Iron History

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09/03/2004 Entry: "9/3/2004: Letter from Charles A. Smith New Year�s Day 1987 to Joe Roark"

Thanks for yours of December 26th, reaching me on the 29th. Hope you and your family all had a good Holiday. I spent the day over at Vera�s [his daughter] and had a great time watching the boys drive their sister up every wall in the house. Had an old English dinner- roast beef, roast potatoes cooked along with the beef, brussels sprouts, Yorkshire pudding, creamed onions and some lovely gravy to pout over the Yorkshire pudding.

Well, here we are, starting a New Year and I doubt if the miserable world we live in will be any better. More than likely worse than it already is.

Not too much news to report from this end. The Todds are away south visiting George Weaver, then across Florida to her parent-mother, then up to NYC and possibly York. I have had the odd card from them but little else except the usual having a good time and no �wish you were here�.

Good to hear Meg has been accepted at the U of I business school. If and when she does get her degree, as I am sure she will, it will be worth every cent it costs her of your hard earned cash to go on and get her graduate degree, since BBA�s are a dime a dozen these days, while the MBA is THE trade union ticket to whatever fame and fortune is left after the Ivan Boeskys have grabbed what there is around.
[Roark: Meg now has a double Masters]

Most of the feedback I have been getting re IM has been very negative and from friends of Fred XXX�s ilk- more of that worthy later- and, of course, these are the sort who would bitch anyway and merely because change has been made, and not because of the good or harm that had resulted from that change. One complaint is that the mags are too �Weiderized�. The positive side is that the type size is much better for reading.

Had a nice letter from John Dawe who mentioned you had written and that he had said- or else suggested- that the date given by Leo Gaudreau could be relied upon. I think this is about right. Leo, despite the running feud he had going with Willoughby, did fairly good research and, more important to me- has a much more friendly and compassionate nature and, more to my liking, I have never known him to do a mean or spiteful action. He has always been honest in all the connections I have had with him.

I have a feeling- getting back to IM- that it will SLOWLY improve and become more to my liking, and thereby gain the acceptance of the �Old Timers�. Balik assured me- for what his assurances are worth- that he was interested in the roots of the sport and intended to continue with an occasional article by David Webster. Again, we shall see. In my opinion- and for what that�s worth- few people seem to realize that the market is, and should be slanted to the young in the Game and those entering it. There�s where the money is to be made, if money making is what you are interested in. I think you SHOULD WRITE for IM and perhaps the best way to start would be by submitting that article about measurements that you passed over to the Flushing Flash, he hasn�t paid you or hasn�t used yet. Both the articles I have written for Balik were paid for promptly- AS PROMISED- so he realizes that here is one way he can get the better of the Woodland Hills Wonder who sometimes �forgets� to pay, and one has to dun him for moths- as I did with the last article I wrote for him.

Balik feels that powerlifting and Olympic Lifting are already covered well in other publications and thus, as he sees it, it would be a waste of space and repetitive to do as these specialized mags do. He will have an occasional article in the mag- I understand Glossbrenner is preparing one on Paul Anderson- and sometimes a profile on a prominent powerlifter- but that�s about it.

I am getting more and more disillusioned with Fred XXX. His latest letters to me have been full of racial slurs and bigoted remarks and reading them one would think that all �Niggers and Ricans� as he calls blacks and Hispanics were all drug users, criminals, lazy, won�t work, crooks, wife beaters and general nuisances who are unable to keep themselves or their homes clean. It is obvious he has done little or no reading, study or what have you academe, and as little traveling. Because a �Rican� broke into Walter Good�s place, he now thinks that one will break in and stab him. In another letter, after I had written to him, telling him to stop his bitching about the new IM and support it, he wrote back suggesting that my opinion was colored by the money Balik was paying me for the articles I had written.

Your assessment of Fred re Hise may be on the target. I recall in a letter to me I had said that either you or I could write the definitive article about Hise. His reply was �I�ve already done that�. More evidence of a mind totally shut up. One could do a terrific article on the anti negro and anti Semitic aspects of Hise- he called New York JEW YORK. Fred mentions Hise telling him about when he was in a hobo jungle. Fred had seen Hise carrying two small cannon around his guts and had been told by Hise that he had been attacked by three �Niggers� in a jungle and had presented the cannons to the �niggers�. When Hise told me this story in a letter dated 1938, it was five �niggers�.

Fred doesn�t know shit from clay when it comes to Hise lore. I have known Hise since before Fred was born, had scores of letters from him, although, in all fairness I knew little of his private or family life. That he was honest in his beliefs, there is no doubt. That he was one of the unsung heroes of weight training is true. But a human being has many sides to his character and make up and Fred didn�t see one tenth of them, even though he did meet Hise a time or two.

I am wondering why Hinbern is so interested in Jowett. He knows the score so far as Jowett is concerned- his flimflamming and deceit. Gaudreau thinks George F less than the dust.

Came across some fascinating stuff just before the Todds left for the Holidays. Some letters from Liedermann to Ottley. These concerned a womens bodybuilding contest IN 1922! That Macfadden was putting on. Called it the $1000 dollar contest. Turns out that the first prize was 300, second 200 and third 100. The rest- 400 went , so Macfadden told thegirls, toward their �expenses�.

However Liederamnn entered his wife whom he personally dubbed MISS ALASKA into the contest. She came from Minnesota and the only connection she had had with Alaska was when she purchased a can of salmon in a delicatessen.

So Liederman waltzes over to see Mac and his head gofer and arranges for Miss Alaska to win. Mac didn�t care so long as the patrons poured pelf into his pockets. Came time for the �Preliminary judging� and Miss Alaska promptly appears for it.

That night, ensconced with Earle in their connubial couch, she pours out a tale of dastardly doings to the effect that when the prelims came, up, well, what do you know, all the girls had to appear IN PRIVATE WITH MAC and a couple of his friends STARK NAKED. Mac explains that this was required in order to see the girls were �all in good health� and what they had by way of equipment was �all their own�. To heap on further insult, he had peep holes in the curtains surrounding the �prelim judging� so his cronies could get a private showing.

Earle is furious and goes over the next morning and asks Mac if he�d like his head handed to him on a platter a la John the Baptist, with Earle playing the part of Salome. Needless to say �Miss Alaska� didn�t win the contest.

Happy new year to you and yours,