Ric Drasin

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Ric Drasin
RicDrasin-2009.jpg
Ric Drasin in 2009 (age 65)
Ring name(s) see below
Billed height 6 feet 0 inches (1.83 m)
Billed weight 222 pounds (101 kg)
Born (1944-07-12) July 12, 1944 (age 70)
Bakersfield, California
Resides Van Nuys, California
Billed from Bakersfield, California
Santa Monica, California
Trained by Mae Young
Debut 1965
Retired 2001
Website RicDrasin.com [31]

Ric Drasin (born July 12, 1944) is an American artist, actor, Internet talk show host, director, producer, and writer. He is also a personal trainer, stuntman, former bodybuilder, and retired professional wrestler. Drasin designed both the original Gold's Gym logo— a cartoon sketch of a bald weightlifter—and the World Gym gorilla logo.[1][2] Arnold Schwarzenegger was Drasin's weight training partner for four years at the original Gold's Gym in Venice, California.[1][3][4] Drasin wrestled professionally for 36 years (1965–2001) while also winning titles in amateur bodybuilding contests during his younger years. Drasin retired from the ring at age 57, but still remains active as a professional wrestling instructor. He is also a Specialist Reserve Officer with the Los Angeles Police Department and a spokesperson for Gold's Gym International. In 2012, Drasin received the first Joe Gold Lifetime Achievement Award.

Early life[edit]

Richard Alan Drasin was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, a city of agriculture and oil production.[5][6] His father and mother, Oscar (1911–1963) and Claire (1914–2010), owned and operated Drasin's Little Folks Shop, a children's furniture and clothing store.[7] Drasin has one sibling, an older sister, Stephanie (born 1936), nicknamed Stef. The family attended religious services at Temple Beth El.

Drasin's formal education began at Franklin Elementary School. While at Emerson Junior High School, as a joke he and two friends tried out for the cheerleading squad. They were selected.[8] He graduated from Bakersfield High School in 1962 at age 18, then attended Bakersfield College for two years (1963–1964), focusing on art.

The Epics, from Bakersfield, California, performing at the Hollywood Bowl in 1960. Band members included Denny Phillips (rhythm guitar), Ric Drasin (lead guitar), Dick Cranston (drums), Tom Strongin (bongos), and Craig Wilson (bass guitar).

Drasin's interests in bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting, and guitar playing began in junior high school. When Drasin was in high school, he formed a band known as The Epics. Drasin's band became so popular that they were featured at YMCA Day at the Hollywood Bowl in 1960.[9]

About three months later, The Epics competed in a Battle of the Bands contest at the Hollywood Palladium, placing second out of about 200 bands. One of the prizes was a one-year recording contract with Capitol Records. Capitol Records changed the name of The Epics to The Hollywood Vines.

The Hollywood Vines recorded two cruising songs, "Cruisin’" and "When Johnny Comes Slidin’ Home." The 45 rpm record (Capitol Records reference number 4511) was released in 1961. Although the record was a success, the band drifted apart as the members grew into adulthood.[10] Drasin enlisted in the Army Reserves for eight years and was inducted on his 18th birthday.[7] On active duty for approximately six months after enlistment and for two weeks each year thereafter, Drasin served as a clerk/typist and driver, achieving the rank of Sergeant. He was stationed at Fort Ord, California, and Fort Lewis, Washington.

When Drasin was 18, his father died during surgery for a heart condition.[11] Drasin and his father had very much enjoyed going to professional wrestling shows together and, unknown to his father, Drasin had decided he would someday become a professional wrestler.

Young adulthood[edit]

Drasin's work in the fitness industry began in 1962, when he taught classes in nutrition and exercise at the Bakersfield YMCA. Also in Bakersfield, he was an instructor at Babe's Gym (1963–1964), then manager of Joseph's Gym (1965–1967).[8][12]

Drasin was assigned to train with Johnnie Mae Young (born 1923, died 2014).[13] Young was a National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) United States Women's Champion, who, at 5’4” and 180 pounds, was known as one of the toughest wrestlers in the business.[14] Drasin, at 6’0”, 215 pounds, and 21 years younger, was the recipient of many bumps, bruises, rope and mat burns during his six-month training period. Each training session lasted two to three hours, and Drasin received thorough training in collegiate, professional, American- and Mexican-style wrestling.

