Wednesday, April 27, 2016

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

Ed Wood's movies often had some very interesting trailers.

Although I've implicitly established the precepts of my little strain of Woodology in previous Ed Wood Wednesdays posts , this week we're detouring down another road, fittingly violating the principal Principle, i.e. foisting a speculative Ed-tribution on an unsuspecting public, minus the facts.

Bad, Bad Gang! on DVD
It was mere days ago when porn archaeologist Dimitrios Otis, the resurrector of Wood's then-unknown last-directed feature The Young Marriedsmentioned in an exchange with me that he would be penning the liner notes to John Donne/Donn Greer's Bad, Bad Gang! from 1972 – a cross between a roughie and a biker film – featuring Ric Lutze and a pre-boob job Rene Bond. Soon to be released on DVD by Synapse/Impulse Films in the longest version yet available, Bad, Bad, Gang! has no previously known association with Ed Wood. Then again, Dimitrios and I have previously discussed his compelling proposition that Ed worked on the script for Donne/Greer's Shot On Location. See his liner notes in the Ed Wood's Dirty Movies  DVD triple-feature from After Hours Cinema for the details. 

In one of those happy accidents, the very next day, I was looking through listings of old Something Weird Video compilations for the trailer to The Only House In Town, which is included in the out-of-print Bucky's '70s Triple XXX Movie Trailers Vol. 2 (1994), when I stumbled upon the trailer for Bad, Bad, Gang! listed in Vol. 7 of that same series.

As soon as I heard the voice-over once I tossed it on, I sensed something... familiar. It sounded to me like Ed Wood himself. I played it back. Then I pulled up the trailer for Fugitive Girls, which we know is Ed in the voice-over, for comparison. Though it felt inconclusive to me, it seemed a strong possibility that this was the selfsame voice.

Consulting my fellow Ed Wood obsessive, I asked Joe Blevins to take a listen. He reported back:"The cast is certainly intriguing: not only Ric and Rene but also Suzanne Fields of The Undergraduate. It's not out of the question that it's Ed narrating. To my ear, it sounds deeper and more authoritative than Ed's voice, a little sharper than Ed normally spoke. But it could be that Eddie was more sober that day, while he was half-soused when he did the voice-over for the Fugitive Girls trailer.

And, likewise, I asked Dimitrois Otis what he thought: "At first I definitely thought it was Wood's voice. The narration sounds like Wood wrote it. There are other traits of Wood trailers, but those also occur in the genre anyway: use of different music, different shots. (They would use unused shots from the film for the trailer.) And clearly the maker of this trailer had not seen the finished film yet! This is also the case with The Young Marrieds: The trailer tells a slightly different narrative than the actual movie."

Otis continued: "The way the trailer meanders onand too long for a traileralso has its implications. If not Wood's movie or any major involvement in it, then maybe he would have just done it fast or incomplete. The Fugitive Girls trailer is certainly much more complex and professional."

But Otis was later able to come to a definitive conclusion about the Bad, Bad, Gang! trailer: "After a few listens: That is Wood. I'd bet money on it. The writing, the style of delivery, the phrasing.... there could be a speed variation that altered it. Try speeding it up just slightly. Could be interesting. Not nearly the attention put on this trailer as on Fugitive Girls (for one thing, when the narrator discusses "Hambone," it is not over footage of him), suggesting done more on the fly, more of a hired job than part of the production."

So, while not quite a quorum, we are in collective agreement that this is very likely Ed performing the voice-over to the trailer for Bad, Bad, Gang! 

While we know that Ed did the trailer voice-over for Fugitive Girls, this possible find suggests that perhaps he narrated trailers with some regularity. And if he did voice the trailer for Bad, Bad, Gang!, it ties him to Donne/Greer, buttressing Dimitrios' argument about the genesis of Shot On Location. The clever credits of both Gang and Location by Donne /Greer imply an artistic ambition beyond the genre's norm.

(left) An image from Bad, Bad, Gang; (right) Rene Bond and Ric Lutze's credit from Shot On Location.

I completely agree with Joe that, in the Fugitive Girls trailer, Ed's voice is looser (pronouncing "heinous" as "hinious"). And I wholeheartedly concur with Dimitrios that the trailer for Bad, Bad, Gang!, while loads of fun, is sloppily constructed, suggesting work-for-hire. You be the judge.


While we are on the subject of Wood trailers, here is a transcription of the voice-over, with merely one choice line of dialogue, from the trailer to The Young Marrieds. This is clearly not Ed's voice, but perhaps it issued from the typewriter keys of his IBM Executive, making this our second violation of the Ed-tribution principal Principle in just one week.

The Young Marrieds Trailer Transcription

Title screen from The Young Marrieds

Follow them in their search for sexual fulfillment. The Young Marrieds! The pick up. Why does Ben seek adventure outside his marriage? What does he do with Sharon that he has never done before? In The Young Marrieds! 
The stripper. Ben's ideal woman. Will his wife, Ginny, ever be able to compete with the stripper's torrid sexuality? In The Young Marrieds! 
These are the women in Ben's life: Ginny. Sharon. Donna. Rachel. The stripper. 
In his effort to unlock his wife's hidden passions, Ben introduces a camera into their foreplay. Posing in front of the camera yields unexpected results. 
The Young Marrieds' search for sexual fulfillment and compatibility culminates in a group sex experience. An orgy. Both Ben and Ginny discover new vistas of sexuality. Will these discoveries further enhance their love life, or will they lead to yet more problems for The Young Marrieds! 
"Hey, wait a minute, that's my wife!" 
The Young Marrieds! Don't miss them!

See the trailer itself on the Ed Wood's Dirty Movies DVD, which includes Shot On Location, The Young Marrieds, and Misty/Nympho Cycler, a movie featuring Ed with eye shadow when not in full drag, improvisationally cracking up the legendary Casey Lorrain in the hot tub.

A new day... is begun.

"All with their own per-son-allatays..."

Special thanks to Dimitrios Otis for his expert opinion and likewise to Joe Blevins for that and for continuing to indulge me on this blog.