Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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

The cover of Dirk Malloy's Camera Action. Note the Midwood clover in the upper left corner.

Note to readers: You know what time of the week it is, friends? Yes, it's time to turn Dead 2 Rights over (temporarily) to Greg Dziawer so that he can enlighten us with his investigations into the strange, shadowy world of Edward D. Wood, Jr. I'm traveling out of state to visit relatives for the Thanksgiving holiday, so this is the last new content you'll be seeing at Dead 2 Rights for the next several days. But Greg has provided us with plenty of food for thought this Thanksgiving weekend through his examination of some vintage paperback books dubiously attributed to Edward D. Wood, Jr. Ready to separate wheat from chaff? Read on. And have a lovely Thanksgiving. J.B.

The Wood Paperback Odyssey
Who wrote Dirk Malloy's Camera Action?
... And ID-ing the “lost” A Study of the Sexual Man, Book One

So who did write Dirk Malloy's Camera Action? Well, Dirk Malloy did, to end the suspense quickly. But there has been some lingering suggestion that Dirk Malloy could be another one of Ed Wood's pen names. And, truth be told, Dirk Malloy is a pseudonym.

Why do I bring this up? In last week's first installment of the Wood Paperback Odyssey, we delved into the true authorship of Norman Bates' Male Wives, sometimes credibly claimed to be written by Ed Wood. There's also reasonable circumstantial evidence: Ed collaborated frequently with Charles D. Anderson, and they worked together closely at Pendulum. Nonetheless, Ed had no involvement with Male Wives.

I bring this up – to finally answer my own question – because in my travels I occasionally come across far more spurious claims of works that supposedly involved Ed. And before a spark becomes a fire, we should put it out. Which isn't to say that anyone is believing Ed's involvement here, as evidenced by the fact that the Ebay listing claiming this has been up for months now, with a "buy it now" price of a mere $22.00. Real vintage Ed paperbacks are into the hundreds.

A Leo Eaton/Ed Wood collaboration
from the T.K. Peters source.
But even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut: I landed the super-rare A Study of the Sexual Man, Book One at Etsy for a mere $21.99 a couple weeks back, lucky that the seller had no idea what they had, not listing Ed's name, nor Pendulum, nor even one of the credited names, T.K. Peters, highly associated with Ed. I was about 30 pages deep on the seller's listings (got there because I found a non-Ed Pendulum paperback listing and just started clicking through out of blind hope) when the title on the cover and the name on the cover, T.K. Peters, caught my eye. Without the relevant keywords, no one looking was going to find it. And, truth be told, few were looking and the seller isn't to blame. Although The Sexual Man, Book 2 is a known work of Ed's, information on its predecessor is almost non-existent. Almost. I found a copyright listing for it in at the invaluable Library of Congress' Catalog of Copyright Entries Jul-Dec 1971. Credited there to just Leo Eaton (another of Ed's fellow staff writers at Pendulum) – under an oft-used pseudonym, Frank Leonard - I later learned that it's listed on Ed's very own resume, as verifiably accurate (if still largely yet made public) a document as Wood scholars and fans have got.

An excerpt from the introduction to A Study of the Sexual Man, Book One (intro signed, "Frank Leonard, Los Angeles, 1971"):
As Madison Avenue and the advertisers jumped on the band-wagon, the confused and bewildered male looked around to find that all aspects of his nice, safe, male-dominated society were pandering the woman's sexuality. 
I digress. Because Dirk Malloy's Camera Action will eventually sell and the listing will eventually disappear, let's document the details of the claim here.

In an Ebay listing for the adult paperback Camera Action, a 1967 Midwood title (an East Coast publisher that never published a known Ed-affiliated work), written by Dirk Malloy, the seller opines: “I believe this is an original Ed Wood Jr. book! I attempted to find out online but found no list for his books written under pseudonyms."

A rare Midwood Triple!
I “attempted” to do the same, which I guess means something different to me. And maybe “find out” is a post on Yahoo! Answers. I simply googled Dirk Malloy. Though there are lists of Ed's pseudonyms online, and lists of his paperbacks that include known pseudonyms, maybe there is truly, “no list for his books written under pseudonyms.” I'm being charitable.

