Iron History

[Previous entry: "Iron History Aug 16-Sep 5, 2002"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "Iron History Sep 20, 2002"]

09/05/2002 Entry: "Iron History Sep 6-19, 2002"

NEWS: Iron Game History from the U of Texas in Austin has published another issue. This is a very worthy publication, edited by two of the better writers in the field, Jan Todd and her husband Terry Todd. IGH, as it is known, began in Feb 1990, and this latest 70 page issue is dated Jul 2002, and is the 29th issue sent by messenger from Longhorn country.

The announced goal of IGH is quarterly publication, but that schedule has been met only in 1992 and 1994, the other years having fewer issues, though subscribers get the four issues even if publication is late. Though it is frustrating to some, including me, that the schedule seems less understandable than a drunken auctioneer in a wind tunnel, the issues are worth waiting for, packed with solid research, skilled writing, and an obvious passion for musty muscle days gone by. If interested, and frankly, I hope you are, please investigate by checking in with I wrote for IGH for many years, but have now turned attention to this web effort, but there is room, as well as need, for more than one source of info.

In this new IGH there is printed a letter from Randy Strossen regarding earlier articles published in IGH by yours truly, and by John Fair to which Randy voices objections. Other letters appear in support of the articles. Anyway, Randy offers, "Generally speaking, the world's most accomplished, respected lifters and Iron Game experts take the side of supporting Paul Anderson's lifts, and the few critics are generally people with much lesser credentials."

I know of no one in the know who questions Paul's official lifts. But regarding his unofficial lifts:

Couple of points: What respected, accomplished lifters have to offer about the subject is as worthy or worthless as what can be offered by respected non-lifters IF neither group has studied the matter, but has instead accepted the storyline so long presented. And, regarding those of lesser credentials, the following alphabetical list includes those who have expressed belief in John's research and in mine: David Chapman, Osmo Kiiha, and David Webster. I personally would not refer to that group as lesser credentialed. But in fairness to Randy, he may not have been aware that these men have come to their current conclusions. So, it is up to Randy to name those he considers lesser credentialed.

Randy mentions that I referred to Vidalia, Georgia, when I should have referred to Toccoa, Georgia. He is correct, even though I have often referred to the correct city many times, somehow I slipped this time and made a mistake. Randy then offers regarding me, "�and he never does regain his bearing. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." This is incorrect. If all my research is to be tossed aside because of this admitted glitch, then would Randy also be willing to toss aside all of Paul's claims regarding the backlift just because Paul also referred to the wrong city? You remember when Paul said his brother-in-law was in Toccoa taking pictures of the backlift? But his brother-in-law admits he was not in Toccoa that day (so he must have been in another city, or in the countryside), was not taking pictures, and did not even know about the backlift claim until 'much later'. So, Paul also misidentified a city, or at least a person in that city. So to be consistent in logic the point cannot apply only to me. But if it applies only to me, who then is turning a blind eye in my kingdom?

NEWS: " Muscle Museum Forum us a new magazine/newsletter for collectors of Iron Game memorabilia. Dedicated to the history of the Iron Sports and the preservation of its literature, equipment and other items of interest." Contact Mike BonDurant at or call 727 442 7379."

NEWS: Chris James was kind enough to supply with specific answers to the following questions I had asked:

My full name is Christopher Richard James and I was born on the 29th of July 1970, in Bridgend, South Wales. I started training in 1981, I am a severe asthmatic and I needed to build myself up. I do not consider myself a grip specialist. I've always trained for all round strength, have not got the time to specialize with 3 children!

My goals in strength are:

to lift over 300 with one arm over head to one hand clean over 300 to snatch the Thomas Inch dumbell to rep 600 pounds on the bench press to beat Goerner's one hand deadlift (the one with no hook grip)

I believe I will accomplish all of the above within the next 5 years. Also [want to] beat Kaz's dumbell pressing records and clean and push press the Apollon axle for reps. As to cleaning the Inch replica with either hand, not yet. [so far only his left hand]. I sustained a slight injury in my right hand whilst in a judo competition. Hence the reason I used my left hand.

I like bodybuilding up to 1960, after that too much drugs. Years ago there used to be a camaraderie amongst men of iron. I think steroids have killed this. I've never used a bench shirt and I think they look silly.

