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Posted March 27, 2004
Wow! I almost dropped a dumbbell on my toe in excitement when I discovered the publication of this book! I was indeed pleasantly surprised by this literal treasure-trove of original articles, anecdotes, and amusing characterizations of many of the most famous of the insiders in the golden age of bodybuilding in southern California in the 1950s and 1960s, all those amusing tales of the exploits and observations of all the most famous denizens from the golden age of bodybuilding back in the 'good old days', when few and far between such serious palaces of steel as the local Gold's Gym or World facility available for the faithful aspiring bodybuilders. Instead, most of us labored in valiant pursuit for bigger and stronger muscles either alone in our makeshift home gyms in our basements or garages, or just as often we worked out in the shabby but better equipped environs of the local YMCAs, where we were considered more muscle-headed curiosities than seekers after strength and fitness. Indeed, all of those old memories and recollections are reincarnated by the recollections and observations in this wonderful book. Dick Tyler, a practicing Chiropractor (as is his good friend, former Mr. Olympia Franco Columbo), breathes fresh life into all the old legends, as does famed 60's sensation the Blond Bomber himself, Dave Draper, (who writes the preface for the book), throwing open the wide window allowing the reader to see these stars of the bodybuilding world as real breathing people, as individual personalities who just happened to comprise the inner elite of this special little world of the bodybuilding subculture. These recollections also serve as to provide a unique glimpse into an extremely short but quite special period of time within that bodybuilding world, at the very moment of its most amazing transformation from what had formerly been a small and curious little world of true believers comprised of dedicated bodybuilders who went about their lives chasing the 'power of the pump', into all the other aspects of what they became at that moment that bodybuilding went 'mainstream', as it became a national phenomenon in the wake of the rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger to prominence in the early 1970s. As someone who spent his own formative years reading about that rarified world of the top bodybuilders living in the sun and surf along the backdrop of ocean and Santa Monica, I can finally say that a book exists that faithfully recreates the essence of that now long-gone world, a world more emblematic of a simpler, kinder, and less complicated existence, when one might just as easily catch Larry Scott or Steve Reeves working out in the free Muscle Beach gym as view newcomers like a young Dave Draper or the incredible Frank Zane walking along the street. This is a great book, and one that deserves a wide readership by all of us who might well find the golden age of bodybuilding as fascinating as those of us who grew up reading and dreaming about it still do. Enjoy!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.