Dirk Malloy is easily identified as a pseudonym for Hank Gross. As Dirk, he wrote dozens of sleaze paperbacks (which sound very much like man's man fantasies when not in Mr. Teas territory, seemingly there in Camera Action) during the peak of that medium's era in the latter half of the '60s. A post with content from an unidentifiable source hinting Dirk's own website ( once existed, but the domain is now for sale) painted a succinct portrait befitting what you'd expect from the persona of a writer of sleaze paperbacks named Dirk Malloy:
Dirk Malloy is a raconteur, a lover of the ladies, and a writer of books aimed especially at men with lusty and intellectual interests like his own. He is a third-degree black belt in aiki-jitsu, has traveled extensively, rides a Harley, explores both theoretical physics and the wacky stuff, drinks his scotch straight, loves a good belly laugh, and has tasted both victory and defeat in life and in love. In short, a complete man.
Dirk Malloy: Father of the Most Interesting Man in the World?

In 2010, he published much of his work as e-books, still available. His bibliography fanciful and eclectic, it includes everything from Celebrity Sex Scandals to Gourmet Cat Recipes to Raunchy Jokes for Guys to Jesus Plays the Catskills.
In this sublime retelling of the story and teachings of Christ's life, Jesus himself takes the mike and tells it to a Borscht-belt crowd as a Jewish comic might. It's the New Testament as you've never heard it before! So here he is, ladies and germs, the King of Kings, the Lamb of God...let's give it up, folks, for JESUS!
His bio glosses over his work in adult paperbacks, though he reprinted some of them digitally. I am going to check out the reprint of 1967's The Dirtiest Dozen, a document of the meteoric rise of sex newspapers in the late '60s, covering Screw and its pretenders:
The male could grind his thighs against those of the heroine as much as he pleased, but he could not, under any circumstances, drop in on her cunt – not that it mattered, since she didn’t have one anyway. And of course, heaven help the publisher if, despite the obstacles of having neither a pud nor a place in which to put it, the hero had the temerity to actually shoot his load.
Oh, well. I thought my friends and I had made up the word "pud" in the fifth grade.

I'll also be checking out Sexual Fetishism, which covers painfully neglected, harshly real territory, the description getting lost in parentheses:
Take a walk on the wild side with this breezily-written guide to sexual fetishes, from agalmatophilia (arousal by statues) to renifleurism (urine and underwear, to doraphila (fur fetish), including quotes from some of the estimated 50 million practicioners and a comprehensive glossary of over 700 fetishes you probably never heard of.
This tiny Smashwords profile photo is the only
one I could find of Hank Gross/Dirk Malloy.
Many more astounding facts to come in future editions of Ed Wood Wednesdays:
  • Reviews of The Sexual Man, Book One and Pendulum's Young Marrieds, a paperback from 1971
  • “Unknown” fellow staffers at Pendulum identified. 
  • "Down Shirlee Lane"
  • The story of Golden State News and its myriad magazine lines (Classic, Cougar and Gold Line Publications among them), the blueprint for Pendulum, where Ed's work still largely remains unidentified
  • "One Million A.C. Stephens," the first installment of the Wood Script Odyssey; and the epochal revealing of the real T.K. Peters
"More than a fact!"

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Social Media Buzz: Another short story by Joe Blevins

"Eat your soul? Who, me?"

