The following interview was published in 'Muscle Digest' 1978. Arnold was interviewed by John Williams. It's worth to read! He is talking about training and his relationship with Franco Columbo, have fun - Mr. Berg
How long have you been in America?
I came here nine years ago.
In all that time, it has always been you and Franco, Franco and you. Has this relationship changed or altered in light of his marriage?
I like him just as much as always. Ours was a very deep kind of relationship, but of course we're not as close as we used to be. From the time that I brought him over from Europe, we trained and lived together. And you know that when you are training partners you get involved with each other. You become a unit and it is almost like a marriage. Franco and I did everything together - train, eat, go to competitions, compete with, or against one another, etc. It got to the point where I wouldn't accept any exhibitions unless Franco got one at the same show so we could travel together. It was a very close relationship until he got married, then someone else took part of my responsibilities.
What do you mean by responsibilities?
The taking care one another. He took care of certain needs that I had such as the cooking etc. because he was very domestic and I took care of certain responsibilities that he was not as good at. Now his wife is taking care of them.
Did you feel a certain jealousy?
No, not at all. As a matter of fact, I thought that Franco married a very good woman.
Didn't she get him started in chiropractic school?
Yes, and he carried it through and became a chiropractor. So, I think that she took care of a lot of needs, in addition to being a good housewife. You know, a traditional Italian wife.
So you believe that Franco's marriage was good thing?
Yes, I was very happy that he got married. But I also think that a wife would naturally feel a certain jealousy towards a relationship as close as Franco's and mine. So, what Franco did was just not see me for a long time, or at least as often as before.
Are you still close?
We kind of grew apart in certain areas, but in other ways he will always feel as close. If I really have a need, then I will always call him. He would be the first to come.
In your nine years of training here, what year were you really training with Franco?
I never was 100% Franco's training partner because we only trained certain body parts together. As you know, Franco never had to do squats because he had big legs. And he got away with just big legs for awhile, at least until the definition period came on. So, we only trained certain parts together.
Can you give us an example:
Chest, shoulders, arms and back. But then, he just didn't need as much work as I did. I mean, when Franco did 5 sets of 6 repetitions for chest - his pecs would be blown up like this. Whereas, I had to continue chest work and flys for the upper pectorals, lower, outside and inside pecs. Franco just did benched and flys, and most likely after the third set of flys would cough a little bit and walk out, while I stayed for another hour and a half.
You're saying that you have to train harder?
Yes, Franco never did train twice a day except for a few times in the beginning.
Who trained with you besides Franco?
I had two training partners at all times. Franco in the mornings and Dave Draper in the evenings. Another combination was Ric Drasin in the morning and the big wrestler, Wayne Kalman at night. This way I didn't hear the complaints at night of, "Oh my god, another two hours of that."
I always liked someone coming in full of energy for his first workout on my second one. In this way, he could lift me up and carry me through. When he went to chiropractic school we discontinued training together and would sometimes only see each other in the evening, while I was working out.
What year was that?
In 1974 or 1975 we stopped training together and in late 75, he began training at home. Since then, we haven't been training together at all. Once in a while we would meet at the beach for a workout, sun tan and good time, or in the gym on Saturdays.
How do you train now, in comparison to before?
Not as many sets, nor as much weight. Also, my goal is so different now that when I do my leg work, I'm thinking about skiing and training for it. Whenever I train my upper body, I'm just as concerned with certain areas like the deltoids and things that would tend to on stage posing. That part is over, although I still want to be associated with bodybuilding. It's almost like competing, without the posing and flexing. Everything else I'm still doing, like preparing for the show, checking he lighting and talking to the guys. The difference is that you are doing your job backstage, rather than on stage.
How has your affiliation with Weider changed over the years and would you have considered him a father image at one time?
Yes, I would say that he was a certain father image to me. I had a strange relationship with Joe.
In what way?
I never allowed people to think that he was my trainer, because he wasn't. He was always more of a business teacher than a trainer. I was studying business administration at UCLA and Santa Monica City College, but that was just book work and when it came to practical experience Joe Weider knew it all. So when I hung around him, we always talked about business and never about bodybuilding.
Has you relationship with Joe changed any in the past 5 years?
I've grown more independent and smarter, and don't need as much of his consulting or help. Basically, the relationship has never changed. It has always had its ups and downs and I think that it always will. When he comes over here, we have the greatest time, but when it comes to business the going gets rough. He's stubborn and I'm stubborn.
