their private car for allegedly failing to appear on some traffic charges. They testified that Leonard pulled a gun on them even though they had previously searched him and had him handcuffed. In desparate (sic) "self-defense" they shot him twice in the back of the head. Leonard of course didn't live to tell his side of the story. The coroner's jurors dutifully declared this murder "justifiable homicide".

The next day after Leonard's killing, another young man was pursued by Southland police officers who shot him in the back while spread-eagling him over the hood of his car -- but this young man did live to tell his story and have it corroborated by a number of witnesses. Ensuing investigation brought out that the police actually planted marihuana in the car to justify their ignoble deed. The policeman was suspended for 90 days, while the victim instead of being compensated was forced to pay the city $45 by one of Los Angeles' most puerile-minded judges who seems to take pride in ignorant decisions.

The city of London handles its law enforcement problem quite effectively without its officers carying guns, and consequently "accidental" shootings cannot occur. Instead of respect, admiration, and confidence, many American police departments seem more intent on establishing fear in their public relations. Do you believe killing is ever justified except to save another life? Ask your police chief what he thinks.

(Thanks to D in SF for the studio scans!)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Reg Park in "Hercules in the Haunted World" (1961)

I haven't seen this one (yet), but it's directed by Mario Bava and looks like it should be pretty fantastic...!

Reg Park, 1928 - 2007

I just learned (thank you, Andy) that the great Reg Park has passed away, after a battle with melanoma cancer, at the age of 79.

Official Reg Park Website

Contest history at

Reg's page at Brian's Drive-In Theater

"The Magic of Reg Park" by David Gentle

Obituary at the (South African) Mail and Guardian

Obituary at the (London) Times

Obituary at the (London) Independent

Obituary at the (London) Guardian

[Three of Reg's muscle mag covers, from 1951, 1954 and 1956, by Russ Warner.]

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Andre Drapp by unknown

Two more shots of Andre, unattributed, though the head shot looks like it's probably an Arax. There is a studio mark on the second pic, but I just can't make it out (Studio Kal?).

Lastly, a bit of color as Andre hits the cover of Britain's "Reg Park Journal" for October, 1954. At the time of publication, Andre was touring the US and Canada as a professional wrestler -- a career a lot of bodybuilders took up.

I don't know the current state of Andre's health, but he was alive and kicking as recently as 2004, aged 84, when a piece about him appeared in the (possibly local news-makers?) site Vandouevre-les-Nancy.

Andre Drapp by Arax

Here's Andre on the center podium this time, flanked by two unknown competitors (though I think I should know the guy on Andre's left...). This might be from the 1947 Mr. France competition, Andre's first big contest win. I've included two more studio shots by Arax, most likely from 1947 or '48.

Steve Reeves, John Grimek and Andre Drapp by Arax

A very nice competition shot from the 1948 Mr. Universe contest by France's leading physique photographer Gregor Arax. John Grimek was the overall winner, with Steve Reeves placing second and Andre Drapp in third. It looks like Andre thought he should have won, as he tries to claim a piece of the winner's podium. Maybe it was a bit of fun for his fellow-countryman's lens. In any case, John Grimek is taking it in (slightly blurry) stride...

William Farnham by unknown

I went through my files looking for Jerry's request of a Jerry Furman or Farnhom but came up empty-handed. The closest match I had was for "Farnham" - first name William - the only two pictures of whom I now post. Sorry I couldn't come up with the goods on this one, buddy!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Peter Gordon by Spartan - a few final shots...

Here are the last five poses I have of the beautiful Peter Gordon. I hope you have enjoyed this look at Spartan's most famous model!

Peter Gordon by Spartan - a few more shots...

Peter Gordon by Spartan - at age 19

This image is from the "Physique Pictorial" issue of October, 1953. In the text not included in the scan we learn that Peter was "age[d] 19, ht 6', wt 170#. A former art student at UCLA, he is now a U.S. Air Corps cadet." One must assume that Mizer is giving his age in the photo, for in the December, 1953 issue (sorry, no scan available) Peter is shown in a photo at the given age of 18, and Mizer also tells us that

young Gordon served for two years as an air cadet in Texas and from there to Korea where he received injuries resulting in his discharge. Pete has now entered advertising, which promises to be a very successful career for him

Peter Gordon by Spartan - "Spartan #1" part 2

The concluding batch of Peter from "Spartan" #1...

