Steve Reeves Mr. Universe

At the pier

The body, the face, the personality - the man was a GOD!
Well, Demigod, anyway ...


In the Army
In the Army Circa 1945
Steve Reeves was born on a ranch in Montana on 21 January, 1926. He won his first fitness contest at 6 months old when he was named Healthiest Baby in Valley County. His father was killed in a farming accident and his family moved to California when he was little. He started training as a teen and continued as best he could when drafted into the Army in '44 (he would see action in the Philippines). He decided to compete when discharged in '46.
Mr Universe
Mr Universe, 1950
He won Mr. Pacific Coast in 1946 (and '47), followed by Mr. America in '47 (the youngest man to win at age 21), Mr. World in '48 and ultimately Mr. Universe in 1950. He studied to be a chiropractor in San Francisco for a while, but then studied acting in New York and worked on Broadway for a while before Cecil B. De Mille signed him to play Samson in Samson and Delilah, which brought him back to California - this time to Hollywood. Evidently, De Mille wanted him to lose 15 pounds, but considering that he didn't have an ounce of fat on him, where was the 15 pounds supposed to come from? When Reeves didn't lose it quickly enough, De Mille got Victor Mature to do the film instead. So, his first film role was as a baby-faced police detective in Ed Wood's Jail Bait in 1954, followed by another as Jane Powell's health freak boyfriend in Athena, also in 1954 - the only two films in which you'll hear his real voice, which is a pity because he had a great voice.

He owned a gym in Miami for a while, called The Steve Reeves Athletic Club, but he was working in PR for American Health Studios in '57 when Pietro Francisci enticed him to Italy with a $5000.00 advance - big money back then. He was paid $10,000.00 to do Hercules ("Le Fatiche di Ercole") - did that include the advance, I wonder? - but it became the biggest money-maker at the box office when it opened in the US in 1959. He only made two Hercules films - the other being Hercules Unchained ("Ercole e la regina di Lidia"), but he will always be associated with the role that made him famous. It was while filming The Last Days of Pompeii ("Gli Ultimi giorni di Pompei") in
Steve circa 1998
Circa 1998
1959 that he injured his shoulder (he describes the incident in vivid detail in this interview - makes me cringe every time I read it). This injury would be one reason he decided to retire in '65 - only coming out of retirement to make his final film, A Long Ride From Hell ("Vivo per la tua morte" - literally I Live for Your Death) in '68 because he always wanted to make a western, for which, I believe, he also co-wrote the script as well.

He made good money filming in Italy and invested wisely, so he had a comfortable retirement on his ranch in California - always promoting healthy body-building. On 1 May, 2000, Steve Reeves passed away at the age of 74. Most obituaries say he died from Lymphoma, but at the Steve Reeves International Society Web site, there is an account of his death by someone who was with him when he passed - go to the FAQ section at the site - and he was evidently being treated for Lymphoma with every indication that he would recover when he died suddenly from a blood clot. (I was blubbering by the time I finished reading this, so be prepared).

Measurments:

  • Height: 6' 1"
  • Weight: 216 Lbs
  • Shoulder Breadth: 23½"
  • Neck: 18½"
  • Chest: 52"
  • Waist: 29"
  • Hips: 38"
  • Biceps: 18¼"
  • Forearms: 14¾"
  • Wrists: 7¼"
  • Calves: 18¼"
  • Thighs: 26"
  • Ankles: 9¼"

(insert wistful sigh here)

Anyway, a complete as I can make it filmography follows below with my reviews - beware of spoilers!
After that is a list of publications (with my reviews), plus links and wallpaper. Enjoy!

 

Bytes Button
AND, with my new server space, I can add sound bytes. We don't hear his REAL voice in any of the Italian films, more's the pity, so all I have are some recordings from Kimbar, Topper, Jailbait and Athena. Click on the button for my Steve Reeves Sound Bytes Page.


FILMOGRAPHY

KIMBAR OF THE JUNGLE: Lion Men of Tanganika (1949) as Kimbar [***]

The three stars I gave this are for camp value because it's really pretty baaaaaaaad. I mean, Steve was never a GREAT actor (and he was always quick to admit this), but honestly - with dialog like this, what's he supposed to do? When I first heard of this, I thought it was a pilot film, but it's the first of what would have been 13 episodes of a serial. Serials are a bit before my time, but evidently, they would have a 10-15 minute episode per week. Unfortunately, they lacked the funding to make any more of this one and so, this is it, which really kind of sux, because Kimbar is captured at the end of this and now we will never EVER know what happens next!!

