Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Ed Wood Wednesdays, week 78: (some of) The Many Resumes of Edward D. Wood, Jr.

Ed Wood made sure to keep his CV up to date.

Edward D. Wood, Jr. was nothing if not an ardent self-promoter. Acting, writing, producing, directing, even making music—he claimed to be able to do it all. And he kept track of his ever-growing list of accomplishments, both real and illusory, through his resumés or CVs. He kept these updated all through his life, even during his impoverished, booze-soaked final years, perhaps always hoping that the next big break was just around the corner.
NOTE BEFORE WE CONTINUE: This is in no way, shape, or form a complete collection of Ed Wood's resumés. I'm sure there are many others floating around out there. You may even have some in your own collection. This is just a handful of the Wood CVs I've encountered in my research over the years. I'm sharing them in the hopes that you, too, will find them interesting.
These documents are fascinating to the Woodologist because they reveal a whole host of mysterious credits, some of which are undoubtedly imaginary or fraudulent. Eddie certainly wasn't above padding his resumé to impress a potential employer. Let's look at one from Eddie's early years in Hollywood. This example seems to date back to the early 1950s; it was typed onto the back of his acting headshot. By then, Ed had appeared in a few plays in Los Angeles, made an abortive attempt to complete Crossroads of Laredo, and directed a handful of TV commercials. Glen or Glenda was apparently still in the future, as it goes unlisted here under any of its many titles.

Early 1950s resume

Under Ed's TV and film directing credits, we can recognize a few commercials: "Surprise," "Treasure and Curves," "The Bestest," "Magic Man," and "Boiled in Oil." Many of the other titles here are likely commercials as well, since Eddie claimed to have directed dozens of them. Some of the most intriguing titles: "Angora Sweater Date," "The Girl Is a Boy," "William Television," "The Shack at the End of the Alley," and "The Will of God."

Interestingly, "Boiled in Oil" seems to refer to Ed's spot for Wesson Oil with Don Nagel, Phyllis Coates, and Conrad Brooks. According to Rudolph Grey's book Nightmare of Ecstasy, this commercial was made in 1954. That would have been after Glen or Glenda. Could this ad actually have been made earlier?

Excerpt from Nightmare of Ecstasy.

Crossroads of Laredo, naturally, is the silent Western Ed tried and failed to make with John Crawford Thomas in 1948. I'm guessing Five Minutes Before Eternity is an alternate title for The Sun Is Setting (1951), simply because both titles vaguely describe the plot. The Sun Is Setting also features Phyllis Coates, again lending credence to the theory that the Wesson commercial was made well before 1954.

Of Eddie's alleged stage credits, only The Blackguard Returns and Casual Company have really been documented. When or where Eddie appeared in The Red Peppers or Peg O' My Heart is anyone's guess. His list of dialects is intriguing. He never really got the opportunity to use any of them in his movies, though he did play a Mexican jailer in the 1974 porn loop Prisoner Love Making (aka The Jailer).

Ed's list of "characters played" is enlightening, including such roles as "Young Sweater Girl," "Neurotic," and "Cowgirl (Stunt Work)." Could that last one be a reference to Ed's work in The Baron of Arizona (1950)?

Interesting, too, that Ed claims to have worked at night clubs in New York, Hollywood, and Washington, D.C. Nightmare of Ecstasy declares on its timeline that Eddie studied drama in Washington in 1946, shortly after leaving the Marines.

Let's move on to another resumé, this one from the middle 1950s.

Mid-1950s resume.

By this time, approximately 1954, Eddie was no longer touting his theatrical work, concentrating instead just on TV and film. And he wasn't lumping his film, TV, and commercial work into one big category anymore. Each gets its own category on the CV. The commercials are further segregated into the ones he made for Story-Ad Films Inc., Consolidated TV Prod., and Play-Ad Films. It's notable that, to date, the only Wood commercials that have surfaced are ones from Story-Ad Films.

The unfinished Crossroads of Laredo has been downgraded to the status of a made-for-TV movie. Perhaps Ed wanted to sell it as a TV pilot. The real TV pilot Crossroad Avenger is now listed in this section as well, along with The Sun Is Setting. Those mysterious Westerns, Double Noose and War Drums, both for Sid Ross Productions, are on there. Douglas North has speculated that these were further TV pilots for Crossroad Avenger star Tom Keene. Maybe The Showdown was a third.

We now also have some feature film credits. Fans will immediately notice that some of these movies are well-known, while others are either lost or were never produced in the first place. Glen or Glenda is now listed, as is The Hidden Face, an alias for Jail Bait (1954). Outlaw Marshal must be an alternate title for the Johnny Carpenter vehicle The Lawless Rider (1954). A second Carpenter picture, White Flash, is here, but it may never have gotten made. Despite its religious title, The Flame of Islam was likely some kind of filmed burlesque show. And what else could Girl Gang Terrorists be except The Violent Years (1956)? This one has been hastily added by hand, while the rest of the titles are typed.

It's worth noting that Bride of the Monster (1955) is AWOL, but Ed's resume does list something called The Atomic Monster. Ed credits himself with the "title only" and says the film is from "Broder Productions." This takes a bit of explaining. See, there's a 1941 Universal film called Man Made Monster starring Lon Chaney, Jr. and Lionel Atwill. In 1953, it was re-released by a company called Realart Pictures under the title The Atomic Monster. Realart was co-founded by a man named Jack Broder. Realart had supposedly swiped the title The Atomic Monster from a script that Ed had written with Alex Gordon. Alex managed to finagle $1,000 out of Realart, and Eddie's film became Bride of the Atom, then Bride of the Monster.

(By the way, I wonder if Ed's application to the Screen Directors Guild was accepted?)

Moving on to Ed's writing resume from 1973, specifically just the section dealing with his motion picture credits.

Ed's writing credits, page 1.

Ed's writing credits, page 2.

Nothing too earth-shattering here, I think you'll agree, apart from a few alternate titles, a couple of unmade films, and a handful of absolute mysteries. In the category of "absolute mysteries," we'll put Escape from Time, The Wicked West, and possibly Bed Time Talk. The Basket Ballers and The Teachers are scripts that Eddie wrote for Stephen C. Apostolof but never went into production. Most of the other films are ones that we have already discussed in this series. Note, however, that Eddie is now crediting The Atomic Monster to "Real-Art."

Poster for The Atomic Monster from Realart Pictures

Finally, I am posting the "bibliographic listing of Edward Wood's feature film credits" that Ed himself supplied to director Fred Olen Ray in 1978. It was printed in Cult Movies magazine, issue #11, page 32m, in 1994. Here is a scan of that entire page.

Cult Movies #11, page 32 (1994)

And here's a closeup of the movie titles.

Ed Wood lists his own movies.

I have already been over this list of film credits in the past, so I'll only point out the real oddities here. We all know The Venus Fly Trap, for instance, but what is The Lure other than The Venus Fly Trap under another name? Las Vegas Cheat is a complete mystery, as is the name "Betty Woods." Ditto The Naked Bowl for Jeff MacRay Productions. There is some speculation that Bed Time Talk is some kind of alias for Revenge of the Virgins (1959), but the only justification for that is the fact that the title is somehow attached to director-producer Pete Perry.

And then there is the fact that, by 1978, Eddie was taking credit for the screenplay of Hot Ice. This is utterly untrue, per the film's director Stephen C. Apostolof. Steve had no qualms about giving Eddie onscreen credit for the films he truly did write, but the diamond heist comedy was simply not among them.

That's the tricky part of dealing with Ed Wood's resumés. Like much of his legend, they're a combination of truth, half-truth, and outright fabrication.