Drasin's first professional appearance was as “Dick Alan,” a “baby face” (good guy). The year was 1965, and his opponent was Buddy "Killer" Austin. Austin won the match.[15]

In 1975 Drasin also started a business called West Coast Wrestling Promotions. He faced great opposition from the National Wrestling Alliance, and Drasin ceased operations after a few shows.[16]

In 1972, he had his first film role, playing "George," a gym manager who is attacked by rats in the movie Ben.[17]

In 1978, Drasin played an Olympic weightlifter in the film Sextette.

In 1978, World Gym also asked him to design a logo, and he created the World Gym gorilla logo, still in use today.[18]

During that era, Dianabol and Primobolan Depot were two of the most popular steroids with bodybuilders. Drasin freely admits to taking steroids, as has Arnold Schwarzenegger, both reminding critics that steroids were legal during that era, requiring only a doctor's prescription.[19][20][21]

Middle years[edit]

Ric Drasin married Ilene Walit in 1975. Walit was employed as a production secretary at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) motion picture studio when they met at Venice Beach in 1970. When the marriage ended in divorce in 1983, the children remained with Drasin. He chose to close his T-shirt business in 1984 after his name was stolen and used on goods of inferior quality.[22]

In 1985, Drasin reorganized his old West Coast Wrestling Promotions into the American Wrestling Federation (AWF) and promoted wrestling shows in the Los Angeles and Bakersfield areas.[16] He taught his son Shane how to wrestle, and he wrestled as “Shane '54” for the AWF from 1996 until 2001.[23] Although Drasin's son Adam did not wrestle professionally, he occasionally worked as a referee for the AWF.

During 1987 at Gold's Gym in Northridge, California, Drasin met Randi Susan Weber (born 1964). They married in 1989 and had a daughter, Samantha Paige, nicknamed Sami (born 1991). After 23 years of marriage, Ric and Randi Drasin obtained a divorce, which became final on September 25, 2012.

Injuries[edit]

Ric Drasin as "The Equalizer".
Drasin sustained many injuries over the years.

In 2000, Drasin was working with a table saw in his garage and had an accident that amputated his middle, ring, and little fingers from his right hand. Drasin's son Shane obtained medical attention for him, and doctors were able to reattach his middle and ring fingers, but the tip and middle section of his little finger could not be saved. Drasin returned to the gym the next day, using the heel of his hand for some exercises and straps around his wrists for others. He has stated that he never took pain medication for this injury. Using a glove to protect his hand, Drasin soon returned to professional wrestling.

In 2001, Drasin sustained two other serious injuries, both to his legs. The first happened while wrestling in an AWF match against “Cincinnati Red” (Scott Davis) in Huntington Beach, California. Drasin did not realize he had been seriously injured and continued wrestling for seven more minutes, until the bout ended with Drasin the victor. Davis had fallen on Drasin's leg, bending Drasin's foot to his hip, which ruptured the quadriceps tendons in Drasin's right thigh. An orthopedic surgeon diagnosed his condition as ruptured quadriceps and informed Drasin that he needed immediate surgery on both legs or he would never walk again. Surgery left him in leg braces and a wheelchair for six weeks. Only one week into recovery, Drasin convinced his wife and daughter to drive him to his regular gym, Gold's Gym in North Hollywood. He trained his upper body from his wheelchair and then from a walker until the leg braces were removed.

After the leg braces were removed, he began training his legs again, but within 24 hours a staph infection blew out his right knee. Drasin got through the life-threatening ordeal with antibiotics and a drain that remained in place for eight weeks. Even this didn't keep him out of the gym, and he credits his workouts with speeding up the healing process. He was soon on a cane and only a year later was doing full leg workouts.

Current life[edit]

Ric Drasin in 2005 wearing a Gold's retro T-shirt bearing the design he had created on a napkin in 1973.