Okay, this is the story - some professor is missing out in the jungle and his daughter is searching for him; some zoologist is hunting a rare species of butterfly; and some weird natives are dressing up in RIDICULOUS lion costumes and killing people for the heck of it. There are whispers of evil spirits in the jungle, so the Commissioner sends the little chimp out looking for Kimbar, Lord of the Jungle in order to get his help with all this. Now, Steve looks AMAZING in his tiny little leopard print loin cloth - I mean, he would have been what? 21-22 when this was made?? He's GORGEOUS, but the director was a moron. It's hilarious the way Kimbar reacts to seeing the woman - he has obviously never seen a woman before - or maybe he has just never seen a blond-haired white woman before. He walks around her and stares at her and he actually reaches out to touch her hair, but thinks better of it and pulls his hand back. And the woman is oh-so-amused by it all, as if she gets this reaction all the time - what was the director thinking?

It's fun to watch, though, even if he swings from a vine that looks suspiciously like a rope. I just wonder if there is any way to find out how the rest of the story would have gone ....


Topper: "Reducing" (ep#5; 11/6/53) as Joe Manurki [*****]

Oh, this is just hilarious. Reeves is such a bubble-brain in this and so full of himself, it's great! LOL! Okay, Topper was an early sit-com about a couple ghosts - George and Marion (and their dog Neil) - who are haunting Cosmo Topper (played by Leo G. Caroll of UNCLE fame). He's the only one who can see or hear them, but they certainly seem capable of affecting solid surroundings - they're always messing with things and others can feel them when touched. I've only seen a few episodes (it was a bit before my time), so I don't know how or if they explained any of that.

This episode was evidently the fifth one and was first aired in late '53 - and supposedly generated more fan mail than any other - heh. Henrietta Topper is trying to lose weight and has signed on for 24 treatments, but she sprains her arm and can't continue. (hint: She's faking). The fees are non-refundable, but the treatments can be transfered to another family member, so she thinks Cosmo should take the treatments. The ghosts are against it, but Marion changes her tune when she sees the flier with the photo of the trainer - namely Steve Reeves as Joe Manurki. Ha! She even stands on the scale while Cosmo is being weighed, which adds 40 pounds and I can't even begin to explain that.

Anyway, Joe is really full of himself - showing off his photo in the magazine and going on about how "You wouldn't have known me before I started building up my body" ... And when Marion steals the photo from the magazine and Joe sees it is missing, he smiles at Cosmo and says, "You didn't have to tear it out - I'd of given you one." Later, Marion is feeling up his bicep and he grins at Henrietta and says, "That gets em every time." Course, she doesn't know what he's talking about. "That's okay," he tells her. "I don't mind. I won't even tell your husband about it." LOL! Can't blame him there, though - he can't see the ghost feeling him up and I really don't understand how he can feel her, but that's neither here nor there. Joe is clueless, though, too - completely oblivious when Cosmo is insulting him - and he's easily distracted.

Eventually, George gets jealous of Marion fawning all over the big hunk, so while Joe is trying to teach Cosmo some self defense, George tosses him around like a rag doll. This is kind of impressive - was Steve flipping himself around? Or were there wires? I had a friend who could flip himself - actually, his name was Steve too! Anyway, Joe gets frustrated and quits - especially when Henrietta seemingly flips him down the stairs!

Poor Joe. (grin) I haven't been able to find a photo from this show, but this one is pretty close to the one used in the magazine on the show.


JAIL BAIT (1954) as Lt. Bob Lawrence [***½]

Ed Wood has a bit of a reputation for cheesy film-making, but this is actually a pretty good movie. A bad guy frames a plastic surgeon's son for murder, kills the kid and then forces said plastic surgeon to alter his appearance because the police are looking for him. Heh, the plastic surgeon alter's his appearance, all right - he makes the guy look like his son who is still wanted for murder so the murderer gets arrested anyway - LOL! Great stuff. No great acting required on Steve's part, but he does alright as the detective - much better than Delores Fuller as the blond bombshell. He looks so darned young and baby-faced here in his suit and tie. There is one scene where he is changing his shirt in the office - LOL! The one obligatory shirtless scene ... Heck, loin cloth or suit and tie, the man was adorable no matter what.


ATHENA (1954) as Ed Perkins [***]

This is hokey fluff, but fun enough to watch if only for the bevy of cute starlets and hunky studs running around scantily clad. For one thing, it's a musical - the irritating kind where people spontaneously burst into song at the drop of a hat. And, yes, Steve does sing, but only in a group setting - no solos. HA! Honestly, though, I had to fast forward through some of the musical numbers.

