We were searching body builders in the archive today for one of our clients and suddenly stumbled across this freak discovery – a mega rare clip or Arnold Schwarzenegger in a 1966 contest. The star is only 19 years old in this clip, and yet his muscles are already titanic! “What a super sight” the narrator staggers as the reel’s first scene shows about two dozen 1960s muscle men standing on stage looking as casual as their biceps permit. This is of course the international body building contest, where men have muscles “that the average man has never heard of”.
Bizarrely the narrator declares that such muscles would be “wasted on a girl”. Arnold Schwarzenegger sadly doesn’t win the contest and the title is won by a much older looking man. The shots of bemused female spectators are priceless, with their beady bespectacled eyes and 60s fashion trends.
Clips like this are one of the many strengths of the British Pathé film archive – footage that was shot for a particular reason in its own day but comes to hold a cultural status and historical insight that the reel’s production team never could have imagined.