Iron History

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12/01/2005 Entry: "12/2/05: Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark June 30, 1987"

Here is a letter Charles A. Smith wrote to Joe Roark, just after David Chapman had visited Austin, Texas, The Todd-McLean, Collection, and Charles.

Dear Joe,
Thanks for your letter post dated June 23rd, which I received on the 26th.

David Chapman came into town and we spent a very pleasant evening together, chatting over this and that. He got to my home around 5pm and we went out, had a meal at a Chinese place, then came home, drank that horrible stuff called beer and nattered until around ten thirty or so.

Dave seems a nice chap and has obviously well researched his favorite subject, Sandow. But, unlike, so many others, he does not hero worship him, being well alive to all his faults and his many transgressions. It is his opinion that the great man was conducting a �menage a trois� but with a man, not a woman, This is what possibly, got Sandow�s wife most irked at such carryings on. Dave did call me on the morning of the 26th, before he left, and said how much he enjoyed the visit and would keep in touch.

The story of Hoffie�s getting into food supplements is an oft told tale. The credit, if one can call it that, is due the late Rheo H. Blair, nee Irving Johnson. Irving advertised a lot in Hoffie�s mag and kept it up, until Hoffie got the idea that he wouldn�t continue such if he wasn�t making money. So Hoffie investigated, found out what Johnson was scoring each month, got his own line of products together and then refused Johnson any further advertiseing. Nice bloke, Hoffie.

As for Weider, the subject came up one day at a round table conference twixt the Wunderkind, [Barton] Horvath, and I. Joe wondered, Bart scoffed, and I said, �Have a go Joe, yer mother won�t know.� Bart�s objection was that it was a mere fad. My input was that Johnson had been advertising in Hoffie�s mags for many many moons and no man did that unless he was making a good thing of it. Finally Joe made up his mind to �have a go�. First mailing nix. Second mailing slightly better- still nix. Next a small return with Bart hollering all day �I told you so.� Next mailing a couple of hundred or so. The next we were off and running and after that never did less than SIX THOUSAND A WEEK. That is what made Joe his money and still does. Cost so little, and gives back so much percentage wise of the cost.

But the sin of mislabeling products does not belong entirely to Hoffie or Joe as you well know. Every bloody brand of aspirin or for that matter ANY product is, according to the TV lies, better than its competitors. They are all the same.

As a nutritionist, Hoffie was a damn good chauffeur.

XXX of course fancied himself an authority on anything. There is a rather delicious story told of him re his relationship with XXX. XXX, and a companion were driving along when the pal asked him, �You�ve lived with XXX all these years, why don�t you get married?� XXX replies to the effect that it was hell now living with her and it could get worse with marriage. Pal asks for an explanation,and XXX replies, �Well, she�s always hollering I ain�t faithful to her. But I only go with her and two other women in town. Now if that ain�t faithfulness I don�t know what is.� I am told he said this with a perfectly straight face and no hint of humor or sarcasm in his voice.

[regarding�Bernarr MacFadden, the Muscular Prophet� by Clifford James Waugh] There�s a sad tale behind the writing of the book. Waugh interviewed ALL of the people, alive, who had any connection with MacFadden. He interviewed the three living wives, progeny, associates, got loads of letters, shots, memorabilia from them, then, when his dissertation was completed, he heaved the whole damn stuff into the garbage. There must be a special hell for such blokes where, like the soldier in Gunda Din, it is all double drill and no beer.

By the way, can you let me have the address of Herb Glossbrenner. I�d like to drop him a line and point out a couple of errors in his article about Paul Anderson. In one section of the offering he claims Anderson was never beaten in competition. In another paragraph he refers to the Continental CLEAN and jerk. I am a bit surprised that a man like Glossbrenner, who is such a stickler for statistics, doesn�t know there is no such lift as a Continental Cleand and jerk or that Anderson WAS beaten in a contest- the Junior Nationals, and by Doug Hepburn.

Best wishes to you and yours,