My best lifts include: (hand size is 8" x 4.25"): Clean and pressed 154 lb dumbbells for reps 505 for 8 reps in the bench press; 40 reps with 308 push pressed 308 for 20 reps curled 220 for reps ON A 2 INCH BAR [Emphasis by Roark] 260 kilos squat for 10 reps, no equipment used 505 lb straight leg deadlift for 20 reps 1100 pounds deadlift from knee height WITH a 2 INCH BAR [Emphasis by Roark] 1100 lbs deadlift from knee height for 3 reps using Olympic bar all knuckles forward I have done handstand press ups with an extra 88 lbs for reps whilst weighing 280 and can also do chins for reps with an extra 200 lbs.

I have done 165 on reverse curl about the third time I tried it.

Never tried the Rolling Thunder.

Current bodyweight about 250 and I am 6 feet 1 inch tall. My wrist measures 8.5 inches and my forearm is 15 inches straight.

Well, sorry Chris, but if all you can deadlift from knee high is 1,100 lbs on a 2" BAR, for your own sake, avoid any competition I enter! Thanks for the info Chris, and ladies and gentlemen, we have here an amazingly strong man. Stay tuned.

EMAIL: from Mark Kodya:

"It seems as if you may be doubting some of the lifts claimed for Hermann Goerner, judging from the recent posts of Iron History and the Grippage. I have recently come across a book titled the Encyclopedia of Sports Games and Pastimes, which appears to have been published around 1934, judging from other information it contains. The copy I have access to does not have a date of publication. At any rate, the section on weightlifting states, 'the greatest weight ever lifted with two hands was recorded by the German, H. Gorner, who lifted 652-1/4 lb. in 1927. That is a word for word exact quote from a fairly contemporaneous source and certainly does call Mueller's claims into question."

[ to refresh: other sources say Goerner deadlifted 793.75 lbs on Oct 29, 1920, which is, of course, 141.50 lbs more than mentioned above.]

Anyone else have any early references from other sources, to share? Thanks, Mark.

RED PENCIL HISTORY: Thanks for the typo corrections to Tom Ryan and Jan Dellinger- corrections have been made in the Aug 16 version of

How RED PENCIL comments are selected: If I make an error, whether it is a typo where I spell Goerge instead of George, or get a date wrong, or whatever, I want it to be corrected. If someone else makes a mistake, it should also be corrected. Usually, RED PENCIL is concerned with only the articles that I read regarding the history of the sport because I don't have any knowledge about which of the google of creatines is the best, nor does my experience with training routines enable me to comment much on that aspect. But in history, there is a filing system and database elsewhere within this keyboard's reach which can be summoned for corrections.

So, to any author whose work is corrected, please do not take it personally- I don't when others correct me. Allowing ego to replace accuracy is not a solid goal. In this regard, usually the author's name will not be mentioned, just the source of the error. And may I suggest that you literally take a red ink pen and make a correction in the magazine text (if you plan to keep the magazine). Or, print this correction and tuck it between the appropriate pages.

Finally, it is usually assumed, or thought, that going to the source person about his own contests is the most reliable tracking device for facts. Not at all.

RED PENCIL: Oct 2002 Ironman in a story on Bill Grant mentions that he won the WBBG Mr. America in 1971- actually he was second to Pete Caputo. Bill did win the WBBG Pro Mr. America on Sep 9, 1972.

Also, it is mentioned that prior to his 1994 Masters Olympia competition his previous competition was the 1987 Night of Champions. He was not in that contest. He did place 13th in the 1988 Night of Champions, but that would not have been his 'most recent' to the 1994 Masters Olympia, because after the May 21, 1988 NOC, he again placed 13th at the Aug 20, 1988 Chicago Pro.

Grant remembers that Mike Katz competed in the Masters Olympia- an event Katz has never entered. He also remembers 'the emcee was smooth as silk'- there were two, Jerry Kindela and Larry Scott. I know because I was hired to supply the contest info and contestant info for their chatter.

RED PENCIL: MuscleMag Nov 2002 ran a feature on George Eiferman and mentioned that on Apr 10, 1948 he won the Mr. Pacific Coast contest. George never entered the Mr. Pacific Coast contest. On the date mentioned he won the Mr. California. The 1948 Mr. Pacific Coast was held on Jun 19 and was won by Bill Melby. Reeves won in 1947, Hilligenn in 1949. The piece also says that George won the Mr. Universe at age 36, which is correct, but the age of 23 for winning the Mr. America is incorrect; should be 22.