     After gently knocking twice, the dapper young man cracked open the door of his immediate supervisor's tastefully-appointed office and tentatively peered in.
     "Mr. Van Landingham?"
     The other man, fiftyish and conservative, did not rise to greet the young man but remained seated behind his desk as he said, "Come in, Korey. Have a seat, please."
     The young man entered the room, closed the door behind him, and respectfully sat down in a chair across the desk from his boss.
     "How do you think you've been doing in your role of Social Media Manager for the General Mills family of cereals?" said the older man.
     "Uh, good, I guess?"
     "Okay. Okay. Interesting. Now, one of your professional duties these last six months has been maintaining the Twitter account of Buzz the Bee, the cartoon mascot of our Honey Nut Cheerios brand. Is that correct?"
     "Uh, yes, it is."
     "All right. Now we're getting somewhere. Well, Korey, I took the liberty of printing out some of your recent tweets from that account. I have them right here. Do you mind if I read them out loud?"
     "Not at all."
     "Okay, here's one: 'Nothing like a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios to start your morning right.' Now, normally, that would be a damned fine tweet, Korey, but you chose to end it with the hashtag '911WasAnInsideJob.' Can you explain that?"
     "Well, uh, Mr. Van Landingham..."
     "Please. It's Kevin."
     "Well, Kevin, it's not that I personally think 9-11 was an inside job. But, of course, the account is written from Buzz's point of view. It's what he thinks. He's a multi-faceted character."
     "Okay, fair enough. But how about this one? 'Bee happy. Bee healthy. Life begins at conception.'"
     "Well, children do make up a substantial portion of our customer base, Kevin. And if they're not carried to term, they're not going to be eating any of our delicious Honey Nut Cheerios, are they?"
     "Hmmm. I suppose not. But then, there was this tweet that contained only a photo of actress Neve Campbell topless in the 2007 film I Really Hate My Job."
     "What, specifically, is the issue with that one?"
     "The issue, specifically, is that it's a photo of actress Neve Campbell topless in the 2007 film I Really Hate My Job. We try to keep our social media content family-friendly, Korey."
     "Are you saying then, Kevin, that General Mills considers the female body to be inherently shameful, something to be hidden away from view?"
     "Well, no, not exactly. But..."
     "Haven't you heard of the Free the Nipple campaign, Roderick?"
     "Whatever. It's a vital, burgeoning movement in this country right now. Shouldn't General Motors..."
     "...Mills be at the forefront of change for once? There's nothing wrong with breasts, Kevin. Breasts produce milk, and what goes better with cereal than milk?"
     "Yes, but did you have to post that same photo every hour on the hour during the Paris terrorist attacks? People were beginning to wonder if it was some kind of code. Now I have the NSA breathing down my neck."
     "People always fear what they don't understand, Kevin. That's what I'm up against every time I tweet something on behalf of Buzz the Bee. You don't know what kind of an awesome responsibility this is. While you're tucked away in this cozy little office of yours, I'm out there on the front lines! Right now, people are starving for the truth, and I'm there to feed it to them, 140 characters at a time. The new millennium needs its own Che Guevara, and why shouldn't it be a cartoon spokes-bee? The truth will out! Viva the Bee!"
     As the young man pumped his fist in the air and assumed a pose of hard-won victory, the older man reached into a desk drawer, pulled out a small blow gun, raised it to his mouth, and shot a dart directly into his subordinate's neck. The young man slumped over instantly. The older man paused, sighed, then picked up the landline phone on his desk.
     "Gladys? Have maintenance send a crew to my office immediately. We have another Code B to take care of. Say, how many more nephews do you think the CEO has left, anyway?"

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I tried to fix 'The Dinette Set,' and it defeated me.

(left) Julie Larson's original Dinette Set panel; (right) My "corrected" version.

Julie Larson's The Dinette Set, a single-panel cartoon feature, is somehow celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2015. It started in the Los Angeles Reader under the title Suburban Torture back in 1990 and became nationally syndicated under the name The Dinette Set seven years later. The feature's appeal and longevity baffle me. It's a domestic comedy focused on the adventures of two middle-aged sisters, Verla Darwin and Joy Penny, and their respective spouses and friends. It's supposed to be a gentle satire of middle class life, but it comes off as condescending and snide, and the characters are interchangeable and dull.

What really bugs me about The Dinette Set, though, is that it's a humor strip that doesn't know how to tell a joke properly. Each panel is saturated with unfunny, superfluous textual gags: T-shirt slogans, posters and signs, product labels, etc. All of this extraneous text is handwritten in the exact same style. Larson tries to distinguish each panel's primary, dialogue-based joke by writing it in larger letters, but the words push right up against the edges of the balloons, rendering them only semi-legible. The strip is a difficult-to-read eyesore.

