Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Monday, October 25, 2021
If you click on the label below this photo, you'll see some other posts which describe the relationship between Werner Bandi and his favorite model, Bob Steffan. Today we'll look at some Bandi photos, only one (or two) of which feature Bob. I don't know if the young man in this photo is Bob or not, but his skimpy swimsuit looks more like a posing strap. That's Werner second from left.
Sunday, October 24, 2021
You may recognize several of the names of the top five at the 1956 Mr. Utah competition. Remarkably, four of them went on to have physique modeling careers and three were cover men for magazines. Today I am using a slightly different format than usual and presenting you some great Utah beef.
Howard Jones at Fifth Place
Alone among the top five finishers at the 1956's Mr. Utah, Howard Jones did not have a modeling career. Nor did he apparently pursue bodybuilding any further competitively. That's a shame when we see how well he was developed as a 1956 Senior at Salt Lake City East High School at center. He was one of two of the top five who may have been under age when he won fifth. The photo at left is his junior year class picture and at right is his 1957 freshman shot from the University of Utah. Wish we had more.
Reed Phippen took Fourth
Reed Phippen appears here on the left in his 1955 Kaysville High (Utah) School Senior yearbook photo. On the right, he was a freshman Phys-Ed major at Brigham Young University in 1956. That was the year he came in fourth for Mr. Utah. Like three of the other five top placed men, he took up modeling with a career that extended into the early 1960s as you will see below:
This is supposed to be an AMG picture, but it isn't the usual Bob Mizer shower.
Good to see some chest fur on Mr. Phippen here.
Dave Martin took this great photo of Reed Phippen at a location
he used for several other of the Utah bodybuilders.
Somehow, Reed Phippen managed to not appear on any magazine covers I could find.
We can console ourselves with this AMG shot of him with John Krivos.
Coming in third was Walt Needham
Walt Needham (1936-2012) lived a remarkable life and will be given his own "whatever happened to" series in a few weeks. In the meantime, I'll give y'all a teaser today. This is his 1954 Senior class photo from Salt Lake City's East High School. He appears in the Latin Club and a few service club group shots, but not in the athletics section. Odd, given that he took 3rd in Mr. Utah not long after.
Like all but one of the top five 1956 Mr. Utah competitors, Walt Needham
appeared on magazine covers. Tomorrow's Man was known to have been pitched
to gays, but it did feature quite a few serious competitive bodybuilders.
This Dave Martin shot of Walt Needham with Mr. Utah 1956 winner Mike Sill was featured
in another series a few months back. I'm using it again because I'm saving my other frontal
shots of Walt for his upcoming "whatever happened to" series.
Although I don't have an attribution for this Walt Needham photo,
it looks like it might be by Dave Martin who visited Salt Lake City.
Then again, so did Bruce. Oh, well.
Second place goes to Dennis Christensen
You'd be surprised how many men named Dennis Christensen lived in Salt Lake City at the same time as our second place winner. Oh, and at least four of them were about the same age. I finally found these three yearbook images from Salt Lake West High School that appear to be the right Dennis. He won second place in the 1956 Mr. Utah competition while probably under age. The left side is 1956, while the other two were from 1957. I suspect, however, that given the usual practice, they were taken in the 1955 and 1956 portions of the school year. The center photo shows him in a track warmup suit, but is clearly labeled "Weight Men." It gives no real indication of what Dennis would look like in the following photo from September, 1957:
Could he possibly have looked like that under his warmups? Or did he bulk up over the spring and summer? Having been this well developed, I find it amazing that he doesn't seem to have won any other major titles. That didn't keep him from modeling, however:
Bruce of LA took this stunning photo on the shores of Great Salt Lake.
Taken in the same spot as the preceding photo, this Bruce picture is about as racy as Dennis Christensen's modeling work got. I've looked and looked for frontal shots with no luck.
That's Mr. Utah winner Mike Sill on the right with Dennis,
and I wonder if they were playing a game of paper, scissors, rock.
And the winner is . . .(total lack of surprise) . . . Mike Sill
This is Mike Sill's 1957 University of Utah class photo. Somewhat surprisingly, he doesn't appear on any of the athletic pages of the yearbook. Neither did he in his high school annual, despite having been described both during and after his lifetime as a track and field star.
Dave Martin called Mike Sill "my biggest discovery," and that's an amazing compliment considering how many outstanding models he photographed. Both the seaside rock setting and the pose are classic Martin. The tan lines provide added interest, as if we needed any.
The above vignette shows that Mike Sill was well connected in the world of bodybuilders,
having helped his friend Steve Reeves find a high end horse after he appeared in Hercules.
We get a blonde version of Mike Sill in this 1957 cover shot for The Male Figure. I don't know if Bruce of LA, the photographer, got him to bleach his hair or if he spent a lot of time in the sun.
Mr. Sill appeared on no less than 12 magazine covers, most of them of the bodybuilding type.
And I'm bringing this somewhat unwieldy series to an end with the ultimate (literally)
money shot. Fellow bodybuilder turned photographer Bob Delmonteque described to a
friend how he talked Mike Sill into posing frontally nude for this session "despite his
deep religious convictions because of the pride in his amazing body."