While mentioning one woman as the mother of one of George's son- a story that is also told elsewhere in the opposite result- no mention is made of Bonita, George's second wife, who is the lady who cared for him in his latter years, and indeed the major female figure in his life. I visited her and George and KNOW what a role she played in his well being. Usually I stay with facts/stats, but this needs to be mentioned! Also George was married to Tobi, not Toby.

RED PENCIL EDITORIAL NOTE. To those writers who feel a need to write about history in our field, please, lie down until the feeling goes away, UNLESS, you have a way of accurately checking the dates and titles and other circumstances you are presenting. To simply convey info unchecked is a disservice, and those who do not have access to the facts will assume that the info is correct and will therefore use your writing as a reference tool when researching the subject of your article. Thank you and have a good nap.

DISCOVERY: In old boxes in the garage, I discovered some correspondence from the mid to late 1980s that I had forgotten about. A few months ago, my wife decided that our house should no longer resemble a warehouse, so she 'asked' me (if you smell what the Roark is cooking) to move hundreds of pounds of magazines, books, and letters to the garage. Not liking to cook, but thoroughly enjoying the end-product of cooking, and losing the arm wrestling match with her that was to decide the issue, those things got shifted.

By chance today (Aug 20) I found these letters, and want to share part of one with you.

"Dear Mr. Roark:

"Thank you for your letter of October 13, 1985.

"Yes- I knew Hermann Goerner quite well. The book about him was written by me from notes supplied by Edgar Mueller. It was published with Mueller as the author as I wanted to give him some publicity at that time (1951). He was a refugee from Eastern Germany (Leipzig) and was living then in poor circumstances in Braunschweig in West Germany.

"Interesting personal stories about Goerner? One or two come to mind and you are free to use them in your newsletter if you think they would be of interest. Hermann possessed a keen sense of humour and displayed this in many ways. He told me that on one occasion he uprooted the sections of iron [hand] railings in a local park which divided certain sections of it- he apparently did this late one evening, so that when the part officials opened the park the following day, all railings were uprooted and lying on the ground. The sheer strength to pull up these sections and deposit them on the ground has to be imagined. I feel that few of today's lifters could duplicate this feat.

"He also related that on one occasion � an occasion I might add that he later regretted- he and his brother (Otto) completely wrecked the barroom of a small hotel. I cannot now recall what affront had been offered to Hermann and his brother, but he told me that the owner of the hotel took no action against the two men who did this damage.

"Yes � I knew Luigi Borra- and his daughter (She was a professional athlete). He ran a hotel (Under his name L.B.Brinn) known as The Who'd a Thot It, at Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, West Sussex, England. Borra was a charming man, but I really do not recall any particular story about him.

"Regarding the Berg-Hantel. I did possess a catalogue of this firm which gave the history of the firm manufacturing these barbells, but I regret I no longer have this. If you write to Karpar Berg, Spezialfabrik fuer Sportgeraete aller Art, NUERNBERG, Federal Republic of Germany, I would think they would be happy to forward you the information you require. I very much doubt if S&H magazine ever carried anything definitive on the Berg-Hantel- as the York bar was based on the former after Henry Steinborn displayed the Berg bar he had 'way back when.

"I wish you luck in your endeavours, but must explain that these days my interests lie in fields other than those of the world of weights. You, will, however, always get a reply from me.

"Best wishes, sincerely, "John E. Dawe"

Sep 6, 1946 James Wright born. Jim is now Senior Science Editor at Flex.

Sep 6, 1980 Gary Leonard won AAU Mr. America in Santa Monica, CA.

Sep 6, 1987 Lee Haney's son Joshua Lee Haney born, 6.5 lbs, 20". Look out Lee, next year he'll be driving!

Sep 7, 1914 W.J. Lowry joined Her Majesty's Forces. He was about age 19, and his articles on the history of our sport began appearing in The British Amateur Weightlifter and Bodybuilder in Jan 1947 in a 51 part series of wonderful facts, dates, and profiles. This was years after he had been writing for Health & Strength- the earliest I have on file for him in H&S is May 21, 1932, but I am missing many magazines before this so he may have written before this.

Sep 7, 1946 Howard Brodsky won the Mr. Wisconsin. Your Physique ran a photo and profile of Howard in the Mar 1947 issue.