Athena (Jane Powell) is a self proclaimed numerologist. She has six sisters and they're all named for Greek goddesses - Minerva, Aphrodite etc. Her family are all health nuts. Her grandfather has a health system that he wants to ... I dunno, publicize, I guess. He has a whole slew of hunky muscle men in his gym and Ed (Reeves) is the one favoured to win the Mr. Universe title, which would be the best recommendation for his training system. Anyway, Ed likes Athena, but she has fallen for an uptight senatorial candidate who is engaged to someone else. It's a culture clash kind of a thing. Ed, of course, gets jealous, but he does win the contest - and then he gets into the senator's face about Athena and ends up getting flipped onto the ground - LOL! Anyway, I think maybe I saw an uncredited Ed Fury in this too - LOTS of beautiful hunky man-flesh running around. And the cute girls, too, of course ...

There is one scene in particular that I like: Minerva's boyfriend has left a bouquet of orchids for her and Ed walks in and he's agitated because he feels Athena has been avoiding him and while he's discussing this, he's eating away at the flowers. Afterwards, Athena scolds him with, "ED!" "What?" "You ate Minerva's orchids!" "Orchids? I thought it tasted kind of funny." and then Minerva (Debbie Reynolds, BTW) says, "I wish you'd go on a diet!" (snicker)


HERCULES (1958) as Hercules [*****]

Hercules - the part Steve Reeves was born to play. No one - but NO one - has ever nor will ever do it better.


HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) as Hercules [*****]


THE WHITE WARRIOR (1959) as Hadji Murad [*****]

This is a surprisingly good movie. The Muslims in Afghanistan are battling the Russian invaders and putting up a valiant struggle - the Czar is fed up and wants peace, so he wants the foremost tribal warlord to sign a peace treaty, figuring the rest will follow his lead, and he doesn't care HOW this treaty signing is brought about. Well, said foremost tribal warlord is Hadji Murad - Steve Reeves - and the Prince is fully prepared to torture him till he signs.

The script is fairly tight - not too hokey - and it is well acted all the way round. My copy had some continuity problems, though. There is one scene where Hadji Murad's friend is tied to a stake for execution and he's wearing green one moment and blue the next, but I suspect this was due to some restoration mis-steps. There is another part, though, where the bad guy has completely different outfits on at different angles of the same scene - it's hilarious.

The torture scenes are ... (ahem) ... interesting ... Okay, look, that gorgeous broad-muscled back being flogged? Come on! Oh, but him tied to the bed? How sexy is THAT?! Sheesh!

Okay, I'm composed again now. The ending kind of irked me because after escaping and charging to the rescue to defeat the evil warlord (and this guy really is pure evil - at least the Russian guy thought he was serving his country, this guy is just out for numero uno and is willing to slaughter innocent children to get what he wants) Anyway, Hadji Murad defeats the bad guy in a big battle and then hugs his bride (he was captured on his wedding night) and marches triumphant into town ... All very nice, but he pretty much ignores his little boy! Come on! This poor kid was almost executed! He's just a little kid! Scoop him up and carry him on your shoulders or SOMEthing!


GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959) as Emiliano (aka Goliath) []


THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959) as Glaucus [***]

This one is okay, though Reeves didn't play drunk very well - HA! The plot is kind of ludicrous, really, but fun to watch. Reeves is Glaucus, a Centurion returning from some battle or another to his home in Pompeii. Now, for those of you not in the know, Pompeii was a sort of suburb town not far from Rome where the wealthy had their summer homes and such. It was built around a volcano called Mount Vesuvius which unexpectedly erupted in 79 AD and effectively wiped the city off the map. Archaeologists uncovered the ancient city and discovered whole families buried in ash sitting at their dinner tables - that sort of thing.

Anyway, in the film, Glaucus returns home to find his family has been murdered by a band of ruthless hooded thieves who always leave a cross painted on a wall as a calling card - so they're obviously Christians, right? (insert eye roll here). First off, I don't think the cross was used as a symbol of Christianity yet at that time and second, would anyone seriously believe they would advertise their murders by leaving a calling card like that? So, obviously, it's not the Christians conducting these raids - and they really are ruthless bastards, slaughtering women and children with impunity. The real culprits, though, are ridiculous too - the cult of Isis - led by the governor's slave girl mistress - I mean, COME ON! Why would ANY Roman governor have an Egyptian high priest as a chief advisor in the first place, regardless of who his mistress is? And they call the soldiers there Praetorians, which were the elite squad of personal bodyguards for the emperor - they would NOT be slumming in Pompeii and would CERTAINLY not be working for any slimey Egyptian high priest.

