A FEW DAYS AGO, we received a letter from a police officer in New Jersey who complained that he could not buy Strength and Health in his town because all so-called "mucle magaizines" were barred from the newsstands through action of local people working in cooperation with The League of Decency, a Catholic Organization with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.
The officer was perturbed over the situation because he felt that Strength and Health offered wholesome advice and a healthful hobby for young boys through weightlifting and weight-training. He thought the Leauge of Decency was hurting its own purpose by barring an influence for good in the comunity. We agree with him, but we can also understand the attitude of the League for it is quite natural to consider all the apples in a barrel bad if those on the top are rotten. We have written the League officials asking them to carefully read our magazine and decide for themselves if there is objectionable material in our pages.
If you will walk into your neighborhood newsdealer's you can see for yourself the type of magazine that is causing censorship. In the past several years a flood of undersized booklets featuring the male physique in all stages of nudity have appeared. We show a few of these, picked at random, in the accompanying photograph. [note: the ones above are not the exact same issues as in the S&H article - TMF] Under the guise of wholesome physical culture, these dirtly little books are aimed directly at a very profitable market, the homosexual or "fairy" trade. They are on the stands for one reason only - to make a profit. Circulation figures show they do just that, because they outsell the regular physical culture journals, and are so cheap to print, that the profit is obvious.
While their ciruclation figures are impressive, another factor enters into their large apparent sale. They are so small they can easily be slipped into a pocket by youngsters who frequent the magainze racks, and thus carried out without payment at all. Of course this does not bother either the publisher or the distributor, since the dealer must pay for the magaine whether he actually sells it or not. How much the average store which deals in magazines loses on this type of publication is uncertain, but in our judgment, the type of person who reads such trash is very apt to be dishonest enough to steal anything in sight.
These magazines pretend to offer physical training advice, but they haven't the space to do so. They are simply inteded to attract the attention of lovers of the male physique, and unfortunately, this includes a sizable number of misguided young bodybuilders whose intentions are good. The fact that they are aimed at the homo trade seems to escape these readers. Even the fact that they feature advertising by photographers known to cater to the "swish" trade, seems to leave the more normal bodybuilders unimpressed. We have even heard men high in the ranks of weightlifting and weight-traning condone these publications by saying they are harmless, and that all publicity is good publicity. Many young fellows who do not know the score actually submit photographs to these publications in the hope they will get publicity for their fine physiques.
There is a large group of so called bodybuilders in the country who simply close their eyes whenever this homo racket is mentioned. They seem to think that if they keep their eyes and their minds closed, the slimy creature will go away. But it won't. When a venoumous reptile comes into your house you have to crush it or take the chance of being poisoned.
When the situation has reached a point where we cannot sell a clean magazine because of these dirty publications, we think something should be done about it. Other publishers continue to take this filthy money, and to cater to the immoral perverts who make these indecent pictures. Whenever you see a magazine that carries even ONE photographer's advertisement featuring male photos, you know you are dealing with people without moral principles of any sort. These are the people who are killing a clean and wholesome sport.
What can we do about it ? One thing sure - we are not going to suffer in silence. We suggest, for one thing, that the AAU bar from competition in any athletic event any person whose photo has appeared in one of these trashy magazines. It is these so-called bodybuilders who have encouraged this disgracefull situation by offering their photographs for use in stimulating a vicicious trade. Some of these young men have cause to be proud of their bodies, because, in many cases, they built them from weakness to superb strength and health. But they certainly cannot understand the true facts -- that these pictures are now being exposed to the droolings of homosexuals, and that their appearance in these books encourages other young and innocent boys to do likewise.
The police officer who wrote us about this situation tells about the efforts of the Boys Clubs and PAL (Police Athletic Association) to rescue underprivileged boys from the temptations of the slums, and he points out that weightlifting in such clubs have proven to be a splendid antidote against evil influences that contribute to juvenile delinquency. Yet the magazine stand in most communities stand free and open with this type of literature. Some time ago, the Comic Book Industry was forced to clean up the dirt in their publications. When are we going to do this in the field of physical training ?
