Friday, April 24, 2015

A Conversation with World Bodybuilding Champion and IFBB Professional bodybuilder, Dr. Lance Dreher. By Dr. Michael Dusa

The Dusa Interview Series

A Conversation with World Bodybuilding Champion and IFBB Professional bodybuilder, Dr. Lance Dreher. By Dr. Michael Dusa

MD: Hi Lance. First, I just want to truly thank you for agreeing to speaking with me.

LD: I am happy to, Mike.

MD: Please tell me of your path in the game.

LD: Mike, I know you know of the times in which I had my beginnings in bodybuilding. I began in our garage as a kid, as my father had weights at home that he had used earlier. In the 1950's, he had nineteen inch arms, a 500 pound bench press. Once, he did enter the Mr. Illinois, but he didn't really do well. In general, I wasn't encouraged to lift. Bodybuilding was considered weird, done by freaks. The gyms, in general, were dungeons, filled with crude equipment.

MD: Your father sounded like a powerful guy. How did your body respond to your early training? Did it seem you had some of your father's genetics?

Sporting 20" arms at age 17 circa 1973
LD: Mike, as a freshman in high school, I gained 1.5 inches of muscle on my arms in one week. I gained 15 pounds of bodyweight in two weeks. By the time I was 17 years old, I was carrying 20 inch arms. This is before I even knew what dianabol or any of that was. I am getting ahead here, but the late Bob Kennedy, publisher of Muscle Mag International, wrote in his book, I believe it was "Beef It," that myself, Casey Viator, Mike Mentzer and Tim Belknap were true "naturals." He meant that we had ideal genetics, bone structure and the like that allowed us to go so far by genetics alone.
MD: Those are astounding measurements! I'd think you'd have been a natural for ball sports.

LD: I played football in high school and three years of college. I played fullback in high school, and was on the "A" team. I did blow my knee out, wrecking my ACL ligament, but retained great speed and power and instead of halfback, I was switched to fullback and a blocking running back. I played three years of football at North Central College, but, by the time senior year had rolled around, I was at odds with the head coach, so that was it for my gridiron career.
Aged 17 and training with his dad's
weights in a garage gym in Illinois

MD: The nascent days of bodybuilding were rough ones for many reasons. Since the general populace seemed so averse to the whole idea of lifting weights, was it difficult for you to find someone to lend you guidance in your iron pursuits?

LD: Its true about people looking at lifters with disfavor. The football coaches-they didn't want the weights to take away from football. At the age of 17, I was fortunate to meet Bob Gajda, who, as you know, was a great bodybuilder as well as AAU Mr. America and Mr. Universe. I'd train at his facility and, understand, I'd be around all kinds of professional athletes whom he'd be training. He'd sit me in his office regularly for hours after I'd be done training and just teach me so many things. I will tell you, right off the bat, I was around the best, and Bob was certainly ahead of his time. Mike, to this day, when you hear the term "core" used, that's Bob. He coined that term many years ago.

MD: Amazing. I am happy to say I have Bob scheduled for interview. I must say, with the size and results you were making so early on in your training, I'd guess you were competing by this time?

LD: My first show was the Mr. Chicagoland when I was 17 years old. I was training with my friend, Frank Palkoska, in his bedroom at his house. As an aside, Frank later was in the Army and he was the one who put their physical training program together. We'd train, and then have dinner at his house. I'd then take the bus home to my house and have dinner again (laughs). So, I entered the show, and Bob Gajda was the head judge. Soon after I arrived, who walks in but none other than Sergio Oliva! I just announced to whomever was standing near me that I was going to simply walk up to him and ask him about his gigantic arms. Sergio told me he would do 200 pound skull crushers. I was like, that's fine, so I set out to do the same. I got up to 265 pounds in this lift, doing sets of six reps. I'd lay on my bench, do a pullover with the weighted bar, and do extensions with it.
1981 IFBB World Championships heavyweight comparison
with Reid Schindle and Gunnar Rosbo
MD: Thus, your legendary, gigantic arms. How did you fare in the show?

LD: Not well. But Bob did tell me that he'd train me, and that he felt I could go to the top in bodybuilding. I soon started winning. In the Junior Mr. Rockford, I was in the top eight and earned my first trophy. I also annexed best arms and best back awards. I took the Junior Mr. Chicago. I started winning. It's funny, looking back, guys started calling me and saying straight out that they'd beat me in the next show.

