Written by Peter McGough
03 March 2016


The Untold Story of How Arnold Got Into Movies

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Files



The rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger from the rubble of post-war Austria to the political chambers of California is one of the most remarkable careers – maybe the most remarkable -- of modern times.  Pairing Teutonic determination with American entrepreneurial chutzpah, he conquered the triple citadels of sport, show business, and politics, in the process traveling from lederhosen to leadership in the single bound of a half-century. His story represents a quantum leap of achievement, made possible by that mysterious process whereby the age complements the man and the man seems made for the age.


The truth is if Arnold Schwarzenegger hadn’t existed and lived the life he has, no one would have dared write such a story. Allow literary license as we eavesdrop on two hopefuls trying to devise a script for Hollywood consumption, circa 1969, when fitness and muscle tone was not the pursuit of the masses and the phrase gym chains meant a form of security for the front door


Hymie: We need a rages-to riches type treatment. Let’s make our hero a sports champion and for the international market have him come from Europe.


Ed: Okay, let’s make the main character a farm boy from a small town in Austria – I just seen The Sound of Music -- and make him a world champion.


Hymie:So what’s the sport? Skiing? Bobsleighing?


Ed: Nah, something a bit more out of the ordinary. My nephew just bought a Charles Atlas course -- let’s make it bodybuilding.


Hymie: Bodybuilding? Who the hell is interested in that? Isn’t that just for oddballs and guys who like to, well, hang out with other guys.


Ed: Maybe, but we turn that view on its head by having our hero make a documentary that brings bodybuilding to worldwide attention. 


Hymie: Like the general public would watch a documentary on bodybuilding? What do we call our hero?


Ed: Hmm, my nephew’s name is Arnold, that’ll do for starters. Let me flick open this phone directory. Here’s a name Schwarzenegger!


Hymie: Bless you!


Ed: No, we’ll call him Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Hymie: That name won’t even fit on a marquee. So what’s the ending: he makes the documentary, he has his 15 minutes of fame and goes back to Austria and skips through the Alps hand-in-hand with Julie Andrews?


Ed: Nah, he uses the documentary as the platform to get into movies and becomes Hollywood’s biggest box office star. Why’d you just pour yourself a double scotch and sink it in one?


Hymie: …. Err, sorta getting worried -- I mean thirsty. So the final scene is him receiving some swanky Hollywood award and then cue music and fade to black.


Ed: Nah, Arnold is so enamored of the life he has lived in the US he wants to put something back and runs for public office.


Hymie: Like what, Santa Monica Dog Catcher? Hic!


Ed: Think bigger, Hymie, and put that bottle down. I got the movie’s opening taking shape now. Right from the first scene – just after he’s picked up his first weight -- we have the kid say he’s going to be a world champion bodybuilder, then go on to be Hollywood’s biggest star, and then run successfully for …….. I got it, Governor of California!


Hymie: World Champion bodybuilder, Hollywood box office star, Governor of California? I need another drink. It’s so crazy you might as well have him marrying one of the Kennedy clan.


Ed: Bingo, Hymie! We’ll have him marry one of the slain President’s nieces.


Hymie: Count me out Ed, this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard of since that Stallone kid was round here …. hic ….. hawking that ridiculous boxing script.



At that point a white suited medic enters their office (which looks suspiciously like a hospital ward) and says, “Okay Hymie and Ed, time for your medications.”