Bodybuilding Reviews / Videos
Callard, Pandolfo, Sable, Tarleton
Tape V-130: Roger Callard, Tony Pandolfo, Mike Sable, Jim Tarleton
57 minutes in length
Issued by GMV Productions in Adelaide, Australia
GMV website: http://www.gmv.com.au/
The films Wayne Gallasch has made of top competitive bodybuilders are a treasure trove for anyone who wishes to see the "golden age" of bodybuilding. When was this "golden age," you ask? There wasn't just one, and several ages overlapped depending on who was on the scene at any given point. It is convenient to classify eras by decade, although trends don't neatly begin and end every ten years. Still, there was a certain look to the first competitive bodybuilders in the 1940s, which shifted in the 1950s, then went in new directions in the 1960s, and in newer ones still in the 1970s. It is easier to date the end of the era: 1984, the year Lee Haney won the IFBB Mr. Olympia competition. Haney's build was more blockish than previous Olympia winners, and that's been the trend since then. I'm not criticizing Haney's build -- it was impressive -- but the emphasis was on massive shoulders and back, not sharp body lines, and the Olympian dynasties of Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman have extended Haney's look rather than harking back (or forward) to another.
Perhaps because it was the era I first became aware of competitive bodybuilding, my "golden age" of bodybuilding is the 1970s and early 1980s. In bodybuilding magazines of that period, you could see a single column ad that ran down the entire page advertising 8-mm. films of bodybuilders like Mike Mentzer. In the video era, the same ads offered videos based on those films. In 1990 I sent off to Australia to see what those videos were all about, and that's when I learned just how extensive Gallasch's commitment to bodybuilding has been. It's his life's work. The sheer number of films Gallasch has made available of bodybuilders is staggering. Still, every film creates a one-to-one relationship with you as a viewer while you're watching it, so it seems only right to sit down and report on one tape at a time. That is what I will do with my Gallasch video reviews.
The 8-mm. films transferred to video on tape V-130 feature four fine bodybuilders of their era. None of them won a national contest, although some took their weight or height class in national shows. Of the four, Roger Callard was the best known. He won the middle (height) class at the 1977 IFBB Mr. America contest (there was also an AAU Mr. America contest in 1977, which he wasn't in). He also worked as a character actor for television and film; both he and Jim Tarleton appeared in Mae West's last film, Sextette. At the point Gallasch filmed Callard, in July 1977, he was a month past winning the Mr. America middles. The film was done at Muscle Rocks near Malibu, California, a scenic area in the mountains lending an Apollonian air to the proceedings. The film is silent, with a music soundtrack added for the video.
Roger Callard's film is actually two different 8-mm. films done in the same sessions. In this film Callard seems rather impassive, smiling a couple times but otherwise treating the camera impersonally. He does slow-paced compulsory posing from the front and back. The camera sometimes takes in his entire body top to bottom, his shadow stretching below him as he moves. Callard has a moustache and long styled hair, stirred slightly by the breeze. After an array of full-body shots, the camera cuts to back and arm shots -- a double bicep back shot, lat spread, repetitive flexing to show off particular body parts like his triceps or forearms. Callard has solidity, but isn't very cut. He does a little of everything as the film goes on: side chest, single bicep, most muscular, and so on. He has a nice tan, and a good look overall. He moves without intensity from one position to another, occasionally looking down at his arms as he poses.
Around seven minutes in, the presentation shifts to Callard's legs, with quad and calf flexing at close range. When Gallasch picks a body part to present we get plenty of it; the camera holds on it as the guy shifts it into as many different positions and angles as he can. We see everything in the body part there is to see after focusing on it at this length. The long takes mean we don't have to pull our eyes away before we are ready to. I don't feel rushed watching his tapes.
Callard likes to display his back, and every chance he gets, turns it to the camera. When he displays his abs, the camera moves in to show each side from different angles. His traps are well shown in a most muscular pose (which Arnold popularized), and nice sequences follow on the inside of his bicep and forearms (which are cut up, the best body part on display here). Toward the end of the first 8-mm. film, he plays to the camera more -- directly pointing at us and seeming to tell us something we need to hear. I can imagine him doing that during a show and bringing the house down.
The second Callard film, starting thirteen minutes in, is titled "Filmed at Muscle Rocks, Malibu, Ca." In the first film he was in a brown posing trunk; now he's in gym shorts, and bending an exercise spring into a horseshoe shape with both hands. We get mostly shots of him from the waist up, front and back. The sun is directly in his eyes now, and he looks a bit winded. He trades the spring for a long stretch cable which he can pull from both sides at the same time, like an accordion. He also stands on one of the handgrips and flexes the other side up, approximating a dumbbell curl for one hand. He leans over to do them, then stands up and continues. His pecs and biceps are foregrounded, the lines of his back visible in the shot. The camera alternates from being at a fair distance to extreme closeups, with impressive shots of the inside of his forearm and elbow joint as he cranks out cable curls.