MD: What do you mean? They'd just randomly call you on the phone and call you out?

LD: Yes, crazy, huh? I'd just carry on. You must understand, I kind of came out of nowhere.

MD: People feel threatened by change, newness, and assault on their station. You were still very young at this time, and, as I understand, still playing football. What was your training and nutrition like?

LD: Even during football season, I'd hit the weights, usually just three times per week to maintain my mass. In college, I was the only player to have a "training table," which essentially meant that I was able to go in the cafeteria and pick my own menu. I'd just eat big, Mike. Meat, milk, eggs. I'd ingest wheat germ, liver tablets, Rheo Blair's protein powder. Oh, then there was the famous Bob Hoffman "Protein of the Sea." It tasted worse than rotten tuna. I bought that once and threw it out.

MD: BoHo! I had one bottle of Protein of the Sea and it sat in my high school locker my entire senior year. I'd always live by the mantra of "Just say no to taste," but with this stuff, "No" was most definitely the word.

LD: (laughs) Yup. That was it. I used Hoffman's weight gain product, it was loaded with fats and protein, and with it I gained 15 pounds in two weeks as I had said earlier.

MD: I played some high school football, and also tried to train with weights at the same time. I just felt beat to hell all the time. It was tough. I am intrigued you were able to pound it on the gridiron and also maintain your muscular mass with the weights at the same time.

At the 1983 Mr. Olympia
in Munich, Germany
LD: Mike, there were very few who lifted weights in conjunction with football. I competed in bodybuilding right through college, and won the Collegiate Mr. America title along the way. Around this time, I met Tom Platz. It was at the Teenage Mr. USA, and it was Tom and me, but nobody knew who the heck I was. We both had big legs, and the judges that day even heartened us to downplay our leg training, lest our physiques become bottom-heavy and assymmetrical. Well, I laid off, he didn't. The winner that day was Steve Borodinsky, with Tom in second and me in third. In 1973, I showed up at the AAU Teen Mr. America, and this was won by Dan Tobol, Platz second, me fourth. I approached the head judge, Ralph Countryman, and basically told him that what I was witnessing was not fair. These guys were obviously jacked up on stuff. Ralph just told me to soldier on and not to get discouraged.

MD: Well, the collegiate America is nothing to sneeze at.

LD: That's true. In 1977, I did the AAU America for the first time, and I remember the Weider brothers were there for the event. Joe was there to convince all the bodybuilders to affiliate with the IFBB. We said no, and Joe was pissed. He went on about how bodybuilding in the AAU was just like a poor, second sister to weight lifting, and if' we'd come under the stewardship of the IFBB, bodybuilding would be given it's deserved, singular attention as a separate entity. Still, we voted this idea down. Ultimately and insidiously, he infiltrated his people into the AAU, and, in the following few years, the AAU was completely removed. By 1981, we were competing under the auspices of the NPC. Wayne Demelia, Jim Manion, yeah. They took the title, but little of what was promised was delivered.

MD: Upon mention of Joe, I must ask, since you enjoyed his delightful protein so much, did you have any dealings with Bob Hoffman?

LD: When I won the Mr. Collegiate America in Wisconsin, I did meet Bob. By this time, he was pretty old, but he still was a big guy with a big frame. I remember him approaching me, shaking my hand, and saying, "Where the heck did you come from?" Other than that time, I never interacted with Bob.

MD: You started to have great success nationally, which brought you to the world stage.

1981 IFBB overall World Champion
LD: I took third in the 1980 Mr. America, with Gary Leonard and Greg Deferro placing ahead of me. Gary did very poorly in the World's following that, and Manion called me because Weider was pissed with Gary showing up in such bad shape. They wanted me to replace Gary as a representative in the next show, but this never happened. Here is an interesting story. In training for the 1981 Mr. America, Tim Belknap came for a visit at my gym. He approached me and declared he would win the upcoming America, to which I replied, "Well, whomever is best will win." Belknap, went on, "No, Weider is running it, so I'm gonna win." Well, soon after this, there we were, on stage, with the final announcement to be made for overall winner. The emcee literally started to say my name as winner, but in mid sentence changed it to "Tim Belknap." The crowd went nuts, booing. The top four, me. Belknap, James Youngblood and Ken Passariello, were sent to Cairo for the World Championships. Let me tell you something, Mike. When Belknap won the America, he ran to all the newspapers and press, trumpeting his win to them. In Cairo, well, you know I won the overall and Tim was relegated to second to Jaques Neuville of France in his class. All Tim could do was plead with me to not tell anyone back home that I had beaten him at the World's. That's the truth. I also recall sitting with Tim's father, and him saying that Tim would definitely have to win that year, because he was concerned with all the insulin he was taking. You know he was a diabetic and needed the insulin. But, I can tell you he'd take much more insulin than what was prescribed.