Part of the reality of doing a syndicated newspaper comic is that each installment will contain a certain amount of clutter: the artist's signature, a date, a plug for the syndicate, and probably some mention of a promotional website, too. As distracting as these can be, they're a necessary evil. I firmly believe that jokes, at least when presented in the form of comic strips or cartoon panels, need a little breathing room. A certain amount of negative space helps. Charles Schulz, one of the masters of the form, used tons of negative space in Peanuts. But Julie Larson clutters up every square inch of her panels with unnecessary verbiage. Her jokes are suffocating. And they weren't too strong to begin with!

So I took a typical Dinette Set panel and tried to "fix" it. First, I eliminated as many props and background actors as I could without sacrificing the integrity of the scene, i.e. a baby shower with numerous guests and presents. I wanted to focus the reader's attention on the two primary characters, the ones who are actually talking to each other. I especially wanted to remove any distracting details around those characters' faces. When you're drawing a cartoon like this, you're like a director working with actors. I wanted to make sure their faces were the focal point of this scene. I also reduced the dialogue in size so that it had some air around it, while removing some redundant words in Mrs. Darwin's response. I didn't see any reason for both women to say the words "a Clapper for the baby's overhead light." Once was enough.

But my efforts were in vain. This stubborn Dinette Set panel was still pretty bad, even after my so-called "corrections." I think my version is a slight visual improvement, but the cartoon is still stifling and uninspired, and the joke still doesn't land the way it should. In desperation, I tried to convert this into a New Yorker-style cartoon with no word balloons and the dialogue rendered as a caption below the picture.

Nah. Still sucks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Paperback Odyssey, Part One by Greg Dziawer

Some latter-day reprints of Ed Wood's many, many, many paperback books.

Note to readers: It's that time of the week again, folks, when I step aside and hand the reigns of Dead 2 Rights over to faithful contributor Greg Dziawer, who has graciously consented to continue the labor-intensive Ed Wood Wednesdays series for me. This week, Greg takes us deep into the heart of Eddie's career as a paperback writer and shows us how to separate the real gold from the fool's gold. Once again, some censoring of images has been necessary. Take it away, Greg. J.B.

The Wood Paperback Odyssey
The Key to Barclay House's Male Wives by Norman Bates

The story must be told!
A veritable cottage industry, the sale of rare Ed Wood works, artifacts and memorabilia is an increasingly pricey world. And if you had one of these items to sell, let's say a paperback, and it had somewhere been suggested or even implied that it was written by Ed, your asking price just increased 10x. Of course, what we really all want to know is if Ed really did have any involvement in this hypothetical paperback. While I, as much as anyone – out of hope and enthusiasm, I tell myself – go flush with the excitement of seeming discovery when I come across the occasional magazine short story or porn loop that seems plausibly to have a connection to Ed, my reason eventually overtakes my impulsive emotion and reminds me of the truth. A Janus-faced truth, which also states that there remain tons of unidentified work by Ed.

Let's investigate an actual paperback to make these considerations worth our while. Let's get at the unvarnished facts, the very haven of truth.

Barclay House: unlocking closed
Psycho-Sexual minds!
FACT: Male Wives was published in 1969 by Barclay House, North Hollywood, as Psycho-Sexual Study #7031, published under the pseudonym Norman Bates.

FACT: Barclay House was an imprint of Brandon House (and so was Essex House), all lines marketed as sociological non-fiction to evade legal scrutiny. Credited to Norman Bates, Teenage Pimp (1970) – a delirious title and cover – was Barclay House Psycho-Sex Study #7096.

FACT: The Library of Congress' Catalog of Copyright Entries Jan-June 1969 lists Male Wives' author as Charles Anderson. And elsewhere from the same volume: Bates, Norman, pseud. See Anderson, Charles.

FACT: Though not listed in Nightmare of Ecstasy or Muddled Mind, Male Wives is listed — credibly and authoritatively — here, a derivative of having been included at the incredible exhibit here. That translates to this. The cover alone may be worth it!

(left) Teenage Pimp: Every boy's fantasy.
(right) Male Wives: Gay pulp fiction masquerading as hippie-era sociology.

