The Body of a Man is the Expression of His Life and the Way He Lives It
By Vic Boff
Re printed with permission of The Iron Master
Just a few years ago Sam Kramer, actor, strongman, athlete, philosopher and entrepreneur, passed on into the great beyond, and I, as well as countless others lost a wonderful friend. I was very fortunate in my early youth to meet this beautiful man who never seemed to tire in trying to inspire otherswith his profound wisdom and kindness.
Show business was a great part of his life and he spent a great deal of his time between performances developing a mind to match his physique. Sam developed all his potential physical abilities in his early youth at the OldEducation Alliance located on the lower East of New York. Training and learning from many of the great old timers, he soon became a terrificgymnast and aerialist -- a daring young man on the flying trapeze!
In 1903, he entered the first Mr. America Perfect Man contest conducted by the great Bernarr MacFadden and was one of the winning finalists. His arm, shoulder and chest development were tremendous.
As a Vaudevillist, he was billed as "The Best-Built Man in the World" whenhe was the "Bottom Man" in a balancing act with his partner, Morris Bellenclaire, an act which played all of the nation's leading Vaudeville circuits. In those days, this famous act commanded a paycheck of $450 per week when $450 was tremendous.
In subsequent years, he turned to comedy, serious acting and lecturing.
Some of the great personalities of that era were Sam's friends, among them author Jack London, actor Francis X. Bushman, the great defense attorney Clarence Darrow, novelist Virginia Woolf, and the Golden Girl of the Gay 90's, Lillian Russell.
Sam met Lillian in 1916, and as her physical advisor, he helped to extendher career a few more productive years. Eugene Sandow, Bernarr MacFadden, GeorgeF. Jowett, George Hackenschmidt, Sig Klein, and Bob Hoffman were a few ofthe many physical culturists that were his friends.
When Sam had somewhat retired in the mid 1930s, he performed with his beautiful eloquence as a master of ceremonies at some of the great physique shows of that time, many of them presented by my good friend Sig Klein, himself one of the all time greats.
In 1931, Sam met his girl and love, Lenna. Five months later they were married. As Sam once said, "She kept me going through all the ups anddowns."
In conclusion, let us not forger Sam Kramer and all the great old timers whohelped to make this a better world to live in with the physical, mental, andspiritual strengths they projected and lived by.