MD: And then Weider and the pros called...

LD: I became an IFBB pro the following year. You know, I was training in Illinois when Joe called. He wanted me to come out to California, and I told him I'd consider it but really wasn't sold on the whole idea. Soon, Mike Mentzer called me. Then Boyer Coe. They sang the virtues of transplanting to California. In the summer of 1982, myself, Robby and Platz were guest posing at a show in San Jose. Mentzer was covering the show for Weider, and he told me that out of the three of us, I could win the Olympia, but I'd have to move to California. Mike, I had a house payment to make, responsibilities. At the same time, I had heard of guys going out there to do the Weider thing, and they'd end up becoming bums. I remember doing a photo shoot with Kike Elomaa, and Joe was supervising the shoot. He said to me, "Lance, look. People want the blue-eyed guy, the blond, the guy like this with the great physique. People don't want blacks, they certainly don't want foreigners. He mentioned that even while using Sergio Oliva to spark his marketing, products wouldn't move like they would with a guy like me. I'd only go to California for photo shoots. Joe did make me an offer, and it was for a salary of two hundred dollars per week, along with free advertising space in his magazines. Well, I hadn't products to sell, so I didn't go with this. Boyer Coe, a great guy, told me, "Lance, you are done in the IFBB. Nobody says no to Joe." I knew my long term future didn't include bodybuilding. I was disappointed because I really thought I could win the Olympia, but it became hard to get motivated. From that point on, I knew they wouldn't let me do well in his shows.

At one point, I was contacted by a fellow who ran independent shows. They'd benefit the Royal Society of Mentally and Physically Handicapped. He wanted me to become involved, and I contacted the IFBB and related how great this would be and how my participation would bring a positive light to the organization and to bodybuilding in general. They told me if I got involved, I'd be summarily suspended. This is when I resigned from the IFBB. It was 1984.

MD: But you were not done, switching over to NABBA.

LD: Yes. In 84 and then 85, I took third in the NABBA Universe, losing to Ed Kawak and then Brian Buchanan, respectively. I did win the NABBA Pro Universe in 1986, and then retired. I did take another shot with the IFBB, and, upon Ben Weider reinstating me in 1988, I placed sixth in the Chicago Pro Championships. This was a curious situation, however. Richard Loresch was one of the judges, and he had me in second place. Well, he was cornered in an elevator at the event venue by Jim Manion and his people, and asked why he'd placed me as he did. "Because that is the placing Lance deserved." After that, Rich was out. No more judging for him.

I did the Arnold in 1989, which was won by Rich Gaspari. I got eighth, and shared a locker room with Samir Bannout. Samir and his coach looked at me and said people would fall to me that day. They thought even Rich would be subject to loss to me. At prejudge, I wasn't even being called out. I talked to Joe who was there and he merely said I'd been gone for a while, hadn't competed. It was the same old story.

MD: Lance-at the time, what did you think of bodybuilding?

LD: Mike, generally, up to 1988, at this time, nobody really had an ugly physique. Up until the early nineties I'd say this held true. Now? Things are lost.

1983 seminar. Madison, Wisconsin
Sporting 23" arms
MD: As we discussed, I remember you in 1980 doing a seminar I attended at Cheach's Gym in North Haven, Connecticut. You were gigantic, in shape, huge arms, articulate. You had a carved, detailed, tapered waste. Who'd have thought of the devolvement of bodybuilding as we see it today?

LD: It's true and unfortunate.

MD: How about your family?