At any rate, with the help of a sneak thief named Antoninus, Glaucus uncovers the real culprits, but is betrayed and imprisoned himself. The Christians are rounded up and tossed into the arena to be devoured by lions (including Glaucus' girlfriend Ionne, I think her name is), while Glaucus is sentenced to fight in the arena for the murder of the governor - without benefit of a trial despite the fact he is not only a freeborn Roman citizen and a high ranking Centurion, but ALSO good friends with the Emperor Titus - it's just outrageous! Glaucus kills the lion sent in to devour the Christians and then he kills the gladiators sent in to kill him and then they send in the archers to slaughter him and the Christians only they've been replaced by Glaucus' army buddies. Before any satisfactory justice can be administered, the volcano erupts and it's every man for himself as everyone tries to escape the destruction.

Reeves wears some NICE little outfits in this one - colorful, stylish and skimpy - just how I like em. Especially the tunic he wears at the end - before it gets torn to shreds, it's a very nice red tunic with a white block border. Wish I could get screen caps, but I got this one on video and can't make screen caps from video - only dvd. (sigh) Reeves looks younger without the beard. This photo is of him getting drunk after learning of his father's death - and it's only his father he laments, despite the fact the robbers slaughtered a bunch of people including a woman and her child - were they all just slaves or other family members? His staggering drunkeness was not convincing, though - LOL! And the drunken fight scene is kind of bad too - heh. Bottom line is, this isn't the best movie he ever made, but it's fun to watch.


THE GIANT OF MARATHON (1959) as Phillipides [***]


MORGAN THE PIRATE (1961) as Henry Morgan [****½]


THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) as Karim [****]

This is a fun picture! One of those Arabian Nights sort of tales that is kind of stupid, but always leaves you smiling at the end. Karim is a thief - well, the Thief of Baghdad, obviously. He is a brazen and daring thief - even going so far as lifting the purse from the King's Harald as he's making an announcement! No one knows what he looks like, though, so they can't catch him. He gives the spoils to the poor, you see, so they can keep from selling their daughters into slavery.

Anyway, a Prince is coming to town to marry the Princess and Karim abducts this guy and impersonates him - actually marches into the throne room and picks everyone's pockets while he fawns around - it's hilarious. But, the Princess is peeking - she wants to see this guy who she is supposed to marry, and she falls in love with him instantly - never suspecting he is actually a thief and not the Prince she expects. The real prince escapes his bonds and shows up, though, so Karim must flee. While he runs around the palace escaping, he ends up in the girl's room and he falls for her too. But he's a thief, how could he ever marry a Princess?

But she loves Karim and won't marry the prince, so the evil prince decides to use a love potion. Only thing is, if she already loves another, this potion will make her sicken and die. And he's evil because he uses it anyway, and, of course, she gets sick. A magical genie kind of a guy informs the King that the only way to save his daughter is for someone to go find a blue rose for her. In order to find this special rose, a man must brave many perils - risk his life - travel through the 7 doors (although I only counted 4 - or 5?) ...

Well, the King announces that whoever can bring back the blue rose and cure his daughter can have the kingdom and, presumably, the girl too, though Karim is the only one she would ever agree to marry ... Anyway, all these guys dressed in blue (what's up with that?) head off on the quest and the evil prince tries treachery - first slashing all the water bags in the night and sneaking off in the desert, leaving everyone else to die of thirst. Good thing Karim had been camped some ways off by himself since he was a thief and everyone wanted to arrest him - he gave his water to the rest and they continued on the quest while the evil prince went back with a white rose dyed blue and tried to lay claim to his new kingdom, but that didn't work - the rose turned white again when she took it in her hand. He got peeved and left, proclaiming that the next time he returned, it would be to rule Baghdad!

