In October 2000 Bill Comstock, in conjunction with Joe Gold, World Gym and Iron Man Magazine held a reunion of bodybuilding greats to honour my 35 years in bodybuilding film making, videography and photography.
It all began back in 1965 when I took my first bodybuilding photos to submit with my articles to "Ironman" and English "Health and Strength" magazines. Then in 1970 I shot my first bodybuilding movie and the model was the then current Mr. Australia Frank Colombera.
In 1983 I commenced shooting on video, covering major contests and other events around the world, such as the FIBO Expo in Germany, to the Olympia and Arnold Expos, and the very popular 'behind the scenes and pump room" videos. Approximately 10,000 bodybuilders have passed through the lenses of my cameras in the period to date!
This reunion was a rare opportunity to gather with my friends and associates, some of whom I had not seen for almost 30 years. However, I was really disappointed that my old partner Harold Mason of Film Associates was not able to attend. He helped me produce most of the films from 1970 to 1982. We all owe him a big thank you for fostering my film making in this period which led to my video productions of the last 20 years.
Held at the new World Gym Corporate headquarters in Marina del Rey, it was a time for reminiscences and photo taking. We were lucky with a magnificent southern Californian day of blue skies and sunshine. In fact I would rate the occasion as probably the best day of my life (apart from my wedding day of course!!). My good friends Clive Jaques and James Cook recorded the day for me in photos and on video. Some of the photos are in our Male Gallery as from this weekend, and the 90 minute video will be edited and available shortly.
The furthest travelled for the event were ERNIE SANTIAGO from Hawaii, photographer CLIVE JAQUES from England, and LIZZY TAYLOR from Germany. I truly appreciated the attendance of everyone at this very happy event - only marred by the fact that my wife and best friend Tina couldn't be there to share the fun.
I was able to chat on video to some of the stars, such as DAVE DRAPER, TOM PLATZ, ERNIE SANTIAGO, CLINT BEYERLE, EDDIE GIULIANI, GORDON MITCHELL, ROBBY ROBINSON - just to name a few. Earlier in the day I had been a guest in the home of MICKEY & ELLEN HARGITAY, and they were also present.
The MC for the function was famous bodybuilding photographer and writer GENE MOZÉE and he did a great job with introductions of famous faces and keeping things moving and chatting to the champions.
There were a number of personal highlights for me which included my first ever meeting with the 1st Mr. Olympia (1965) LARRY SCOTT, and his friend DON HOWORTH. Larry still has an 18" arm which he flexed for us. Also chatting with the famous TV and movie pinup girl GLORIA PALL - a super personality full of wonderful stories. I had nice tributes about my film work from LOU FERRIGNO and TOM PLATZ. Plus the attendance and sponsorship by TOM LINCIR of the IVANKO BARBELL COMPANY of San Pedro. My friendship with Tom goes back to 1969.
There was a gathering together of former Hercules actors - GORDON MITCHELL, MICKEY HARGITAY, BRAD HARRIS, ED FURY, LOU FERRIGNO and PETER LUPUS. This was certainly a first and between them they have made hundreds of movies (not all Hercules of course). Two of the local Los Angeles TV stations sent cameramen as it was also the first reunion of bodybuilder/actors in the Italian sword and sandal type of movies, and the first reunion of some of the musclemen in Mae West's legendary nightclub act.
ROBBY ROBINSON presented me with a wooden statue he had specially carved for the occasion and DAVE DRAPER presented me with a copy of his new book "BROTHER IRON SISTER STEEL".
Apologies were received from John Balik, Mike Mentzer, Bill Grant and Don Peters. Mike & Don were both in poor health, with Mike passing away on June 10th 2001, and Don Peters on March 16th, 2001. Don was 64 years old and died from cancer.
Don Peters was a former Mr. America and I shot photos (on the Venice Beach) and a movie of him in July 1978. He was a real fun loving character and loved to tell stories about the other bodybuilders. I wish I had written these stories down. You can see his photos in the Men's Gallery.
Finally the group photos were taken and it was impossible to fit everyone in the frame! My thanks to both Clive and Jerry Fredrick for the photos used in our Reunion Gallery.
A list of the attendees follows (in no particular order). Once a again my sincere thanks to all those who attended and made this such a memorable day for me, and my appreciation to event coordinator Bill Comstock for the huge amount of time and effort he put in to tracking down and inviting many of the guys I had filmed and photographed in USA over the last 30 years.
THE LIVE LINKS OVER THE NAMES BELOW TAKE YOU TO A DVD THEY ARE IN, OR ASSOCIATED WITH.
To see the DVD of this event, please click here for GMV-444DVD.
To see the 2007 Ironage Reunion & Chuck Sipes Award, please click here for GMV-674DVD.