Iron History

[Previous entry: "12/17/2004: Clipping that Pudgy Stockton Sent to Joe Roark"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "12/31/2004: W.A.Pullum's Muscular Marvels I Have Trained - Part I Arthur Verge"]

12/24/2004 Entry: "12/24/2004: Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark Jan 31, 1987"

Dear Joe,

Well, you've done it again. Your last news letter was your best ever and it is obvious - to me anyway- that you have a future as a writer for muscle mags. The only criticism I have to offer, if indeed it can be called that, is too much of the interview with Hise relatives. A little of this goes a long way, and anyway, portioning it our in smaller doses, it lasts longer and is useful as a filler. Good going. Keep it up.

Thanks too for your letter of which more later/ First let me give you the news, the what of has been happening to me.

Tony Sansone, one of the greats of the early years of our game- circa the 1920s and thirties, has died. He was in his middle eighties when he passed away. For symmetry, this man would have made some of the modern muscled giants look sick. You may have seen some of his shots in Mark Berry's books. Tall, tanned and slim, yet with that Greek like shape and the top artist's model in NYC and points all around the compass. He ran a gym on Third Avenue in NYC, gym being taken over by his son when Tony got up in years a little. Don't know if it is still running, but perhaps Vic Boff might tell you. Then he lost his wife and after that began to live a very reclusive life, going out only in the late afternoons and evenings for long walks. What he died of I don't know. Some say he had a heart attack. Others say he died from cancer. Anyway he passed away early in January and was cremated. The leaves of life are falling one by one.

Sulimanov, the Bulgarian featherweight has defected. It was, from the information I received, a put up job in that it was planned months in advance. Not even the Reverend Todd had heard of it until I told him. My informant is VERY VERY reliable..

It seems that Sulimanov went to Melbourne, Australia, to take part in the World Cup. He defected in early December of last year. The whole deal had been set up in January of 1986. Sulimanov had won his class with a new world record total, a new world record snatch of 325-can you imagine a man of 132 pounds cleaning and jerking that weight, let alone SNATCHING IT-A 181 pounder from Bulgaria, Zlatov, also made a new world record SNATCH of 402-can you imagine THAT. Anyway, after the lifting was over, the entire Bulgarian team went to a Melbourne restaurant to celebrate. I know the name of the place but have forgotten it- and while there, Sulimanov went to the rest room and out the back door, into a waiting car. He was driven miles away to a house on the Melbourne outskirts by some Turkish compatriots who hid him out until the Bulgarian team left for home, Then he surfaced and asked for asylum. However, some Aussie big mouth shot his trap out over the telly to the effect that Sulimanov would be no good to the Aussies since he wouldn't be allowed to compete for them for three years and anyway he would be better off in Bulgaria. The Turkish embassy then got into the act, they also offering Sulimanov asylum in Turkey. The lad accepted, was flown to London, England, and from there to Ankara, Turkey, the Turkish Prime Minister sending his personal jet for SUlimanov. Once there he was given a job as a weightlifting coach.

The Bulgarians screamed that it was all a nasty plot by Turkish Secret Police who were of course wearing their brilliant scarlet uniforms that they made from scratch. Personally I think the lad would have done himself much better by staying in Australia, where there is a considerable bunch of Turkish �migr�s. Ankara is much too neat to the Bulgarian border. He is too close to his family and other close ties and, being just eighteen, might be tempted to chuck the whole deal and return to Bulgaria. Terry Todd, who met him in Bulgaria, said he was a nice lad but of average intelligence. Pity he didn't stay in Kangaroo Land.

A for me, my eyes have been worked over- both of them. As you can see I am typing with my customary expertise-no better-. On January 7th I had laser surgery done on my left eye out of which I haven't been able to see anything but shapes for some years. But I went again on January 14th for more laser surgery on it. On January 20th I went into the hospital for surgery on my right eye. Had a cataract removed and an artificial lens implanted. Local anesthetic. In at 6:30 am and out at 11 am. Quite upset at having to get up at 4 in the morning to get o the bloody hospital nine miles away at 6:30 am, then sit around. They took my blood pressure when I went it, 125 over 80. Then they gave me a shot of Demerol to quiet me down. Up shot my blood pressure to 190 over 100 and I began to have PVC's- pre ventricular contractions. They thought I was gonna have a heart attack. So they hooked me up to a machine that shows you your heart beating- what they call the bloody things. My blood pressure slowly comes down to 170 over 100.

Now to your remark about Marvin Eder in your letter, to the effect that I was surely drawing the long bow when I wrote that Marvin could keep dipping for as long as Abe Goldberg cared to keep his gym open,. NO, I wasn't taking liberties with the English language, nor was I taking author's license. Let me yell you a few things about Marvin Eder. What I SAW HIM DO PERSONALLY. Pound for pound, there is no doubt in my mind that Eder was the most powerful man I have ever seen.

It was in late May in 1955 at the National YMCA Lifting Championships, held in the McBirney YMCA New York City. I was one of the judges and refs for the lifting. Marv was lifting in the 198 pound class. He weighed in at EXACTLY 195. In the contest, lifting, was John Bardford, coming in at 262 pounds. Eder and Bradford were the only two left lifting when it came to the press. Both started off with 300. Bradford went first and made it. Eder shot that 300 up like he was pressing an empty bar. Bradford jumps to 330 and just makes it. Eder takes the 330 and rams it up like it was an empty etc etc. Bradford fails at 350. Eder takes it and, at 195 pounds, rams it up like it was an empty etc etc. In the snatch he starts off with 275 and with no split snatches the weight to arms' length, then for some reason, throws it to the platform. Rumor has it that if he had let go of the bar, it would still be traveling and hobnobbing with other scraps of metal presently encircling our sphere. He didn't take any more snatches.

Down at Muscle Beach they were having they were having a parallel bar dipping contest. It was won by some cat with a SINGLE dip of 300. Along comes Marv, ties the 300 round his waist and does TEN REPS, pauses, and continues thus for an hour with intervals between sets. 'WHO IS THIS MAN' wasn't the only sentence expressed that day.

OK, take another example at Abe's gym. Marvin curls two dumbbells to the shoulders, each dumbbell weighing ONE HUNDRED POUNDS EACH. Then he presses them overhead. THEN LOWERS THEM SIDEWAYS, palms up, holds a perfect crucifix position and counts off ten secs keeping time with the hand of the second hand of the clock as it swept round the dial.

OK. He kept pace, pound for pound with Doug Hepburn in a bench pressing contest, BOTH TOPPING OUT AT 496- Marvin scaled around 197, Doug came in at 270.

OK. Marvin would start bench pressing or squatting with a 'low' poundage, say, 324. He'd do TEN SETS OF TEN REPS with this weight, then up to 350 do ten sets of ten reps with this, up another 26 pounds, another ten by ten up another 25 and another ten by ten up again to 475 with another ten by ten then all the way down again to his original starting poundage.

Yes, he did do dips with 300 pounds ALL DAY LONG in Abe's gym. And Yes, he did take a considerable breather between each set, at least five to ten minutes and quite likely closer to fifteen. YES, editorial liberties WERE taken with the article I wrote in IM but none that changed the sense nor the meaning of what I had written.

Better fold up my tent here. My good wishes to that young lady in your household who is soon to be the Chief Executive Officer of J.P. Morgan.

Best to you and yours,