What part did the Englishman, Wag Bennett play in your training?
If I had to mention five people who helped me a lot in my bodybuilding, Wag was one of them. Not with training so much, but he introduced me to new ideads such as posing to music and presentations to the audience,etc. He got me involved in a different level of bodybuilding.
Some people say that Kalman Szkalak may be the next Arnold?
A lot of people have told me the same thing. I've only watched him in two competitions - the Mr. U.S.A. in New York and the Mr. Universe in Nimes where he beat Mike Mentzer. I was extremely impressed with his physique, but his weakness is legs. With such a huge upper body, they look sort of off balance.
Which physique do your prefer, his or Mentzer's?
I think that Kal's physique has more potential than Mentzer's. Mike has all the thickness that he can carry, but he has some basic weak points - like the back, chest, and some other things that would be very hard to correct. Kal, Mike and Robby are the 3 new guys that I count on top. Comparing them, they all have weak points, but it seems that Kal could go further than Menter. But, I could be wrong.
Is your relationship with Sergio Oliva as caustic as it seemed on the Tom Snyder show?
We never got along and I think that he took the magazine stuff seriously. You know, the black and white challenge that Weider created - the Cuban Bomb against the Austrian Oak. Sergio took it serious and that's why he started to dislike me. I thought he was the greatest bodybuilder of all time, but his personality and character were lacking. He has a tremendous inferiority complex, so in return I began to dislike him. The people liked it though.
It seemed like every time you competed, he came in too smooth.
He did and I was fortunate in a way. I felt that if he would have been in shape, he could have beat me. Not in '74, or '75, this time was over, but before that if he had kept his weight down. There was no reason at all for him to go over 220, because he could have easily beaten me at that weight.
What happened in the '71 Universe when Reg Park, Bill Pearl and you were going to compete against one another?
Up until 2 weeks before the contest, I wanted to enter. However, Weider then told me the IFBB had a rule that said you couldn't compete in a NABBA contest.
Weren't you aware of that?
No, not until Joe told me. In fact, up until then, Joe said that he didn't care what I did. However, he changed his mind when Ben came out and said something to the effect of, that it could hurt the business and federation. But until then, he had encouraged me to compete with the rest.
Was that why you dropped out?
With all the pressure that ensued, I just said, "Screw it."
In retrospect, yould you have liked to enter?
Definitely, I was training very hard and would have liked to enter against Bill Pearl.
He was one of the guys that I've admired so much and thought was so great. It would have been quite a competition and I think that I would have beat him because Bill didn't have the definition in '71 that I did. Sergio was no problem because he came in fat, but again, thinking doesn't do any good.
How is your book (ARNOLD) doing?
Very well. This is the third time on the Best Seller's list and it has been on B. Dalton's and Publisher's Weekly lists for 2 1/2 months. But the thing that I was waiting for was the New York Times' list, because making that list was very good.
And it is now on the list?
Yes. As a matter of fact, it has moved from 14th to 12th place and hopefully it will make the Top Ten.
Are you still promoting the book?
Yes. 150,000 were printed and thus far, 120.000 have sold. Also, we just auctioned off the paperback rights for a quarter of a million dollars.
When will that version be out?
By the end of this year.
The promotioned travel must be trying?
It is when I took back at it, but when you don't know what is ahead, it is always adventurous. Up until January 1, I had gone to 28 cities and di 10 interviews in each one with T.V., press, radios, etc.
Do you feel that your popularity is in anyway responsible for the large fees that physiques are asking to pose?
I don't know whether or not that can be attributed to me.
When will you begin filming the Conan series?
Probably in the summer.
Will it be a series?
No. First we will do one major film, a 10-15 million dollar budget for Paramount. If it goes well, then they see a possibility for a lot of different stories.
But you are only committed to do the one?
No, I'm committed to do 5, but that doesn't mean anything. I will sign a contract for five films and a certain amount of money, but obiously if the first one doesn't go, they won't make the second.
What type of film is it?
For them it is in the category of Star Wars,or Close Encounters.
Are you going to be involved in anything else, maybe T.V.?
I don't like to do television. I've had a lot of offers but it's such a torturous life. I see myself much more in films.
The skepticism gradually faded as he spoke and by the time we left, I was as everyone else - captivated by his charisma and itelligence. I also found what I was seeking - the answer - Arnold is Arnold.
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