Iron History

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09/27/2003 Entry: "Oct 3, 2003 Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark Feb 26, 1986."

First, Siggie [Sig Klein] is in a very bad way. He is back again in the hospital and this is NOT a good sign according to Vera [Charles' daughter, a nurse]. So we may see the demise of a very great gentleman of the Sport in the very near future. I hope not, but then I hope so since his type of malignancy entails a great deal of suffering and I am the sort of guy who believes that we should be as kind to humans as we are of animals and - with their consent, put them out of their misery- for that is the state they are in, to themselves and those around them.

Nice to know your trips in search if Hise-iana are getting more and more fruitful. It seems to me that you are now approaching the bottom of the barrel and now might be the time to start correlating the material and get it into some order, then do the fining process later.

Don't think me a Gloomy Gerry, but I can't see any Weider mag publishing it, Bill Reynolds good will or no. Go into any gym near you and ask any of the barbell boobs in it who Joseph Curtis is and they will probably ask you if he is the new steroid connection. Probably the only one who would publish the article would be Iron Man and then you'd get no more than a hundred bucks- in spite of the fact that Rader is doing very well yet hollers poor mouth all the time.

I am amazed that Bill Reynolds wrote to you. I wrote a letter of thanks to Ricky Wayne, aka Learie Carasco, thanking him for his mention of me but didn't get any reply. I guess the old dearie Learie got too far away from his bottle of smelling salts, was smitten with an attack of the vapors and still hasn't recovered.

I am pleased for you that Darden asked you to make the trip to the Jones' spread. Make the most of it. I thought once of writing to Darden after reading his book on High Intensity training in which he mentioned such things as Cheating Exercises, chair squats, negative principles, and high intensity, but nowhere mentions that these didos are as old as the Greatens period. But I reconsidered realizing it would do no good. He is one of the new breed who thinks that weight training in all its scientific glory- as they now would have you believe- just wasn't around before they started in on developing it and this isn't true and is tragic. Most of them forgot that they stand tall today because they stand on the shoulders of all those old time pioneers who preceded them

I do hope you won't be disappointed with your trip to Austin. I live in a very quiet neighborhood but close to what's going on and live very PLAINLY. In my state I have to. For instance, if I cook a piece of beef for dinner, I have to cook the entire piece and live off it until it is gone. Then I cook some chicken or whatever and do ditto with that and the same goes for stew. I make a big pot and eat it until it is gone. It's the only way I can make do with what money I have coming in. That's why it is important to have a little extra from article sales so I can buy such things as chops and steaks from time to time. But as I say, there are quite a few cafes close by.

Vic Boff keeps me info'd on Siggie and you may be sure I will let you know when he pops off. I am preparing an obit for Kennedy's mag MMI, so I too have an interest. Also Kennedy was so pleased at the article I wrote on the Wunderkind that he has asked me to do several more pen portraits on others, including Grimek.

Ah that letter from XXX. Several Christmas Geese are involved on this occasion. Let's delve into the muck. Now XXX was strong. His breath could knock over a bull moose and his crepitations corrode concrete. But that 100 reps with 450. BULLSHIT. Ditto for that 100 reps dead lift with 440. Was it the lift that was dead or XXX.

XXX started his club in an old house which is now a termite exterminator headquarters. The building he moved to was put up by a young and wealthy man, the idea being that XXX would rent the building from him. XXX did quite well there- grossing in those days five to six thousand a month with several most prominent members of the community using the facilities, including doctors, lawyers, members of the higher hierarchy of the Police Department, several politicians of great NATIONAL power and loads of wealthy business men and doctors and faculty members of the U of T. But he got kicked out by the OWNER of the building because he 'forgot to pay his rent and because he got greedy, thinking that, if one gym was good, two or three would be better. He insisted on opening a women's gym against my advice- I laying out exactly what he would take in the first couple of months then predicting that it would steadily decline. Women are very demanding and if you pay more attention to one than to another, they get vastly pissed off. And this is what happened. The first two months had XXX rubbing his hands and spending hours counting the shekels, and then FLOP. It was at this point that I left and went to work in PD, same thing I had been working on for some time, the cops using the gym urging me to drop the Mighty XXX since, they said, I was wasting my time there and they could use me. So I took'em up on it. But it would be interesting to see what XXX the Mighty has to say about why he left Austin when, as he claims, he had such a good thing going.