Meanwhile, they find the first door and go through it, but Karim is the only one to brave the second door and continue. Let's see, the first door led to attacking trees which everyone else freaked about and ran away. He got past the trees and through the second door which led to a cave of fire. The third door led to a palace full of gorgeous women and strange stone statues - one of which he recognizes as a friend or something. When the queen of this land tries to poison him, he spots it and switches glasses with her, whereupon she turns to stone and her palace crumbles, somehow plunging him under water. (wha?) Then there is a big guy with an invisibilty cloak who guards a bridge - Karim defeats him and takes the cloak - I guess maybe this is the fourth door he enters after crossing the bridge? A bunch of faceless guys attack him here, but he uses the invisibility cloak to escape and hop onto a winged horse that happenes to be waiting. This horse takes him to a glass house with the blue rose bush inside. At first he can't figure out how to get in, but he manages to somehow slip between the glass - I dunno. But he picks a rose and sticks it in his belt, whereupon the little genie guy meets up with him and gives him a magical ring that will grant him one - and only one wish.

So off back to Baghdad he rides. Meanwhile the evil prince has kidnapped the princess in order to force the King to abdicate his throne to him, but Karim shows up just in time - uses the ring to create a weird army of guys all dressed in blue outfits identical to his own - not sure if they're supposed to be clones? They really don't look anything like him, though (as if they could find that many Steve Reeves look-a-likes). He defeats the evil prince, but the blue rose is destroyed in the process. So, Karim brings her a white carnation and tells her that if she loves him, this flower will be a blue rose and when she takes it, it turns into a blue rose and all is well - HUZZAH!! And that funny genie guy turns out to have been an ancestor of the King's - guess he was some sort of ghost then??

Reeves looks sooooo good in these colorful outfits, although, the curled-toed boots - honestly, whoever thought THAT would be a good fashion statement? But that blue outfit really brought out the color of his eyes - WHOO! And he does a lot more running and jumping around in this - very acrobatic. So, yeah, there is some silliness, but it's a feel-good film and lots of fun.


ROMULUS & REMUS (1961) as Romulus [***½]

I've wanted to see this since I first heard of it - Steve Reeves AND Gordon Scott as the mythical twins - gotta be good, right? We know how it ends, of course - well, I do. You know the story, right? Romulus & Remus, twin infants (supposedly sons of the God Mars) were abandoned - placed in a basket to float down the Tiber. They eventually came gently ashore where they were supposedly suckled by a she-wolf and grew up to be strapping young lads. They eventually had a bit of a falling out - maybe over who was going to get to rule their new city - and Romulus killed Remus and then founded that certain city on seven hills which he called Rome and which went on to become the greatest empire the world has ever known. Just think - if Remus had killed Romulus, we would have had the Reman Empire ....

Okay, this was fun to watch - Steve Reeves AND Gordon Scott together - great stuff. It starts out with the brothers orchestrating a big robbery at the city of Alba, I think. They steal a bunch of horses and other live-stock. The REAL problem is, of course, that Romulus has also stolen a Sabine Princess. He falls for her instantly and absconds with her, but she is the daughter of a King and this guy means business, so the hunt is on.

As they were escaping, the twins' 'father' was gravely wounded. Romulus has the struggling woman and has fallen behind so, when it starts to rain, he stops off at a cabin with her and wins her heart. Meanwhile, back at the base camp, the father is dying and he tells Remus the truth about they're birth - about how their real father was the God Mars. Well, Remus hears this and the gears start turning in his head - he's the son of a God - he's meant for better things - HE should be the ruler of this band of vagabonds - HE should start a great city and be the ruler of a great army ... you get the idea. Well, Romulus is captured and tortured in imaginative ways to try to get him to tell where his people are hiding. Finally, they chain him up in a ring and set a big bear on him. He kills the bear and that should mean the Gods want him to be set free, but the King orders him killed, whereupon his mother, who recognized the medallion he is wearing, speaks up for him and then in charges Remus and his 'army' to the rescue. (He's not really all that interested in rescuing his brother, actually - he thinks Romulus is kind of weak because he likes women and he would rather negotiate than kill everyone in sight, but he gets the others to follow him under the pretense that they're rescuing Romulus).

Anyway, they're mother is killed, but with her dying breath, she declares that they need to set aside vengeance and instead start a little city on 7 hills and rule together equally. This sounds good to Romulus, but Remus wants nothing to do with that. They get away (and the Princess comes along willingly this time) and then they have a bit of a falling out because Remus thinks HE should be the SOLE ruler of this band of people, so they part ways. They know where the 7 hills are and they part on friendly terms, agreeing that whoever gets to the 7 hills first will be sole ruler. Remus heads off through the badlands with a few people, while Romulus takes the safer way. Remus runs into a live volcano and everyone gets wiped out except him and the woman who loves him. This woman has been throwing herself at him through the whole thing, but he hardly notices her. This volcano MUST be Vesuvius, right? Some 800 years or so before it wipes out Pompeii? The persuing army finds them while Remus is still incoherent and the woman tells them where Romulus has gone in exchange for their lives. When Remus comes too, he is furious with her. He struggles onto the one horse and leaves her behind. He doesn't necessarily want to save his brother, though - he knows he can't live under his brother's rule or even with joint rule, which Romulus would probably still accept. So, he is going alone to destroy his brother or to be destroyed - there is no other way as far as he's concerned.

