Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bob Gallucci: A Witness of the End of the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building!

(Photo Above: Bob Gallucci, Mr. New England 1969, Teen Mr. America 1969, Mr. Eastern USA 1970, Collegiate Mr. America 1974, Natural Mr. America 1981 - on the Cover of Muscular Development, Nov 1974 issue)

In previous posts and articles, we defined the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building as that time period of the 1940s and 50s before steroids entered the picture. We also said that beginning in 1960, the Golden Age entered into its "twilight" in that the light of natural training and classic physiques was beginning to die out as the darkness of steroids descended. This "twilight" period lasted through the 1960s as the Golden Age died and finally the Dark Ages began in the 1970s - meaning that the world of bodybuilding was now overtaken completely by steroid use.

Now, you can hear for yourself, an Interview with Bob Gallucci - one of the few natural trainers and competitors during the 1960s and 70s - who was there when the darkness descended. He was one of the few who followed the tradition of the CPB champs as the light of the Golden Age died around him.

In December, 2008, John Hansen (Mr. Natural Olympia, 1998) interviewed Bob about his experiences training and competing in the late 1960s and 70s. The interview is quite lengthy, but it is historically important if you wish to know how and when the Golden Age died.

The interview appears on John Hansen's naturalbodybuildingradio.com site and you can listen to a podcast of it at this link: http://naturalbodybuildingradio.com/spotlight-on-champions/champion-of-the-golden-era-bob-galucci.

Although this is a sad topic, it is important to understand how thoroughly steroids have overtaken the world of bodybuilding and that it still persists in those "Dark Ages" that began in the 1970s.

But, fortunately, we are in the Information Age and through our own personal and social media, we have the opportunity to reclaim history, network with those of like mind, and create our own "alternate reality." While mainstream bodybuilding remains in the Dark Ages, we don't have to! So there is much hope. We can rebuild a new Golden Age, but we have to do it ourselves. We can't wait for the big publishers or supplement companies to do it for us. Natural bodybuilding was a step in the right direction, but true Classic Physique Building will bring it home!

So, stay motivated and help build a new Golden Age by building your own classic physique! There is nothing like a classic physique to promote classic physique building!


P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder Zine (CPBzine) - a pdf "zine" (do-it-yourself magazine) patterned after the mags of the Golden Age of Bodybuilding (the 1940s and 50s) - just email your name, the name of your city (not your actual address), state/province, and country to cpbzine@gmail.com. That's it! Any info you send us is strictly confidential. We don't share info/data with anyone. So you will not get on any unwanted lists or receive any automated spam (even from us)!


Johnny G said...

Bob Gallucci made unreal gains naturally, but he goes against what CPB is about and that is porportion and classic lines - He looks like he used and most likely he NEVER did, but he has that look so it brings me back to this question???? Is this site now a Natural Bodybuilding website or a Classic Physique website??? You made a great observation in a previous article between the 3 differences of Natural - User - Classic - You said that the naturals want to look like a users and that this was not the mission of CPB - So where is this article going I ask??? Has this site went Natural since I went on John Hansen's site and he looks HUGE and a user but I am sure he hasn't used.... I feel sometimes that I am the anti-Anthony but it has come across that you made the rules to stay true to the Classic Physique image to which I agree with these observations, but yet we get I feel mixed messages and sent to website where all the Naturals(bodybuilding.com) want to look like users - What has made this site unique is that you made the observation the differences between the 3 bodybuilding groups. Your article was called Classic Physique Bodybuilding VS Natural Bodybuilding and It was the BEST article you wrote where you made it CLEAR on what CPB is all about and this recent article didn't...

- CPB (Blog and Zine) - said...

Hi Johnny,

Thanks for taking the CPB message to heart!

But please take the posts in the spirit and intention with which they are written.

The point of the post was to provide people with an eye-witness account (via Bob's interview) of how he, as a non-steroid using trainer, saw the influx of steroids into the bodybuilding world (formerly the classic physique building world) and how they completely took over. Bob's interview does just that - as he talks about what he witnessed in the mid-late 1960s and 70s. This helps us in our understanding the history of what happened to bodybuilding.

Now, I have no doubt that Bob was a natural trainer (100%) and to me his physique looks like a classic physique - remember people (even in the Golden Era) had different builds and different looks about them - some more sleek (like Reeves), some more chunky (like John Grimek). This has to do with the combo of their height and skeletal structure, genetics, etc. Although Bob's physique is more blocky, it still falls within classic standards in my view.

