Ed Connors’ The Three Muscleteers was one of my must-purchase Kindle books this year. It’s available as a physical copy as well, just not in hardback as this article’s accompanying illustration depicts.
These are notes for my own reference and understanding based on my specific interests, may be expanded upon over time, and are from a small portion of the book. Many chapters are left out. The notes are shared for anyone interested. The bold-text headings are chapter names.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and World’s Gym
- In 1965, Gold’s Gym was one of four “gyms” in Los Angeles.
- It was 4200 square feet. 10X the size of a typical 20×20 foot two-car garage.
- Gold’s Gym equipment was custom-made by George Pipasik and Joe Gold.
- Joe Gold helped supervise the design construction of the equipment.
- Most equipment was made of all black solid steel stock.
- “Health clubs”, which I’m assuming are differentiated from “gyms”, were much more expensive compared to fitness centers today, individual memberships as high as $3000, and how long varied from lifetime to specific amount of years. Many health clubs didn’t last. Gym memberships were a risky purchase.
- Gold’s Gym pioneered short-term memberships, a day, month, etc…
Joe Gold Opens Gold-s Gym: 1965
- Joe Gold’s first commercial gym was “Ajax” in New Orleans, where Gold spent time as a merchant marine.
- Gold served in WW2 and Korea, where he sustained a back injury in a torpedo attack.
- Gold tried to work a deal with the Muscle Beach Weightlifting Club for an enclosed gym after Santa Monica shut down the outdoor area due to an alleged rape incident at Muscle Beach. The club hesitated and Joe opened his own gym in a private residence in 1965.
- Joe Gold lived in the adjacent house and had an enclosed passageway from his home into the gym.
- In five years, Joe sold the gym and buildings to Bud Danitz and Dave Saxe for $50,000 and returned to sea.
- Gold returned in 1976 and created World Gym.
- Gold’s own World Gym has been at three different locations, Santa Monica, Venice, and Marina del Rey.
- Gold died in 2004. Two years later, Mike Uretz sold his franchise operations to Planet Fitness. Planet Fitness cherry-picked the best operations and sold off the rest.
- World Gym in Marina del Rey closed on June 12, 2007.
Ken Sprague: 1972-1979
- Dave Saxe sold his Gold’s Gym share to Bud Danitz, who then sold the business and buildings to 26 year old Ken Sprague.
- Unlike Sprague, Joe Gold “almost certainly” would never have allowed Pumping Iron to be filmed at Gold’s.
- Pumping Iron was shot in six weeks at Gold’s.
- After Pumping Iron’s success, Sprague moved Gold’s to a more commercial/prominent location at 1452 Second Street in Santa Monica. 50 by 90 feet aka 4500 square feet, slightly larger than original Gold’s.
- pre cardio craze, not even one bike in the gym.
- Sprague sold Gold’s in February 1979.
Pete Grymkowski, Ed Connors, & Tim Kimber 1979-1999
- In the late 1970s. Marina del Rey, minutes from LAX, had a bad reputation because of all the partying, mainly due to the pilots and flight attendants living there.
- Ed Connors, an architect by trade, converted Ken Sprague’s Gold’s Gym in Venice property into a legal residence.
- Connors, Pete Grymkowski, and investor Ed Boyle purchased Gold’s Gym from Ken Sprague for $100,000. 50% cash/50% loan
- Tim Kimber soon replaced Denny Doyle. Grymko majority shareholder holder, Kimber/Connors minority interest.
- Not until 1985 did Connors feel Gold’s was making enough money for him to leave full-time work as an architect.