You get the point. Excepting the Norman Bates titles, Ed is nowhere credited at Barclay House. Charles D. Anderson held down dual roles at Pendulum from 1970 or so, as editor and staff writer. The gig overlapped with writing paperbacks for Barclay House. In an interview I've yet to locate, Anderson is reputed to say that all Norman Bates credits are written solely by him. That includes a ton of short stories in various Pendulum magazine titles, concurrent to Ed's insanely prolific work there. Of course, Anderson/Bates did, indeed, collaborate with Wood/Trent (in this case, as just one example) on Pendulum's A Study of Fetishes & Fantasies from 1973.

 Pendulum's Little Library imprint aped the look and feel of the popular Liverpool Library Press.

People: All going some-vere!
MORE THAN A FACT: Ed did not write, or collaborate on Male Wives, or for that matter, Teen-Sex Swapping, a 1970 Barclay House title by Norman Bates. Charles D. Anderson did write as, a fittingly evocative doppelganger, Marion Crane, penning Brother John and Sister Mercy in 1972 for Little Library Press, an imprint of Pendulum, under which Ed's To Make a Homo was also published in 1971.

And as trivia, not suggesting Ed's involvement, the cover of Barclay House #7406 – Satan, Demons & Dildoes by Eugene Richards from 1974 – is a still from Orgy of the Dead.

Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer be-vare.

Be-vare, take care. Be-vare....

More to come about Bates/Anderson, Pendulum/LLP/et al and real Ed paperbacks to come in future Wood Wednesdays.

That other Norman Bates regards that other Marion Crane in Psycho (1960).

Monday, November 16, 2015

My 21-year-old theory about 'Pulp Fiction'

You know any of them old jokes? No, but I know an old theory.

It's all about Travolta, man!
I don't know why this popped into my head today, but I started thinking about a theory of mine concerning the movie Pulp Fiction. This was an idea I started toying with back when the movie was new in 1994, and it never got any further than some primitive, now-obsolete Usenet discussion groups. In those bygone days, I was probably frequenting or something similar. I think this idea of mine found some traction there, but it probably only amounted to a single stranger saying it was "kind of interesting." That was enough for me back then. Likes and RTs hadn't been invented, so we had to make due with what was available.

Anyway, my theory was that Pulp Fiction, at least the parts concerning the Vincent Vega character, was a movie-length tribute to the career of star John Travolta. It starts with the character's name. Vincent was also the name of Travolta's character on Welcome Back, Kotter. The "Vega" part was simply an acknowledgement that Travolta was a superstar. The actor became famous through television but never did another recurring role on a series after Kotter. That's why Vincent claims never to watch television. He knows he's not on it anymore, so what's the point? And his offhand question to Jules, "What's a pilot?" is a punning acknowledgement of Travolta's own well-known love of aviation. The actor is a certified pilot with five aircraft and a private runway.

Synonymous with disco.
Okay, now we get into more specific nods to iconic Travolta roles. Uma Thurman's Mia Wallace actually calls Vincent "cowboy" at one point, obviously bringing Urban Cowboy to mind. Also, when she's trying to lead Vincent to the intercom in her home, Mia says "disco" when he finds it, referring to the genre of music with which Travolta became synonymous after Saturday Night Fever. Having Vincent and Mia win a dance contest, meanwhile, is another obvious Fever parallel. A less-obvious one is when Vincent's partner, Jules (Samuel L. Jackson), decides to give up being a criminal, which he refers to simply as "the life." This is analogous to a sub-plot from Fever in which Travolta's character, Tony Manero, has a brother who is leaving the priesthood. And where does Jules live? Inglewood, CA, a near-perfect sound-alike for Travolta's own home town of Englewood, NJ.

Pulp Fiction references Grease a few times, too. Not only do Mia and Vincent visit the 1950s nostalgia-themed eatery Jack Rabbit Slim's, which he calls "a wax museum with a pulse," but Vincent also says that he'll be "a fucking grease spot" if Mia overdoses while in his care. And then there is Mr. Vega's antagonistic relationship with boxer Butch Coolidge. To say the least, Butch and Vincent get along poorly throughout the entire movie. This, I suggest, is an in-joke referring to the fact that Bruce Willis provided the voice of the baby in Travolta's Look Who's Talking from 1989.

