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1941_06_21--009_SP [The Great Macfadden]

THE SATURDAY EVENING POST • 4 acfadden, aged 70, leaping the tennis net at his sical Culture resort at Dansville, New York. "An American Institution" WHEN Bernarr Macfadden added Photoplay to his string of magazines and newspapers, a cocktail party was held in his honor. A tense moment occurred when a waiter tried to interest him in a Martini. The publisher recoiled. He was perhaps a little taken aback to learn that anybody was ignorant of his lifelong crusade against alcohol. Macfadden has ranked alcohol beside medicine as one of the great curses of mankind. His list of giant evils includes corsets, prudishness, medicine, alcohol, white bread, overeating, muscular inactivity and tobacco. When the discovery was belatedly made that the guest of honor was a teetotaler, the hostess sought to make amends by preparing for him a glass of water filled with ice until there was hardly any room for water. Macfadden shifted the glass rapidly from one hand to another and looked about with the expression of a man in distress. Then it became known that the publisher, although an ardent lover of water at about sixty degrees Fahrenheit, was a resolute enemy of ice. This matter was set right, and then everything proceeded happily. Macfadden proved to be a genial old reformer and was well liked. After his departure, the question was raised whether the publisher was not something of a faddist. This led to the further question whether a fad is a fad if a man makes a fortune at it. Macfadden has made his fads pay. Perhaps no other man has ever had such lucrative foibles. He made his start in life with a scheme for curing all afflictions, including stupidity, by exercising and fasting. Back in the mauve decade he delivered his first message to the world in the form of a four-page pamphlet, and has continued to deliver them in increasing quantities throughout the mulberry, vermilion, aquamarine and smoky-topaz decades. At the height of his form he was selling the Macfadden way of life to nearly 15,000,000 people through ten newspapers, twenty magazines and fifty books, including the eight-volume Macfadden health encyclopedia. His instinct for self-revelation has resulted in the founding of two great national resources—the nudity industry and the confessions industry. The nudist colonies, anatomical magazines and night-club shows can be traced to Macfadden's pioneer work in using prize-winning physiques to illustrate his propaganda for health and strength. His first Physical Culture Show in Madison Square Garden in 1904 was the forerunner of all bathing-beauty contests. The Misses America, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota and all the other outdoor pageant queens are the spiritual descendants of Macfadden. Ann Toebe did not invent the strip act and Carrie Finnell did not add the tease feature until fifteen years after Macfadden had suffered a conviction and suspended sentence in the cause of nudity. The modern confessions industry came into being in 1919 with Macfadden's founding of True Story. Dozens of imitators of True Story have sprung up since, and the $10,000,000-a-year, I'm-Ruined! I'm- Ruined ! school of belles-lettres owes everything to Macfadden. The publisher has the King Midas touch. Only a business genius of the highest order could have so many profitable eccentricities and incomepaying follies. But he is not a money lover. He lives today on a comparatively small income. He has taken most of the fortune he made by commercializing his whims and has placed it in a trust fund to endow his whims in perpetuity. After his death, the Macfadden Foundation will go on fighting his antimedicine and antiprudishness battles and preaching his message of physical culture and fasting. His death may be a long way off. Not yet seventy-three years old, he is barely in mid-career now, if his calculations are correct. He has committed himself editorially to the position that, under right conditions, the span of human life should be somewhere between 125 and 150 years. Macfadden's face, like his body, is all brawn and sinew; a network, not of wrinkles, but of fine muscular detail. The Macfadden system of physical culture calls for regular cultivation of the flexors and extensors of the countenance. The enthusiast places himself before a mirror and makes a series of 9


1941_06_21--009_SP [The Great Macfadden]
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