Iron History

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05/13/2004 Entry: "5/14/2004: Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark Aug 19, 1986:"

Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark Aug 19, 1986:

I thought I'd better write and let you know all the recent developments.

First, Mac Batchelor is dead. He died August 10th at 4PM in his sleep. For some years he had been in a nursing home, broke to the world and in poor condition. He was totally blind at the time of his death, and wasted away a great deal and was diabetic-very. He was cremated. His daughter was there when he died, relayed the passing to Dr. Charles Moss who told us here in Austin.

Next. Rick XXX has had a heart attack and therefore your forecast is really messed up. Obviously induced by steroid sue. No other details available but this happened two or three weeks ago at least.

Next Oliva has had to go back to surgery because of bleeding twice. How true this is I don't know but I was told this by Bob XXX via a phone call.

You must also know by now that Art Jones sold Nautilus and intends to devote his remaining days to develop a computerized machine in which you can sit and it will tell you what exercises you need and do'em for you. No details of the sale or price mentioned but I am sure it will involve a cash payment and the rest of the purchase price either paid off in shares in the new company or payments spread over a number of years to avoid excessive tax payments, now that they've cut the capital long term gains tax down.

Dave XXX died, as I think I mentioned in a recent letter of some nasty fungus disease. Vera [Charles' daughter, a nurse] who by the way is now on her way to Ethiopia for three months- says that the hospital should have KNOWN what was wrong since every respiratory case that can't be diagnosed, Valley Fever should be automatically suspect. She also says that his steroid taking is the real culprit since taking this much lowers the body's resistance to infection, much like AIDS.

Now for more good news. Larry XXX has been busted for drug smuggling. It is said to have happened thus. A large parcel arrived from Europe marked in very large letters TOYS. The local DEA Customs, plus postal inspectors were suspicioned at this, opened the package from Europe and found it did indeed contain toys but the toys were stuffed with all sorts of goodies in the shape of steroids. So they sealed up the parcel, obtained a search and seizure, delivered the parcel, had XXX sign for it and BINGO, descended on him like a hoard of locusts. XXX screams out loudly, 'I WUZ FRAMED. FOUL'. Etc., etc. Oh how many times have I heard that cry from the heart. I always replied bullshit. I don't doubt the DEA men, customs and postal inspectors responded likewise. What is happening now I don't know. The Law will have to prove he knew what was in the parcel. No signs of prosecution yet.

I had a long call from Bob XXX who told me about the new owner of IRON MAN. When he had called me previously, he didn't know IM had been sold. He called back to say that it was indeed true, that John Balek [ Balik] and a cousin, Mike Neuveux had got it. He also said that the WEIDERS were NOT behind it, that both were ticked off vastly at Balek for doing what he did. Meanwhile rumors continued to float around to the effect that the fine Weider hand was back of the purchase, that it would run a few issues then quietly pass away and, apart from MD, Weider would be left with the field.

Then I got a call from Balek. He says he has read my article, LET'S HAVE SOME HONESTY IN WEIGHT TRAINING, will use it in his first issue and is sending me a check- which he did- got it yesterday. Then he goes on to say in answer to my question, that Weider is NOT but NOT back of it, that he has made his own move and intends to run his own mag.

He goes on to say the format, apart from minor technical changes will stay the same, that he is fed up with all of you know who's commercialism and sycophancy, that IM will remain as it always has been- an open forum with as little commercialism as possible, that he will change the type face to ROMAN type face and will up the size of the type to 9 point, that there will NOT be any more two authors with three articles apiece in the same issue, that he will cut down on the detailed accounts of the Mr. this and that contests, that he will include a powerlifting article or two and pay for articles. He also said he has obtained promises from Arty Zeller and Arnold Schwarzenegger that they will contribute photos to the mag, etc., etc.

He also admitted that he was still working for Weider but only until Weider found someone to take his place. There you have it. Meanwhile rumors continue to float around to the effect that Woodland Hills is back of the entire deal.

Now for a little icing on the cookie. The Brothers Weider have opened their own travel agency right next to their Woodland Hills headquarters. It seems they were doing so much air lines travel personally, staff members, Bodybuilding 'Stars' etc., etc that they figured they might as well make any profits themselves rather than others make from them. That's the first time I ever heard if having your cake and eating it ditto.

Insofar as Balek and IM are concerned, we shall see what we shall see. Proof of the pudding etc etc and all those other slick little platitudes. One more issue of IM under the Rader banner and it's Balek's turn.

Came across something very very curious the other day while going through a batch of letters twixt Coulter and Jowett circa 1945. In one letter Ottley wrote to Jowett apologizing for not having written for some time, but he is doing so now because he has heard something terrible has happened in the Jowett family.

He goes on to relate that he was at a lifting meet where Hoffie the Bold was present, that Hoffman had told him Jowett was in terrible condition because his daughter Phyllis had died.

Ottley goes on to say that he knows this must be true since even Blow hard Hoffman wouldn't dare to spread such a tale unless it was so. Ottley says he hopes it isn't true, but is afraid it is and says how sorry he is and what can he do to help Jowett in this terrible loss.

Back comes a letter from Jowett and tells Ottley that his loss is indeed heartbreaking, that he is so torn up about it that he doesn't know what to do and where to turn to, that it is a loss to the family so terrible he doesn't know how he will ever bear it etc etc.

But nowhere in the letter does he MENTION that Phyllis is dead, or of ANYONE DIED.

Now, last Saturday I got a letter from John Dawe to tell me he and his wife are visiting PHYLLIS in a week or so where she STILL LIVES IN MORRISBURG. Hmmmmmmm.

I note your panacea of a substance distilled from the purified urine of the snow leopard. I have come up with a substance MUCH MUCH more result producing. It consists of two pounds of tuna scales powder mixed with five quarts of unadulterated piss of the Polynessian Fruit Bat and is guaranteed to put muscles everywhere, even on your micturation. So there,

Best wishes to you and yours, will keep you posted re developments.


PS. I gave your address to Balek saying you had the greatest filing system in the world, that you could turn up anything for him. Friend Teegarden charges 20 bucks for 'consultation fee' so why don't YOU explore this idea.