“The Path not taken”. Man, I’ve had a lot of those in my forty years. Everyone has, I guess. Being artistic, and nonconformist, mine were always just a little bit “off the beaten path”, I guess you could say. Model, actor, comic book artist, Elvis impersonator, I did them all. Did pretty well at them too, or at least showed some potential to do well. Then I finally settled on caricature artist. I’ve been very blessed with that. Now as I keep that going, I am transitioning more and more into “just a cartoonist”. Everything I’ve done is just part of my lifelong goal to never have a “real job”. Probably goes back to that Tshirt I had printed up back in the early ’80s in Myrtle Beach, SC that said “Why Be Normal?”.
But, about the above photo. It is my goofy attempt to put my head on, to those who recognize the photo, the body of the incomparable Steve Reeves. If you read the comments so far, my buddy Tom picked it out right away. Reeves played “Hercules” in all of the most famous sword and sandals epics of the early to late 50s. He was the most famous bodybuilder ever until Schwarzenegger, and, for a time, the biggest box office draw in the world. Even in these days of the HGH and anabolic steroid freaks that populate professional bodybuilding, to most purists of
the sport, Reeves is still one of the legends.
Which gets me back to the other path not taken. The one I haven’t told you about yet. Yep, I wanted to be a professional bodybuilder. For those of you who’ve known me int he past ten, relatively couch potato years , as my wife and I have grown our business and our family, this may seem hard to believe. Almost as hard to believe as the Elvis impersonator thing. But, once upon a time, I was convinced I would be Mr. Olympia one day.
It all started with my uncles, I believe. Manuel and Daniel were and are my twin uncles, and they’re only about six years older than me (Yeah, if you say them in the proper Southern drawl, their names rhyme. Cute.) They were kind of like my cooler, older brothers more than anything else. I idolized them, to a degree. When they started bodybuilding in the late 70’s, I remember reading their Muscle and Fitness mags. Arnold was still competing. Manuel even went on and competed in a local contest. I know he didn’t win, but I can’t remember how he placed. About this time, they met a fellow young upstart who was also starting competitions…a man named Lee Haney, who eventually broke Arnold’s Mr. Olympia titles.
Anyway, I subscribed to Muscle and Fitness myself at the age of fourteen, and started working out in our basement. This was the time of Mohammed Makkaway, Samir Bannout, and Bob Paris. Frank Zane was still winning, and Boyer Coe was still competing. It was a great time for bodybuilding. The last years before the freaks took over.
To be continued….