I moved to California and trained my first year at Vince Gironda’s gym. I learned a lot from him, as irascible as he was!
If you got on his bad side you’d be done. It was a trial by fire as he’d start off by insulting you. He came up to me on my first day and sniffed me. I told him I’d traveled there by bus. He said I smelled so bad I’d likely had no problem getting a seat. I laughed and rolled with it so he liked me.
Were you there when Weider sent Arnold to train at Vince’s?
Oh yes. Earlier I had told Vince that the massive German was coming to train. Vince just said, “We will see.” So, about an hour later, Arnold walks in, approaches Vince, and now I am standing right there, and Arnold announces his name and that he is Mr. Universe.
Now, Vince is chomping on a ruddy old cigar, looks Arnold up and down, and simply stated, “Well, you look like a big, fat F–k to me.”
Vince always called Arnold “Cement Head,” because he thought he was stupid. Of course, he was not. Now, Arnold was not used to this, and I swear he looked like he would cry. Vince walked off and I told Arnold that I thought he looked great. We were fast friends right there.
Four days later I went with him to his small apartment that Weider had gotten for him, and there’s some guy running all about wearing only boxer shorts. It was Paul Graham, the guy from Australia who promoted the 1980 Olympia-Arnold’s friend of many years. After that I didn’t go back there!