Sep 7, 1974 Boyer Coe won the WBBG Mr. World for the fourth consecutive year. He would also win in 1975. Boyer began in the AAU in the early 1960s, in 1969 added the NABBA Universe amateur crown, then the next year the NABBA Pro Universe title, then in 1971 began competing in the WBBG. His first foray into the IFBB was the 1976 Mr. Olympia where he placed 3rd in the light class. After he joined the IFBB he never competed in another organization, and in fact entered a total of 38 IFBB shows, culminating with the 1995 Masters Olympia with a placing of 10th.

Sep 7, 1983 Victor Konolavov's accident which caused paralysis at age 21.

Sep 7, 1987 Erika Mes was suspended from the IFBB for one year for posing nude in the Sep issue of Playboy (in Belgium). Though her pictorial by current standards was not graphic, she was punished in a way that current female competitors need not worry about. In much more graphic displays, more frequently offered, certain competitors are apparently free from such sanctions these days.

Sep 8, 1907 Steinbach right hand snatch 188.49 lbs

Sep 8, 1909 John Edward Dawe born. (see his letter to me above). He married Eva Kuehne on May 2, 1953 in Muenchen, Germany. The ceremony was also conducted in the German language. Here is an excerpt of a letter Mr. Dawe wrote to me Nov 14, 1985:

"I will endeavour to deal with the questions you raise regarding a brief iron-game related bio. This will have to be very brief. I was active from around 1934 to 1940 when the Second WW intervened. I did some lifting in India in the 1940s but this was in the nature of training only- no competition. Later, in Germany I took part in competition and lifted up to 1953. Later still, in Canada, I trained but mostly officiated at local lifting meets. I have been a member of the BAWLA since 1935 and a Life Member since 1952. I am a Fully Qualified Referee but have not acted as an International Ref. I was born on 8.09.09 [Sep 8, 1909 using British system] in London, England and have been a Canadian citizen since 1958. At different times I have been a member of the Camberwell Weightlifting Club, the Connaught Weightlifting Club in Chatham, Kent, and a member of the 1st West Central Club, in London. In addition I have been a member of the VFK (Verein Fuer Korperkultur) a German Club in Hannover, Germany. For some years I was a member of the DAB (Deutscher Athleten Bund). I have been successful both in competition and establishing records- mostly local when in England. I regret I have no notes of dates or poundages lifted or the lifts performed- but they were both barbell and dumb-bell lifts.

"I have never met Charles Vansittart. Nor grasped the wheels of Apollon or the Inch dumb-bell. I have written in the past for the magazine Vigour, Iron Man, and Athletik. The latter is a German magazine published in Karlsruhe (At least it used to be some years ago). I have always written under my own name. I am married but we have no family." Sincerely, John E. Dawe

Letter of Dec 12, 1985 to Joe Roark from John E. Dawe: excerpts in context: "Thank you for the copy of your latest newsletter- it came today with your note. I found the letter most interesting and it should be of great use to younger students of the Iron Game- there is so much rubbish written on the subject of measurements and your letter should go a long way to help dispel some of this. The exaggeration applies to height too- I had a friend some years ago and he was 6'01/2" but he was away above many chaps who claimed to be over- well over- 6'0"! Hermann Goerner was the same height as my old school friend and he seemed to be HUGE when one met him- it was his width and depth that added to the impression one got when meeting him. Back in those days I stood a bit over 5'8" and 185 lbs- but I felt a shrimp when standing next to him.

"Keep up the good work of debunking some of the many myths that have grown up with the passing of the years relating to the Iron Game.

"The compliments of the season from Ottawa to you and yours. "Sincerely, John E. Dawe."

Dawe donated more than 6,000 magazines to:

Sports Information Research Centre 1600 James Naismith Drive GLOUCESTER, Ontario Canada K1B 5N4 (this address from a letter of Apr 17, 1989) If anyone in that neighborhood checks it out, please let us know if his magazines are still being periodically (pun) displayed.

Sep 8, 1973 Arnold wins the Mr. Olympia; Ken Waller wins Mr. World; Lou Ferrigno wins Mr. America

Sep 8, 1979 Ray Mentzer wins the AAU Mr. America. His brother Mike never won the AAU America, his single entry in 1971 landing him in 10th.

Sep 8, 1995 Sonny Schmidt wins the second Masters Olympia, in Atlanta.

Sep 9, 1900 George Lurich record belly toss 443 lbs

Sep 9, 1927 Joe Greenstein, aka, The Mighty Atom, began his career in Vaudeville

Sep 9, 1959 Mohammed Benaziza born; died Oct 4, 1992 the morning after he had won the IFBB Grand Prix in DaHaag, Holland.

