Edge

King Ralf: Looking Back On Our 1988 Issue

Years before he starred in Gladiator, Ralf Moeller was an M&F feature.

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Ralf Moeller has enjoyed a career that’s been, in many ways, a microcosm of Arnold Schwarzenegger's. After Joe Weider took a shine to the German bodybuilder, Moeller was featured heavily in Weider’s magazines, won a Mr. Universe title, and even went on to become an actor. No, Moeller never became a top-billed superstar like Arnold, but he enjoyed key roles in films like Gladiator, The Scorpion King, Best of the Best 2, and many more. Fittingly, you’re most likely to find Moeller and Arnold together these days, traveling, training, or just hanging out.

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Apart from the classic cover featuring Moeller and Kathy Stangel, our September 1988 issue had some standout content, including a powerlifting log from Jim Vrabel, a feature on muscle isolation by Fred Hatfield, and a stern warning about the dangers of exercise addiction.

Here’s where things got weird: It contained an op-ed by associate publisher Ben Pesta, who danced on the grave of Chicago’s recently deceased mayor Harold Washington. Washington, an obese heavy smoker, had died of a heart attack the year before. Pesta’s intentions were sincere: He started off by lamenting the fact that Washington had had a chance to become the nation’s first black president if he’d taken better care of his health.

As the piece wore on, it became a repository for bad jokes at Washing-ton’s expense, calling his diet “suicide by soul food” and chiding, “More fat, your honor? How about more salt?” It eventually finishes with a sad wish that Washington could be as healthy as the Ayatollah Khomeini. Yikes. Talk about poor taste.

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