The evolution of bodybuilding is sure to see a transformation 50 years from now but fitness enthusiasts from that era will have a chance to see what working out was like in the first 75 years of Muscle Beach.
Originating in Santa Monica in 1934 as a pioneering location for bodybuilding and fitness and later moving to its current headquarters in Venice, Muscle Beach wants to give the people of 2059 an idea of its progression during the first three quarters of a century.
As part of the closing ceremonies for the 75th anniversary, Muscle Beach promoters, bodybuilding icons and elected officials plan to bury two “time capsules” inside the center of the concrete stage at Muscle Beach along the Venice Boardwalk at 1 p.m. Sunday, December 13th.
The capsules will include a variety of memorabilia items from 1934-2009 including letters, photos, videos and books. The time capsules, which will be covered by a plaque sponsored by Iron Man Magazine, are scheduled to be opened in 50 years, said Joe Wheatley, producer of the event.
Wheatley said he and his wife Christine came up with the idea for the capsules as a way to preserve a portion of Muscle Beach’s history as a bodybuilding landmark.
“Burying a time capsule is a one-of-a-kind occasion and this will protect 75 years of a body of work,” Wheatley said. “We needed to have some closure to the 75th anniversary celebration and with the vibrant history of Venice, we felt that a time capsule would be appropriate to protect that part of Muscle Beach’s history.”
Several bodybuilding icons are expected to take part in the ceremony including Joe Weider, considered the “godfather of bodybuilding,” former Mr. Olympians Franco Columbu and Samir Bannout, former Mr. Universe Bill Grant, former Ms. Olympia Cory Everson and Muscle Beach pioneer Relna Brewer. Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl will present a proclamation to Weider for his support of Muscle Beach.
Wheatley noted that an invitation to bury the time capsules has been extended to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose appearance is pending. The governor, a former Mr. Universe who famously worked out at Muscle Beach, would be the ideal person to bury time capsules on the location’s history, Wheatley said.
“I don’t know who else would qualify to bury a time capsule, especially at Muscle Beach. It’s a place he worked out at and a place for which he still has a special place in his heart,” Wheatley said.
The ceremony is presented by Iron Man Magazine and Bodybuilding.com and will be held in conjunction with the third annual Muscle Beach Toy Drive, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, December 12th and 13th at the Venice Beach Recreation Center, 1800 Ocean Front Walk. Unwrapped toys that were collected at the LAPD Pacific station will be handed out to children at the event and Santa Claus is scheduled to appear at 12:30 p.m. December 13th.
Among the other notable bodybuilders who plan to attend is 76-year-old Bill Howard, a former longtime emcee and promoter of the annual Muscle Beach fitness shows. Howard, who said he is proud of his service to the workout area, added that he contributed a letter to the time capsule and is pleased that some of the history will be preserved.
“Muscle Beach is very unique from the point of view that it introduced America to two words — nutrition and exercise,” Howard said. “The Muscle Beach scene is going to change a lot (in 50 years) but this will give them a hands-on education of what was there.”
Victor Jauregui, Venice Beach Recreation Center director, called the commemoration a “very nice gesture” and said he is honored to take part in the event.
“We’re doing the best that we can to document what we have here currently,” he said. “I’m very excited to be a part of something like this and to know that in 50 years somebody is going to be looking at something I put in there.”
When future generations remove the capsules and view their contents, Wheatley said he hopes that they can see the people who were involved in the early history and get a sense of the “rich heritage” of Muscle Beach.
“Its legacy is that Muscle Beach endured and it will stand the test of time,” he said.