LD: My father is now 83, and he is in good health and shape. My mother, not so, I am afraid. She is dependent on many medications, and she is quite frail. She is sadly a part of our very broken health care system. You know, with all of the health care tomfoolery you hear about, its a very tangled web. Sorry to get a bit off track here, but this involves my mother. It involves everyone, actually. The health care system was going bankrupt, and the powers that be knew they couldn't let this happen. So deductibles were raised. My family deductible is six thousand dollars per year. I pay $1,200 a month for my family for health insurance. Now...well, there are record profits for the insurance companies because they don't pay anything out. You know, the driving force for the high cost of health care today is obesity and smoking. It's out of hand. Did you know the average cost, just for yearly medications, for a diabetic is fourteen thousand dollars per year?

MD: Insane. I am sure you see this first hand and regularly in your business. You have your master's degree in nutrition, and your PhD as a nutrition counselor. You work directly with the brilliant bob Gajda.

LD: I do. My business involves nutritional consultations and some physical training, as well. Most of my clients are from physicians, and we work hard at reversing processes that have gripped them and caused them sickness for often prolonged periods of time. We witness many food addictions in clients. It is interesting that women have a proclivity to be addicted to carbs, men, it's alcohol. These stimulate the same centers in the brain. Clients text me their food journals, and doing so gives them accountability. We attend to and recognize the emotional effects of food as well. Both myself, and my wife, who works with me, are certified life coaches. The majority of our clients receive programs of coaching for the nutrition aspect, and exercise as well.

Here is an interesting story. In 1981, the VP of the Chicago Health Club arranged a meeting for me with Don Wildman, who was the president of the Health Tennis Corporation. I told him that the next big move in the fitness industry was personal training, and that he should let me head the charge into this new world. Well, he was one of these rich guys who would let you know that you were a poor guy. He was like, "I am right. You are wrong." He disagreed with me. Of course, Don was wrong.
Impressive cover shot. Jan 1983
issue of Muscle Training Illustrated

MD: It must be interesting to work with and be friends of a guy like Bob Gajda.

LD: Bob and I are putting together two programs. One will be to certify PHA trainers, and this will be only offered to those individuals who have a college degree. We are also looking into training centers offering PHA as well as nutirition programs.


LD: Well, I can tell you Bob Gajda will go into great detail about PHA with you when you talk to him. All I can say is be prepared for that (laughs)! There are 696 secondary pumps to the heart in the body. The muscles. The premise is to move and mobilize lactic acids in the body, facilitating recovery. A deconditioned person can handle a PHA workout, the heart rate is controlled. There is much less soreness in the ensuing days. Bob will go into great detail about this with you.

MD: I'd better study up prior to my call to him. How are your workouts today, Lance?

LD: I go relatively heavy, five days per week. I can still do 100 pound dumbbell presses. I did have both knees replaced not long ago. You know, I had surgery on my clavicle some time ago, and during it they found that I had Valley Fever. I didn't know I had this for four years. I was told my life would change upon this diagnosis, and that I'd have to adopt a low carb diet. High carbs would give the noxious microorganisms an ideal environment to thrive in, and low carbs facilitate a healthier immune system. So this shapes my diet to this day.

Married for more than 30 years
with wife Debbie
MD: It's hard to believe you just turned 60 years old! You still look forever young, Lance. And I know your wife and you have four children.

LD: Thanks Mike. My oldest son is 30 and he just got married in our back yard last week. He is Lance, Jr., and he is 6'5". My son, Nathan, lives in Kansas City, and he is in great shape. He'd do well in bodybuilding if I coached him. My son Ryan is 6'1", is in ROTC, and is a sophomore in high school. My daugfhter, Alyssa, is 16 and a freshman.

MD: Fantastic, Lance. It's always great to see the results of a life well lived. I really want to thank you for your time and words. Please tell Bob Gajda to take it easy on me when I call him!

LD: (laughs). Oh, I will Mike. And thanks for thinking of me for an interview. I just want to say, for the young people especially-bodybuilding is not a career. People will remember you for who you are, not for what you did.

Thank you Dr. Michael Dusa and Dr. Lance Dreher for this fantastic interview
Best regards from
©,2015. Bodybuilding Mauritius. Any reprinting in any type of media is prohibited. Interview article published with permission from Dr. Michael Dusa (North Haven, Connecticut). 
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Conversation with Actor, Arnold training partner and 70's Bodybuilding immortal, Roger Callard. By Dr.Michael Dusa

A Conversation with Actor, Arnold training partner and 70's Bodybuilding immortal, Roger Callard. By Dr.Michael Dusa

MD: Hey Roger, thanks for your time to talk. I know you are very busy.

RC: It's my honor to do so, Michael.