Sep 9, 1965 Shawn Ray born. His total of 13 appearances in the Mr. Olympia ties that of Al Beckles. Shawn had announced that he would skip the Olympia this year because of broadcast booth duties, but word is that he may not be in the booth. Or on the stage?

Sep 9, 1989 Lee Haney wins the silver anniversary Mr. Olympia

Sep 9, 1994 Inaugural Masters Olympia won by Robby Robinson

Sep 9, 1995 Dorian Yates wins the 31st edition of Mr. Olympia

Sep 10, 1891 Selig Whitman pushed 3 separate railroad cars up a grade for 30 feet. The degree of grade, a most important factor is not mentioned. By the way, Whitman's nickname was Ajax. There were three men in the field named Ajax: One was a wrestler from Greece, one a man named W. Pitcher whose book Strength For All, Through Physical Culture, is mentioned in the Apr 1905 issue of Vitality and Health Culture magazine p 287.

Whitman received his nickname on Nov 12, 1891 from Richard K. Fox (two months after the railroad car pushing incident which began this topic). I have his birth date as 1865, and have no death date for him. So can anyone help?

Sep 10, 1940 Curt Haywood born. Lifting News mag mentioned him in Nov 1967 regarding his participation in a lifting contest on Apr 2, 1967, as well as a Mr. Miami Valley contest in which he placed second to Larry Pacifico (yes, the power lifter). Six months later Curt won the Mr. Western Pennsylvania. With his wife Sharon, he appeared on the cover of Strength & Health in Oct 1968, Dec 1969; on Muscular Development in Sep 1972, and on Ironman's rear cover Jul 1970. By himself he appeared on Ironman's Nov 1972 issue.

Sep 11, 1932 Goerner rectangular fix with barbell 154.25 lbs. For a technical description of this lift please see the BAWLA rules section in Iron History Extras. Simply, this is a reverse curl that is halted and held still when the forearms are parallel to the floor.

Sep 11, 1944 Steve Reeves joined the army, age 18.

Sep 11, 1983 Tony Pearson wins the IFBB Colorado Grand Prix

Sep 12, 1851 Karl Abs born; died Feb 18, 1895 or born Sep 17?

Sep 12, 1876 Dr. George Barker Windship died; born Jan 3, 1834 This name was spelled without the'd' for years and before Iron Game History found the correct spelling.

Sep 12, 1896 Max Dauthage squatted 50 reps with 220.5 lbs

Sep 12, 1907 Steinback jerked from the shoulder for seven reps, 347.22 lbs

Sep 13, 1907 Maspoli one hand snatch 207.25

Sep 13, 1940 Bob Gajda born. Won AAU Mr. America Jun 19, 1966. Was an early training partner of Sergio Oliva, and developed the PHA system of training.

Sep 13, 1940 West coast perfect man contest was announced for this date, though I have found no results from it. Anybody help?

Sep 13, 1949 John Davis cleaned and jerked the Apollon railcar wheels on the fourth try. He had weighed about 225.5 lbs the week before at the World Weightlifting championships. See the Iron History Extra for a detailed story on the history of the wheels.

Sep 13, 1969 Osmo Kiiha wed Rae Willes. Spoke to Osmo on the phone this week, and he is not planning to republish either the issues of his classic The Iron Master, or to publish work on new research until he has more time- perhaps five years from now when he nears retirement. The Iron Master was published from Mar 1989 thru Apr 2000, with 29 issues composing a complete collection. It began modestly at four pages, but by 1995 most issues approached 60 pages. Osmo's attention to detail is wonderful! Having published my own newsletter for a few years- amid the distractions of full time work- Osmo's decision to abandon the cause is understandable. Whereas some of the mainstream muscle magazines are profitable, newsletters are not, so eventually, compliments and kudos (which he deservedly received) are not sufficient to replace a paycheck or the time sacrificed.

Plus, Osmo found, as did I, that the practice of complimentary copies negated any profit. In my case, one recipient of such a complimentary copy said MuscleSearch was among the best efforts in the field. When I told this person that in order to at least try to break even, I would have to stop mailing complimentary copies, I never again heard from him. I love sincerity�

Also, it gives me satisfaction that Osmo now agrees with my conclusions regarding Paul Anderson's backlift of Jun 12, 1957. Also agreeing is David Webster, according to the new issue of Iron Game History. Also Greg Ernst, who has performed a documented backlift of 5,340 pounds after nearly two decades of training on the lift. Frankly, it would not bother me if all these men disagreed with my conclusions, because I would still have the research for my belief. Nonetheless, it is refreshing not to have to battle against the giants.