What respect can anyone have for a man or boy caught with one of these books in his hands ? And why should Strength and Health suffer for the crimes of others ?
Note: The hypocrisy of this is that 1) ads for beefcake photos had been running in the back of Strength & Health and Iron Man for years and 2) the major photographers of beefcake pictures were the same photographers used in the "legitimate" muscle magazines. In fact, the majority of photos published in the first 10-15 years of Strength & Health were nudes with g-strings or posing shorts drawn in.
OUR recent article Let Me Tell You a Fairy Tale (June issue) about the homo magazines has stirred up a tremendous amount of talk, pro and con - but mostly pro. We will print a number of these letters in our next issue. But to follow up on this story we herewith print a news items from the New York Times dated April 29, 1957:
The Union County grand jury today returned indictments against the publishers and distributors of seven national magazines on charges of conspiracy to sell indecent literature. The true bills are the first of their kind in New Jersey, according to Prosecutor H. Russell Morss, Jr.
Consiracy is a misdemeanor punishable by up to three years in state prison and a $1,000 fine. Among the publishers indicted was Body Beautiful Publications, Inc. (Wonderful Weedy)
We are not in favor of censorship as a rule, and we believe in the fundamental freedom of the press, but there are certain cheap publishers who will stoop to anything to make money, even the perversion of children. It is about time some action is taken to stop this sort of indecency.
It is an odd twist of fate that at practically the same time the York Chamber of Commerce was honoring the York Barbell Club and Bob Hoffman with a testimonial plaque, the Union County Grand Jury (where the Weedy enterprises are located) was indicting Mr. Wonderful for consiracy to sell indecent literature. Perhaps the Mills of the Gods grind slowly but they grind exceeding small.
Weedy and his group of unscrupulous hirelings have been spouting for a long time about their idealism and how they were martyrs to the cause of pure, unsullied bodybuilding. They write letters to credulous columnists like Dan Parker (who should know better), of the N.Y. Mirror, telling how Bob Hoffman is the big, bad wolf who runs A.A.U. weightlifting to suit himself. They fail to bring into the open the fact that they themselves are mainly engaged in the business of selling dirty pictures and dirty magazines.
Anyone who takes one look at their current publications, such as Jem, and their small, dirty homo books Body Beautiful, and Adonis, cannot fail to see the category into which such literature falls. Indecency is a mild word for it. Pornography is better.
The Weedy books cannot be sold in their own home city. They have been banned by the League of Decency. Yet thousands of credulous lads, not yet dry behind the ears, take for truth the wild mouthings of these imitation experts, when they read the sensational articles in their trashy magazines.
Perhaps their long career of fooling some of the people some of the time is drawing to a close. Perhaps the Great Imitator (he has recently copied the labels of Hoffman's Hi-Proteen products so closely they can almost be sold as the real McCoy) may be forced by public opinion and the law to go back to his original slum hideway, where he and his pals can still make a living peddling French postcards. Apparently you can take a kike out of the slums, but you can never take the slums out of the kike.
Weedy and Obscenity... The case against Wonderful Weedy's Body Beautiful publications for conspiracy to distribute indecent literature has not yet come to trial. They were indicted by the Union County (NJ) Grand Jury late in April.
However we are happy to report that Strength & Health has been taken off the list of objectionable magazines by The National Office for Decent Literature, and is available on newsstands in Weedy's home county. All other muscle mags, and all the tiny slimy homo books are still barred.
Barton Horvath, Weedy's chief hatchet man for years, has deserted Mr. Wonderful and now is puttingout his own homo-pornographic booklet, Muscle Sculpture This bird was hauled in some years ago on a rap of selling nude photos. His new classic, featuring pretty boys in and out of G-strings, is made to order for the swish trade. We gently warn unwary bodybuilders about sending photos to such publications, because you, too, may wind up in court . . . and you will be barred from competing in any sanctioned AAU physique contest, such as the Mr. America competition. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose.
