Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Collaborator Odyssey, Part Five by Greg Dziawer

Eddie Or Not: Was this lusty Hustler paperback penned by Ed Wood?

Dick Trent. Occasionally Richard Trent.

The obsessive Woodologist will certainly recognize this as one of Edward D. Wood, Jr.'s most frequently-used pseudonyms, in a class with the sublime Shirlee Lane. Shirlee/Shirley was also Ed's drag persona... and in a far-fetched thought-experiment of mine, Shirley was the name of his high school sweetheart, the girl whose sweater he wore for the first time and to whom he lost his virginity.
"Shirley wore a fuzzy green angora sweater with a matching green skirt. She had on knee-length white stretch socks which ended in green and white, low heeled shoes. The more young Charlie looked at her clothes, dug his fingers into the soft fur of her sweater at the shoulders, the more he craved wearing the things himself."
-excerpt from Ed Wood's Drag Trade (1967)

It's easy to get lost in Shirley. Take these passages from the short story "Baiting Millie," as published in Hellcats, vol. 2,  no. 3, from July/August 1973, credited to Edw. D. Wood, Jr.:
". . . then there was Shirley . . . . It was a bar pickup . . . but not one which might cause distress between either party . . . . Shirley was a delight to watch as she swayed in her miniskirt . . . she never simply walked, she had a rhythm which could only be classed as swaying . . . . Millie almost let her hand go up under her skirt and masturbate herself right there in the bar when she saw that swaying fanny . . . " 
"...the light tapping came on the locked cubicle door and the little voice asked to come in and Millie was shocked, but she opened the door and there was the exotically beautiful Shirley and Shirley told her that she would do that for her, only she didn't use her finger, she sank down on the toilet seat and inserted her tongue . . . ." 
". . . Shirley was killed in a street accident when absentmindedly she went against the light at an intersection when she was racing to catch her bus across the street . . . it broke Millie's heart and she cried for a week, and she didn't get to her job for a week, illness, a death in the family . . . she wouldn't be fired . . . they depended upon her too much . . . then there was Sharon . . . the luscious Sharon who swayed when she walked . . . she didn't just walk, she swayed with each step . . . she glided . . . she was so much like Shirley . . . . "

But you are probably still wondering about Dick Trent.

Though he did use the pseudonym multiple times in his career, Dick Trent is not always Ed Wood. Everybody Does It, for instance, is an old Continental sex novel that was probably originally published in the 1950s, then perhaps translated and certainly sexed up with contemporary language in the late 1960s. Though credited to Dick Trent, it is not written by Ed Wood. An excerpt:
"Her ass was split wide apart and it was a gorgeous, prick uplifting sight to behold. I was happy to be where I was. The slight smell of shit infiltrated my nostrils like sweet perfume."
-from Everybody Does It, Continental Classics CC-148, Long Island, NY, 1968

Dick Trent is Ed, however, in A Study of Fetishes & Fantasies, a 1973 release from Gallery Press' Edusex line in 1973, the esteemed Dr. T.K. Peters having faded from the series by this time.

The cover of A Study Of Fetishes & Fantasies

Fetishes & Fantasies is confusingly credited to Edw. D. Wood, Jr. and Norman Bates on its cover and to Norman Bates and Dick Trent on its title page. By any combination of names, that's Edward D. Wood, Jr. and Charles D. Anderson.

We've overviewed the little-known Anderson here previously on Ed Wood Wednesdays. A crucial collaborator of Ed's in the 1970s, he seems to have persisted into the waning days of the adult paperback. Anderson's 1980 novel Rebel Spirit (HP-10-124) is, like Doctor of Perversion (HP-10-284), from the Hustler line of books, bearing the trademark of Larry Flynt's infamous pornographic magazine franchise. One of the rare titles credited under Anderson's own name, it ambitiously strives to paint a convincing historical backdrop. The opening:
"'No,' said Elizah, 'and there are those who don't even believe we are Englishmen. We are in America, not England. This is a new land, a new life. We've struggled on our own without Fat George, and we have every right to be on our own.' 
'And there are those,' replied the planter, 'who think that if there is to be any question of independence, it must originate here in Virginia. We're the largest and most affluent of the colonies and... '
'Don't you see,' the planter went on enthusiastically, "'hat's why the resolution to start the debate should come from Virginia... and the Burgesses!'"

The covers of Rebel Spirit and Murder On The Ecstasy Express, both written  by Charles D. Anderson.