Romulus has arrived at the site of his new city and they have had enough time to fortify the area with trenches and pungee sticks and they're ready when the army attacks. A big slaughter ensues, whereupon the princess convinces her father that there should be peace between them and Romulus draws a line in the sand and declares that whoever crosses the line and enters the city with weapon drawn shall be put to death. And, of course, this is where Remus comes charging in - with sword drawn. Romulus doesn't want to kill his brother, but he really gives him no choice - continuing to attack even though Romulus is not armed. The king tosses his own sword to Romulus and the inevitable occurs - Remus is killed and the city of Rome is founded.

The plot seems a little hastened - this maybe should have been a mini-series, but it is just a joy seeing BOTH these guys on screen together. They were great friends in real life and they interact great together on screen.


THE TROJAN HORSE (1961) as Aeneas [****]


THE LAST GLORY OF TROY (1962) as Aeneas [***]


THE SLAVE (1963) as Randus [****]

I love this photo. He has just been out causing mischief in a (literally) Zorro kind of way and he's barely managed to get undresed and climb into bed before everyone busts in looking for him.


SANDOKAN THE GREAT (1963) as Sandokan [***½]


SANDOKAN, PIRATE OF MALAYSIA (1964) as Sandokan [***]

Unfortunately, my copy of this is very dark and grainy, but it's a pirate film - AARGH! No, no one is heard to utter AARGH - LOL! A British upstart has taken it upon himself to dethrone a Malaysian King and Sandokan comes to the rescue. There are some great scenes of deception as Sandokan infiltrates the ship's crew and then the British HQ, but then he's captured and imprisoned in a mine. He has to defeat the mine prisoner big-whig in order to get the help needed to escape - funny how all it takes is all the prisoners working together - they couldn't figure that out before? Anyway, he and his funny British pal who smokes like a chimney rescue the Princess and the King and defeat the British despot and all is well at the end. HOORAY!


A LONG RIDE FROM HELL (1968) as Mike Sturges [*****]

Steve came out of retirement to make this film. It is based on a novel he read one winter. He'd always wanted to make a western, so he purchased the film option on the book himself, co-wrote the script, co-produced/co-directed the film - when asked, he would often quote this one as his favourite film because basically, this was his baby. It shows. He's not just reading the lines - he's really into this one.

Okay, the story: Steve plays Mike Sturges. He, his Mom and his younger brother Roy own the Sturges Ranch where they raise cattle and horses. Well, the film opens with a herd of their horses being rustled and all but one of the trail-riders are killed. The one makes it back home to tell them about it before he dies. (I'm not sure if this guy is another brother or not, but that's the impresision I got). Anyway, Mike, Roy and the ranch foreman head out to get the horses back. They make camp near the railway tracks that night and an old friend of Mike's turns up. Maynar claims to be working security for the railroad and tells them they should leave because it's not really safe, but Mike figures they can take care of themselves. During the night, the passing train is attacked, blown up, robbed - lots of people killed. Mike hears a commotion and goes to investigate, gets himself shot in the leg. He wakes up with a couple lawmen standing over him. The ranch foreman has been killed and Roy has been shot and left for dead. It takes a moment, but Mike finally realizes that he and Roy have been set up - and it was his so-called friend who set him up.

Mike and Roy are sent to prison in Yuma where they are forced to work in a gravel pit. Mike is a big, strong man, but young Roy just plain isn't and one of the head guards takes great delight in torturing the weaker guy. Some of the other prisoners discuss breaking out, but Mike wants nothing to do with that - until the evil guard kills Roy, that is. Next day, one of the guards manages to seriously piss off Mike and he lashes back, which starts up the whole prison break. Only Mike and one other guy actually manage to escape. Mike makes his way to a brothel and a prostitute he happens to know who also happens to count the evil guard as a regular. When he shows up, Mike kills him. None of the fight scenes in this are really great but there are some impressive moves occasionally. Mike kills this guy with four solid blows to the guy's heart - OUCH!

