Mighty Joe Young vs. 10 Strongmen

Posted on Monday, June 20th, 2016 by John Wood
The 1949 film ‘Mighty Joe Young’ features a number of familiar faces. In a memorable scene, Mr. Joseph Young of Africa plays tug of war with 10 strongmen in a nightclub. The strongmen in question are played by Mac Batchelor and Primo Carnera and famous wrestlers ‘Killer’ Karl Davis, William ‘Wee Willie’ Davis, Henry Kulky, “Slammin” Sammy Menacker, Man Mountain Dean, Ivan Rasputin, Sammy Stein and ‘The Swedish Angel’ Phil Olafsson. (The strongmen never had a chance, Mighty Joe easily prevails, pulling them one by one into a pool of water.)

John Grimek vs. The Cyr Dumbbell

Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2015 by John Wood

…Also, the Cyr dumbell we had was always a bone of contention. Men from all parts of the country came to see if they might get it overhead. It weighed “only” 202 pounds empty but it could be loaded with lead shot to over 270. We never loaded it over 269½ pounds, and even then it defied most men who tried it.

One time, Milo Steinborn and four or five other wrestlers stopped by on their way to Baltimore. Milo had Primo Carnera with him – truly an impressive individual. When Carnera shook hands you could feel your whole hand being swallowed by something that felt like an octopus. Because all the men were wrestling that evening none of them cared to train that afternoon, but most of the lifters kept on training. In the center of the gym was the awkward Cyr dumbbell that seemed to be in the way of everyone. Without thinking I picked it up off the floor and tossed it aside so it wouldn’t be in the way. I remembered the huge hands Carnera had when he shook my hand, and knew if anyone could handle this weight it was him. I called out to him to try it. He smiled as if to say, “that’s easy,” and no one would doubt him. he came over, very casually gripped the stubby handle and made a half-hearted attempt to lift it. A look of surprise came over his face as the weight slipped from his grip. I offered him some chalk to absorb the moisture of his hand. With some disdain, instead, he grabbed the handle and though he lifted it a little you could see that the weight was a great surprise to him.

I tried to explain that there was a slight technique to handle this weight. He just kept looking at me and the awkward hunk of iron mass that was defying him. I chalked up, especially the heel of my hand, gripped the weight and tossed it a few feet to one side. Carnera only growled. However, I feel sure that with his banana-like fingers he could have done things with that Cyr dumbbell that no one else could do. Others felt much the same way about this big man.

I must point out that many men who tried to lift the small clumsy dumbbell failed. This awkward hunk of iron required lots of practice before one learned the little details needed to be successful at lifting it. No one played around with this weight more than I did; and eventually I was the only one who lifted it off the floor to an overhead position using one and only when it weighed 254 pounds. Stanko was the first man who picked it up off the floor in one sweeping movement. Unfortunately, I do not remember how much it was loaded to at the time. The weight of that dumbbell was always being changed. It always looked formidable and defying. Those who tried it remember that only too well…

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Gathering of The Greats I

Posted on Saturday, December 20th, 2014 by John Wood
Gathering of The Greats: From Left to Right: Norb Grueber, owner of The Bodybuilder’s Sport Shop, (located at 1925 West Division street in Chicago) as well as publisher of The Chicago Bodybuilder Magazine, Sam Greller, Athletic Director of the Chicago Fair, Clarence Johnson, Chairman of Michigan AAU lifting committee, Milo Steinborn, Norb Schemansky, Tony Matic, physical director of Illinois A.C. and former heavyweight boxing champ, Primo Carnera.

Primo Carnera and His Globe Barbell

Posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 by John Wood
You may know that “The Preem” Primo Carnera was the Heavyweight boxing Champion of the world from 1933-1934 but you probably didn’t know that he was also a performing strongman as well. He achieved a one-hand snatch of 220 pounds and could clean and jerk over 300 ~ pretty good for someone who was 6’6″.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Primo Carnera

Posted on Friday, February 21st, 2014 by John Wood

Heavyweight champ Primo Carnera was a “strong man” as well as a strongman. Here’s “The Preem” doing a ‘Muscle Out’ of a pretty good size kid. I’d say that’s a hundred pounds at least. Strong shoulders obviously come in pretty handy in the ring.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.