MD: So, please tell me how you started out.

RC: It's funny. In high school, I was an actor. You could say I was an actor who ultimately wanted to become a bodybuilder, and not the other way around as it is with so many others. When I was only 5 years old, my father had bought some of those old steel cables and hooked them to a door. Well, I had asthma and had to do something, so at this young age I started lifting and using the cables at home. When I was 11, I was running AAU track and I was very fast. It was also at this time that I'd go to a friend's home and look through his bodybuilding magazines-I'd see Poole, Sipes, Draper...all amazing to me. At age 12 I was like a maniac-I could one hand clean and jerk 165 pounds.

MD: So, by the time high school rolled around, did you continue with sports?

RC: Oh yes. I ran track and played football in high school. I honestly thought I'd eventually make the U.S. Olympic team as a track athlete, as I had been one of the fastest sprinters in the country in the 40 yard dash. I was also a very good student. I actually, at the time, held one of the highest SAT scores for the entire country.
Refereeing an arm-wrestling match between
Rachel McLish and Mike Mentzer
MD: But the Olympics did not happen?

RC: I received a full ride to Michigan State University, plus a $400 monthly scholarship. Let me tell you, these were amazing days at MSU. We had Herb Washington, who became the designated runner for the Oakland A's. We had Steve Garvey, Billy Joe Dupree, incredible athletes who were the best in the world. We had Joe Delamielleure, who is now in the NFL Hall of Fame. Brad Van Pelt-he was the greatest athlete in the world. He was better than Bo Jackson, let me tell you. He was drafted in baseball, football and basketball. Even our coaches. In all, our coaches at MSU won a total of 12 Superbowls. We had Bubba Smith from 1968-72, and he starred in football and track.

MD: You were training at this time?

RC: Well, I was purely an athlete, so I worked out for speed. I was even a welterweight in golden gloves boxing. My training at this time was not geared for bodybuilding. It wasn't until I was approached by Kent Kuehn and Don Ross in the gym while at MSU did I really consider bodybuilding as something to pursue. They saw my potential and encouraged me. Bob Birdsong and Pete Grymkowski were two others I knew before I ever went to California. I did end up competing and won the Mr. Michigan title at 22 years of age, and I also won the Jr. division of that title prior to that. I also won the Jr. Midwest championships. My family was in the furniture making business so I had the skills to strategically set up mirrors in my dorm room so I could focus on back development.

MD: You are known for exceptional deltoid, calf and back development.

RC: Thanks. Yes, go to any show, even today, and backs tell the tale. So many do not have good back development-this is largely because they can't see their back when working it. You know, in 1973, Arnold injured his knee badly when a platform he was standing on collapsed. He was doing an exhibition in Hungary. Everyone thought he was all done. Well, I had a bad back. I started doing inversion training while working the back-hanging upside down. I did this with Zane. It saved my back from further injury. I'd study Gray's Anatomy and learn how everything-all the muscles- tied in back there. This is why I had such great cuts in my back, and training like this also made me two inches taller. Arnold and I started training together because we were both dealing with these injurious obstacles.

MD: Backtracking a you think you were gifted or inclined to athletic success for any particular reason?

RC: Well, my brother, my senior by seven years, was also a track guy-very fast. He'd run, and I mean really motor, to the bus stop a quarter mile away every morning. He'd mess with mom-he'd wait till the last minute to run to the stop, all the while mom thinking he'd never make it! He always would. The girls loved him.
My father-a very strong and well-built man. We had a Case tractor, a very sturdy and heavy duty piece of equipment-something like Frankenstein would own (laughs), and my father would remove gigantic lug nuts off the wheels with a 12" wrench...NO leverage used...just his chest and the tiny wrench and he'd take 'em off. He was also one of the best shots in the Navy.
1977 IFBB Mr. America overall posedown with Danny Padilla
and Pete Grymkowski

MD: You mentioned you were an actor and entertainer before bodybuilding.

RC: Yes. In Vaudville, there was an act known as "The Callard Boys," and my father was a part of this. Milton Berle himself knew my father. In my family, we all had to sing. I mean, I could sing, but I didn't want anybody to SEE me while I was singing. So, I'd hide behind the stove, and I'd sing!

MD: You had a big family?

RC: My mom and dad, myself, my sisters Roberta and Rosie and my older brother, Robert.

MD: So you then moved out to California in 1972.