See Roark Reference #19 (below) for a listing of The Iron Master issues.

Sep 13, 1969 Sergio Oliva wins Mr. Olympia, John Decola Mr. America, and Arnold the Mr. Universe in NYC

Sep 14, 1860 Emile Bruyere born; died Sep 26, 1910 stage name, Limousin

Sep 14, 1964 Harold Poole wins Mr. Universe, and Reg Lewis won Mr. America

Sep 15, 1919 Sig Klein got his first barbell

Sep 15, 1924 Sig Klein met Grace Attila, his future wife.

Sep 15, 1962 Larry Scott wins Mr. America, and George Eiferman wins Mr. Universe

Sep 16, 1926 Doug Hepburn born; died Nov 22, 2000

Sep 16, 1983 Arnold Schwarzenegger became an American citizen

Sep 17, 1896 Patrick J. McCarthy backlift claimed 6,373 lbs. This was not in Vidalia or in Toccoa, Georgia.

Sep 17, 1917 Joe Lauriano born

Sep 17, 1960 Henry Downs won Mr. Universe

Sep 17, 1966 Larry Scott wins his second Mr. Olympia title

Sep 17, 1978 Robert B. Snyder died; born Feb 16, 1897

Sep 18, 1928 David Pirie Webster born. David is the dean of the world's living strength historians and a man who has met and known hundreds of famous strongmen. His several books on strongmen are needed to complete any library which hopes to be described as 'complete'. He has more books in the works including one on the golden age of strongmen- but more of this later when the publication nears.

Sep 19, 1905 Tony Sansone born; died Jan 13, 1987

Sep 19, 1905 Steinbach jerked two dumbbells total of 335.10 lbs

INCH 101: part 17

Sep 11, 1957 in H&S Physical Culture Plus- by Inch
Sep 11, 1958 in H&S some paragraphs about Inch by Pullum
Sep 12, 1908 in one of his ads, Inch offered disc barbells for FREE
Sep 13, 1913 notice that he plans to move back to his childhood home, Scarborough
Sep 13, 1930 Where There's Pluck, There's 'Luck'- by Inch

Roark Reference #19: The Iron Master by Osmo Kiiha:
1 Mar 1989 general info
2 Apr 1989 general info
3 Apr 1990 general info
4 Sep 1990 Norbert Schmansky
5 Dec 1990 Tommy Kono
6 Apr 1991 The George brothers
7 Jan 1992 Doug Hepburn and Paul Anderson
8 Jun 1992 Isaac Berger, Chuck Vinci
9 Oct 1992 Norbert Schemansky
10 Jan 1993 Joe Puleo
11 Apr 1993 John Davis
12 Aug 1993 Mike Karchut
13 Dec 1993 Marvin Eder
14 Apr 1994 Dave Sheppard
15 Sep 1994 Arthur Saxon, and, Apollon
16. Jan 1995 Stanley Stanczyk
17 May 1995 Roy Hilligenn
18 Sep 1995 Tony Terlazzo
19 Jan 1996 Roland Essmaker
20 May 1996 Larry Barnholth
21 Sep 1996 Frank Spellman
22 Feb 1997 Reg Park
23 Aug 1997 Stanless Steel Pleskun
24 Dec 1997 Ron Lacy
25 Apr 1998 Gary Cleveland
26 Sep 1998 The Arthur Saxon Trio
27 May 1999 Jim Park
28 Dec 1999 Ken Patera
29 Apr 2000 Maxick
ceased publication.

Roark Reference #20:

We continue with letters Charles A. Smith wrote to me, which I have edited, but nothing is out of context.

We continue with letters Charles A. Smith wrote to me, which I have edited, but nothing is out of context.

Aug 22, 1985 Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark

Enclosed is the address of Marvin Eder and two items which are of historic import. One is a letter from the father of Doug Hepburn to Doug in which I am mentioned. The other is a testimonial from Doug to me. So these should set the record straight if and whenever any question arises as to who was responsible for Doug winning the world title

Aug 24, 1985 Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark

First let me deal with Wally McManus. The assertion that he used pen names. I don't know that he did. He, in the case of Muscle Power, Your Physique and Muscle Builder ALWAYS USED HIS OWN NAME. The only time he did otherwise was when he wrote an article bearing the name of Abe Goldberg.

