Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays, The Wood Collaborator Odyssey, Part Three by Greg Dziawer

Wood-ologist Greg Dziawer reading Sex On Campus by Norman Bates with Dr. T.K. Peters.
"If he [Ed Wood] was working on a job like at Pendulum, he would start as soon as he got home. That would continue until about the time he would pass out at about 9:30 or 10, and then he would go to sleep wherever it was he passed out, wake up about 4 in the morning, and head immediately for the refrigerator for a big pitcher of Kool-Aid."

-Charles D. Anderson, from Rudolph Grey's Nightmare Of Ecstasy

One name that crops up regularly in Ed Wood's later years of writing pornography is that of editor and writer Charles D. Anderson. Like Wood, Anderson was a staffer at the Pendulum magazine offices on W. Pico Blvd. in the early 1970s. The two also shared the occasional project outside of magazine work, but they did not share a pseudonym. We've discussed a few titles sometimes still erroneously attributed to Ed and credited to Anderson's pseudonym Norman Bates previously here  and here. But now, let's take a closer look at Anderson's entire career.
I. The Pendulum-Family Magazine Work

A labyrinth of exceptional complexity and mystery, we may never fully know exactly what Ed did or did not write for Pendulum and its offshoots, including Calga, SECS Press, Edusex, and Gallery Press. Anderson's work remains equally speculative. Outside of the Anderson articles and stories attributed to Norman Bates – and likely also Luke Norman – the uncredited texts, i.e. accompanying pictorials, captioning photos, in editorials and in short stories and articles, could have been penned by any of the five or so staffers punching the clock at the Pendulum offices. There was certainly cross-pollination in their work, and the demands of quickly generating product led to reprints and cut-and-paste from previously published material, turning books into magazine texts and vice-versa.

We've indexed all of the magazines filed for copyright by Pendulum et al. from 1970 through 1975 in previous Ed Wood Wednesdays, specifically "The Wood Magazine Odyssey," parts 3 thru 7, over 600 mags. Given that Bernie Bloom incorporated Pendulum in early 1968 and Gallery Press was active until at least 1976, it's reasonable to infer we are talking about 800 mags plus, not including annuals and a smattering of other titles not filed for copyright. And beyond that, magazines with the three-dot ellipses (not a coincidence, but a fact) in the upper left corner of the covers continued appearing right though Ed's passing. The same three dots, of course, appear on the cover of the multitude of Swedish Erotica magazines released in the latter half of the 1970s, into the early '80s. By that point, Pendulum had disappeared, morphing into Gallery, and then into the larger Caballero Control Corporation, spearheaded by Bernie's son Noel. Though their work here still remains largely undocumented, Ed and Anderson both continued working for Bloom & Son through these transitions.

Logo from a three-dot title circa 1976, containing Ed's story "Jennifer," credited under his own name.

II. Outlaws of the Old West

(left) Cover of Outlaws Of The Old West; (right) Pearl Heart herself.

This 1973 short story compilation was "compiled, edited, and with an introduction by Charles D. Anderson." Attempting a foray into the mainstream, Anderson brought Ed Wood along for this project. Ed contributed the fact-based, nine-page story "Pearl Heart and the Last Stage,"included in previous editions of David Hayes' superb Ed index Muddled Mind: The Complete Works of Edward D. Wood, Jr., currently in revision by yours truly.

A mass market paperback published by Mankind Publishing Company out of Los Angeles, a derivative of Mankind magazine, Anderson's five-page intro sets the, uh, stage for the rest of the book and hails the then-nascent fears associated with urban crime:
"The outlaws of the Old West weren't really that colorful, although some were ingeniously enterprising and ruthless. And by today's standards their crimes weren't that terrible. We are undoubtedly more appalled by reports of senseless mass slayings today than the average person in Abilene was at the news of a stage holdup. And while citizens walking the streets of Dodge City might have been startled to find themselves in the midst of a spontaneous gunfight, we sometimes find ourselves wondering whether it's even safe to venture out onto the streets at all."

Ed's blurb on the contributor page (which he might have written himself, given its use of the word "fact") glosses his overall career and focuses instead on his work in Westerns:
“Edw. D. Wood, Jr. has worked in the areas of Western fact and fiction for many years. The author of numerous books and articles he has also written, produced and directed western feature films.”

III. The SECS Press/Edusex Paperbacks

From 1970 through 1973, Pendulum/Calga published dozens and dozens of (mostly) photo-illustrated paperbacks under their d.b.a.'s SECS Press and Edusex. That's "doing business as" in copyright speak, meaning the imprints were unincorporated derivatives of the incorporations Pendulum, Calga, and Gallery Press. Offered 800 to a thousand bucks per book as bonus, the magazine staff churned them out quickly, even recklessly. Deliriously ephemeral today, most of these books were based upon source material supplied by one Dr. T.K. Peters, drawing on his lifelong (and, for decades, covert) study of human sexuality.

