Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Collaborator Odyssey, Part Five by Greg Dziawer

Eddie Or Not: Was this lusty Hustler paperback penned by Ed Wood?

Dick Trent. Occasionally Richard Trent.

The obsessive Woodologist will certainly recognize this as one of Edward D. Wood, Jr.'s most frequently-used pseudonyms, in a class with the sublime Shirlee Lane. Shirlee/Shirley was also Ed's drag persona... and in a far-fetched thought-experiment of mine, Shirley was the name of his high school sweetheart, the girl whose sweater he wore for the first time and to whom he lost his virginity.
"Shirley wore a fuzzy green angora sweater with a matching green skirt. She had on knee-length white stretch socks which ended in green and white, low heeled shoes. The more young Charlie looked at her clothes, dug his fingers into the soft fur of her sweater at the shoulders, the more he craved wearing the things himself."
-excerpt from Ed Wood's Drag Trade (1967)

It's easy to get lost in Shirley. Take these passages from the short story "Baiting Millie," as published in Hellcats, vol. 2,  no. 3, from July/August 1973, credited to Edw. D. Wood, Jr.:
Artwork for "Baiting Millie."
". . . then there was Shirley . . . . It was a bar pickup . . . but not one which might cause distress between either party . . . . Shirley was a delight to watch as she swayed in her miniskirt . . . she never simply walked, she had a rhythm which could only be classed as swaying . . . . Millie almost let her hand go up under her skirt and masturbate herself right there in the bar when she saw that swaying fanny . . . " 
"...the light tapping came on the locked cubicle door and the little voice asked to come in and Millie was shocked, but she opened the door and there was the exotically beautiful Shirley and Shirley told her that she would do that for her, only she didn't use her finger, she sank down on the toilet seat and inserted her tongue . . . ." 
". . . Shirley was killed in a street accident when absentmindedly she went against the light at an intersection when she was racing to catch her bus across the street . . . it broke Millie's heart and she cried for a week, and she didn't get to her job for a week, illness, a death in the family . . . she wouldn't be fired . . . they depended upon her too much . . . then there was Sharon . . . the luscious Sharon who swayed when she walked . . . she didn't just walk, she swayed with each step . . . she glided . . . she was so much like Shirley . . . . "

Friday, July 22, 2016

John Waters' Mondo Trasho: The Soundtrack (updated for 2016)

Divine carries Mary Vivian Pearce in this ad for John Waters' "gutter film," Mondo Trasho.


Little Richard, the film's patron saint.
After several years of making experimental short films like Hag in a Black Leather Jacket and Eat Your Makeup in the mid-to-late 1960s, Baltimore filmmaker John Waters finally took the feature-length plunge in 1969 with his surreal, almost plotless epic Mondo Trasho. But in those days, Waters was operating on such a low budget that he couldn't even afford to record synchronized sound as he was filming. His first full-length talkie, Multiple Maniacs, was released in 1970, a full 43 years after The Jazz Singer. But just because Mondo Trasho was shot silently, that doesn't mean it's a silent film. In fact, the 95-minute comedy has an incredible soundtrack pieced together a few seconds at a time from records in John Waters' personal music collection. The trouble was, he never got permission to use any of this stuff, meaning that Mondo Trasho has never seen legitimate release on DVD or any digital format.

Nevertheless, the range of music used in Mondo Trasho is stunning. Waters clearly has an ear for rock and R&B, stuff recorded back when the music was raw and vital. Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, James Brown, and Ike and Tina Turner are all represented here. In fact, Little Richard, Brown, and the Turners can be said to dominate the soundtrack. But Waters uses plenty of classical and operatic music, too. Among the composers who unwittingly contributed to Mondo Trasho: Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner, among others, And then there are total oddities, like Lyda Roberti's "Take a Number From One to Ten" and Mae West's "Treat 'Em Right." And who can classify such recordings as "Visage" by Luciano Berio?

I've been fascinated with Mondo Trasho's soundtrack for the last twenty years, and I've spent plenty of time in used record stores and online forums trying to identify each and every last scrap of music used in the film. Now, I'm happy to say that I have assembled a list that is as complete as I can make it at this time. I've published various versions of my Mondo Trasho soundtrack over the years, but this one makes all others obsolete.

A few notes before we begin. I have decided to catalog every distinct bit of audio that I can detect in Mondo Trasho. This includes occasional sound effects and instances of so-called "wild track" dialogue recorded by Waters and his actors, including Divine, Mink Stole, Pat Moran, and David Lochary. You will notice that many of the songs are repeated, some multiple times. Waters generally uses "Slow Walk" and "Come Go With Me" for the film's many traveling scenes, for instance. A siren and some gunshots from "Riot in Cell Block 9" are heard over and over again as well, as are some strange bleeps and bloops from "Flying Saucer (Parts 1 & 2)" by Buchanan & Goodman. I have tried to denote those instances in which a live version of a song is used. The items printed in red are the last few stragglers, the pieces I still cannot identify fully. Corrections, comments, suggestions, and additions are more than welcome.