Hustler dipped its toe into the waters of the adult paperback in that medium's autumn, launching a line of paperbacks to newsstands in 1979. They partnered with Lenny Burtman's Eros Publishing, a publisher with roots in the '50s, going back to the Burmel and Selbee mags, featuring Bettie Page and the art of Eric Stanton and Gene Bilbrew, and later articles by Carlson Wade (another writer who is not Ed). Eros was aiming to leap from the adult bookstore to the newsstand in this venture. Early titles in the series reprinted previous Eros titles. Some were also credited to known pseudonyms of Anderson, including Norman Bates. One example is Murder On The Ecstasy Express (HP-10-149), a book whose title references Agatha Christie's Murder On The Orient Express, which had been made into an all-star movie as recently as 1974. An excerpt from Anderson's version:
"Their clean sheets, which Nancy laundered scrupulously along with the rest of their meager clothes, were rumpled, the result of their playful prelude to their lovemaking. 
'Do you think we should?' Jeff asked, mindful of Nancy's pregnant condition even though his prick strained for release. He stroked her swollen stomach lovingly."

Anderson's style, in the wake of Ed's passing, retained its neo-classical orthodoxy. Despite or because of their friendship, Charles' and Ed's literary styles were polarized. Ed's jaggedly inebriate ramblings sparked reckless visionary eruptions, while Charles carefully created dramatic sexual tension rooted in the psychological realism of the characters.

Variations on a theme: Novels credited to Martin Crane and Marian Crane.

Norman Bates was not the only alias that Charles D. Anderson filched from Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho, itself based on a 1959 Robert Bloch novel. Anderson also occasionally wrote under the pseudonym Marion Crane, referencing the character played by Janet Leigh in that film. And, just to keep things interesting, Marion Crane was given a twist of her own in the Hustler line. A paperback novel by Anderson called The Nurse (HP-10-286) is credited to one "Martin Crane," a mere one letter off from Marion Crane. An excerpt from that book:
"The thick root of his prick pressed demandingly against her soft, ruby lips. For a moment, she didn't want to go through with this. It suddenly seemed a dirty, perverted thing to do. But she opened her mouth to protest and this gave the man the chance to push her face down even more. The cock slid into her mouth."
And this persona shows up in a wholly different line, too, albeit with a slightly different spelling. Anderson's book A Lustful Family (FES-101) is credited to "Marian Crane."

But you are probably still wondering about Dick Trent.

The cover of Doctor of Perversion.
To be clear, Dick Trent is most often Ed Wood. It's a pseudonym that constitutes its own crazy character, one existing at the edges of Ed's vision. Here is an excerpt from "Interview with a Drag Queen," a genuine Ed Wood-written article published in Boyplay, vol. 2, no. 1, 1973, from Gallery Press.
DICK: Do you perform homosexual acts? 
DRAG: Is there one around? 
DICK: What color do you like best? 
DRAG: Pink...passionate the angora sweater I have on. 
DICK: Why pink of all colors? 
DRAG: It reminds me of the pink part in a juicy pussy.. 
DICK: I thought you preferred homos. 
DRAG: I prefer whoever's around.

But what about Dick Trent's Doctor of Perversion (HP-10-284), a Hustler paperback appearing near the end of that line, circa late 1982 or early '83?

In this case, I've gone and done it again: I've preemptively attributed a work to Ed, if only implicitly, only to mis-Ed-tribute it. The Hustler paperback line launched in 1979, after Ed's passing, and although it's conceivable Eros had a manuscript of Ed's they posthumously published a few years later, the most likely suspect is that it's Charles D. Anderson, clearly a regular writer for the line, resurrecting an old favorite pseudonym of his friend. And if not, it's also not Ed. It's not on his resume. Stylistically, it fits Charles Anderson, not Ed Wood. Ed's trademark themes and obsessions are absent. An excerpt:
"He put on his coat and prepared to leave. As he started to close the closet door, he noticed her panties on the floor where she had kicked them. He wadded them up and stuck them in his desk, far back in the drawer behind some envelopes. He would return them to her on Monday."

Dick Trent, yes. Ed Wood, no. Sorry.

But Eddie's last known paperback, TV Lust (TSL 102), was, of course, credited to Dick Trent, and published by Eros Goldstripe in 1977.

Eddie's last (?) book, TV Lust.

There is more Ed out there, no doubt, and we'll diligently keep up the search in future editions of Ed Wood Wednesdays!

Meanwhile, some uncensored book covers related to this week's story have been posted to the always fabulous Ed Wood Wednesdays Tumblr. Have at 'em.