APOLOGY . . . in the September Grapevine a sentence was printed that led several readers to infer that it was of an anti-semitic nature. We are sincerely sorry that this occurred because it had been blue-pencilled from the galley proofs, and was included only because of an error by the printers. Strength and Health stands for fair play for everyone, regardless of race or religion, and we will not intentionally print anything that is offensive to anyone. Our policy is to tell the truth at all times about sensible physical training without bias and without fear or favor. This policy also guarentees that whenever we make a mistake, we will promptly admit it.
Exit "Vim" & "Gym"
A while ago I reported that there must have been a dozen or so of those dirty little queer magazines for homosexuals cluttering up the nation's news racks. Court action eradiated several of them, as has also been reported to you, but does that mean the plague is lessened? Not sos' you could see - the other day in New York City I counted 20 different titles of this type displayed on a tiny corner newsstand! Apparently, like Hydra, every time one of these rags gets chopped down, two spring up to take it's place. But in many areas organized effort is being made to remove this blight from public display. National publicity was given recently to the action of a Fedral grand jury in Chicago which indicted 51 men for sending or conspiring to send obscene material through the mails. The scheme revolved around "pen-pal" clubs created by the editors of two now defunct queer books, Vim and Gym. (Incidentally, don't confuse this version of Vim with the fine little magazine of the same name published by Roger Eells 20 or so years ago.) "The return of the indictments," announced U.S. District Attorney Robert Tieken, "culminates an intensive six-month investigation by postal inspectors and the Federal grand jury of the Adonis Male Club and the International Body Culture Assocation, who solicited members by means of free advertising in the male magazines (physique-muscle display type) 'Vim' and 'Gym' ... We may not be able to stop this sort of thing," Tieken said, "but we are determined to get it out of our educational system where the youth of Ameirca is involved." Parents should be particularly alert to spot these questionable publications, which are doing so much to drag legitimate physical culture into the gutter. If youfind a queer book on your son's desk, burn it -and set him straight on the facts of life. Pornography is the spawning bed from wich springs forth much of our appalling juvenile crime. Help to fight it by doing what you can to chase filth off the magazine rack.
Revulsion and anger have motivated me to write this letter. I was down at the local paper store today buying the latest copy of my favorite magazine, Strength & Health, when I ran across a copy of Joe Weider's latest queer sheet, Demi-Gods. What a sickening magazine! It is possible for the male form to possess a rugged beauty that transcends the ages: take, for instance, the Laocoon, or more recently, Eugen Sandow. Both possess a beauty that can hardly be said to be homosexually inspired. But Demi-Gods does not deal in masculine beauty; it markets perversion. Decidely effeminate "men" (if thats what they can be called) are pictured in poses which were formerly the right of womanhood only. "Cute" little beddy-bye inviations caption the filth. And whose picture to I find opposite of these mascara-ed beauties? Ron Lacy's, that's whose. My opinion of Mr. Lacy dropped but fast. This is what hurts the iron game the most, when a man of renown, such as mr. Lacy, allows his picture to be printed in some sodomite putrefaction like Demi-Gods.
Myles A MacVane
We agree with Mr. MacVane that the Weider publication Demi-Gods (along with its sister magazine The Young Pysique) sets a new low in the sorid world of the queer books. In all fairness to Ron Lacy, we would wager anything that he was unaware that photographs of him were being published in Demi-Gods and that he never signed a releease authorizing publication of his photos in such publications. Hundreds of photos of Ron and other top bodybuilders are taken during or after contests and exhibitions by scores of photographers, and although every effort is made by promoters of A.A.U. sanctioned contests to exclude photographers who are known to work for and submit photographs to questionable publishers, these bodybuidlers have no control over the disposition and use of such photos. By the time they learn, their their regret, that their photos have appeared in unauthorized publications, they have no recourse other than legal action, and Lacy, like most of the Mr. Americas, could never afford the expensive legal fees involved in pursuing this course. He is an innocent victim of an unscrupulous practice. Ed.