RC: Yes. I had won the Mr. Michigan so I felt it was time.

MD: You trained with the greats. You were one of the greats.

RC: Many things people are not aware of. Not only that, but this industry is chock full of misinformation now. Here's one for you. Arnold and I were among the first guys to do cardio. I got Arnold to do it-but he'd only do it at night. He didn't want any of the other guys to know what we were doing. We'd run a particular route we'd mapped out at night, and the next day, our veins would be popping! We'd go to a party, and we'd let the guys see us eat some cake. Of course, they wouldn't see us go outside and throw this cake up on the lawn. And then (laughs) we'd come back in and eat some more! This would be right before a show, and it would simply blow the other guy's minds. It added to the mystique.

MD: Arnold liked training with you?

RC: You've got to understand, Arnold liked the fact that I was an actor and I knew the business. Arnold copied a lot of what I was doing and did. I was with him when he went to a PR firm. It was the ICPR firm, run by Mark Landia. We went in, and there was Mark, well dressed and professional. He looked at Arnold who asked him, "Well, what is it that you do?" Mark said they could position him based on his goals. "In one year, I want everyone in America to know my name." Mark told him to do that, it would cost him two thousand dollars per month.
Posedown for the overalls at the 1975 IFBB Mr. USA
with Danny Padilla and Denny Gable
MD: So Arnold went with this?

RC: You know, Milton Berle said Arnold would never win an Oscar. He didn't care. He's charming, has that gap in his teeth, he could get away with saying almost anything. He was created for the press junkets. His lack of thespian qualities was overlooked. He was a good looking guy. You can best say that he was a publicity stunt that worked. I remember when he came back from that celebrity tennis match where he met Maria...I asked if he knew she was related to JFK...he said he didn't know that!
Fun moment at Gold's Venice with Robby Robinson,
Denny Gable and Arnold Schwarzenegger
MD: Wow. I'd imagine that lack of knowledge could have caused a bit of a social faux pas.

RC: One story about Maria...and I am sorry because I am jumping around a bit with the timeline here. It was either the '78 or '79 Mr. International contest, I got to the venue, and it turns out that I had no room reserved for me. I pounded on Arnold's hotel room door, and 18 year old Maria answers the door. She saw I was a bit flummoxed, and actually started making fun of me. "Arnold, please get this rich little brat out of my face..." I wasn't pleased. Here is a little kid, shacking with Arnold, lying to her parents telling them she was elsewhere. Arnold let me stay in his suite with him. He was a friend to me in the bodybuilding world, but, if we were contestants on 'Survivor,' he'd be doing the dishes.

MD: Things generally have not worked out with the matrimony there for the Oak, I'd opine.

RC: Arnold was wary of me. Hollywood liked my looks, but I will say that hanging around with Arnold hurt me because I looked like his flunky, his sidekick. I was diminished by his celebrity. It's a hard category to break out of in Hollywood. John McTiernan, the successful director, he liked me. Arnold and I bumped into him at a party and when John expressed interest in me, Arnold blurted out that I wouldn't be interested in any film work, just like that. He sabotaged me. You know, Mike, being successful doesn't necessarily mean you are smart. It may just mean that you are ruthless. I've never been impressed with celebrity, but some are. You come into Gold's , no matter who you are, well, its the great equalizer now, isn't it? Bruce Jenner, Lyle Alzado, Oldfield, all just regular guys in the gym.

MD: Actually, I kinda like jumping around from topic to topic like this. I'm not a trained writer, but those types usually write boring crap anyway. Anything you can tell me about the football scene in Pumping Iron?

RC: I was the one who told Ken Waller to hide Big Mike Katz's Tee shirt in the film. Ken was not worried about Mike, just like Arnold didn't sweat Lou Ferrigno for one second. Just like Tom Platz would never win the Olympia. It just would never happen. Platz-he'd have to have 25" Rich Piana-like arms to match his legs just to look right. Louie? He'd have to weigh 400 pounds to beat Arnold. He was too tall. I'll say this, the greatest body ever I thought was possessed by Samir Bannout. If he would have stayed in his 1983 shape, Lee Haney would NEVER have beaten him. Samir just tried to get too big.

"The greatest body ever I thought
was possessed by Samir Bannout"

MD: But, as seen in Pumping Iron, it was you and Robby Robinson...

