Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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

Hard Tack Harry stares down readers in this vintage Libra Press pictorial.

Daisy Chain Affairs

The cover of Gay Guys Book One.
In previous weekswe've revisited Ed Wood's efforts in the gay-themed adult magazines released by Pendulum Publishing and its various corporate sisters, including the little-known Libra Press. Curiously, Libra's titles were not filed for copyright, as Pendulum titles commonly were. And now, we've found yet another intriguing Libra Press title: Gay Guys Book One. Likely a one-off "stroke book" rather than an ongoing series, it's undated. And though its contents are recycled from previous Pendulum mags, it is swollen with Wood.

This week, we're sharing two pictorial texts from this issue and wondering aloud if they could have penned by Ed.

Although the contents of this issue of Gay Guys stretch back to original material in Pendulum mags from as early as 1971, an ad late in the issue lists titles from Gallery Press mags from early 1974, dating the issue. Ed is credited within under his own name for the reprinted short story "I, Warlock," which originally appeared in the August/September 1971 issue of Gay Studs from Pendulum Publishers. The identical page layout is carried over from the original publication, as a matter of fact. The remainder of the issue's writing—including the editorial, a feature article, and more pictorial texts lifted from earlier pubs—is without credit, but on the whole suggests Ed's ubiquitous involvement.

The cover and two pictorials within feature Rick Cassidy, a porn star, bodybuilder, and model who appeared in a handful of softcore sex films written by Ed and directed by Stephen Apostolof in the the early '70s, including Drop Out Wife (1972). Cassidy's numerous hardcore films include the allegedly Wood-directed Bloomer Girl (1972).

The pictorial preceding "I, Warlock" in Gay Guys includes the following text accompaniment:

69 Solly
Solly with his lolly.
Sixty-nine Solly is a very lonely young fellow who has only recently migrated to the west coast from a small northern New York town. He knew only two of his kind in the entire area and felt there must be much better pickings in one of the larger cities. And since he can't stand the cold which is produced in New York State during the fall and winter months he decided upon Southern California.

But there he sits in his small Southern California room a very lonely fellow. He had this set of pictures taken by a professional photographer and has submitted them in hopes that he will find someone who can love him...at least be friendly. He notes rather strongly that he is the passive type. But he doesn't want to be contacted by any of the rough trade. He met up with a few of them on street corners like Hollywood and Vine and Sunset and La Cienega and he feels he barely got out of the situation with his life...lucky for him.

The daisies on the swing, he tells, denotes that he has always heard about daisy chain affairs and this is of tremendous interest to his mind and body. It would be the high light of his life if he could only make such a connection. And he further states that as far as he's concerned, anything goes.

"I'll even go to work and help out with everything, if I can only meet the right guy for me. Now I think that's really bending over backward for someone."

While we'll let that largely speak for itself, it's worth noting that, whomever it was, the author of the text often approached these assignments in precisely this manner. An admixture of psychological speculation based upon a quick read of the model's demeanor, visual details in the photos described, and more personal motifs—highlighting the passive member of the relationship, nurture beyond mere physical sex, and celebration of a job as sign of full commitment to a relationship or at least sex—the pictorial texts possess an internal continuity suggestive of auteur-ship.

The short story "I, Warlock" follows, and then another pictorial text, carrying the same signatures. It is reproduced below:

Careful with that cigarette, Harry.
Hard Tack Harry

Hardtack Harry is a carpenter's mate. He hasn't graduated to the full classification of carpenter as yet but given a little more time and he will have earned that distinction. After all he's only been in the business professionally for the past three years and has held his union card for a little over a year. Apprenticeships sometimes take considerable work and concentration. That all takes time. 
But he never works more than an eight hour day, and when the business is a little rough he might work a couple of days a week. This leaves him plenty of time for outside activities of which are the very point of existence in his life.

He doesn't like the more feminine of the GAY crowd which he has come in contact with in the bars where he spends much of his time. What he actually wants is a really rough, tough he-man like himself who works his shift at off hours...sometimes in the day and sometimes in the evening or night.

He will not have anything demanded of him and in this he is extremely strong of mind. But he is quite willing to share and share alike. If things are done with respect he will give in quite readily. But that's the kind of guy he is.

The syntax here, as well as the capitalization/italicization of GAY, are compelling fingerprints. But alas, we may never know if Ed wrote these texts. Given the evidence, I'll rhetorically ask again: If Ed didn't write it, who did?

And just to make you scratch your head one last time, another undated mag titled Gay Guys appeared circa 1978, carrying the familiar triple-dot insignia, often featured on magazines published by Bernie Bloom, in the upper-left cover and a Swedish Erotica logo on the other side. Another story magazine from this iteration of the Bloom-iverse (Swedish Erotica being the pinnacle, and we know Ed was still writing for Art Publishers, Inc. right into the last year of his life), the mag consists of a sole pictorial accompanied by a lengthy text. The opening line of that text:

In this supposed era of enlightenment, there has recently been a startling upturn in reports of attempted book censorship in the nation's libraries.

A FACT!

BONUS: "69 Solly" and "Hard Track Harry" have been posted uncensored in their entirety to the Ed Wood Wednesdays Tumblr. Very NFSW, so proceed with extreme caution.

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