Now that he's free and has a change of clothes, Mike heads towards home. Along the way, he finds the other escaped con in the hands of some banditos and rescues him - only to have the guy stop a bullet meant for Mike - but it's okay, the guy says - at least he will die free and won't have to go back to that hell-hole in Yuma. (I really must look that up and see if Yuma prison was really such a horrible place). Back home, he finds the ranch desolate. An old girlfriend of his tells him his Mom died of a broken heart shortly after Mike and Roy were sent to prison. (Wouldn't they have told him that back in prison?)

I'm still not sure how Mike got the name of one of the train robbers, unless he heard it before passing out the night of the robbery. But he tracks down this one guy who leads him to the others. He kills several of them before they start killing each other and then he catches up with Maynar who has just dug up the stolen gold. A big fight ensues and Mike wins. He doesn't kill him, though, even though he had been planning to. Instead, he tells him he's gonna make sure he gets sent to Yuma.

Great Spagetti Western music in this, but the end always kind of amused me. I must get the book and see how that ended, because how is he gonna get this guy sent to jail? It is still his word against Maynar's and let's not forget, Mike killed at least half a dozen guards when he escaped prison. Granted, they were evil and probably deserved it, but I'm sure the legal establishment isn't going to see it that way. But we don't see the aftermath of all this - we just see Mike finally get his revenge and that's it.

Steve looks absolutely fantastic in this. In one interview I read, he says, I think, he weighed about 250 when he played Hercules because the director wanted him to appear massive, but for this film, he got down to about 198 and he certainly is long and lean here - he really looks hungry, which just adds to the whole thirst for revenge motif.


Other Projects for which I've found Photos but Otherwise Know Nothing About
STAGE
The Stage titles I've seen Steve connected with are: Wish You Were Here, Kismet and The Vamp. I know nothing about any of them. Both Kismet and The Vamp were evidently musicals, but I've no idea about the other.

I have a playbill for The Vamp (dated 1956) and had hoped for a plot summary, but no joy - all it contains is a scene synopsis, which is nothing more than a list of locations for each scene. From that, it looks like maybe it's about an acting company making a movie. Steve is listed in the cast list for two parts: MUSCLE MAN and SAMSON - that photo to the right is him as Samson with Carol Channing as Delilah. It also contains a song list and he evidently had at least one song, though it seems to have been a group affair: ACT II, Scene 2: "Samson and Delilah" ..... Flora as Delilah, Matt Matteo, Sampson [Steve], Whipman, High Priest, Cathryn Damon, Movie Co. - I would love to hear that if anyone has a recording. I mean, I'm sure a soundtrack album exists, but is Steve on it? That's the question.

I know a soundtrack album exists for Kismet, but it's the "original Broadway cast" and I don't know if Steve was in the original Broadway cast. He only played a guard in that, but he says in the Cult Movies interview (see links below) that he "sang in the quartet," so it might be worth hearing if anyone has a recording ....


Kismet (He's on the left)
 

The Vamp
TELEVISION

The Ralph Edwards Show - On which he was evidently a regular for one season in 1952-53
 

The Burns & Allen Show 1953

 


PUBLICATIONS

ARTICLES

When I find a magazine article, I will scan it and post it here. A lot of articles give contradictory info, but I would put more trust in ones that claim to be verbatim responses from the man himself (ie interviews), rather than just the author's impressions. For instance, I've read an article written by Ed Yarick, Steve's first trainer, in which he mentions Steve enlisting into the Army, but I have also read several interviews in which Steve himself has said he was drafted, so I'm more inclined to believe he was drafted.
[These will open in a new window/tab]
A bit of photo GOSSIP from Movie Mirror magazine, Aug '61 entitled RIVIERA ROMANCE
INTERVIEW from Cult Movies Magazine #18 from 1996: "Steve Reeves The World's Favorite Hercules"
I have several body building magazines with articles about Steve, but these are more recent publications - magazines that are still in publication - and I hesitate to display them here. I may try writing to them for permission, though, so check back now and then to see what I have.

Steve was a staunch advocate for healthy, natural body building all his life and wrote many an article himself over the years, but I don't have any of those yet.


Find links to other articles on the web in my LINKS section below

BOOKS

Larger cover images are scans of my own copies.
Most Smaller cover images were snagged from either:
The Steve Reeves International Society or eBay.
Books by Steve
POWER WALKING (1982) [with James A. Peterson, PhD] *****

Steve was way ahead of his time when he created the absolutely perfect exercise program with his Power Walking routine. It's perfect because anyone and everyone can do it regardless of age or fitness level. It's low impact, so you don't risk the types of injuries common with running and yet, it is much more of a workout than some leisurely stroll around the block.