Anyway, that's my theory, which is mine. There's not much more to it than what I've already described in the paragraphs above. I just wanted to record it here for posterity. Thank you for indulging me.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The world is my BarcaLounger. I shall not want.

Men love to recline in their BarcaLoungers. Women like to stand next to BarcaLoungers.

No joke here. No clever insights. No navel-gazing critiques. Just a man and his BarcaLounger. There is, I think, no greater achievement of Western Civilization in the 20th century than the luxuriously-padded reclining chair. A BarcaLounger or a La-Z-Boy is the finest chair a man could hope for in this lifetime, certainly far superior to any king's throne. Have you ever seen a throne, like the ones on Game of Thrones? Not comfy. Some thrones are made of gold and bedecked with jewels. But gold and jewels do not caress the nether regions. The opposite, really. So give me a BarcaLonger any day. In fact, let's just look at some more vintage recliner ads, eh?

"Santa, it's been three days. Is everything all right at home?"

"Okay, Gretchen, you can sit in the special chair, too. When the men aren't using it."

"We need to talk about your drinking, Helen. It's awesome. Keep it up."

Would you believe Ted died 20 minutes ago? You would?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pharus literally can't even right now

A few panels of Pharus in "action."

Pharus does not have time for your bullshit, okay? In addition to being a major star of the funny pages, he's also dying. Yes, because of us selfish surface dwellers and our rampant pollution, this poor little fish-boy is terminally ill, beyond all medical hope, a goner for sure. He should have an expiration date stamped on his clammy little forehead. And, to make matters worse, Spider-Man's half-crazy, half-stupid wife, Mary Jane, has recklessly decided to pick him up as if he were a big yellow football and just tote him around New York until she finds someplace to put him. That can't be good for him. What's she looking for? A night deposit box, maybe?

Okay, some backstory is necessary here. The current plot in the inaccurately-named newspaper comic strip The Amazing Spider-Man has Spidey duking it out with Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner. It's tough to know whom to root against here, since they're both dicks. As readers of the strip know, Peter Parker is lazy, selfish, incompetent, and prone to terrible wisecracks. But Namor's no prize pig himself. He has the snooty, imperious manner and flowery diction of a would-be alien conqueror from a 1950s sci-fi movie. It doesn't help that he habitually wears some kind of shiny, quilted vest-thing over his bare, hairless chest, nor that he has the most jagged eyebrows and the sharpest widow's peak in the comics business.

But it is Pharus, the sick little Atlantean boy, who has truly captured the nation's heart since he was introduced by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber on October 26, 2015. Namor dragged him up to the surface, where he can sort of breathe with the aid of special pills for a short while, as tangible evidence of the terrible effect we are having on those who call the ocean their home. And America has been in the grip of Pharus-mania ever since then. His design seems somewhat inspired by Zan and Jayna, the Wonder Twins from The All New Super Friends Hour, except that Pharus is much less prone to tomfoolery, doesn't seem to have any super powers, and noticeably lacks a monkey sidekick. With those qualities, it's no wonder he's been such an immediate sensation.The character is a non-stop delight, whether he's begging to be let go:

Wasn't "Let Me Go (Surface Woman)" a Billy Ocean song from 1986?

Whining like a bitch:

Manhandled by Mr. and Mrs. Spider-Man.

Or just lying unconscious on his pitiful little stretcher:

Truthfully, this is 90% of what Pharus does.

And if you're still not convinced of the character's innate lovability, just feast your eyes on this little collage, which I humbly call Big Ol' Wall O' Pharus Faces, No. 1.

So. Much. Pharus. (And, yeah, he turns blue on the weekends. I know.)

A star, clearly, is born. Hollywood execs, get out your checkbooks now. This kid's going places.

Ed Wood Wednesdays: Greg Dziawer on 'Operation: Redlight' (1969)

Real-life American GIs with Vietnamese prostitutes in Saigon, 1967.