Magazine articles were frequent fodder for these volumes, which were often haphazardly stitched together. Hardcore photos, the raison d'etre of the books, appeared on nearly every right-hand facing page. According to Ed's fellow staffer Leo Eaton (aka Frank Leonard, Frank Lennon, and Mandy Merrill), Ed was the one writer in the office who took the work seriously. Charles D. Anderson echoed the same in Nightmare Of Ecstasy: "He and I did a book together, a documentary study of fetishes and fantasies. He did the fetish part, and I did the fantasies part. When the book came out we had a big party. He took the writing very seriously."

Apart from that one memorable collaboration, Anderson contributed his fair share of titles to the Pendulum/SECS Press Encyclopedia of Sex and Calga/Edusex Sex Education Clinical Series. Often, these series were one in the same. The individual volumes were given index numbers, with the former identified by the A Study Of... prefix. This culminated after the SECS Press imprint dissolved into paperbacks published under the Gallery Press/Edusex imprint. A list of titles by Anderson, all credited or co-credited to "Norman Bates," follows:
  • A Study Of Sex On Campus – 1971 – Norman Bates with T.K. Peters. SECS Press, Los Angeles, CA. Encyclopedia of Sex Series. Vol 20/SP-114. 192 pages.
  • Sex Myths And Realities – 1971 - Norman Bates with T.K. Peters. SECS Press, Los Angeles, CA. Vol 25/SP-119. Sex Education Clinical Series. 192 pages. 
  • Sex Myths And Realities Book 2 – 1972 – Norman Bates with T.K. Peters. SECS Press, Los Angeles, CA. Vol 34/SP-128. 191 pages.
  • A Manual Of Human Sexuality Vol 1 – 1973 – Norman Bates. Edusex (Gallery Press).
  • A Manual Of Human Sexuality Vol 3 – 1973 – Norman Bates. Edusex (Gallery Press). 
Incidentally, the SECS Press acronym, listed as the Sex Education Clinical Series in the paperbacks, was itself re-purposed as the Sex Education Correspondence School for the films discussed in the next section. Correspondence schools frequently advertised in sex mags at the time, the core demographic being blue collar males. Most of these ads were for equally hands-on trades, but with far less enticing subject matter. ("You can be an Electrician!")

IV. The SECS 8mm Films

"The last movies he [Ed Wood] ever made was something that we were doing for Pendulum. They were part of this home-study guide they were putting out. You'd get these 8 millimeter movies with the books, see? We were doing some sort of romantic, idyllic kind of situation with a husband and wife at home, and then it would progress into what was basically nothing more than a hardcore. But it had the pretense of being self-help. We were co-directors. Our names never appeared on the screen at all." 
-Charles D. Anderson, Nightmare Of Ecstasy

An ad for the SECS films.
I've seen references to this 12-part educational sex series of Super-8mm short films indicating they were in black-and-white or consisted of a montage of still photos. Not so. As one has turned up for proof, the series is indeed in color and contains hardcore sex masquerading as sex education. This was half a dozen years after the so-called "white-coaters" had crossed the line of legal obscenity, an eon in the development of filmed graphic sex, pioneering in human history. These films were frequently advertised in Gallery Press magazines in the mid-1970s. Bernie Bloom cleverly repackaged existing texts to accompany the film series.

The films, silent and approximately 10 minutes each (erroneously listed as 20 minutes apiece in Nightmare), were sold as part of a monthly subscription package that included a corresponding book, newsletter and self-reference section "to stimulate thoughts and acts with your mate."

Although it appeared with little fanfare, the first film (Home Study Course/Session One, 1974) was screened at the Anthology Film Archives  in September, 2014 as supplement to a screening of The Young Marrieds. The series was advertised in numerous Gallery Press magazines as late as 1976, including the first issue of Half & Half, an intriguing transgender/transsexual title.

There's no mistaking the thoughts in a man's mind.

