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11/06/2008 Entry: "11/7/2008: Letter of March 1, 1988 from Charles A Smith to Joe, Part 1"

Letter from Charles A. Smith dated March 1, 1988, to Joe Roark.

Dear Joe,
Thanks so much for your letter post dated Feb 27th arriving here yesterday, the 19th.

I had long wondered at your silence and thought of dropping you a line. But I had the feeling that, perhaps, you didn�t wish to correspond with me anymore. So I decided to wait.

There is so much news to tell you that I hardly know where to begin. I feel pretty sure that you haven�t heard any of the stuff. I talked with Osmo Kiiha and he said he had heard from you via mail. Anyway, here goes.

On January 30th, at exactly 5 PM my time, the phone rings and there�s the Wunderkind on the other end of the line. He says he is calling from his home. He talks to me until five minutes to six. During the conversation he tells me he, and the IFBB, is giving me an award. I say �Yeah, yeah, about bloody time�. He also says he is gonna bring me AND Vera to L.A. �soon� a word he uses a lot.

Then on February 8th I get a letter from Brother Ben to the effect that Joe has recommended me to receive the Distinguished Service Award of the IFBB, the highest award they give. He also says the IFBB committee met and �thoroughly and unanimously approved of the award and it was coming my way via priority mail. He also says for me to have a shot taken of me with the award and send it to Joe so Joe could �do� an article on me.

Retracking back some, during my talk with Joe, he told me he was gonna publish an article I wrote for him EIGHT YEARS AGO in 1980 and called �PRESENT AT THE CREATION�. He had phoned me asking me to do an article on the old days at 16 Hopkins Avenue. I said I would and did it, pulling no punches and saying why I had quit his employ and how I disagreed with some of the pranks he pulled. The article didn�t appear of course and I didn�t expect it would. So now he�s publishing it and I am wondering what �creative editing� will go into it so I says �Send me proofs before you let the typesetters get their hands on it�. He says �OK�. It ain�t appeared.

So to go on. Last Tuesday, the 23rd was it? Comes the award. I can�t believe it and am still singing the song of the goldfish. It is a large plaque, very well done, 18 x 14 with a large 3 inch medallion at the top of the plaque and it says it is �given to Charles A. Smith for his outstanding contributions to sports and fitness on an international scale and as former editor of MUSCLE AND POWER�. Someone had to screw it up with the AND. Anyway it is now on my wall under my war decorations and I am wondering what comes next. I don�t have to wait long. Last night around 3 PM my time, The Wunderkind calls again and says he wants a shot of me so he can write an article about me and say how much I meant to him, etc etc and how valuable I was to him- wasn�t I though! So I say I�ll get it off and I have.

Now what in the holy hell is going on. Why did he suddenly get religion. Naturally, each time I go to the local supermarket or have occasion to ride City Transportation I will carry the Award with me.

I just can�t get over it. What in the name of the nine blind bastards is going on.

The only thing I can think of is that some time last year he called and during our conversation he wanted to know why I �deserted him�. I told him he bloody well knew why, but he kept insisting he didn�t and wanted me to write and tell him. I said OK, but remember you insisted and I am through trying to spare your feelings since you have insisted.

Write him I did. I told him he had treated me cheaply, with contempt and derision. How he was, paying me 80 bucks a week while at the same time he was offering Tanny 200 a week- this in the early fifties- to come and work for him. How I had put out his first independent mag, Boxing and Wrestling, he paying me a mere 100 bucks a MONTH extra, me doing all the work while he was paying two other guys 700 a month each to put out the boxing section. I did all the captions, paste ups, proofing and other stuff for my 100.

I told him how I had written his courses, Olympic, which he sold hundreds of at 5 bucks a throw and me never getting a cent, how I invented the Multi Power Machine which he made 40 thousand bucks profit on in the last year- again no penny coming my way. How he made me pay my own expenses to the 1953 senior nationals, while he paid the air fares of Charlie Coster and family from England to Jersey City, plus household expenses until they got an apartment, etc etc. This is the only thing I can think of. Naught else makes sense.

What�s your opinion?

Sunday I had a call from Bollocks- sorry Balik. I had written him a week or so ago re the incredible statements made by Grimek re Sandow in John�s latest �effort�. I also asked him what about the Eder article.

He, to my intense surprise calls. Very smooth and suave over the phone. Says he hasn�t got the Eder article going since he has no shots. Amother piece of bullshit since last time he told me he didn�t carry it because there was already �too much old timer stuff in the issue�.

Then he wants me to write an editorial type of article about the difference in the idealisms of the sport twixt now and then- I ask how much is he paying. He says what I paid you before- 100. I say piss on that. You pay Grimek more than that and I also hear you pay at least 150 to others, and sometimes 200. He hums and haws and stutters and trips over his tongue and comes up with �Well for a 4 page article I pay 100. For a six page article I pay 150 and for a 12 page article I page 200�. I remind him all the articles of mine he has so far published, ran at least 7 pages and considerably more, so he owes me dough. He sniggers and says well we�ll see.