|An excerpt from an early 1970s writing resume for Edward D. Wood, Jr.|
Let's face it: the career of Edward D. Wood, Jr. was downright messy. That's why Wood-ology is a terrible field of study if you're a neat freak or a completist. Even at the peak of his powers as a writer and director, Eddie was laboring in the seediest, most neglected margins of the film and publishing industries. He often worked under pseudonyms (from "Dick Trent" to "Ann Gora"), and occasionally didn't receive any credit for his work whatsoever. Legacy be damned. All that mattered was getting a quick paycheck which he could use to pay his rent or buy booze. And because what he created (horror films, porno novels, and the like) was generally considered to be worthless junk at the time, it was not curated and preserved nearly as well as it should have been. Films, books, and scripts were just tossed out without a second thought. Sometimes all that survives of these endeavors are people's ever-fading memories and a few stray references in print. That's it. Who knows how much of Ed Wood's creative output was simply carted off to the Los Angeles City Dump without a second thought? Half? One-quarter? Three-quarters? The mind reels. The good news is that there are several dedicated Ed Wood fans working diligently on the case. One such investigator is Douglas North, whom I first encountered on a Facebook group devoted to Wood. With Douglas's permission, I am now sharing some of his findings with you. From here on out, the words you will read are his, not mine. Enjoy.
Occasionally I will get into Googling "fits" where I spend hours hunting for info about obscure things including some of the "rumored to exist" Ed Wood projects. I did so last night and found some interesting tidbits about a few titles. Here goes:
This is listed in both Muddled Mind and Nightmare of Ecstasy as a script Ed wrote for JC Productions. Looking at the screen grab of Ed's 1950s resume from the Photo Gallery on the Haunted World Of Edward D. Wood, Jr. DVD reveals more info: Johnny Carpenter Productions. Googling "White Flash" + "Johnny Carpenter" produces this: apparently a press-kit for Son Of The Renegade. There are two mentions of White Flash in the credits for a couple of the supporting players. To wit: "Bill (Chaney) has played starring roles in Cattle Queen, Badman’s Gold, Son of The Renegade, The Outlaw Marshal, White Flash, and others that ]ohn Carpenter has produced." And: "You will see Len (Lennie Smith) starring in Johnny Carpenter's Son of the Renegade and The Outlaw Marshal, White Flash, and all future Carpenter ﬁlms." Outlaw Marshall is, of course, the working title of the elusive The Lawless Rider. There is no White Flash listed on the IMDb, but intriguingly the TCM entry for Carpenter's Outlaw Treasure credits White Flash as "Himself." Cross checking the IMDb entry for the equine actor White Flash (Tex Ritter's horse) shows no such credit.
The Flame Of Islam
Googling this supposed Screen Classics/George Weiss production turned up a couple of similar but interesting mentions in Billboard from June and August of 1953 respectively. Both are in relation to burlesque dancer Shirley Hayes aka "The Pussycat Girl" appearing at the Riptide Club in Calumet City, IL. Both list among her credits The Flame Of Islam and another film alternately titled Paris After Midnight (a Weiss production) or Murder in Paris (could be a different movie). Hayes doesn't even have an IMDb entry. However, the After Midnight thing leads me back to a connection Phillip Frey (of The Hunt for Edward D. Wood, Jr.) made on the old Yahoo! group. He looked through the Screen Classics credits and found something called Bagdad After Midnite (sic), which is a striptease comedy about naughty harem girls. This could conceivably have been titled Flame Of Islam at some point. It also appears to be the same film as Strips Around The World (though the IMDb lists them separately), which features VALDA HANSEN (!!!). I don't know if he ever followed up on that but Bagdad is available from Something Weird and might be an interesting lead to follow. (I couldn't figure out how to do the links so just Google "Shirley Hayes "+ "Riptide" to find the Billboard articles if interested.)
The Double Noose and/or War Drums
Double Noose and War Drums are both listed on that old resume. War Drums is in the UCLA Film Archive. The Double Noose script came up on Ebay and some info came out from that which is available here. Both appear to have almost identical credits. This makes me think they were both pilots for a proposed Tom Keene western series that may have been re-purposed into standalone short "features." I found mentions of a proposed Sid R. Ross production of a 39-episode eponymous series starring Keene (along with vaudeville comedians Murro and Yaconelli as per Noose/Drums) both here and here. Meanwhile, UCLA's archive shows two different listings for War Drums. I don't have a clever ending for this or anything, this is all I've got. Hopefully it is interesting to some of you.