As a boy, George Helmer and his friends would go to the local theater to catch a Saturday matinee. In the summer of 1959, the movie Hercules came to Southern California and George and his buddies went to see it. He was in awe watching this incredible movie and from that day forward Steve Reeves became his hero. At that time not in his wildest dreams
would he have ever thought that one day Steve Reeves would become his good friend and business associate.
As the years moved on, George recalls going to see many of Steve's movies - The Thief of Baghdad, Morgan the Pirate, Goliath, Duel of the Titans, and The Slave (to name a few). He was hooked, a true Steve Reeves admirer of the bigger than life super hero.
Steve left the silver screen in the late 60's, George graduated from high school and enlisted in the Army. After 3 years and a tour in Vietnam he was honorably discharged. George went to work, got married and a raised a family. But he never forgot the impact Reeves made on him.
In the mid-seventies, George became interested in bodybuilding. He was thrilled to find his childhood hero between the covers of bodybuilding magazines. He then started to train and follow Steve's fitness and bodybuilding routines. George remembers that he picked up the May 1983 issue of Muscle and Fitness, featuring Steve on the cover. He read the article numerous times. He was now hooked again on the great Steve Reeves and sought out as much information on the man and his life as possible.
Image - Steve Reeves - demonstrating Power Walking
Then in 1983, George's life started to change when he and his wife decided to end 15 years of marriage. Shortly after this, Helmer's father passed away from a heart attack.
Determined to make a new life for himself, he went back to college where he met a vivacious young women named Cejay, who was also into fitness. The two workout partners became life partners, enjoying the fitness lifestyle. During those early years they worked out at Vince's Gym in Studio City, California.
In 1985, the couple attended a bodybuilding show at Sand's Hotel in Los Vegas. As they walked into the lobby, George gripped Cejay's arm in excitement. "You know who that is sitting at the table? Steve Reeves!"
George and Cejay made their way up to the table and there he was, bigger than life sitting, behind the table selling his book "Steve Reeves One of A Kind" written by Milton Moore Jr. After talking with Steve briefly, George bought the book that would change the direction of his life.
When he went into the auditorium he remembers saying to Cejay, "The trip to Los Vegas is worth this book alone." A good thing, because he spent that evening reading his new treasure, rather than watching the show!
In 1987, George and Cejay decided to purchase a gym and run it based on the principles Steve outlined in his book. "Wouldn't it be great to have Steve Reeves at our grand opening as our guest star?" George asked. Cejay challenged him to make it happen.
On a business trip to the Escondido area (where Reeves reportedly lived), Helmer thumbed through a local telephone directory in his hotel room. He found the name Stephen L. Reeves in Valley Center. Could this be his Steve Reeves?
He placed a call to the number and a lady answered. George asked, "Is this the Steve Reeves residence?" Steve's wife Aline answered, "Yes it is."
He explained who he was and what kind of gym he was opening and asked if Steve would be available for the grand opening. At first Aline resisted. Steve didn't do appearances like that anymore, she explained.
However, George laid out his plans for the club - as a center to promote drug free bodybuilding and cross training. He explain to Aline how much Steve inspired him to put together this type of club. Aline responded to George's enthusiasm and called her husband to the phone.
When the call ended several minutes later, Helmer was dumbfounded. Steve Reeves was coming to his grand opening! The event was a hit and a friendship based on a passion for good bodybuilding and fitness was born.
As the years went on, the two became close friends. Eventually George suggested the formation of an international society that would go beyond a fan club and promote Steve's philosophies on fitness and health to a world-wide audience.
At first, Steve was reluctant. He liked his very private life and didn't think there would be much interest in him or his ideals. Eventually, George convinced his friend to give it a try. The response overwhelmed Steve and he gave the SRIS and the corporation his full support.
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