Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Paperback Odysssey, Part Five by Greg Dziawer

A photograph of the infamous  T.K. Peters, often purported to be a pseudonym of Ed Wood.

Paging Dr. Peters

Encyclopedia of Sex ad
As I prepared to write this week's Ed Wood Wednesdays article, I decided to do a quick search of eBay, to see if the old myth of Dr. T.K. Peters being a pseudonym of Ed Wood still persists. You guessed it (merely one example, sadly). Apart from inflating prices, it continues to muddy the waters of Woodology, this muddying now its own niche within the larger spectrum. Dr. T.K. Peters was real, and we'll refute some counter-claims that his esteemed name was "borrowed" from the real "Kim" in future Ed Wood Wednesdays.

In the past, Pendulum Publishers, Inc. and its myriad offshoot imprints (covered ad nauseam in previous posts) published two series of photo-illustrated sexual paperbacks in the early 1970s, sourced from the comprehensive sexual study by Dr. T.K. Peters that he sold to Pendulum boss Bernie Bloom (itself rooted in his work as a marriage counselor in Atlanta from 1950 through 1965, following his retirement from Oglethorpe University...but that's another story that WILL be told). 

Fully three-fourths of the Peters' titles constituted SECS Press' (an unincorporated Pendulum imprint) Encyclopedia of Sex, the rest being the Sexual Enlightenment Series published under the Calga imprint, unleashed just on the cusp of legal, accessible and affordable hardcore sexual imagery via multi-media. For some alchemical reason, the censorship damn bursting encouraged a propensity toward the weird, the extreme and the just plain fucking nuts. In all, between Ed's own resume and an additional few titles in his collection with title-page inscriptions by him, Ed wrote or co-wrote roughly 25% of the Peters paperbacks. That index, too, is another story. Suffice to say that Ed's cohort on West Pico in the Pendulum mag office played a large role in the Pendulum Peters canon. Ed collaborated with fellow staffers Charles D. Anderson and Leo Eaton. William D. "Bill" Jones produced Peters, and so did Robin "Redbreast" Eagle. They did this under a slew of pseudonyms, one of them, Norman Bates, still falsely claimed a pseudonym of Ed. It's impossible to talk about T.K. Peters without running into these clumsy mis-Ed-tributions. That's a charitable statement and I'll leave it at that.

My most cherished aspect of the Peters canon may be of the fucking nuts variety: the photo-captions, perfectly capturing the free-wheeling Pendulum hippie vibe. The "educational" aspect was a legal gambit (utter bullshit in its naked-and-then-some Trojan Horse) in these pioneering paperbacks. They first began to appear in 1969 and exploded in 1970, from a multitude of (mostly SoCal) publishers, only to disappear in a few years when free speech slayed the pretense. This is a very special point in time, in other words, and it could well be Ed (as likely as anyone) who penned the photo captions.

And here they are, some random captions from across the Peters canon. You can't go wrong. Aphorisms that compare in concision and cutting insight with Nietzsche and La Rochefoucald. I hope you enjoy them. 

  • Men who believe their genitals are under-sized often participate in plural sex.
  • Introduction to sado-masochism often occurs in college group sex acts.
  • The influence of motion pictures has a great effect on pluralistic activity. 
  • Men, at orgies, usually spend as much time with other men as they do with women.
  • Mutual cunnilingus and fellatio is one of the most exciting forms of sex.
  • The compulsive fellatrix has a serious sexual hangup.
  • The hair fetish is one of the most common of love-objects.
  • Normality and abnormality isn't always deferring to deviant sexual activities.
  • A different setting can make for a difference in the partners.
  • A single cure is not a cure all. 
  • Swallowing the man's semen is not physically injurious.
  • If the woman wishes to help, then premature ejaculation can easily be cured.
  • There must be complete understanding and trust between both partners for sex to be successful.
  • The general concept of manliness entails dominance in sex.
  • Unusual sex acts are sometimes performed by persons outside of marriage as a result of embarrassment to suggest them to their mate.
  • Unmarried women are often unable to enjoy sexual escapades. 
  • Fellatio seems quite usual to couples today.
  • By experimentation it is possible to find new and different positions.
  • Many women find the male penis very exciting in their mouths.
  • In troilistic groups, one member often has voyeuristic tendencies. 
  • Many lesbians are stimulated more by a shaved vulva.
  • Although living as a heterosexual, the bisexual might limit his sex life to homosexual encounters. 
  • Many males prefer condoms.
  • An extremely tight vagina necessarily needs more lubrication.
  • The voyeur prefers intercourse side saddle while watching the action in a mirror.
  • Many women who wish to remain virgins will engage in orality. 
  • Those who engage in troilism would benefit from the contraceptive protection of the sterility operation.
  • Many women demand reciprocal oral caresses. 
  • Many women believe that men are totally unnecessary.

The typical T.K. Peters title contained 85 or so black and white photos on the right-hand 5 1/2" x 7 1/2" facing page, the vast majority captioned, loosely related to the book's overall theme and oft-times surreally juxtaposing word and image. Chunks of color photos, never accompanied by text, appeared in every issue, typically eight pages. Some titles contained two chunks of color photos. 

In all, the Peters canon contains roughly 5,000 images (including the text nearly double that), 80% black and white and nearly all of those captioned, the remainder of the photos in color.

Now we're all that much wiser. Now we are all better people.

Can you identify the source titles?