Peter Gordon by Spartan - "Spartan #1" part 1

It is no secret that physique studios would flog their photos years after they were taken, most often never giving a timeline to their work, making it very hard to deduce when they were actually taken.

Case in point -- "Spartan" #1 was published in 1962, at a time when classic physique stylings were giving over to a preponderance of skinny twink and rough trade magazines, less than six years before the advent of full-on nudity. The roster of models in the magazine (Gordon, Bob McCune, Gene Eberle, Rex Ravelle and more) though, were almost all shot in the early 50s, nearly ten years before the magazine was published.

The identity of Spartan (Constantine) is one of the great unknowns we face in this hobby. Three people are listed in the indicia of the magazine -- John Willson, J. Melvin Sawyer and Henry Maxwell. Could one of these men by Spartan? They could just as easily be totally phony names in an effort to hide from the pervasive Postal Police doing their best to run all "pornographers" out of business...

Thanks to Tim Wilbur for sharing his scans of this magazine with my v-m-p Yahoogroup a couple years back...

Peter and Sandy Gordon by Spartan

One of the great brother posing teams from the golden age of physique photography, Peter and Sandy only posed together for Spartan, aka Constantine. The solo series of Peter are noted for the grace and elegance that was a hallmark of the late 40s/early 50s muscle mag/physique cross-over period. Sandy, better known as Hugh Pendleton, would go on to pose for AMG and Bruce of LA and others following his Spartan sessions, most famously posing nude (and erect!) for Bruce Bellas' camera.

Spartan photographed the brothers more than once, first as young teens (in solo sessions) and then later, together, in their early twenties. The first of two "Physique Pictorial" pages posted here notes

Peter & Hugh Pendleton come from a family all enthusiastic about health and physical training. Peter had just been discharged from the Air Force shortly before these shots were made, and his duties had not given him the opportunity to train as much as he desired. Many readers will remember the early pictures of Hugh released under the name of Sandy Gordon. Hugh likes his physique much better now, but we are inclined to prefer his earlier proportions. But nothing can stop time (except photography), and athletes as well as the rest of us continue to evolve and change with each passing day. In so-far-as we can control our environment and other conditions, it is in our realm to make that evolution one of ever increasing perfection.

This first page was published in 1955, which would have made Hugh about 24 at the time of publication, though it is impossible to say exactly when this photo was taken (and I do not know if Peter was the older or younger brother).

The second PP page is from 1959, featuring a solo shot of Hugh by Spartan at the age of 16. Bob Mizer makes mention in the text that at the time of publication, Hugh "[would] soon be 28" from which we can figure out that this posing session was held in 1947. Mizer continues to lament that Hugh's "genteel sweetness is all gone, and is replaced by an almost brutally hard masculinity."

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ray Swales by Vince

Let's close out this first day of November with some classical elegance -- Mr. Ray Swales, courtesy of Mr. Bill Green, aka Vince of London, circa 1951.

Short guys rule! LOL!

Mr. Perfect by Douglas of Detroit

...not that there's anything wrong with fantasies, as this unknown gent is generating a few for me right now...!

Joe Schuler by AMG

One of my favorite amateur teen bodybuilders from the early 50s. Mizer shot a few rolls on Joe, and, in my opnion, not one of them was wasted. I'm pretty sure this was a case of mom or dad bringing Joe to the studio so that a record could be made of his progress, just as Mrs. Counts brought Bud in when he was in his mid-teens. Unlike Bud, Joe didn't make any return appearances (that I know of).

James Mathe by Arax, circa 1953

I can't believe it's November already.

Well, October didn't see me post too much here -- sorry, guys. Here's the first of a few shots to get the month going, and then I'll get to the requests that have come in.

Thanks for checking back -- I'll try to make it worth your while on a more regular basis!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

by request - the mighty Bud Counts!

A small sampling of Wilbur "Bud" Counts' work in front of the camera....

Richard Reagan by AMG - part three