He was a very good writer. HE NEVER TOUCHED A WEIGHT IN HIS LIFE.

But he always treated me with affection respect and was very fond of my wife and most upset when she died.

Getting back to Arco, he and his brother Pete once worked under the stage name of The Croton Brothers. Otto gave his brother as little money as possible. Pete was an alcoholic and spent all his wages on booze. Arco was one of the nicest men I have ever met. Very friendly and helpful. A damn good lifter and a pretty good wrestler also.

[regarding my former newsletter] It is limited to REAL enthusiasts. I also think you will have to select your theme VERY carefully. As you remark, today's weight users are not interested in the old timers, and that is why, in the words of George Santayana, they are condemned to repeat not its virtues but its vices.

As to Sandow, I have gone no further in my sleuthing. All I can get out of my 'confidential informant' is that he has medical evidence, and other stuff that, even at this 'time distance' after Sandow's death, would lead to legal repercussions. I do know that Sandow was an arrogant sod , 'big headed' as we would say in British parlance�He had the habit of breaking up an ashtray into little pieces and handing them out to other patrons of the restaurant as 'souvenirs'. He also had the endearing habit of taking a spoon and rolling up the handle into the bowl of the spoon. He also liked to grab hold of the steps of ladder back chairs and tear them out. All these shenanigans endeared him to caf� owners. In other words he was a typical arrogant Prussian bastard. He also seemed to be a bit paranoid. Liederman reported and also TOLD ME PERSONALLY that when he went to visit Sandow in - was it 1922 or 23- over a proposed business venture, he was kept waiting for some time. Suddenly he smelled the odor of cigar smoke, although he was in an empty room. He chanced to look around and saw a small hole in the wall with someone watching him. When he was taken into Sandow's office, there was jolly old Eugene(sic) smoking a big cigar. What it all amounts to is that Sandow, like the rest of humanity was a Jekyll and Hyde character with a good side and a bad- mostly bad in his case, since I have heard other stories about him.

When you read Hoffman's remarks about Dan Parker, you didn't get the truth and nothing but. What you got was quotes out of context and when that is done, black is white and night is day.

What Dan was hollering about- and as sports writers go he had the greatest amount of integrity of any of them, since sports writers are human and love a few free Simoleons as well as the next guy- was that Hoffman kept butting into the judging discussions when he wasn't even a member of the panel, trying to influence not only Parker but General Fitzpatrick and the latter wouldn't have any part of it. And of course came down on Hoffman like the proverbial ton of bricks. And good old Bob showed his common sense by chatting back, and we were taught in journalism school that there were three things you never got into a fight with- the Pope, a woman, and a newspaper. The big guns and battalions were ALL on their side. There wasn't- to my limited knowledge- a SINGLE MR. A contest that Boob (sic) didn't try to influence to HIS advantage. And of course, looking at it cold bloodedly, he would have been a business ninny- old time for nerd- if he hadn't.

One can dream one's dreams of all things being perfect in a perfect world, but then comes the reckoning and one HAS TO face reality.

You are perfectly welcome to stay with me to avoid hotel bills. But in all fairness I have to tell you that I can't get around since I am unable to walk so although you will be more than welcome, I don't want to limit your movements�If you drink that horrible stuff known as beer, I'll see a plentiful supply is laid in. I myself do have the courage to drink it, although I have to force myself to drink three cans a day. We have most of the usual brands here so if you do drink this nasty stuff- yum, yum- you'll be supplied. By the way, I DON'T smoke. Don't like it. Only had one cigarette in my life and that was when I helped the ship's surgeon cut off a man's leg. The cigarette made me throw up. Well, we digressed. We have really no need to go anywhere and can spend our time with you picking my brains.

I know I told you over the phone that I had a nice two page letter from Terpak. But I also have a remote idea that I might have told you in another of my letters. However, he was very friendly, said that he, Mike Dietz, and Alda Ketterman were executors of Hoffman's estate, that this entailed 18 farms as well as other real property and he wasn't relishing his forthcoming battle with the INFERNAL REVENUE SERVICE.- my words. He also said he made frequent trips to Texas- I hope he realizes the huge area it encompasses- and would not only phone me but VISIT ME.

I have heard from other sources that S&H is to fold and MD brought out on a monthly basis. I see a tremendous chance here for them�I have many suggestions to make to Terpak on this, such as revamping the layout of the mag, but won't put it to paper, preferring to give it to him first hand. Ideas are worth dough, you know.