Since the point of the post was not to whole-heartedly endorse modern natural bodybuilding and their current standards, you should not take it that way. I said that natural bodybuilding was a step in the right direction - but just a "step". We should acknowledge the good aspects of what they are doing (even if they, in my book, aspire to the wrong - overly defined/cadaver like - look. It would be easier for natural bodybuilding to change that current standard and come closer to classic physique building than for the modern roid-based bodybuilding world to do that. All that would have to happen is for the judges of natural contests to change their standards (then, even a lot of supplement taking would fall by the wayside).

So we haven't abandoned our CPB ideals and just because we found a helpful interview on John Hansen's site doesn't mean we endorse John either (who - by the way - admitted in a bodybuilding.com bulletin board post that he did use steroids at least once for contest prep in his career before he went natural). And we are certainly not happy with John's idolization of Arnold (who was a well-known steroid user). Nevertheless, we are happy when anyone (even former users who have come to their senses) promotes drug-free training.

So keep the CPB ideals close to your heart, but give us the benefit of the doubt and read the posts in the spirit that they were written! We would like to spread our message, not only to steroid users, but also to modern natural bodybuilders as well! But we do make an important distinction between these two (despite the fact that we have our differences with the natural bodybuilding world).

I hope this helps!

CPB (Anthony)

UK Steve said...


As well as steroids marking the end of the golden era - I would also say that there is a more subtle shift towards a more 'looks obsessed' culture in bodybuilding that puts most people off of modern natural and steroid using bodybuilding.

The golden era competitions were more fun and although competitive, were not taken as seriously as they are today. Bodybuilders of the golden age stressed complete development more akin to todays 'functional fitness' movements.

Golden era champs were as strong as they looked - Reg Park was a champion lifter as well as a bodybuilder.

They were also generally fit - many practiced handstands and gymnastics, Steve Reeves was a very good runner, Walt Baptiste was a yoga instructor.

They also took a holistic approach to development - look at Clancy Ross's writings about developing a 'complete man', or the motto on the back of George Eiffermans business cards.

Physical culture was also a sociable persuit - with men and women meeting at beaches and lakes to work out and socialise.

Steve Reeves said it best when he said 'don't become a fanatic about one thing'. I think the fanatacism around modern bodybuilding is just as unattractive as the drug use - it has become too 1 dimensional (size and definition only). These fanaticisms don't carry over into everyday life - so everyday people don't see it as an attractive lifestyle choice.

Keep up the work with this great site - it is much appreciated!

Kind regards

Anonymous said...

Good to see that updates will be more frequent. Is there anywhere the interview is available in print?

- CPB (Blog and Zine) - said...

Hi Anonymous!

The interview is in text form at the same link. However, I just noticed today that the recent issue of Iron Man (Aug 2010 issue) has a very similar interview of Bob Galluci by Dave Young.

Now, I hope nobody gets me wrong! I'm not endorsing the modern Iron Man mag! You can just read the interview at the newsstand if you like! After all, why put money in the pockets of those that promote (either directly or indirectly) steroid-based bodybuilding? :)

All the best,

CPB (Anthony)

Johnny G said...

It still amazes me that we feel that it was just Arnold that brought over steroids to America, and I am NOT excusing his behavior either - In 1963 the first time major sports got really interested in steroids was San Diego Chargers.They started using steroids to develope their linemen & linebackers - Sid Gillman the head coach at the time brought in a Louisiana man named Alvin Roy to start their weight training program and steroid program(again this was 1963)- they started a camp 70 miles east of San Diego a failed dude ranch called Rough Acres - They were feeding D-Bol to these football players - Now I know we like to demonize the 70's but the truth is that some of our Golden Era champs were experimenting with these drugs in the late 50's - If they lied back then why would I feel the be truthful now with what the experiment with - I feel we and I would put me in the same camp like to talk about steroids use, but it did not start just in the 70's but in the late 50's and early 60's - Even Bob Gallucci admitted if he didn't live in humble Conneticut but on the wild west coast he might have dabbled in them by listening to his hour conversation with John Hansen - It was interesting conversation, but again it was about mostly drug use - Bob came across as a man who did for the community and even though I hate to say this, Reeves did nothing for his community or charities all he did was stay as a recluse on his ranch and seemed to give nothing back to his roots - It would have been great to see Steve Reeves being an spokens person against steroids but for a few letters here and there he did nothing - Ya he did look good, but thats about it - With his fame he could have really launched a platform with Grimek & Parks, but they all sat stoned silent and except for once in awhile spoke quietly against the use of drugs (NO TRUE STAND AGAINST) - These guys were heros to the men of the 70's and 80's and they could have really piped up against drugs, I mean REALLY PIPED UP against the stuff - So when we see a Bob Gallucci who has done so much for his on life and more important for his community I really tip my hat to him - A true HERO in anyones book!!!! So maybe we all need to be more truthful and not put these past champs on some damn pedestal as being noble men when they stood silently against what we have now - I really like that Anthony you stick to your guns as someone who speaks the truth about Classic Physiques, but to bad you weren't around when Reeves and the boys were alive and you could have gathered the posey and stopped this crazy craze

- CPB (Blog and Zine) - said...

