Steve Reeves placed 2nd in the 1948 Mr. Universe bodybuilding competition. Oscar Heidenstam encouraged Steve to compete in the Mr. World competition in Cannes, France. Oscar and Steve traveled together to France where Steve placed first in the Mr. World bodybuilding contest. This is the actual trophy and I am absolutely ecstatic that it is now in my collection.
After some thought, Steve agreed and the 2 took a boat ride across the channel to Calaise, France where they then took a train to Cannes, France. This is about a 9-hour train ride. Oscar spoke fluent French so that certainly made things easier. At the Mr. World Contest, Steve was awarded first place and Oscar won 5th. After the contest, Oscar returned to England, and Steve was forced
to stay in France for additional time.
From A Moment In Time by George Helmer
“Although Steve originally planned on being in Europe a total of ten days, he was forced to extend his stay in France by four days due to not procuring ship passage back to the USA. It was the end of August and the transatlantic ships were already filled with Americans returning home after vacationing in Europe.
After Oscar left, Steve had no one to interpret for him. So Steve ventured out on his own. He made the most of his time on the French Riviera by relaxing in the sun, swimming, and running on the beach. He managed to get his three squares per day using good old Yankee know-how.
Every morning he walked to a local cafe and ordered a cheese and mushroom omelet (omelet fromage aux champignons) the only dish he knew how to order in French. For lunch, he would go to the fruit stand and point at the piece of fruit and hunk of cheese that he wanted. Dinner got a bit boring for Steve who only knew how to order filet mignon and salad. He finally did meet a young man named Pierre who helped him translate French to English.
One local custom he especially enjoyed was that on several occasions while he was lying on the beach with his eyes closed, a beautiful young lady would stroll by him, stoop down and plant a big kiss on his lips. This happened several times and Steve never complained-not once!
Finally, he was able to book passage to New York on the S.S. America, a passenger ocean liner. He boarded the ship on August 27, 1948, and said au revoir to France and its beautiful ladies.
As was the custom at the time, the ocean liners always sent a telegram ahead to New York with the list of passengers. They always listed the celebrities who were aboard so the press could meet them when the ship pulled into the Port of New York. Sure enough, a phalanx of press and photographers were waiting as Steve arrived with his handsome Mr. World trophy in hand.
After several interviews and many photos, Steve hailed a cab and headed for the airport and his flight to San Francisco.
As soon as he arrived in San Francisco, he headed to Oakland for a two-week visit with his mother and stepfather.”