[regarding a paycheck he was awaiting] If and when it does [arrive] I shall send up rockets, let off fireworks , run up flags, turn a double somersault and disappear up my own fundament and then go into a Trappist Monastery where I shall forswear meat, women, and beer for one hour.

Incidentally you should take several ganders at SHAPE. It is fast developing into the best of Joe's mags. His editor is very very good

OK. Now this is the GOSPEL. Hack HIMSELF, and to be guilty of a lesser tautology, personally told me that 'I wasn't a good wrestler. I couldn't wrestle so well, but I was so strong and fast that I could beat GOOD wrestlers.'

[regarding wrestling] Now pro wrestling is as crooked as a dog's hind leg. It always was and always will be. Let no one tell you otherwise. The difference between then and now is that THEN, in the old days, it was MORE BELIEVEABLE. Now it caters to morons who wouldn't know their gonads from hand grenades, and I suspect that the twenty thousand or so audiences that it now attracts are made up entirely of drama students who want to polish the implements of their craft by watching real professionals.

Dear old XXXX was one of the smartest wrestlers, brain power wise, that ever tucked on wrestling tights. He was like Bert Assirati. He could stand any amount of pain or discomfort, and in fact, like Bert, would often tell a training partner to 'try to really hurt me'. He was also completely venal and mercenary and would have sold his sister for a slice of salami.

Bert Assirati told me that when he went to India in the late 1950s he met up with a lot of the Hindu greats and went on the mat with them. He was astonished, he told me, that within less than two minutes, they had sized him up and had gone behind him and taken him down so fast he couldn't believe what had been done. In the spirit of international relations, they most kindly repeated the performance for him.

I had to take off a minute. Some lousy, rotten, misbegotten, jungle bred sod called me from England and said he was going to the Local Legion Hall and drink a couple of pints, and me in 104 degree heat and not a beer in the house. HELP.

Hope you are bloody well satisfied. More later. Warmest regards to you and yours.


Aug 31, 1985 Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark

I had a nice letter from Fred Howell, and replied at once. However I gave him some misinformation in it. I said I had been writing to Hise since 1932. This is wrong. It was 1935. 1932 is fixed in my head as the year I SHOULD have been with the British Olympic swimming team in L.A. but wasn't, due to an ear infection. I might well have been the first Olympic winner to have weight trained- swimmer that is.

Beware of XXX . He is of the same kidney as good old XXX. But whereas XXX uses a rapier, it is XXXstyle to use a bludgeon, not because of a more sadistic nature, but purely from a lack of sophistication. He just hasn't the 'finesse'- if that is the word- that dear old XXX has.

The only ones I know that you mentioned were Lurie and Minichielo or however you spell the bloody word. Glad the Hepburn material arrived safely. If it hadn't been for me Doug would never have been. I taught him how to lift- his style was horrible- and persuaded Joe, after a persuading session that left me with my tongue hanging out and completely dehydrated- to bring Doug to New Jersey or NYC. Joe, in even those days, hated parting with a buck unless he saw the immediate profit lying before him immediately.

I am sure that XXX will use you if and when he can and how he can for HIS advantage, so it might be well for you to make it clear on ALL your bulletins that they are copyrighted and any reproduction without your permission will result in legal action against those who do use them without WRITTEN PERMISSION. XXX has done this on SEVERAL OCCASIONS, as, for instance in taking an article of a friend of mine out of one magazine and using it in HIS. He also has the reputation- and note I said reputation- as accepting articles, hanging onto them and then after many many moons publishing them in the hopes that the author has forgotten all about his magnum opus and thereby payment. So watch the son of a bitch. He'll do you as XXX will if given the chance.

Please check for the next column of

Replies: Comment(1)

Dear Joe,
thanks for your stimulating contribution ! As usually, your input will provoke a future check, due to discrepancies by sources, but anyway that impulses new study and refining of search. Then, according "Allgemeine Sport Zeitung" Abs obituary, the famous wrestler born on 17 September. On 19 September 1905, Steinbach jerked two dumbells summing 152 kilos, later jerked a bar of 163 kilos. There's a strange result of French championship 1907, it is unclear whether Maspoli snatched one hand or two hands 95 kilos, even though the review recognized as WR the 90,8 kilos (one hand) of Schneiderheit. I will check on French sources, Maspoli's performance on September that you mentioned.
All the best, Gherardo

Posted by
Gherardo Bonini @ 09/06/2002 08:55 AM CST