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From The Desk Of Clarence Bass (www.cbass.com)

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Joe Weider Changed My Life

Joe Weider’s death at 93 is news around the world. Type “Joe Weider Dies” into your favorite search engine and you’ll find page after page (I stopped counting at 18) of news items from far and near. Joe was probably best known for bringing Arnold Schwarzenegger to America, but to those of us in bodybuilding and fitness he was much more. I learned of Joe Weider when I was in high school. Olympic lifting was my main interest, but you couldn’t pick up a muscle magazine without reading about Joe Weider and his bodybuilders. Starting from almost nothing—he put together his first magazine on a table in his mother’s front room—he built a bodybuilding empire.

My first direct contact with Joe Weider was shortly before the publication of our first book RIPPED in 1980. I had come to know Bill Reynolds through my successes in over-40 bodybuilding competition. Bill was editor-in-chief of Muscle & Fitness, Joe’s flag-ship magazine. He had visited with us in Albuquerque and took most of my early photos.

I sent Bill the manuscript of RIPPED before it was published. He called a few days later saying that he had stayed up all night reading it—and that it was the best thing he’d ever read on the topic. That was good news indeed, coming from someone who had written numerous successful bodybuilding books. (Reynolds also collaborated with Joe Weider to write The Weider System of Bodybuilding in 1981.)  

Bill urged me to come to California and talk to Joe Weider. A few weeks later Carol and I were on our way to Woodland Hills. Bill picked us up at LAX and a short time later we were having lunch with Joe Weider. Joe never got beyond the Contents pages, but he trusted Reynolds’ judgement. He said the Contents pages covered what every bodybuilder wanted to know. Joe actually seemed to be more upbeat about the prospects than Bill, who thought our planned first printing might be a little heavy and our pricing a little high. Joe said both were fine and not to worry. It turned out that he was right. (RIPPED is now in its 11th printing and still sells regularly.)

By the time we were done, it was agreed that I would write a monthly column for M & F to be called “The Ripped Department.”

Carol and I left California with this comment from Joe for the back of the book: A superb text for people who want to lose body fat and retain muscle tissue—men, women, fitness-minded individuals and competing bodybuilders. Coming from the Father of Modern Bodybuilding, it doesn’t get much better than that.

 My column appeared regularly for the next 16 years, and became the longest continually running column in the history of the magazine. Joe and I had numerous contacts over that period of time. He wrote or called many times to tell me how much he liked the column. It helped that my column was always on time. Being two states away did as well. I did my job and stayed out of his hair.

Joe opened the door for me (and many others). I ran through it and never looked back. He gave me a pipeline to the bodybuilding and fitness world that still serves me well. I will be forever grateful. There will never be another like him. May he rest in peace.

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Ripped Enterprises, P.O. Box 51236, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87181-1236 or street address: 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail: cncbass@aol.com , FAX: (505) 266-9123. Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time. FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and add the following: 001-505 266-9123

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