Note to readers: Once again, this is the time of the week when I hand the reigns of Dead 2 Rights over to Greg Dziawer, who has graciously consented to continue the Ed Wood Wednesdays series for me. This week, Greg has been delving into one of the "missing-in-action" films on Ed Wood's screen-writing resume. Let me thank Greg again for the time and effort he has put into reviving this series. And now, without further ado, here's Greg. J.B.

A Descent into Operation Redlight
by Greg Dziawer

One of the most elusive titles in Ed Wood's filmography remains Operation Redlight, a film which has yet to turn up. Any reviews from its era have not survived into the internet era (or have eluded me). It was briefly mentioned here by Joe on a previous Wood Wednesday, as part of a review of the Ed-scripted The Undergraduate, owing to both films being produced by the  same man, Jacques Descent. I recently contacted Mr. Descent, and happily received a quick reply with plenty of fresh details:
Jacques "Jack" Descent
"I purchased the rights to Ed Wood's book called Mama House, which I produced as Operation Redlight. Ed wrote the screenplay, and Donald Doyle directed, and of course it featured also Ed. It was a co-production with Marty, a friend that put up part of the financing. Marty was the owner of American Film Lab on La Brea Ave in Los Angeles and one of the conditions to obtaining part of the financing from Marty was that his film laboratory would process the dailies. 
The film was shot in 11 days with exteriors in Canoga Park and all interiors at the former house of Norma Talmadge in the Los Feliz Hills. This was definitely a low budget venture and the lab ran into a problem from the first day of production so the whole film was shot without ever seeing a daily. Eventually after the wrap party Marty informed me that all the exposed film was processed in one evening and because of problems and break down over 35% of the exposed film was ruined."
A Bill Ward cartoon
Jack, as he signed this message to me, may be recollecting an original manuscript with that title. The also-elusive paperback was published – by Tiger Books/Powell Publications – the same year as the film was produced. Release information is yet unknown. In Nightmare of Ecstasy, it's identified as Mama's Diary. In Jack's own filmography and subsequently on the film's IMDb page, the only actor listed is Ed. 1969 was a busy year for the writer/thespian, including two additional adaptions of his screenplays in which he starred: The Photographer (aka Love Feast) and Misty (aka Nympho Cycler), commonly listed as from 1971 but likely shot in '69 and released in '70. The book summary in Nightmare sounds amazing, and at 224 pages this is one of the lengthiest – if not the lengthiest – of Ed's novels:
A popular sex novelist is “drafted” to run a chain of whorehouses in Vietnam. The characters are caricatures evoking the sex cartoons of Bill Ward. According to Kathy Wood, “Eddie treasured that book. It was something he did that he really liked and I liked it too...” Apparently, Wood wrote a screenplay of the book which was made into a movie Operation Redlight by Jacques Descent Productions. Wood was reportedly not entirely pleased with the results.
It's fascinating to imagine Ed playing the “popular sex novelist”, and a tribute to low-budget exploitation film-making that Vietnam was represented by southern California and the environs of a faded Hollywood star's mansion.

A 16 room/6 bath Venetian villa that Norma Talmadge shared with Buster Keaton's producer Joe Schenck, The Cedars, as it became known, makes quite the luxurious Vietnamese brothel! The property – in the hills overlooking Los Angeles – also appears in Billy Wilder's Sunset Blvd. (1950). More recently owned by fashion designer Sue Wong, the estate has housed Errol Flynn, Jimi Hendrix, Dennis Hopper (scenes from Easy Rider were shot there, and the wrap party was held there), Lou Reed, and Arthur Lee of the band Love through the years. Howard Hughes played the piano in the solarium, and Marilyn Monroe partied there. Bela Lugosi and Ralph Bellamy stayed there. And also Johnny Depp, as he was “channeling Ed Wood."

The Cedars today, its angels, saints, and lions restored.

If Ed was, indeed, “not entirely pleased with the results,” he nonetheless curiously saw fit to supply Jack with another screenplay just a year or two later. The paycheck, understandably, was preeminent. In future Ed Wood Wednesdays, we'll hopefully have much more to share about  Operation Redlight and Jack Descent. Needless to say, we heartily thank Jack for sharing!