Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Immortality Odyssey by Greg Dziawer

David De Mering, seen here in Plan 9 From Outer Space, presided over the funeral of Edward D. Wood, Jr.

As a little detour this week, I went ahead and transcribed the eulogy from Ed Wood's funeral service, based on a few images of both the handwritten original and the reproductions floating around on online auction sites. Death comes for us all eventually, and it came for Edward Davis Wood, Jr. on Sunday, December 10, 1978. The official cause of death was arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. He was 54. No autopsy was performed.

David DeMering, who played copilot Danny in Plan 9 From Outer Space ("Hey, Edie, how about you and me balling it up in Albuquerque?"), delivered the eulogy, which referenced several of Eddie's films and the actors who appeared in them. Other attendees at the service included Paul Marco, David Ward, and Criswell. Eddie's body was cremated, and the ashes were scattered at sea. DeMering himself died in 1980, about a month shy of his 49th birthday.

Dear friends and loved ones, we are here today to pay our respects, and to honor the memory of our good and loyal friend: Eddy D. Wood Jr.

First I would like to quote from John 1.25-26: Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and who ever.”

Ed Wood was born in Paukeepsie N.Y. on Oct. 10, 1924, as Edward Davis Wood JR, son of Mr. Edward Davis Wood SR. and Mrs. Lillian Wood. He is survived by one brother, William Wood, and his wife Kathleen Everett Wood. Ed went into the USMC in 1942. He served for 4 years and earned a number of medals and citations and received an Honorable Discharge. Ed passed from this life on Dec. 10, 1978 from a heart attack ---- let us pray ---

O God the Lord of Life, the Conqueror of Death, our help in every time of trouble, who dost not willingly grieve or afflict the children of Men. Comfort us who mourn, and give us the grace, in the presence of death, to worship thee, that we may have sure hope of Eternal Life and be enabled to put our whole trust in thy goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

After the USMC, Ed later came to H'wood where he made a name for himself as an actor and director. Most of us here have worked with Ed in one or more capacities. He acted, wrote, produced and directed with such stars as Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson, Ken Duncan, Lyle Tylbert, Gregory Walcott, Tom Keen, Johnie Carpenter, Chriswell, VAMPIRA, & Paul Marco, and myself David DeMering, as well as a number of others – Ed was instrumental in bringing Bela Lugosi back into pictures after a number of years out of the industry. 
Ed's first picture was “I Led Two Lives” that now has become a classic. It starred Bela Lugosi, Ed Wood and Lyle Talbert. Marge Usher, Co. produced Ed's picture “Bride of the Monster” with Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson and Paul Marco. 
In closing, let us pray: the Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my Soul: he landeth me in the path of righteousness for his names' sake. Yea, though I walk through the shadow of Death, I will fear no Evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comport me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. Thou anointest my hand with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen. 
Now with keeping with what I am sure would be Ed's wishes, let us all drink a toast to his memory and wish him the very best in his life to come – 
Rev. David DeMering, D.D.

I've made some edits in transcription, largely punctuation and capitalization, leaving some interesting misspellings. (The eulogy is zero for two in spelling actor Lyle Talbot's name correctly, for instance.) I'll largely let this one speak for itself. Needless to say, though no one knew it that mid-December day in 1978, Ed was soon to become immortal in a sense, a recurrent theme in his work. The interested reader is referred to Rudolph Grey's Nightmare Of Ecstasy for some interesting anecdotes regarding DeMering, who was Bunny Breckenridge's secretary during the making of Plan 9 From Outer Space.

The funeral scene from Plan 9. Rev. Lynn Lemon presides.

And, just for the sake of contrast, here is the sermon delivered in Plan 9 by Rev. Lynn Lemon, a real-life Baptist minister and an investor in the project, over the fictional grave of Tor Johnson's Inspector Daniel Clay.
Greater love hath no man, than to lay down his life for another. It is always difficult to have last words over the grave of a friend. And Inspector Daniel Clay was a friend. A dear friend to me and to all of us. The bell has rung upon his great career. Now we lay him to rest. A rest well deserved, but so premature.
Requiescat in pace, Eddie. Amen.

A caption from Ted Newsom's Look Back In Angora.