V. Select Paperback Bibliography of Charles Anderson (non-Pendulum)

  • Male Wives – 1969 – Norman Bates. Barclay House, North Hollywood, CA. A Barclay House Psycho-Sex Study. #7031. 191 pages. Gay pulp fiction disguised as case studies.
  • Voyeurism '70 – 1969 - Selwyn Conners (pseudonym of Con Sellers) with Norman Bates. A Barclay House Psycho-Sex Study. #7077.
  • Teen-Sex Swapping – 1970 – Norman Bates. A Barclay House Psycho-Sex Study. #7091. 192 pages.
  • Teenage Pimp – 1970 - Norman Bates. A Barclay House Psycho-Sex Study. #7096.
  • The Case Studies Of Anal Sex – 1970 – Will Henry with Norman Bates. Barclay House, Chatsworth, CA. #7114. 191 pages. Stories of anal sex related in case history format. Sections include: Analism and the Teenage Girl; Homosexual Analism; Analism in the Family. 
  • Brother John And Sister Mercy – 1971 – Marion Crane (a clever twist on the Bates pseudonym). Little Library Press (a Pendulum derivative, aping the look of the prolific and popular Liverpool Library, noted for their highly graphic intensity of sex scenes). Farm girl and travelling preacher back-woods sex. Opening line: “Mercy Clowers opened her soft blue eyes slowly.”
  • Secret Sex – 1971 – Norman Bates.Venice Books, VanNuys, CA. VB-504. 185 pages. “One man's meat is somebody else's secret.” Oral and anal sex, lesbianism, bestiality, group sex and other acts from behind closed doors. 
  • Back Door To Pleasure – 1974 – Norman Bates. An Eros Goldstripe Publication. Eros Publishing Co., Inc., Wilmington, Los Angeles, CA. Goldstripe Fiction Series. GF-5115. 182 pages.
  • Teen Analism '79 – 1979 – Norman Bates. Publisher's Consultants, South Laguna, CA. SN-105. 190 pages. 
  • Murder On The Ecstasy Express – 1980. World-Wide Publishing. Adult Fiction/Erotic Mystery.
  • The Skin Flick – 1981 – Norman Bates. Hustler. HP-10-113. 

The Skin Flick
From the numerous quotes from Anderson in Nightmare Of Ecstasy, it's clear that he and Ed were friends and knew each other well. Their pairing these days, mostly mis-Ed-tributions rooted in confusion over the "Norman Bates" pseudonym, belie their clearly different literary styles. While Ed elides narrative and bends syntax, Anderson's style is far more orthodox. And while Ed explored his own highly distinctive pet themes and motifs, Anderson's seeming obsession – he returns to it again and again – was anal sex. Anderson frequently collaborated with other writers, at least in his paperbacks, though his little-documented adult magazine work accounts for the bulk of his literary endeavors. Yes, I said it: Writing about sex, even when aimed at the proverbial raincoat brigade, is indeed literature.

As the market shrunk for written pornography, and the adult paperback waned into the 1980s, a solo Anderson penned one of his last (if not very last) sex novels: The Skin Flick, still at times mistakenly attributed to Ed. Published by Hustler magazine as part of their short-lived line of paperbacks in the early '80s, it heralds a last gasp of a disappearing genre, attempting to turn men on via words and not pictures, graphically and endlessly describing sex acts:

Now, from behind, Daisy could feel brother spreading her legs apart, his kinky hair rubbing against the back of her thighs and the trembling tip of his cock poised but only fleetingly touching the split of her ass cheeks. 
His hands stroked the small of her back, circling in a smooth stimulating motion like a feathery massage. Then he brought them down to her ass and inserted his thumbs between the smooth, white cheeks until she could feel cool air rushing between them as they were pried apart. She jerked a little at the surprisingly pleasant sensation, her hands clawing into the mattress to brace herself. 
Oh my God, Sarah thought to herself. Surely he's not going to ass fuck her.

Unfortunately, information about Charles D. Anderson, the man behind these books and others, is difficult to come by. His birth and death dates are unknown, as are any details about his personal life. Was he married? Did he have kids? Was he a native Californian, or did he move there, like Eddie did? It's all a mystery. What is known about Anderson is that his writing career often paralleled and occasionally intersected with that of Ed Wood. They wrote the same kind of stuff in the same place at roughly the same time. That's about it. To the extent that Anderson leaves a legacy today, it is in the books he wrote. The last person who seems to have been in touch with the man was Wood biographer Rudolph Grey. But even Grey said he'd never seen a picture of Anderson. And after being interviewed for Nightmare Of Ecstasy, Anderson "sort of just vanished."

Bonus: Here is a scan of a brief article by Luke Norman, presumed to be another pseudonym for Anderson, from the Gallery Press  magazine Two Girls vol. 1, no. 4 from Sep/Oct 1974. The amazing art literalizes big-breasted women as aggravating male castration anxiety, and the uncredited first-person texts accompanying the two lengthy, pulchritudinous photo features sound a bit Woodian.

And here are some Anderson paperback covers, too! Enjoy!