This is not a tutorial, so please don’t drink and lift, but the story is hilarious. These gentlemen were a) super STRONG b) fun!
W. A. Pullum shares in the foreword to Alexander Zass’ The Amazing Samson (1926) following story.
It was during the time that the Saxons were fulfilling their engagement at this particular hall that a most humorous incident occurred, in which they were the central figures. It is generally known (among old-timers, anyway) that the trio were fond of a glass of food English beer, and one afternoon they called at an hotel in the town, kept by a well-known athlete, where they passed several hours lifting weights and drinking their favourite beverage. After they had consumed a quantity sufficient to cause the proprietor apprehension on the score of supply to his other customers, the trio thought it was about time to get along to the hall for their show; and, to finish up in style, they most emphatically wanted a cab. So a four-wheeler was placed at their disposal.
Into the cab the trio managed to squeeze themselves, Arthur and Oscar at the back, and Arno, by far the stoutest of the three, in front. The cabby, wearing a rather worried look, whipped up his steed and set off for the hall, his fares, possessed by happy mood, singing in fairly well modulated tones, at first, their favourite German songs.
As they proceeded on their journey, however, their singing became more exuberant, until, at last, they broke out into “Deutschland über Alles” – a tune which they considered required stamping of the feet as a most necessary accompaniment. This they continued to do – needless to say, in a very energetic manner – when, all of a sudden, the bottom of the cab fell out, and there were the three Saxons in a glorious mix-up on the ground, the cab brought to a full-stop as well as their tuneful (?) melody.
Now, one would have thought that such a happening would have been sufficient to quieten even the Saxon Trio, but it did nothing of the kind. Instead, the situation realised, they broke out more vociferously than before, telling the poor old cabby, who was half-demented, to drive on, stating that they would walk inside. And walk inside the cab they did, attended by a huge crowd, in this extraordinary manner arriving at their destination, much to the amusement of Mr. Smith, the then manager of the Parthenon, who happened to be standing at the entrance.
After this gentleman had somewhat regained control of his feelings, shepherded his boisterous charges to their dressing-room, and impressed upon them the necessity of pulling themselves together as quickly as possible, he returned to the front of the hall to find that most of the huge crowd which had accompanied the cab and the trio to the doors were disappearing inside to see the show. Which caused him to experience feelings of satisfaction, this state of mind being customary to music-hall managers on occasions such as these.
The Saxons, being the star turn, were naturally late in number on the programme. But eventually their appearance was signalled, and the audience settled down to see what they expected would prove a rather unusual performance. And they were not disappointed – although it is safe to assume that what they did see before the act finished exceeded even the most prodigal of their expectations.
To the strains of inspiring music, the curtain rose, revealing three swaying figures in gladiatorial poses, the Saxon’s customary and, usually, impressive opening. Arthur, with a 100 lbs. kettle-bell poised above his head, indicating an apparent intention „on his part of braining Oscar, who lay almost supine on the ground, whilst Arno, in a semi-restraining, semi-supplicating attitude, completed the tableau. This was held for several seconds – during which time the attitudes of the two standing poseurs underwent considerable alteration – then Arthur suddenly lowered the kettle-bell to the floor with such vigour that a cracking of the boards of the stage was distinctly audible. (What the manager said was not heard by all so plainly, but it can be taken on excellent authority that his remarks were very forcible.)
The posing concluded, Arno started out to do things. He was very good at teeth-lifting, and used to lift a man seated in a cradle arrangement by means of a “gag” attached thereto, after which he would swing the man round and round. On this particular occasion, he apparently wished to excel himself so far as the speed of the feat was concerned, but, getting dizzy, promptly let go his hold on the gag, with the result that the unfortunate occupant of the cradle went sailing right over the heads of the orchestra into the front of the pit-stalls, Arno staggering backwards and colliding very heavily with some substantial stage scenery.
This humorous incident, which could quite easily have had serious consequences, was, however, only a prelude to what was to come.
After the tumultuous merriment of the audience had somewhat subsided, Oscar attempted a feat which, under ordinary conditions, was extremely hazardous; and which, under these, could only have one ending. This feat consisted of placing a 100 lbs. kettle-bell on his head, handle uppermost, then picking up two other kettle-bells, each also weighing 100 lbs., and lifting them overhead one in each hand. He managed to get the one on his head all right. But in stooping down to get hold of the others, over went the one he was balancing on his head into the orchestra and clean through the piano, whereupon the bandsmen scattered for dear life into the boxes on each side of the stage.
The hilarious uproar that ensued can be imagined, perhaps, but certainly not described. After a while, though, things quietened down a little, whereupon Arno was heard shouting: “Vhere’s der pand? Ve can’t berform mitout der moosic!” At which the audience went off into a fresh spasm of mirthful convulsions.
By this time, the manager had appeared on the stage, attempting to persuade the Saxons to come off, using all he knew to bring this result about. But it was no good! The trio had come on to do their performance, and do their performance they would, no „matter what happened. So Arthur went on to his big one hand lift of 267 lbs., got it half-way up, when – crash! – down it came, one of the balls partially imbedding itself in the stage. At this juncture, the manager left the scene, unable any longer to look upon such happenings and remain even outwardly composed.
Then came Arthur’s great supporting feat, in which he laid on his back and sustained a number of men and weights on his hands and feet. He succeeded in placing the 267 lbs. bell on his feet with a superhuman effort, after which he hooked a 100 lbs. kettle-bell on each foot. Six men were then called for and, after a deal of persuasion, secured, whereupon Arno and Oscar slapped them on to the barbell and proceeded to take their seats on another bell, which Arthur had pulled over from behind his head and pushed up to arms’ length. Just as they were more or less comfortably disposing themselves, an extra lurch of the big bell proved too much for Arthur to control and over went men, weights and Saxons, all in a confused heap. Down came the curtain, and so concluded the Saxons’ performance.
But what crowded houses followed! All the town and outlying districts soon heard of the Saxons’ escapade, and a further week’s engagement was offered them and promptly accepted, this being their third week in England.