Wednesday, May 4, 2016

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

Prepare to enter the strange world of author Carlson Wade (pictured in the center).

Wade-ing Into Wood

While we've previously played numerous rounds of Eddie or Not?, delving into the world of mistaken adult paperback Ed-tributions, let's not forget that the same holds true for Ed Wood's magazine work. Though lack of credits and a multitude of colorful pseudonyms in his magazine work conspire to challenge the dream of a full accounting of Ed's written word, we've got to start some-vere.

The cover of Female Mimics, no. 1, vol. 4, 1964.

Let's start at the beginning. The Ed-tribution of the article "Men In Skirts" in the East Coast Selbee Fetish magazine Female Mimics from publishing pioneer Leonard "Lenny" Burtman is one of the earliest speculated magazine writing credits I've come across for Ed Wood. While I don't know what chain of events set in motion or when to lead to Carlson Wade being considered a pseudonym of Ed, it's not hard to imagine. Wade's pulp fiction often covered similar niche group, specifically transvestism. Prolific himself, the occasional work seems suspiciously Wood-like on the surface:

Splash page for a Wade Carlson article about vampirism.

Despite it now being widely known and accepted in Woodology circles that Carlson Wade and Ed Wood are two different people, with their own distinct writing credits (though in Ed's case, those remain far from fully known), the occasional mis-Ed-tribution still occasionally turns up. One such claim, not surprisingly cropping up on Ebay with an exorbitant price tag , was a still-archived listing from late 2014 for Carlson Wade's 1958 novel, Conquering Goddess. 

Conquering Goddess with a classic cover by Gene Bilbrew, aka ENEG.

Bob Blackburn, co-heir of Kathy Wood's estate, wrote to a seller who was claiming that Wood is Wade and wrote Goddess. Here is the seller's response, which I will present without editorializing:

I have this stuff written down somewhere. Anyway, off the top of my head, there is a guy writing a book, he is the guru of Ed Wood. The reverend of Ed, they call him. He knows he is Carlson, and [collector] Jim Linderman knew Ed. He knew he was Wade, and Kathy told this to a interviewer. She also told of two other pen names but don't know those. Wade is the first pen name, and yes, Ed always wrote. He wrote all his scripts before this book even. The Wade you're thinking of never wrote sleaze. He was a nutritionist. The Carlson Wade who wrote sleaze has NEVER been publicly known, because this book is known to have been published by the mob. Ed had to keep this hush hush. Look on the web. There are people who knew Wade was Ed. 
Thank you.

Bob replied and received this response:

You're welcome! I love Ed, too. The style of writing of this book is also a dead giveaway that it's Ed. Do some investigating like I have.

Again, I'll be nice and let that speak for itself. Bob further noted that the seller never revised the listing, and thankfully the item did not sell.

Wade's articles circa 1963-1964 in a variety of Selbee mags, Leg Show, Pepper, and Striparama among them, often rely heavily on research, and are fact-filled in a way Ed's work, ironically, is not. Wade's prose is descriptive, conservative and readable but generally uninspired. And the same largely goes for the 100 + books, reasonably perhaps double that, he wrote across nearly half a century, more than the latter half of his career bringing a limited fame of sorts as a pop nutritionist.

While Wade is not Wood, and we know it, some still believe this Wade is not the same Wade who wrote adult paperbacks. Digging into his bibliography, it's easy to see the progression from socio-sex books (The Orgy In America,1965) to how-to manuals (Floor Decorating, 1979), then finally self-help health books (Health From The Hive, 1992). As early as 1964, Wade's interest in health and nutrition, already possessing an abiding interest in new remedies outside of then-current medical orthodoxy, surfaces as writer of the preface to Everything You Want To Know About Seafoods: Nutrition From The Sea. One of Wade's most sublime book titles is Butchers In Waiting from 1960, chronicling the evils of abortion, in case you didn't get that from the title (with frequent collaborator, to lend scientific credibility, Dr. Edward Podolsky).

Two Wade/Podolsky titles from 1960 are advertised here, in a page scan from Leg Show (v1 n6 1963). The text is from Wade's article, "Lips Vs. Legs – Which Do You Love the Most?":

A page scan from Leg Show. Note the Carlson Wade text at the right.

And here's an entire set of Wade books, the Epic Sexual Behavior Series, as advertised in the pages of Black Stocking Parade, no. 1 from 1963:

Wade's books are advertised in Black Stocking Parade.

Ironically, despite slapping his own name on the cover of the large majority of his adult paperbacks, in a world commonly tangled in pseudonyms, Wade's best-remembered works were a clutch of titles published under the pseudonym Ken Worthy. Carlson Wade's frequent paperback publisher L.S. Publications Corp. also released these Worthy titles. L.S. was an East Coast publisher, like most of Wade's throughout his lengthy career (contra Ed) out of New York.

The Homosexual Generation (1965) by Ken Worthy, whose back cover claims that it "sheds new light on a situation that increasingly menaces our young people," has gained infamy  for its derisive, derogatory and downright crazily warped view of homosexuality. 

Worthy's The New Homosexual Revolution continues in the same vein. An excerpt from page 111: "As the ranks of the homosexual is constantly swelling by greater and greater acceptance of this condition as an 'illness,' the ranks of the male prostitute is also swelled." One of its chapters is cryptically titled "The Homosexual Message: Decadence, Destruction, and Despair." Credited to Wade Carlson, The Queer Path from 1967  clears up any confusion as to the author's viewpoint on the Table of Contents page:

The contents of Wade Carlson's The Queer Path.