That being said, let's have some fun.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Erotica Odyssey, Part Two by Greg Dziawer

Somehow, "Swish Erotica" doesn't have the same ring to it. You gotta have ED.

Constance Waarren's Hot Tub.

In a previous installment of Ed Wood Wednesdays, we surmised that Swedish House (1978), often listed in bibliographies of Ed's work, is in actuality not a book but a book imprint. Specifically, it was a paperback imprint under the multimedia Swedish Erotica umbrella, the porn industry behemoth that Pendulum Publishers morphed into through the '70s. By 1977, Ed was cashing paychecks from Art Publishers, Inc., publisher of Swedish Erotica books and mags, his last steady job in the final two years of his life. 

Since Woodology is never simple, there's not an obvious candidate with Ed's name or a known pseudonym on any of the covers of Swedish House paperbacks I've found thus far. We'll have to get at this from the opposite end, so let's play another round of Eddie or Not? 

The credited author on three of the (very few) Swedish House paperbacks is Constance Warren, and it's worth noting that she is not credited on the covers but only inside. The index numbers of the Warren titles comprise three of the first five of the brief run: Cabin Fever (SH-101), Hot Tub (SH-104) and Campus Lust (SH-105). All were first published in 1978, photo-illustrated with images from the endless Swedish Erotica loop series. For instance, Campus Lust, the tale of a librarian peeper, was adapted from the Swedish Erotica loop title of the same name. These paperbacks, minus the photos, were reprinted as late as 1989 under the same titles and credits and containing the identical texts. The cover price had risen a dollar by then. It's interesting to think that a dusty copy of an unknown Ed Wood book might still have been languishing on a wire rack in a sex shop by the time his legend was cemented by a Hollywood biopic in the mid-'90s.

The cover of Constance Warren's Hot Tub, a Swedish House paperback from 1978, is depicted at right. Notice the company's signature triple-dot insignia in the upper left hand corner.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood/Dziawer Odyssey by Greg Dziawer

Me now and him then: Greg Dziaweer and Ed Wood.

PROLOGUE
The author and his dog.
I've been in a reflective mood of late, thinking about this odyssey I'm on, researching the work of Ed Wood. How did I get here, to this point of serious obsession? Why am I here and what I am getting from this experience? My mind's in a muddle.  
In this week's Ed Wood Wednesdays, please indulge me in sharing a bit of my personal journey with Ed Wood and into his Art (yeah, I said it!). 
Last spring, my mother decided to put her home and business up for sale and finally, and more-than-deservedly, retire. Past retirement age, she had continued running the mom-and-pop shop my parents took over from my grandfather, begun in 1937. Open 12 hours a day, seven days of the week. A piece of the fabric of a small and affluent community, situated on a lake. I even had an amusement park down the road a mere mile away, with a wild and rickety old roller coaster that made your teeth hurt. The last day that coaster ran was the day of my second grade field trip to the park. I rode the coaster 27 times that day, wearing a yellow T-shirt with a Saturday Night Fever glitter logo on it. The things one remembers.... 
It was a poignant moment, to say the least, when my mother placed a hand-written sign on the front door of the store and we walked away for the last time last August. THANKS FOR 43 WONDERFUL YEARS, it said, among other sentiments. My father, stricken with Alzheimer's, didn't understand what was happening. The new owner tore down the building two weeks later.  
Although I had not lived there for more than a decade, I spent the first 35 years of my life there. Earlier last summer, my mother began securing sales for pieces of the property, ultimately sold off in four lots: the store on its lot (including the apartment above it where I lived for the first three years of my first marriage, and where my father was born, in the same bedroom he last occupied when they moved out last summer); the vacant lot next to it (a house I had lived in during the latter half of my teens through my mid-twenties was torn down around 2006); a small strip of bare lakefront; and a strip of lakefront with a lengthy deck and cabana (I lived in that cabana most summers through the mid-'90s right on the water).

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Magazine Odyssey, Part Nine by Greg Dziawer

"Come with me and you'll be in a world of Ed Wood speculation!"

We spend a lot of time around here at Ed Wood Wednesdays talking about Ed's work and debunking claims of Ed's authorship. This week, we're shifting gears a bit, with no research-based claims for or against, and (perhaps some will see the near-blasphemous irony) sharing a couple of snippets that could be Ed's work.

As we know, the playing field of adult magazines in which Ed's work could have appeared is immense. We've previously and thus far indexed over 600 individual issues filed for copyright from 1970 through 1975 by the Pendulum family of publishers (associated imprints including Calga, SECS Press, Gallery Press, Edusex and Libra Press). Bernie Bloom incorporated Pendulum in the state of California in the spring of 1968 (meaningless trivia: two and a half weeks after yours truly was born). He and Ed left Golden State News, and Ed's work there (in both duration and volume) still remains largely undocumented. After Pendulum and Calga disappeared by 1974, followed by Gallery Press in 1976, the so-called "triple-dot" magazines appeared for a brief period before transitioning into the Swedish Erotica mags, rooted in both the infamous loop series as well as one-offs that carried a single story, largely pictures accompanied by a corresponding text.