RC: Robby and I were two of the most underrated bodybuilders ever in the world of physique. In 1976, Jim Lorimer and Arnold put on the Mr. Olympia, which was held in tandem with the Mr. International. In the International, Robby beat me, barely. I beat everyone else, but to this day, Joe Weider never released the records of the scores. That night, Arnold said we had gotten bigger audience response than the guys in the Olympia had the same evening.

The 1977 Mr. America was another questionable affair. Danny Padilla was fat for this show. Danny never really reached his best shape until the early 80's. I was ripped. Franco, the promoter of this show, wanted a short guy to win for obvious reasons. The powers that were met in chambers and they actually changed the rules of the judging that day, catering to the chances of a short man win. The Wong brothers, who ran the Magazine 'Muscle Digest,' wrote an article about this show called "The Travesty of Justice." I really should have won this show, and, today, Danny thinks I am mad at him for this, but I am not at all. Please tell him I am not, Mike. Like I said, he came into his own in 1981, he was great then. (Laughs) Burt Reynolds was asked who won the show, as he was there in the audience, and he responded, "The carpenter." This was around the time of the filming of "Stay Hungry," and he was dating Sally Field.

MD: Doesn't sound good, my friend. Of course, I see very little good in bodybuilding today, unless you just do it for yourself. Many immerse themselves into its murky world...but...don't really know why...

1975 IFBB Mr. USA
RC: Michael, bodybuilding has lost its utility, if it even ever had any. Bodybuilding is rapidly dying on the vine. Its subject to an ever narrowing field of vision. With any endeavor or enterprise, you'd think you'd want a wide demographic of those participating. Instead, its quickly going back to a miniscule subculture that it once quietly occupied. I know Arnold has recently spoken out about the big guts, but, he made a big mistake going into politics. You know, Hollywood has one standard, but politics is altogether different. This set him back. His quest for power has never been satiated, and his quest for the governorship was his doiwnfall.

MD: I agree. His words may no longer be as potent as they once were. Still,You have had a great acting career.

RC: I have had great times in the industry. I've been on Barnaby Jones, Streets of San Francisco, Wonder Woman, Charlie's Angels, Hunter with Fred Dryer, and many more. I must say that Buddy Ebsen was a great man and I did learn a lot from him. Buddy would listen to the whole script-it'd be on audio. He'd have an overall awareness of the script...not just his lines. He was always relaxed, and I emulated him. I also started doing plays at the Malibu Theater, as I was fortunate to be multi-talented. I could sing, act, direct, produce, write. I did one-man plays. I could adapt to whatever I needed to get done.

MD: I wanted to do a bit of name-association with you. I'll say a name, you give me one word.

RC: OK. Go ahead.

MD: Joe Weider.

RC: Father.

MD: Arnold.

RC: Joker.

MD: Padilla:

RC: Giant Killer.

MD: Robby:

RC: Discipline.

MD: Zane.

RC: The Doctor.

MD: Are you still active in acting?

RC: Oh yes. It's been great for my self awareness, confidence, thinking on my feet, all these things improve. It teaches you to have an arc of a character, and to organize your thought process. In every story, there is a beginning, the body, then the climax and resolution. This parallels every other discipline you may wish to pursue. More recently, I played the helicopter pilot for Steve Carrel's character in the hit movie Foxcatcher.

My father was into construction so I have an affinity for building as well as the development of green energy. I was involved in designing the first single pore system for houses to combat erosion, but someone stole my design. I was an innovator of this system, however. I have also been involved in installing solar panels into domestic energy systems.

MD: You were married for many years to your wife, Mimi.

RC: My wife. In death, and in life, she was the most graceful person I have ever known. She never complained, ever. About a week prior to her death, Hospice was asking a slew of uncomfortable questions, and she could only answer that she was worried about me. I'd lay in bed with her. She'd say, "I'm dying." I would tell her I knew this and ask her if she was holding on for me. She answered yes, and I told her it was alright to die and that I had to let her go. I gave her permission to die. We were married 32 years.In 2010 I got Mimi admitted to a cancer program, but the chemo killed her. It did buy her another 2.5 years, and I rebuilt a farmhouse here in Michigan where we lived. I always missed Michigan, and am glad I am back here.

MD: Would you agree, Roger, that, at least, in the end, Life is All That Matters?

RC: Not just in the end. Always. I miss my wife.

