Dick Tyler's new book, complete with Forward and captions by the Blond Bomber himself, Dave Draper, is entitled West Coast Bodybuilding Scene: The Golden Era. If you are looking for a typical narrative history of the era with a beginning, middle and end, forget it.
Rather than follow a characteristic narrative style that develops the plot and characters with intrigue and suspense, Tyler provides insight into the Golden Era through previously published Muscle Builder and Mr. America magazine articles from 1965-1971, as well as anecdotal personal notes and random thoughts in this unique period of bodybuilding.
Why Should You Buy This Book?
Richard: For one thing the 160 photos alone are worth the price of the book. Pictures of Dave Draper, Larry Scott, Don Howarth, Sergio Oliva, Frank Zane, Bill McArdle, Vince Gironda, Joe Weider, Reg Lewis, Chuck Sipes, Bill Pearl, Arnold Schwarzenegger and a number of lesser lights illustrates just why this was the Golden Age.
These guys produced bodies that looked like Greek gods! The symmetry and proportion untainted by the huge drug-bloated waists of today's bodybuilders explains why even young men today are inspired by this past generation.
When I first began skimming through our copy of West Coast Bodybuilding Scene I gasped as I recognized one photo after another as having inspired my own efforts at physical perfection. The photo of Bill Pearl on page 19 illustrates the type of physique I was referring to above. Look at the size of Pearl's pecs and traps and back-yet look at that tiny waist. Whose arm looks better than Pearl's just hanging at his side?
The picture of Dave Draper on page 44 from his Mr. America win was a shocker. No longer a chubby kid, Dave too had acquired a rock hard physique that retained a wasp waist with an incredibly massive set of arms, chest and back.
No one who ever saw the picture of Larry Scott's bicep on page 55 (or page 99) was ever the same, but the reprint of the article "Bodybuilders on the Rocks" with accompanying photos gave me goose bumps. That article described a photo shoot at the Vasquez Rocks in the San Fernando Valley that changed my life.
I still have those photos in a plastic sleeve that I used to carry to the gym with me to stare at in between sets of arm exercises. Larry's football bicep set on a matching massive tricep in the photo on page 108 still represents for me the epitome of what the arm of a god looks like.
Diane: Pictures of Larry Scott are still scattered throughout the house providing inspiration to Richard in his efforts to continue building quality muscle mass at the age of 57!
Richard: As you scan through all the other 160 photos in this book of memories, I think you can sense another reason this is felt to be "the Golden Era": the camaraderie. Yes, this was a period when the subculture saw themselves as a brotherhood and could train together and share new exercise or diets that seemed to work as they experimented to perfect their physiques. Relive the camaraderie with a workout session at Gold's Gym with Arnold, Zane, Draper and the guys (p. 299).
Diane: Just how important is gym camaraderie or gym atmosphere? It can be a critical factor to your success! Taking a glimpse into this Golden Era of Bodybuilding will provide readers with an up close and personal look at how the bodybuilding subculture joined together to make gains. Subculture? Yes, subculture.
For today's readers that view themselves as fitness enthusiasts rather than part of a subculture, think again. Current overweight and obesity rates are now at a startling 64% of the population, making our readers members of the minority subculture of fit and healthy baby boomers. We'll have more information on the importance of camaraderie and choosing a gym in an upcoming article.
Richard: So the photos are great, but what about the text? If you like getting a glimpse of an era by peaking into someone's diary, you'll like this read. For a change you get to be on the inside. Ever wonder what goes on at photos shoots? Come along with Dick Tyler on shoots with Mr. America Don Howorth (p. 91)), Larry Scott (p. 103) or Dave Draper (p. 161).
How about anecdotes about muscular movie stars: Read about Mark "Hercules" Forest (p. 34), Gordon "Tarzan" Scott (p. 71), Brad "Action Star" Harris (p. 56), Bill "villain" Smith (p. 73), Chuck "Action Hero" Pendleton (p. 261). And Arnold fans will love the stories about Arnold's arrival in America (p. 215) and disappointing loss to Frank Zane in the Mr. Universe (p.139).
Before you leave, take a quick look at Frank Zane (p. 324), Bill Pearl (p. 344), and Sergio Oliva (p. 236) and then go buy the book at Davedraper.com!
This week's article talks about the camaraderie during the Golden Era of Bodybuilding. Does the camaraderie still exist today? Tell us about your gym. Just how important is gym atmosphere to your workouts and motivation levels? Email us with your comments and we'll share some of your thoughts with our readers in an upcoming article.
Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC.
Richard Baldwin, Member. Legendary Physique, LLC.
All submitted photos become property of Legendary Fitness, LLC; submission shall constitute a grant to the use of your photos and information as we deem appropriate.
Copyright 2004. Diane Fields, Member. Legendary Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved.
The advice given in this column should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical services. Before undertaking any exercise or nutrition program, Legendary Fitness, LLC advises all to undergo a thorough medical examination and get permission from their personal physician.