Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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

Splash page drawing credited to ErtaG, from Dominion Publishing's Salt,y vol. 1,  no. 6, 1969.

If I asked you to reflect for a moment on avenues of promotion for Ed Wood's work, you might first conjure trailers for his '50s auteur corpus or even the hyperbolic trailer for 1974's Fugitive Girls narrated breathlessly by screenwriter and supporting player Ed. In this week's Ed Wood Wednesdays, however, we're taking a glimpse at another promotional avenue: a vintage magazine ad for Ed's paperback books, presented in its original context.

It Came From North Hollywood!

The adult magazine Salty carried a North Hollywood P.O. box as its address on its contents page, that area a nexus for myriad West Coast publications, including Pendulum Publishers, Inc., the office where Ed worked as a magazine staff writer in the late 1960s and 1970s. Dominion also sometimes carried a Van Nuys address, as with this paperback from their Triumph line in 1968, the cover again a work by artist ErtaG:

The cover of Hard Rock, a paperback by Jay Lawrence. Artwork by ErtaG.

By 1969, Ed was writing at Pendulum, both for the magazines and the paperbacks. An ad in this issue of Salty listed two titles written by Ed, Drag Trade (1967) and Suburbia Confidential (1968), among a proverbial bevy of mouth-watering titles. The ad is for Triumph's Fact Books and Classic lines of adult paperbacks.

In this ad, Drag Trade is #106 and Suburbia Confidential is #305. Hard Rock is #325.

Look closely at the last column, lower right, and you'll see Hard Rock listed in the ad above. Below is a picture of Ed's own personal copy of Drag Trade. I have a pet theory that the character of "Shirley" in this book was based on Ed's real-life high school sweetheart, the girl to whom he lost his virginity and whose angora sweater he wore, but that's another story.

The cover and inscribed title page from Ed Wood's personal copy of his own book, Drag Trade.

And here are the front and back of Suburbia Confidential:

The front and back covers of Suburbia Confidential, a book written by Ed Wood under a pseudonym.

Getting back to Salty, the issue in which the paperback ad appeared is highly representative of its place, time and genre... its overall milieu:

The fashion world waited: A page from Salty.

Special thanks to Kathy Wood and the Wood estate for preserving Ed's work and legacy, and to Bob Blackburn for scans from Ed's own copy of the amazing Drag Trade!