beefed up babes

This 1940s bodybuilding video is now in color & it’s got everyone breaking a sweat

Two panel image. Footage from a 1941 bodybuilding competition in San Francisco. On the left, three men in white briefs flex with their biceps over their head. One man stands in black briefs poses with his hands on his hips. On the right, one man flexs with his right bicep high in the air while the announcer stands next to him in a suit, declaring him the winner. On the right, a man stands with his hands on hips flexing.

We know there’s no such thing as “the perfect man,” except….

A newsreel from a 1941 bodybuilding competition in San Francisco is going viral after Instagram account @colorful.upscaled.history re-edited and colorized the original black-and-white footage.

Let us be the first to say, we thank them profusely for their painstaking work.

The original clip, posted by newsreel archivists British Pathé on YouTube, adds a bit more context to the newly resurfaced video. Not that we needed an excuse to appreciate some vintage beefcakes in their underwear!

It seems the bodybuilding contest was called “The Perfect Man” and the competition was especially fierce.

In a perfect Transatlantic voice, the announcer begins: “In San Francisco, they found a tribe of strong, silent, and almost perfect men.” (Notice the spectacled person standing up to get a closer view. Perfectly understandable!)

The collection of eye candy was described as, “Samsons and Adonises all rolled into one.” And their natural beauty was not lost on the women or any of the men. It was San Francisco, after all!

That’s not to say everyone was appreciative. These two ladies –– let’s called them Ruth and Margaret –– seemed less than enthused by this contestant’s flexing muscles. “Bulging biceps may appeal to some feminine fans, but they don’t seem to impress a tip-titled nose and an open mouth,” the announcer observed.

And let’s give a round of applause to all the men competing for the title: “The finalists, the creme de la creme of masculine beauty.”

That being said, this unnamed gentleman took home the grand title at the competition: “And the winner, the perfect man!”

The comments on the video are just as thirsty as you’d expect them to be.

“Homoeroticism at its very best,” one user wrote on YouTube, while another asked, “What is the name of the winner?” (In hopes of finding an Only Fans account, perhaps? Just kidding.)

On Instagram, a user called it “the day SF became gay.” And @colour_with_piya observed, “No steroids, no hurry, no extensive training, just being slow, steady, and successful. That is actual body building.”

The newsreel certainly harkens back to a golden age for bodybuilding and one that the LGBTQ+ community can definitely appreciate. And while there were no jockstraps onstage, we will give those tiny lil’ briefs the love they deserve.

Furthermore, there’s something to be said for the more natural-looking (albeit, still bulked up) appearance of the men before the rise of steroids and unrealistic body standards.

Even Zac Efron (who beefed up for Baywatch) has spoken on the impossibility of maintaining today’s Adonis standards. “You’re working with almost no wiggle room, right,” he said. “You’ve got things like water under your skin that you’re worrying about, making your six-pack into a four-pack. Sh*t like that… it’s just stupid.”

Watch the full video below.

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