As for the names he mentions such as Jerry XXX etc etc. When he left the Bronx to come to Austin he took two international barbells with him from the club he BELONGED TO BUT DIDN'T OWN. It was one of those neighborhood clubs that kids get together and run on a communal basis. The boys such as Jerry XXX would have liked to have got their hands on M the Mighty. He pinched equipment that didn't belong to him.

As for George Irving Nathanson, this was a very strange individual who claimed all sorts of fantastic lifts- such as a 400 clean and other lifts in that high altitude at a bodyweight of way under 200, but, strangely, would always have some excuse when you asked him for a demonstration, why he was at that time, unable to comply with your request. Stays too tight, that time of month, eye glasses fitting too tightly, hat not cocked at the appropriate angle, etc etc. The Doctor, I suspect is not MD but chiropractic and regarded by me as not doctor but a form of glorified hyped-up massage.

Who the hell is Joe Thaler. Have forgotten him.

To sum up XXX. He is a gossip who doesn't ask for information like a man but scratches for it like a dog.

I don't know or can't remember the name of the young chick XXX was giving flesh injections to. But there are four women named in his will and she might be one of them. I just didn't know. I very much doubt if the women under XXX were PRONE. That sexual position was frowned upon by the ecclesiastical courts, and anyway it gave XXX the hiccups.

As for those old Iron Man copies obtained in exchange from Hinbern. If you will go through those advice columns I wrote, you might come across one on the CHEAT CURL. You might also notice a letter from a Russell Stoker or Stover, saying he had tried it and had never obtained such good results before. This, I believe, but don't know for sure was the first time CHEATING was ever mentioned in the STATES.

Getting back to that film trading with Hinbern. Was there an understanding between you that he NOT REPRODUCE IT AND MARKET IT OR SELL COPIES TO OTHER COLLECTORS. There should be such an agreement.

[note: Bill Hinbern is a friend of mine, though we have never met, and Charles' concern was unfounded here. Whatever Bill decided to do with the film was fine by me. He has often done me favors and I trust him explicitly, and have given him permission to sell copies of my former newsletter MUSCLESEARCH as he sees fit. Bill is swimming among the cream at the top of those involved in this sport!]

[regarding Weider's magazine MONSIEUR, a girlie magazine, though by today's standards, hardly so.] I have gone through that list of names of Monsieur and recognize only two. One is Stanley Paley, who I am sure is Stan Weston, nee Weinberg, and now a very wealthy publisher of all sorts of pulp mags. The other is Dennis Waldrop who was Joe's layout man from the very beginning. In fact Dennis was there when I first arrived. Where he is now I don't know. I believe, but am not sure, that when Joe folded Boxing and Wrestling, Joe sold the title to Stanley Weston.

Nice, that post card from Grimek and how I had CHANGED. Well, we all change over the years- experience and just plain living and coping will do it. But I am surprised at his opinion since he didn't know me well enough to express one. I only had contact with him at meets he and I attended together. And then it was confined to a gruff and hostile 'Hello Smith' from him.

This kind of stuff hurt my feelings since I had done nothing to deserve it and thought it unfair to judge me guilty because of mere association. Grimek told me in a recent letter that 'THEY' had been told through the grape vine that I was Weider's 'Hatchet Man'- what this means I don't know- and where they got it from I don't know either.

We all change. Some of us become more capable of empathy, others become more callous, some more compassionate and others don't give a pinch of monkey's poop about anyone else than themselves. I've changed too- a little wiser, a little sadder at this sorry world we live in and in one respect, the same as I've ever was. POOR.

But it's nice that a one time enemy now is a friend.

Hope I've covered all your questions. If I've missed any, just holler and I'll do my best to give you the gen.

Best wishes to you and yours,