Thursday, April 22, 2010

Organic Foods Guru Dies on TV Before a Live Studio Audience.

In honor of the Earth Day commemerence, I want to relate the tale of Dr. Jerome Irving Rodale. He is generally considered one of the founders of the organic foods craze. He died of a massive gripper before a live studio audience after bragging that he would live to be 100 because of his healthy diet.

This is how it happened.

On June 5th, 1971, Dr. Rodale was a guest on the Dick Cavett Show. That was a nationwide late night talk show of the era, which due to Cavett's snooty Yale liberal demeanor, was favored by American liberals.

As Cavett relates it in his autobigraphy, the modestly entitled Cavett (1974), the organic foods guru was a somewhat pompous, Leon Trotsky look-alike, who had devoted most of his life to the promotion of organic farming and organic food consumption.

As the first guest on the show, the 72 year old got down on the studio floor and began doing pushups to illustrate his diet-induced vigor.

He then boasted that he would likely live to be 100, unless run down in the streets by a sugar-crazed taxi driver.

When the second guest of the evening, a New York Post columnist made his entrance, Dr. Rodale moved downstage to the secondary chair in a way common to the TV talk show format.

A few minutes later he appeared to have dozed off in the chair and was snoring loudly. Cavett then asked, "Are we keeping you awake, Dr. Rodale?" Audience laughter ensued.

Then it became quite apparent that there was something quite wrong with the health-foods guru. Cavett couldn't stir him. Cavett says he resisted the instinct to announce, "Is there a doctor in the house?" due to its comic implications. A staffer then came out with an emergency oxygen tank which in 3 Stooges or Keystone Cops fashion was found to be lacking a key component.

By this time some women in the audience began openly sobbing. Finally, paramedics arrived and the Health Foods kingpin was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital of a massive heart failure. He was 72, about the average age for an American man of his time.

The show was being videotaped and as such was never aired by ABC.

Today there is a non-profit organization, the Rodale Institute, which promotes organic farming and organic foods and has an entire section on its website devoted to the hokum of Global Warming.

I have little doubt that the Rodale crowd are among the biggest enthusiasts of government action to regulate the foods that we eat and forcibly restrict the product choices that we can be allowed to make.

They know what's best for us.

If we take their advice and adhere to their dictactes, we will all live happier, healthier and longer lives.

Just like their great leader, Dr. Rodale.

The only man in the history of American television to croak before a live studio audience.


  1. Now that's funny! Sad, but funny. Reminds me of Jim Fixx - the jogging guru fanatic, dying of a heart attack while he was out jogging.

  2. As one of J.I.'s descendants, I would like to point out that all of his siblings died of heart problems in their 50's. J.I. might not have made it to 100 but his organic and active lifestyle gave him an extra 20 years--and good years, in which he was active and vibrant right up until the end.

  3. That is funny about Fixx. I think I remember J.P. O'Rourke writing a funny satiric piece about him. He wrote a book talking about the wonders and benefits of jogging -- and then dropped dead while on a run at the age of 28 or so. J.P. said he would much rather take his chances with martinis and cigars and rare steaks.

    Maya -- sorry for your loss. I'm sure such a health regimen might be quite beneficial for those of a fragile genetic heritage.

    This past Monday, the Tribune ran a story on a storied Cuban cigar expert, Alejandro, Robaina, who just died at 91 after smoking cigars since he was 10. And I doubt that living in Castro's Communist hellhole, he usually had even adequate nutrition.

    We only run into trouble with the organic food devotees when they try to impose their notions on the rest of us.

    Genetics may, of course, have an awful lot to do with health and longeivity.

    My grandfather lived to 89. Smoked almost all his life and enjoyed bacon and eggs several times a week.

    I'm sure he occasionally would consume a vegetable, but only along with his steak or pork chops.

  4. This has nothing to do with Chicago. Or did I miss something?

  5. You're right. Aside from the fact that the American Broadcasting Corporation aired on the ABC affiliate, WLS-TV in Chicago.

    And also that every goofy goose in the Chicago metropolitan area is trying to police our food.

    The goofy organic religionist libs have already forced the kids in the Chicgo Public schools to eat broccoli rather than real food.


    The kids throw the veggies away.

    They want nachos.

  6. nachos = real food
    broccoli & veggies = fake food?

    I'm all for free choice, but that stupidity doesn't make me want to believe anything you wrote.

    And when Dr. Pepper pays school district XYZ to have their vending machines in the school district exclusively, I think it is beneficial for the school district to protect the kids with stupid parents. No different than a car seat. Anyone with a brain would say it is safer, but without a law (and even with it) there are moronic parents out there that wouldn't use one.

    Just sayin.....

  7. Maybe you have a point regarding junk food in the schools, but some of this "healthier than thou" coercion has entered the adult world. Look at the anti-salt requirements in NYC and the food purists who want to ban Ronald McDonald. Are these types effectively "Food Nazis?"

  8. I just discovered that Dr. Pepper owns Snapple. That is likely what they are stocking in those school districts which they service. Surely the health food nuts have no quarrel with the Snapple fruit juice products. Or do they just hate all American entreprenueial endeavors?


Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.