Drasin wrote a book and a script for a horror film while recovering from his injuries. His book, So, You Want to Be a Wrestling Promoter, written with Bruce Dwight Collins, was published in March 2004 by BookSurge, LLC.[24]

In 2002, Drasin invented the Security Kat, a handheld personal security device.[25]

In 2005, Gold's Gym International re-introduced Drasin's original logo as part of their retro T-shirt line. Drasin is now a spokesperson for Gold's Gym, speaking at conventions and appearing at special events at various Gold's Gyms. He is also a spokesperson for HeadBlade Razors.[1][26]

In 2006 Drasin was approached by Richard Wenk, who had written the screenplay for the Bruce Willis film 16 Blocks. Wenk expressed an interest in taping a pilot for a reality television show based on Drasin's experience as a wrestling instructor. Drasin's successful work with wrestling students ranging from 20 to 59 years of age, some with health issues and learning disabilities, had caught Wenk's attention. The pilot, titled Tuff and Tender, was completed in March 2007. Much of it was videotaped in Drasin's back yard, where he has his own 16 foot by 16 foot wrestling ring.

On August 14, 2007, Drasin was filmed by Nine Network Australia for their prime time travel series, Getaway. One of Drasin's wrestling classes was featured, and he served as the show's guide for a tour of California's fabled Venice Beach. The episode aired in October 2007.[27]

In August 2008, Drasin received his badge from the Los Angeles Police Department identifying him as a Specialist Reserve Officer, a civilian volunteer who possesses special skills that benefit the police department.[28]

He trained actress and television news correspondent Maria Menounos for her October 12, 2009, appearance on WWE Monday Night Raw as part of a charity awareness promotion.[29]

Ric Drasin was the recipient of the first Joe Gold Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at the World Gym International Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 26–28, 2012. With this award, Drasin was recognized for his contributions to the fitness industry as a bodybuilder, professional wrestler, actor, and artist. Additionally, the award recognized his preservation of the history of the Golden Era of Bodybuilding through his current Internet show, Ric’s Corner.[30]

In wrestling[edit]

  • Ring names and nicknames
    • As a face[31][32]
      • All American Boy
      • Dick Alan
      • Dick Allen
      • The Equalizer
      • Headlock Drasin
      • Mr. California
      • Mr. Everything
      • Ric Drasin
      • Rick Drasin
      • Rick "The Hulk" Drasin
      • Ricky Graham
    • As a heel
      • Dr. X (wearing mask)
      • The Equalizer (wearing mask)
      • The Mad Bomber (wearing mask)
      • The Stomper (wearing mask)