Now Callard shifts to doing curls by gripping one side of the spring with both hands. He's back in his original brown posing suit. Next he's working a dumbbell, doing concentration curls before moving to a behind-the-head overhead press to work the tri's. In a continuous shot, his back to the camera, he shifts the dumbbell from one hand to the other and keeps going. Finally he puts the weight down and does several lat spreads for us, giving us half a smile while doing them. The film ends with standing dumbbell rows, for a total of 25 minutes of Callard.
Tony Pandolfo is the next guy. Popular onstage, Pandolfo won the AAU Mr. Apollo contest in 1976, as well as the short class at the AAU Mr. USA in 1977. He has recently competed in the NPC Masters Nationals, winning the lightweight class for men over age fifty in 1995, then taking third in the same class in 1998. The man is an iron warrior in every respect, and seeing him in his prime here is a treat.
This film, made at Vasquez Rocks near Los Angeles in September 1980, runs 18 minutes total. Pandolfo starts with standing dumbbell curls against a wall of rock. He has curly hair and a scruffy moustache (he still does, but it's silver now). He's in exercise trunks, and wears a gold chain. Displaying his contest-ready build with energy and focus, he projects himself well. We get closeups of his pecs and biceps as he pumps dumbbells. His excellent cuts are set off to Vangelis's "Chariots of Fire" theme, on the soundtrack at this point. A variety of arm poses offers alternate views of his compact, polished build. In pose after pose, he seems to be doing his routine for us personally; he gives us everything he has. Sequences with the horseshoe spring and accordion cable follow. Pandolfo has etched striations in his shoulders and arms, but his abs are even better -- something smaller guys can beat bigger guys with. His sixpack and intercostals are shown off with bends from both sides. When he leans over for concentration curls, we get the inside of his arm in closeup shots.
Now Pandolfo's in red posing trunks. He turns dramatically, hitting a side-chest shot on both left and right sides. Closeups of his quads show heavy veins, a sign of vascularity. He rubs his oiled calves, displaying the diamond shape of the muscle on them. As the camera pulls back, he weaves one pose seamlessly into another. Watching Pandolfo, there's no question as to why he won shows. His display is like a drama unfolding before us. Never tired or bored, he gets the most out of every movement, building in details like gripping the back of his entire neck with one hand while flexing the other arm. Then he bows to us, ending the routine. The camera cuts to another series of torso shots. This is one of the most assured and comfortable posers I've seen in front of camera; he's very good at it and loves doing it, flashing us a grin as he hits his shots. Bowing again, he raises his hands in a "I won" gesture. Pandolfo proves you don't need bulk to be impressive. I could watch his routine all day.
Mike Sable was known for his quads. He competed in national shows from 1978 to the mid-1980s, having the most success in 1982, when he won the short class at the AAU Mr. America; the same year he also took the shorts at the WABBA World Championships.
This film was made in Los Angeles in September 1980, running seven minutes. Sable is standing on a dark towel on the beach, land on the other side of the bay visible in the distance. He has dark styled hair, a heavy moustache and long sideburns. Sable is thick through the shoulders and arms, conveying an impression of coiled power. His solid chest doesn't have much shape to it, except from the side. He holds one wrist with his other hand, pumping the bicep up and down to work the arm muscles. His back is excellent. He displays himself with energy and enthusiasm, moving quickly from one pose to another, giving attention to his arms. He poses so fast he's hard to keep up with, in fact. Full shots of his torso are more impressive than closeups, where the features tend to blur. The thickness of his torso is his best point. He has a tight waist, and we get a look at his famed quads.
Jim Tarleton ends the tape in a film lasting seven minutes, shot on Venice Beach in September 1980 after he won the Mr. Venice Beach contest. He had no national profile, a shame considering the impact of his performance here. Fortunately Gallasch saw the contest and got him on film. I have watched Tarleton's routine here countless times, and will never tire of it.
A beach brings out the best in bodybuilders; witness "the insult that made a man out of Mac" when he got sand kicked in his face in the Charles Atlas ad. Tarleton rules the beach here. He has longish, hippie-style hair over his ears and a thick moustache. Not that big, he has superb lines and a V-back you don't much see the likes of anymore. His laddered abs link a solid chest to a cinched waist. Tarleton is more than a superb poser, like Pandolfo is. This performance is almost scary, in fact, as Tarleton levels a dead-on stare at you as he segues from one pose to another with a deliberately controlled, hypnotic pace. Unsmiling, he never looks angry or upset, just fully focused on the moment. Posing like this takes bodybuilding into the realm of performance art, its ultimate expression and form.
Tarleton does the compulsory poses that other competitors do, but alters them subtly to intensify their impact. Just as he flexes his arms in a front double bicep pose, for instance, he briefly lets his teeth show through below his moustache, changing his look. When he lifts his arms over his head for a chest/abs pose, he slowly lets the abs sink into rippled lines, then shifts from side to side to etch more details into them. The presentation is extraordinary, and seems longer than the seven minutes we get. Time slows as Tarleton shows us what an accomplished, gifted bodybuilder can do. I like everything about his work here. Anyone who wants to see "golden age" bodybuilding need look no further than this fine competitor and tape.
(Video stills used by permission of copyright holder, Wayne Gallasch, all rights reserved. They may not be reposted without his permission.)