For the record, Ken Worthy is Carlson Wade, and not Ed Wood. Yet still, there remain whisperings in the halls of mis-Ed-tribution, specifically regarding The Homosexual Generation. While Wood could certainly paint any and everyone in a critical light, to say the least, he both pitied and despised the worst in humanity and ofttimes was genuinely empathetic to its externalities. For now, though, we'll save the argument that Ed is an existential humanist for a later day.

Ed did ultimately work for publisher Leonard Burtman, dubbed “the center of the American heterosexual kink community from the 1950s to the 1980s," at the tail end of his life. After moving his publishing operation to the West Coast in the early 1970s, Burtman's company Eros Goldstripe remained a dominant player in the fetish magazine market through the decade. Ed's paperback TV Lust was published under the pseudonym Dick Trent in 1977 by Eros Goldstripe.

The cover of TV Lust, credited to Dick Trent.

We can only wonder how much Ed was paid. 

Ed Wood's pay stub for TV Lust from Eros Publishing.

Back to our original inquiry: Tom Brinkmann, author of the inestimable Bad Mags books and website, recently mentioned to me that the first appearance of Ed's writing in a magazine may have been in Golden State News' Macabre (1967). He noted that an issue of the magazine contains the entire first chapter of the Pad Library book Bloodiest Sex Crimes Of History (also 1967), which Ed wrote under the pseudonym Spenser and West.

Kathy mentioned that Bernie Bloom, who was the general manager of Golden State News, a prolific distributor/publisher of adult slicks, took Ed Wood with him when he left Golden State to start his own company, Pendulum, which incorporated in early 1968. We know that, within a few years, Ed was pounding out magazine stories and articles at an unbelievable rate on his typewriter in the Pendulum office. What we don't yet know is the full extent or timing of his writing for Golden State.

The cover of Macabre, possibly the first magazine to feature Ed Wood's work.

And since this is, after all,
Ed Wood Wednesdays and not Wade Carlson Wednesdays, here are the opening paragraphs from Sex Crimes :

The bedroom contained a blood-soaked pillow. The bathroom revealed a nude figure, a woman which was draped over the rim of the tub. A blood drenched, green nightgown hung loosely about her neck. The useless garment moved serenely back and forth, in tempo to a soft wind-like music which played at the window. Two bullet wounds stood out harshly against the whiteness of her recently cleaned body. One gory hole glared from her head. The other, ruby gemmed, oozed from her arm.
But the bullets had not been enough for the killer. A jagged knife wound snarled viciously across her neck. 
Most pathetic, however, were the words scrawled in brilliant red lipstick across the wall. . .“FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE CATCH ME BEFORE I KILL AGAIN. I CAN’T CONTROL MYSELF.”

Bonus: The Ed Wood Wednesdays Tumblr features a full scan of the Carlson Wade article "Found: An Island Where Amazons Still Rule," complete with another ENEG illustration, from Pepper, vol. 1, no. 4, an early 1960s Selbee title. The Tumblr also features two galleries of cover art for Carlson Wade's adult paperbacks for your browsing pleasure. Enjoy them.

Carlson Wade – Select Bibliography

Carlson Wade made a living in a profession where few succeed for his entire adult life, passing away in 1993 with the distinction of his name having made its way into his book titles.

Adult paperbacks:

Confessions of a Transvestite - 1957
The Troubled Sex - 1961
She-Male: The Amazing True-Life Story of Coccinelle- 1963
Sex Techniques in Marriage - 1963
Sex Perversions and Taboos - 1964
Sexual Behavior and the Lesbian - 1964
Abnormal Male Behavior - 1965
Male Homosexuality: Case Studies - 1965
Mate Swappers - 1965
Sex Cults - 1965
Sexual Deviation and the Law (Ken Worthy) – 1965
The Compulsive Erotic - 1966
The Muscle Lovers - 1967
Naked in Sodom - 1967
Twisted Sex Desires (Ken Worthy) - 1967
Boys of Boles Dorm- 1968

How-To Manuals and Other:

Learn Tropical Fish the Easy Way - 1964
Be Your Own Carpenter - 1965
Be Your Own Plumber - 1966
The Key to Basic Electronics - 1967
Shower Parties for All Occasions - 1973
Great Hoaxes and Famous Imposters - 1976
The Pocket Encyclopedia of Baby Names - 1978
Dog Owner's Handbook: The Pocket Pet Encyclopedia - 1978
How You Can Get Money from the Government for Free - 1989
How to Read Palms and Fingerprints - 1992

Health and Nutrition:

Helping with Your Enzymes - 1966
Instant Health – The Nature Way - 1968
The Yeast Flakes Cookbook - 1968
Health Food Recipes for Gourmet Cooking - 1969
Natural and Folk Remedies - 1970
All-Natural Pain Relievers - 1975
The Book of Bran - 1976
Crockery Cooking: The Easy Way - 1977
Carlson Wade's Lecithin Book - 1980
Catalytic Hormones: Key to Extraordinary Weight Loss - 1982
Carlson Wade's PMS Book - 1984
How to Beat Arthritis with Immune Power Boosters - 1989
Natural Energy Boosters - 1993

Special thanks to Kathy Wood, Bob Blackburn, and Tom Brinkmann.