Senator Dudley J. LeBlanc had a pain in his right big toe in 1943 and it spread to his arms, legs and neck and three doctors couldn’t relieve the pain.
He escaped from a hospital and a doctor told him on the way out that he looked like walking death but that he had something that might give him some relief from the pain. The medicine worked and LeBlance sneaked a bottle of the medicine out of the doctor’s office so he could examine it and it would later become Hadocol a dietary supplement marketed by LeBlanc.
The Hadocol name was derived from the first two letters of each name in his Happy Day Company plus adding an L at the end for his last name of LeBlanc.
12 Percent Alcohol Content
Hadocol which contained an alcohol content of 12 percent was used as an ingredient in cocktails sold in French Quarter bars in New Orleans and was only sold in liquor stores in Northbrook, Illinois a suburb of Chicago.
People who had holes in their shoes were buying Hadocol for $3.50 a bottle. The sales of Hadocol increased as testimonials to its healing power told of its recuperative powers with one customer who had crippling rheumatism but was walking again after using Hadocol.
Switched Coffins For Deceased Blacks
LeBlanc had established a burial company during the 20′s and was alleged to have used expensive coffins as deceased blacks laid in funeral homes but then would switch them to pine boxes when they were actually buried.
In 1950 Hadacol grossed $20 million in its 22 state sales area. One thirteen year old who didn’t have the energy to ride a bike became a football player after taking Hadacol. It is questionable to me why a teenager would be allowed to partake of a medicine that contained 12 percent alcohol. An Illinois official stated that teenagers could get plastered on Hadacol.
1950 Hadacol Caravan
Connie Boswell, Carmen Miranda, Roy Acuff, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, Minnie Pearl, Mickey Rooney, Chico Marx, George Burns, and Gracie Allen were some of the celebrities that traveled with LeBlanc in a 1950 caravan that traveled 3,800 miles. LeBlanc said the trip cost a half million but that sales were $3 million on the trip.
The next caravan would travel to the west coast with the caravan staying in Los Angeles for a month and the caravan introduced the dietary supplement to the west. Groucho Marx and Judy Garland headlined this caravan.
One mother said her two and three year old daughters took Hadacol when their stomachs were upset. The American Medical Association urged its members to not endorse Hadacol as a medicine that could heal medical problems.
Diabetic Patient Switches From Insulin to Hadacol
An Arkansas doctor told of a diabetic patient that stopped taking insulin and started taking Hadacol instead and went into a diabetic coma and almost died.
LeBlanc would run for governor of Louisiana in 1952 but he sold Hadacol and the buyers said LeBlanc had sold them a company that wasn’t as financially solvent as he had told them before he sold the company for $8 million. In addition he was $650,000 behind in his federal tax payments.
New Owners Declared Bankruptcy
The new owners would have to declare bankruptcy. LeBlanc sold out just in time and the resulting bad publicity about the sale caused him to finish seventh in the voting for governor in 1952.
LeBlanc’s answer to Groucho Marx when asked what Hadacol was good for showed he was more interested in padding his bank account than caring whether it actually healed anyone :
When Groucho Marx asked him what Hadacol was good for, LeBlanc gave an answer of startling honesty. “It was good,” the senator said, “for five and a half million for me last year.”
LeBlanc died on October 22, 1971 at the age of 77. LeBlanc may have been a state senator but he will always be known better as the Hadacol pitchman who parlayed a stolen bottle of medicine into a multi-million dollar empire.
For more information on Hadacol and Senator LeBlanc: