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Arnold, Weider and Dave Draper
Poor old Dave Draper. The whole article is well worth reading. Here's an extract:
In 1965, as foretold by Weider's magazines ("Look out, Mr. America and Mr. Universe. ..here he comes!"), the "Weider-trained" - as the
magazines called him -Dave Draper won the Weider-sponsored Mr. America contest. In 1966 he won Mr. Universe. Dave's body was now a
shredded 235-pound testament to fevered training. He'd become an exemplar of the classic three-quarter-back pose (those flaring lats!), as well
as the overhead-biceps shot (pecs and delts, ten-hut!) ; all across America and beyond, the pimply-faced masses were standing on their tiptoes
in front of the bathroom mirror, emulating the man Joe Weider had dubbed the Blond Bomber. Though Hollywood was decades away from
viewing a muscle as something not akin to a tumor, Dave Draper garnered screen opportunities never before afforded a bodybuilder: host of a
year's worth of TV Movies of the Week, guest roles in episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies and The Monkees, and an eccentric turn as Sharon
Tate's heartthrob in the zany Tony Curtis-Claudia Cardinale vehicle Don't Make Waves.
Which, to Dave, was great. He could've quit right there. He wanted to quit right there. He hated cattle calls; he hated competing, period,
and gave the trophies away as fast as he won them. (Except for the Mr. Universe trophy, which his wife, Penny, hurled at him during a
domestic set-to.) What Dave loved was the gym and the sweaty, honest, individualized missions undertaken there. When the pressure built for
Dave to enter the 1967 Mr. Olympia contest- the previous winner, Larry Scott, had dropped out, telling some he knew he couldn't beat Draper -
he descended into a funk and his training habits faltered. "What the hell's the matter with the guy?" Joe Weider would say. "He's got a chance
to be something!"
Dave hated the pressure from Weider, who kept demanding more of him, when all Dave wanted was what he'd already been promised.
Though, according to Dave, the original deal included a salary, car, housing, and royalties for the use of his image, Dave received only one
hundred dollars a week in exchange for working full-time in Weider's office, selling and inventorying products. ("We made less than the guys
working at JC Penney's around the corner," recalled one of Dave's coworkers.) For supplemental in- come, Dave took up woodworking, in
which his muscles would actually be of some use to humanity. He also took up vodka and PCP, or angel dust. His training for the '67 Mr.
Olympia contest was half- assed. Upon entering, he took one look at top contender Sergio Oliva's pyrotechnic musculature, knew he'd screwed
up, and with- drew after the prejudging. Though Oliva won, he was a black Cuban with a radical physique, so Dave Draper remained Joe
Weider's cover boy for a while longer. But the writing was on the wall: Dave was only keeping the throne warm for a newer, hungrier prince.
"He shook my hand the day I arrived and said, 'Welcome to America,'" said Arnold Schwarzenegger. "I'd seen this guy in the magazines
on the beach with all the girls, and he ended up being quite the opposite. Dave was an extremely sensitive man. He gave me such a warm
feeling -a feeling in my heart I' d never felt before: I really am welcome here. Weider welcomed me, too. But he'd fallen in love with me
because I filled this vision of a Germanic machine destroying and conquering. I became a kind of exterminator for him.
"But with Dave, it was all on a human level. He helped me lease my first car. And got me a PO box, a phone number, silverware, dishes,
posters for the wall. And when I made my first money, I saw Dave's woodwork and I thought it would be such a pleasure to have this man I
admired so much make me a bed. And he made this powerful bed, six hundred pounds -so big, he had to take it apart to get it into my room.
And he did it one day, and I came home, and there was incense burning in my apartment and all these candles lit and this bed so big that I could
only walk into the bedroom side- ways against the wall. I still have that bed. I'd never get rid of it. "
The extraordinary thing was that Arnold had arrived literally at Dave's expense. In 1968 Weider imported him from Munich, along with
two of Arnold's friends to keep him company, putting the three of them up in an apartment, giving them a car, and paying Arnold two hundred
dollars a week for the use of his image. The new kid in town did not have to sell barbells or vitamin packets at the distributorship. He did not
have to do much of anything, except train. As a prominent bodybuilder told me, "Arnold got every- thing Dave hadn't gotten." And in the
meantime, Dave's weekly one-hundred-dollar checks came to an end.
"Joe is a star builder," Arnold told me. "If you let him, he will create you and turn you into something very special. Dave didn't have that
killer instinct. I will go until the end, until everyone drops. I will use the personality; I will give the speech to the judges -I will do everything
necessary to be a winner. But Dave wasn't really that interested in being in front of five thousand people and saying, 'Look at my naked body.
Isn't that great?' Why did he train in dark dungeons in the early morning with all those shirts on, never showing his body and not running
around the beach like the photo- graphs showed? That wasn't Dave's reality. That was Joe's reality."
No one could fault Weider for his investment in Schwarzenegger, whose genetic gifts were boosted by a furious work ethic and who
would dominate the Mr. Olympia arena from 197° through 1975 before leaving for the movies. Said Weider, "Arnold was able to express what
bodybuilding was. " And when Hollywood instructed him to lose the last name, the muscles, and the Austrian accent, Arnold's reply was, You
'ii be back. He feared nothing -not competition, not pain, not failure, and certainly not Joe Weider.
Dave, in the meantime, had become the picture of alienation. He grew his hair out and took up woodworking full-time, though even that
would become too high-pressure. "He could've made a fortune in furniture," said his older brother, Don. "He had a two- year backlog. But he
no longer enjoyed making it, because people would call and say, 'Dave, when's this going to be done?' and it wasn't fun anymore." He worked
out at dawn and was out of the gym by nine. The few who would see him there would notice, as Frank lane did, that "he was already loaded
and totally out of it. " Dave had given new meaning to his moniker. The Blond Bomber was drinking two fifths of vodka a day, and on the rare
occasion that he would attend a bodybuilding exhibition, "he'd be so shit-faced he couldn't find his butt with both hands and I'd have to collect
his money from the promoters," said Bill Pearl.
He'd nearly blown up his house in Marina Del Rey trying to manufacture PCP. As a crowning ignominy, when director George Butler
visited Dave's home in 1974 to persuade him to participate in Butler's forthcoming bodybuilding documentary, Pumping Iron, he found a fit
and handsome Dave Draper- but one who couldn't talk. "My jawbone was paralyzed from doing drugs," Dave said. The filming proceeded
In 1972 Dave had sued Joe Weider for fraud. His case was strong, despite the fact that Arnold showed up in court as a defense wit- ness.
(Asked about Weider's reputation among bodybuilders, Arnold testified, "It is not too good.") Weider telephoned Dave and offered to settle, a
move that would liberate Dave's image from Weider's control. Dave agreed just as the jury was returning with its verdict. The settlement
awarded Dave $17,500, enough to cover attorneys' fees and other trial-related costs. After the deal was struck, the judge requested the jury's
verdict for the record. It had found in favor of the plaintiff and had intended to award Dave Draper compensatory and punitive damages totaling
$892,350. The money would stay with Weider.
Dave sent each juror a handcrafted cheese board anyway.
Lifetime best: 500/363/573 @ 220 belt only
"The proper study of mankind is books" - Aldous Huxley