"The Monogrammed Panties"
In all, it's possible that Ed's work could have conceivably appeared in upwards of a thousand adult magazine issues, in some form. He himself claimed a thousand stories and articles from 1963 through the latter half of the '70s. While some stories and articles were later reprinted, that's the exception. And while the current frontier of Ed's work still remains an accurate and comprehensive attribution of his stories and articles in adult magazines, there remains a new horizon on the other side of that frontier for the masochistic Woodologist. Beyond the stories and articles, largely credited even if only pseudonymously, lie the editorials, the photo captions, the texts accompanying pictorials, etc. Any and all text in the mags was written by the magazine staff, and that could have included Ed.

The pseudonyms are sometimes all we need to make an attribution. Dubiously credited to Jill Bones, for instance, the story "The Monogrammed Panties" from Gold Diggers vol 2 no 2 1970 has a suspect title, and there's plenty of incidental drinking in it, but it doesn't sound like Ed's writing style at all:
"We looked at the gib [sic] black Caddy stopped at the intersection, and sure enough, sitting in the seat behind her chauffeur was Estelle Dunn, the hottest, sexist piece to hit Hollywood since Paula Price! Jesus! We couldn't get over it. Sitting right there! At the intersection in front of us! The most gorgeous piece of ass in Hollywood!"
Intriguingly, the titular panties are clearly monogrammed E.D. ...for Estelle Dunn. The pseudonym Jill Bones is clearly William D. "Bill" Jones, a fellow mag staffer of Ed's at Pendulum. Like Ed, he wrote his fair share of titles based upon the fabled T.K. Peters source.

In the pictorial texts, there's never a credit, and sometimes the text is so scant we'd be hard-pressed to discern a recognizable signature. Hence, past the full attribution of Ed's stories and articles, even past a comprehensive accounting of his work in 8mm porn loops, there lies the pictorial text.

Tanya from Two Girls In Paris.
The format of Two Girls in Paris vol 1 no 4 1974 from Gallery Press, solo pictorials with first-person accompanying text, would reach its zenith with the pair of Sam magazines from Gallery Press featuring solely the impossible Roberta Pedon.

In Two Girls, one of the females, Tanya, tells her story this way:
"His months of being in jail must have stored up a lot of sex in him because, I had never, up to that time, been taken like that, with such force, with such complete abandonment of any shame. And when it was finished he rolled off of me and stretched out on his back on the floor exhausted while I got up and dressed then sat on a couch until he revived. I had to wait him out. I did need a job."   
Uncredited, and we'll refrain from opining whether or not it was written by Ed. Passages of Tanya describing being taken by force are accompanied by photos of her smiling.

With more brevity, not far beyond captions, here is the text accompanying the pictorial "Natural Resources.........." (yes, I counted: 10 ellipses in all) from Male Lovers vol 3 no 3 Oct/Nov 1971:
"Naturally they pick the most rugged spots for their action because that lessens discovery even more. But other than their obvious homosexual activities the boys are great sun enthusiasts. As soon as they arrive at any of their picked spots they get undressed and just lay around letting the sun do its healthful work. Of course Chuck doesn't need a suntan. He's dark enough!"
This time, we'll refrain entirely from comment.

And we'll certainly need to continue traversing the frontier of stories and articles, picking up valuable clues along the way to leverage once we go beyond that next and final horizon: Who wrote "The Legend of Washington York"?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Two fireflies


The top panel is an unaltered Six Chix. I took the story over from there. Please imagine that the fireflies are played by Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Three variations on today's 'Shoe'

I liked the setup, so I kept it the way it was.

I don't know what it is with Shoe. The artwork, currently by Gary Brookins of Pluggers fame, is quite good. The basic premise (the frustrating daily lives of anthropomorphic bird people who have built a human-like society up in the trees) is serviceable. But somehow, Shoe can never quite stick the landing. Take today's strip, for instance, in which the cigar-chomping title character quizzes resident fatso Cosmo about his love life:

Were the quote marks necessary?

A Yelp joke? Yuck. That'll age like fine milk. And yet there was something about the setup ("Have you and your new girlfriend been romantic yet?") I found intriguing. So I came up with the three variations you see at the top of this article. In the first, Cosmo takes offense at Shoe's rude question and refuses to answer it. In the second, Cosmo makes a too-personal revelation, causing Shoe to look away in silent embarrassment. And in the third, Cosmo has to think for a moment before giving Shoe a disappointing answer. Take your pick. Or don't. Your choice.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Pseudonym Odyssey, Part Two by Greg Dziawer

Another piece of the Pete La Roche puzzle has surrfaced.
  
Recently, we shared an article by the mysterious Pete La Roche, a man whose name is often touted as a pseudonym for Edward D. Wood, Jr., from a late 1960s adult mag, and this week we're sharing another La Roche-credited article. Like the piece about William S. Hart, the following article is also about a Western film star and also first appeared in True West magazine in 1971: