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August 4, 2019

Pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger Walking Through Munich in Swimming Trunks in Order to Promote His Own Gym, 1967

It is not too much to say that Arnold Schwarzenegger has undoubtedly become one of the historical titans of our time. He has changed the “Iron sport”, the movie industry and even the political background in the United States and worldwide once and for all. Although Arnold’s life achievements are generally associated with the United States, he spent twenty-one years of his life in Europe, in Austria and Germany.

Arnold Schwarzenegger finally got to see Munich himself back in Autumn 1966. At his nineteen, after nine-month military service, the young bodybuilder finally left his parents’ home in Tal, Austria. Looking out the window of the train from Graz, Arnold was fascinated with the scale of a city with a one million population. The very Munich Hauptbahnhof (“main station’’ in German) colored Schwarzenegger’s impress. After all, he now had to start a new adult life far from his home, get himself a job, explore his bodybuilding ambitions and all this with a help of Rolf Putziger, his new patron.
“As the train came near to the city, I began seeing more and more houses, and then bigger buildings, and then up ahead the city center. I was wondering in a corner of my brain, “How will I find my way around? How will I survive?” But mostly I was selling myself on the mantra “This is going to be my new home.” I was turning my back on Graz, I was out of there, and Munich was going to be my city, no matter what.”
Albert Busek, an editor in Sports Review magazine and one of the institutors of the 1965 Mister Europe contest, had made his promise to welcome Schwarzenegger at the railway station. A young star, an Austrian Oak, was picked up by Franz Dischinger, another young bodybuilder, who had previously come of second best next to Arnold in Stuttgart (Mister Europe 1965). Franz and his local friend encountered Arnold, made their trio way to a cafe here on the Hauptbahnhof and then took a car ride to get Arnold to Rolf Putziger’s suburban home on the outskirts of Munich. Therefore, Munich Central Station had once become a doorway to Munich for Arnold.

After the Mr. Universe 1966 contest, with his 2nd place after Chet Norton and despite the strained relations with Putziger, Arnold devoted himself to promoting the gym doing his best. During this period his friendship with Albert Busek rose to a new level of partnership. They went all-out to attract more trainees to the UNIVERSUM and leave Reinhard Smolana far behind. Praising, word-of-mouth techniques, even putting up posters — everything counted. By 1967, in just a year, with these efforts, it was possible to double the number of regular customers of the gym at Schillerstrasse 36 and bring them to three hundred.

In September 1967 Arnold Schwarzenegger did finally reach his goal and won Mister Universe title in London. After taking a breath, a new champion returned to Munich with ambitious to make use of his new status in popularizing bodybuilding. 300 trainees for a 1 million Munich was still a bit of low-profile result. but these were the realities of bodybuilding awareness in Germany in the 1960s.

The initial point of the improvised route was at the Munich Hauptbahnhof railway station. Arnold made a number of his champion poses just in front of the ticket office. People began to gather around the young star, surprised by such an unprecedented spectacle. A young man was posing at the main hall of the station. This spacious lounge has changed a little since 1967. Taking the famous photographs closer, we could see a carving in stone with the MASCHINENBAU. HEZEUBAU. UBAU inscription, which was not preserved till present. Both sides of the hall now face the cashier-machines and an advertising poster, including Macdonald’s.

Leaving the building of the Munich Central Railway Station, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his swimming trunks, and the accompanying Busek and the photographers set off towards the Karlsplatz. Their path lay across the Bayerstrasse street with a number of small shops and a small market. A smiling Mr. Universe walked down the street, attracting the attention of intrigued Munich residents. He made his poses from time to time. In one place near the market, an elderly woman tried on the hardness of Arnold’s biceps and the people of Munich appreciated what was happening. Only one woman drew her son off so that he would not imitate “this monster”.

Made their way along the Bayerstrasse, this exceptive delegation finally reached the Karlsplatz square, which was a mean of the true to scale reconstruction. The photographer made a history of the moment when a young Arnold passed by a constructor worker. This memorable photo will make a cover of the Quick newspaper the day after. This puzzled man, wrapped up in layers keeps an eye on a young muscular man in trunks. A little further a young star was encircled with views, smiling on the camera. One man raised his hand imitating the bodybuilding posedown. We can see the KOFFER cafe, which is still here.

Any of us who admired with Schwarzenegger can easily stand the same spot from the memorable photos from 1967.

(via Maxim Chorny)



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