Hi Johnny,

Just some points in response:

1) I don't think anyone said that Arnold was the one who brought steroids into bodybuilding and that it all started in the 70s. I think Bob's interview verifies that it started, in earnest (yes, there were a few experiments like Bill Pearl's in the late 1950s), in the 1960s. And it spread in the 1960s, so that by the 1970s, the bodybuilding world was then completely dominated by it (except for the occasional die-hard like Bob).

2) To say that Reeves did nothing for natural training (or to imply that he is still doing nothing) is simply not fair. He continues to inspire anyone who wants to train naturally and build a classic physique. He did this by example. He also wrote letters (as you pointed out) , did interviews, and wrote several books in which he denounced steroids. Could he have done more? It is always easier for us to say in hindsight what other people should have done. But, I don't think anyone can deny that he did more and is still doing more for natural training than most of us will ever do (Bob Gallucci included).

3) Just as one might object to overly building up the CPB Champs, one could say the same thing about trying to rip them down needlessly. The fact is that we can still derive inspiration from them for building a classic physique. They show us what could and still can be done. And many of them led lives that are still good examples for us today. It doesn't matter whether we think "they would have done this or that" if they had the opportunity. They stand as a continuing witness of the kind of bodies that can be built naturally - and that is and will continue to be a major contribution to classic physique building.

All the best,

CPB (Anthony)

Ibrahim said...

Anthony, do you know what would fits perfectly to this podcast interview?

I know you have a lot to do, but for the future couldn't you do a telephone interview with Marvin Eder? As far as i know he still lives in New York. One time i searched for his telephone no. I found two or three persons with the name. I did it because i was curious. I mean, i can talk english, but it would have been very weard when i would reach him on the phone and then "hey it´s... from Germany, i heard a lot of you"

But i think you could manage it if David Robson, think was his name, from bodybuilding.com could make it why not you.

I know your intention with this article was another but just wanted to bring my idea in.

Best Wishes to all


Johnny G said...

Courage is what it takes to stand up & speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down & listen (Winston Churchill)I agree that these men did walk the walk and lived healthy fruitful lives, but we still have to look if they would have been more vocal with the platform they had over 40 years ago - Yet we all should point out to others now of the true dangers of steroids - I am 57 years old and I can remember back in 1968 when a 7-11 store opened up 2 blocks from my house and the owner was a former bodybuilder - he told me then of the dangers of steroids and that was 42 years ago -- My intent wasn't to overly denounce Reeves and the others, but sometimes we put people on such high pedestals maybe to high - Still the fight goes on against the steroid nation that is out there - Edmund Burke once said (All that is necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men do nothing) So the ball is in our court and we need to see how we will handle this situtation - My deepness of the day!!!

Bruno said...


I made my own blogspot http://classicnaturalbodybuilding.blogspot.com

I'll help to promote, just like Anthony, the classic physique building. But my blogspot will be more like a traininglog (so that people can see the Golden Age principles are really working) and every now and then I'll post an article.

Best wishes,

Johnny G said...

Read Bob's article in the August edition of Ironman magazine - He worked out like Arnold did - split routine, basic compound movements - trained 6 x times a week - So the question, is this the way to go if you have the time and energy - the results he had was incredible in the late 60's thru the early 80's - and this was done without all the fancy supplements that we have today, but with hard work - Bob Galucci was unreal, I wander if Steve Reeves continued if he would have been bigger & larger - he quit in his mid 20's nowhere near his prime which would have been a decade later - the the talk would be what is Classical Physique if Reeves stuck around an extra 10 years - Food for thought!!!????

Anonymous said...

one month and nothing new - is the site slowly disappearing - I hope not

Ibrahim said...

No the site is not disappearing.
But the site and it´s focus and intention are "still" new.
Anthony who runs this site does several other things, like teaching in a University and so on.

I also look for a new stuff on this site everyday but i just got used to to it.

If you have questions or need to talk about a routine, diet etc. here are several people who can tell you what they think and experienced.

I don´t want to wait so long either but we got to be patient.

Bruno said...

one month since the last update :(
no new articles, no spring CPB magazine, no summer CPB magazine :(

Johnny G said...

will their be any new entries or has this site ended - Really enjoyed the exchanges of ideas

Jeffrey said...

I agree. Keep this blog going. Honestly there is NO other information outlet for those of us who are building a "classic physique". We don't have access to all the old magazines. So YOU are it my friend! ;)

Anonymous said...

is your site down for good - looks like it