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • AWF
    • AWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • CCW
    • CCW Championship (1 time)
  • GCW
    • GCW Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • National Wrestling Alliance
    • Rookie of the Year (1965)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Perine, Shawn. (2005, December). Gold's goes bald. Flex.
  2. ^ [1] American Wrestling Federation Website. Ric and Joe Gold. (Retrieved on February 19, 2007.)
  3. ^ [2] The Arnold Fans Website. Jennings, Randy. (2003, October 21). Ric Drasin: Arnold's lifting partner! (Retrieved on February 19, 2007.)
  4. ^ Williams, John. (1978, May/June). Arnold: A unique, honest insight into Arnold Schwarzenegger: His thoughts, goals, and desires for the future. Muscle Digest, 2(2), pp. 16, 25-26.
  5. ^ [3] Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Website. Agriculture. (Retrieved on December 13, 2007.)
  6. ^ [4] Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Website. Oil & Energy Industries. (Retrieved on December 13, 2007.)
  7. ^ a b [5] DDT Digest Website. Mid-Week Report by Bill. Includes the following newspaper article: Martinez, Leonel. (1998, January 20). Intimidating actor proves heavy on charm. The Bakersfield Californian. (Retrieved on November 28, 2009.)
  8. ^ a b [6] DDT Digest Website. Mid-Week Report by Bill. Includes newspaper article: Martinez, Leonel. (1998, January 20). Intimidating actor proves heavy on charm. The Bakersfield Californian. (Retrieved on November 28, 2009.)
  9. ^ [7] DDT Digest Website. Mid-Week Report by Bill. Includes the following newspaper article: Martinez, Leonel. (1998, January 20). Intimidating actor proves heavy on charm. The Bakersfield Californian. (Retrieved November 29, 2009.)
  10. ^ [8] American Wrestling Federation Website. Drasin, Ric. My band. (Retrieved March 4, 2007.)
  11. ^ [9] Jewish Magazine Website. Drasin, Ric. (2003, November) Life as a Jewish professional wrestler. (Retrieved on February 23, 2007.)
  12. ^ [10] Iron Age Website. Drasin, Ric. Guest editorial: Bodybuilding: The Early Years. (Retrieved on February 21, 2007.)
  13. ^ [11] NPR Website. Chappell, Bill. (2014, January 22). Wrestling fans mourn Mae Young, 90—A pioneer of the ring. (Retrieved January 28, 2014.)
  14. ^ [12] Gerweck Net Website. Wallace, Richo. Biography – Mae Young. (Retrieved on February 21, 2007.)
  15. ^ [13] Iron Age Website. Drasin, Ric. Guest editorial: Bodybuilding vs. pro wrestling. (Retrieved on March 23, 2007.)
  16. ^ a b [14] American Wrestling Federation Website. About us: The American Wrestling Federation was started by Ric “The Equalizer” Drasin. (Retrieved on February 22, 2007.)
  17. ^ [15] American Wrestling Federation Website. Drasin, Ric. Breaking into films. (Retrieved on February 22, 2007.)
  18. ^ [16] American Wrestling Federation Website. Ric and Joe Gold. (Retrieved on February 23, 2007.)
  19. ^ [17] American Wrestling Federation Website. Drasin, Ric. Steroids: one man's true story. (Retrieved on February 22, 2007.)
  20. ^ [18] SFGate Website. Epstein, Edward. (2003, October 1) Schwarzenegger linked to contests with steroids: Questions raised over his campaign against use. (Retrieved on February 22, 2007.)
  21. ^ [19] American Wrestling Federation Website. Drasin, Ric. Supplements vs. roids. (Retrieved on February 22, 2007.)
  22. ^ [20] Elite Fitness Website. Drasin, Ric. Training with Arnold. (Retrieved on February 22, 2007.)
  23. ^ [21] The Arnold Fans Website. Jennings, Randy. (2003, October 21). Ric Drasin: Arnold's lifting partner! (Retrieved on February 23, 2007.)
  24. ^ [22] Barnes & Noble Website. Product Details – So, You Want To Be A Wrestling Promoter? ISBN 1-59109-949-8 (Retrieved on February 23, 2007.).
  25. ^ [23] Media Man Australia Website. (2003, June 18) Interview – Ric Drasin. (Retrieved on February 23, 2007.)
  26. ^ [24] HeadBlade Website. HeadBladers – Ric Drasin. (Retrieved on February 21, 2007.)
  27. ^ [25] Getaway Website. Getaway Fact Sheets. AWF Wrestling: Thursday, October 4, 2007. (Retrieved on November 25, 2007.)
  28. ^ [26] Los Angeles Community Policing Website. Murray, Bill. (2004, May 14). The LAPD Reserve Officer Program: Community policing at its finest. (Retrieved on August 21, 2008).
  29. ^ [27] Access Hollywood Website. Maria Menounos Learns How To Smackdown. (Retrieved October 20, 2009.)
  30. ^ [28] Builders and Lifters Website. 2012 World Gym Convention. (Retrieved October 9, 2012.)
  31. ^ [29] DDT Digest Website. Mid-Week Report by Bill. Includes newspaper article: Martinez, Leonel. (1998, January 20). Intimidating actor proves heavy on charm. The Bakersfield Californian. (Retrieved on November 28, 2009.)
  32. ^ [30] American Wrestling Federation Website. Vintage wrestling shots (of Ric Drasin). (Retrieved on February 13, 2008.)

Further reading[edit]

  • Drasin, Ric with Bruce Dwight Collins. So You Want to Be a Wrestling Promoter? Charleston, SC: BookSurge LLC, 2003. ISBN 1-59109-949-8
  • Solotaroff, Paul. (2012, February). The Dawn of Huge: The Lords of Muscle Beach. Men's Journal. 21(1), pp. 58–65, 94.

External links[edit]