I particularly like this book because he discusses the whole package - from proper nutrition, to warm-up stretching exercises, to weight training - and there are LOTS of photos to demonstrate. Now, Steve was in his mid-50's when he wrote this, but judging from the photos, he was SUPER limber!

It's out of print now, but you can usually find a used copy available at Amazon or on eBay for a reasonable price. As far as I know, it was only ever available in paperback. I got a copy for myself and another for my Mom, who just had surgery and wants to get back into shape too.

Building the Classic Physique - The Natural Way (date?) [with John Little & Bob Wolff, PhD]
Dynamic Muscle Building (date?)
I think this one was published after his death and may be a compilation of his own articles, but I have not yet seen this one nor the one above and don't know. I hope to get my hot little hands on both soon, so I'll let you know.
Books about Steve
Steve Reeves: One of a Kind (1983?) by Milton T. Moore, Jr.
This is the Holy Grail of Steve Reeves biographies - it's out of print and evidently not many were printed to begin with, which makes it ULTRA RARE. A copy shows up every now and then on eBay and ALWAYS goes for big bucks, so my only hope of ever actually seeing it is to find one at a library. I understand it is chock full of great photos. The image to the right is of a shorter Tribute booklet the author evidently put out before expanding it to become One of a Kind - a copy of this recently fetched a decent price on eBay as well.
Worlds To Conquer - Steve Reeves An Authorized Biography (1999) by Christopher D. LeClaire
Mr. LeClaire evidently worked with Steve at his ranch while researching this book, but it was self-published and is out of print - another ULTRA RARE publication that I will never see unless I find one at the library. The author has a website which you'll find in my LINKS section.
Steve Reeves: His Legacy in Films (date?) by Dave Dowling & George Helmer
Images of Steve Reeves (date?)
Books that mention Steve
Muscle Beach: Where the Best Bodies in the World Started a Fitness Revolution (2001) by Marla Matzer Rose [**]
This concentrates more on the women of Muscle Beach, which makes it kind of interesting. Steve is mentioned twice in passing and is featured in one photo. Most of the photos are of Les and Abbye (Pudgy) Stockton. Like I said, it's kind of an interesting read, but what irked me was the repetativeness. It's a relatively short book to begin with - I read it all in one sitting - and about half of it is rehashing the same things over and over. I don't know if this was done just to pad the length? Or maybe it was originally written in serialized form, but I found it irritating. The photo above is the only one featuring Steve - that is Steve on the right with his pals George Eifferman, Les Stockton and his wife Abbye (aka "Pudgy") and an unidentified gentlman in Hawaii on the fitness tour they took after Steve won Mr America in 1947.
Retro Stud: Muscle Movie Posters from Around the World (2002) by David Chapman [***½]
This is kind of a cool book chock full of full color photos of Muscle Movie Posters from, as the title suggests, Around the World - including many featuring Steve.

LINKS

The Steve Reeves International Society - His offical site Steve's IMDb page
WORLDS TO CONQUER - A page about an authorized biography written about Steve Reeves by Christopher D. LeClaire. I would LOVE to read this, but unfortunately, it only saw a limited publication to begin with and is out of print now. Anyone got a copy I can borrow? Muscle Memory - This is a totally cool site full of TONS of info about body builders. Just input Steve's name into the search engine there and you'll find photos and articles galore. It's a fan site and there are no ads, so you might consider making a donation if you stop by there.
More images of Steve at my Celeb Photo Album
An Interview with Steeve Reeves from The Perfect Vision Magazine Volume 6 Issue #22 July 1994

 

WALLPAPER
I made them myself. They're either collages, screen caps or photos I cleaned up. Unless otherwise noted, they're all 1280x1024. Most of them are fairly low res, because my old server only allowed files sized under 250K. Sorry bout that - I will be making changes soon.

Wallpaper
A Collage I made a few years ago. 1024x768 (181K)
Wallpaper
A beautiful color shot of Steve as Aeneas (389K)
Wallpaper
LOVE this shot of his GORGEOUS back - I colorized the B/W photo by Constantine (239K)
Wallpaper
I colorized this Constantine portrait too (216K)
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A White Warrior Screen cap (191K)
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A still from his last film, A Long Ride From Hell (197K)
Wallpaper
A GORGEOUS Raymore nude (158K)
Wallpaper
And another nude taken by Raymore - I like this one best (223K)


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Created Dec 2008 - last updated Aug 2009