MD: You mentioned acting and the solar work. What else are you up to? You are a true renaissance man, after all.

RC: (Laughs) You know, I am working with my old friend, Pete Grymkowski, on a new company we started, and we actually own the rights of use of the "Mr. America" title. So we have big things planned for that direction. I still train hard and regularly, and stay at about 195 pounds-my competition weight. I go to the gym every day, hit the batting cage with 80-90 mph fastballs, I hunt, shoot, take my vitamins. You know, its funny. Amazing, really. All the years of training, and everything is good physically. I always trained smart.

MD: Could you speak a bit about your training?

RC: It's all in the technique. You must position yourself so that there is tension on the muscle at the beginning of the movement, and, there must be NO momentum. A smooth beginning in the movement, and you must be mindful in isolating the body part you are intending to stimulate. That is the "smooth beginning." The "smooth travel" I also like to call "honey combing." If your body is immersed in honey, then you will move very deliberately. You must then contract the muscle at the top of the movement. You know, Platz never figured this out. Its how he tore his biceps tendon, he did not use a smooth beginning. You use a "smooth negative" in letting the weight down. There must be a pause at the beginning, a pause at the end.. If you are super strict and don't get hurt, then you will develop to your potential.

You know Mike, I can look across the room in a gym, and I can see if a person is in the proper groove in their efforts to improve. Generally, what I witness is half-assed training. WAY too much weight, poor range of motion. Cluelessness. In essence, very few people train, but there are many who just simply move weight around. When you are doing things correctly, you place the muscle at a physiological disadvantage, from the weakest to the strongest position. You train for power slowly, because you are building up in kinetic energy. Zane was well ahead of his time. He espoused many years ago that the only time you'd grow was during sleep. He'd take power naps. Today, there is over training galore. Folks don't allow themselves to heal.
Some training shots
MD: Any good Joe Weider stories?

RC: Many. I have no hard feelings towards Joe.

MD: You know Roger, I have interviewed many guys who would know, and every single one has spoke only in endearing tones of Joe. Of course, you know, as I have no filter, if someone tells me otherwise and they say go with it, I'd write it.

RC: Look, I needed $300 for my Screen Actors Guild card (SAG), and Joe gave me the money. He said (Roger now does a GREAT imitation of Joe Weider's voice), "That's a great career move, Ro-JAY." Joe called me "Ro-Jay," as though I were French. It was funny. I did pay him back although he didn't want the money.

I traveled a lot with Joe, all around the midwest, Nebraska. You know, Joe could not speak in front of people, and that's primarily why Ben would do the talking much of the time. One time Joe and I shared a suite in a hotel, and he all of a sudden said, "Ro-Jay, look at this..." Joe had taken a shade off the lamp to get some light in the room, removed his shirt and he started hitting multiple most muscular poses (both laugh)! I told him to go to sleep. Of course, this was after me getting him to smoke some grass!

Joe was a funny, lovable character. Ben Weider was the guy pulling the strings in back of the curtain, so to speak. But Joe was funny, and he really did love bodybuilding. It was his whole life. Joe liked to tell me of his model for business, more like a motto, actually:" What is MY money doing in YOUR pocket?(both laugh)." Remember, Joe would really fly with things. He wouldn't even sometimes have a product, but have you send him money...THEN he'd manufacture a product!

In fairness, Joe could at times be cheap. One time, Robby and I were in an old, abandoned building for a photo shoot. It was simply freezing. We thought, in the least, it was a rather dubious situation, and we told Joe the clothes would not come off until he gave us our return tickets to California. He did, of course.
With Waller, Weider and Columbu at the 1976 Olympia
MD: Priceless stories my friend. You are blessed as well as a blessing to us all as part of bodybuilding history and lore. Kind of guy I'd like to have dinner with.

RC: You make your way out here to Michigan, Michael, and we will have that dinner.

MD: Deal. Roger, thanks so much for giving me three hours of your Friday night to talk. For me, this is better than any other time spent that I can think of.

RC: It was fun. Let's talk again soon. I do want to say that I may be a bit out of commission, but I am not out of circulation, and I still have the fire.

Thank you Dr. Michael Dusa and Roger Callard for this fantastic interview
Best regards from
©,2015. Bodybuilding Mauritius. Any reprinting in any type of media is prohibited. Interview article published with permission from Dr. Michael Dusa (North Haven, Connecticut). 
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