Iron History

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07/15/2004 Entry: "7/16/2004: Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark Sep 16, 1986"

Dear Joe,

Thanks for your letter post dated September 12th which was waiting for me on arrival home from the U of T. Thanks also for the enclosed obit on Mac [Batchelor] which will find resting place in the Collection. Terry walked into the office last Thursday, said YOU had phoned HIM and you were sending along the obit and you had said your Hi's to Jan and me.

I am enjoying letters with Hinbern who has the quaint habit of addressing me as MR. SMITH. But let that go. In his most recent letter he asked if I would not make a list of all the Jowett books we had here. I said I would and approached Terry. He said to the effect piss on him, but in much more polite language. When I asked why, he remarked that Hinburn had written a rather caustic letter complaining that he, Terry, hadn't answered a letter Bill had written to the Reverend Todd.

I pointed out that some people set great score by prompt answers, Liederman being one and he'd get furious if you failed to reply promptly if not faster. I also pointed out diplomatically that it was true T.T. was in the habit of NOT answering but phoning instead, that even Pal Ottley had complained in some of his mail that Terry was a poor correspondent- and Ottley wasn't exactly a complaining man. Terry said something to the effect that 'we'll see.'

What news? Not much.

And now, horror of horrors. Dangerous Dan, the Brooklyn Flash, aka Dan Lurid, has been ELECTED TO THE AAU HALL OF FAME. Now don't ask me how this happened or what wires were pulled behind the scenes of this absolutely, positively NON POLITICAL Association. I am wondering what I have to do to get elected, even CONSIDERED for the honor. If it hadn't been for me and my constant nagging at the Wunderkind in his early and most productive days- from 1950 up when I left- excuse me while I cough significantly- there never would have been a scintilla of stuff about Olympic Lifting in his mags. I pushed and pushed my way at him until, finally he gave way, and later on even had an entire section devoted to Olympic Lifting. Pray for me, pray.

There was some hell of a mess going on at one time in York. It seems that most of the staff were robbing the company blind and Hoffie let it go on even though he suspicioned it. There were SEVERAL WHO WERE FIRED or so I was told. In at least TWO cases it was true.

One who got fired was XXX who stole dough from the take and was idiotic enough to drive around a shining Caddie. Then I am told that Joe XXX was fired for pocketing sales money. During the Todd reign there, two more were fired. Terry told me XXX and XXX were let go for some skullduggery or the other- this is what TT told me. Then at one time Hoffie was seriously considering firing Steve XXX because when Steve was working on the loading dock and someone came up to buy a set [of weights] or whatever, the cash, if in such payment form, never saw light except what crept into XXX's pocket.

I am also informed that at one time Hoffie was gonna fire XXX for some reason or the other- I don't know what- and Sig Klein talked him out of it. IT was also Sig who suggested to Hoffie that he put Grimek's picture on the protein powder box which, business wise had been doing zipp. The sales took off when JCG appeared on the box. So it only goes to show what evil lurks in the hearts of men.

XXX refused the job of IM [Ironman] because, as he told the Reverend Todd and TT told me, XXX didn't want Jones hanging over his shoulder and getting onto his arse 24 hours daily. Simple as that.

There is also a strong rumor going round that Arnold The arrogant Austrian is behind the plot, that he is providing the backing [Ironman]. Now to me, while I am not entirely prepared to believe it, makes sense since Arnold not only has the money to be able to take a loss and thereby a tax gain, but now has the POLITICAL CLOUT to foil any attempts on the part of the Wunderkind to screw things up. The Wunderkind badly needs competition. He is getting a bit too big for his mink lined pants.

Balik's decision NOT to use powerlifting results but rather a personality or two makes editorial sense. For him to give results as POWERLIFTING [USA] does would entail a certain redundancy. Why buy two mags to find the same stuff in them. If Balik uses his noodle and not his doodle, he will write about powerlifters that POWERLIFTING USA doesn't. Olympic Lifting is to all intents and purposes a dead issue and getting deader by the day, and, sad to relate no one seems to care or be willing to stop the rot. For this of course- purely in my personal opinion, we have Hoffie to blame.

On the one hand we see Hoffie's control of Lifting and the results it has engendered. Due to his insistence on being top bull in the pasture and refusing to let anyone else develop as a coach- and I think nada of his coaching ability, Olympic Lifting was unable to develop new coaching talent. While Hoffie was around no one stood a chance.

[Re Weider] I DID see him clean and jerk 300 on an ordinary bar.

I think too, that powerlifting will go the way of Olympic Lifting- not soon but in the future. There are too many splinter groups in the mill now and some of them formed because they don't like the ban on steroids or the testing for them. Again powerlifting is becoming commercialized like Hoffie and Wunderkind did to Lifting and Booby building- and then you now have not only the use of steroids, but as I have previously stated, the use of special tops to help increase your bench, special bottoms to help improve your squat and dead lift, so it seems to me that a block and tackle will, that is possibly become a sine qua non. Foolishness breeds on foolishness and grows bigger in so doing.

Hope your lady is enjoying her new job, My very best to you and yours,