|Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi costarred in Glen or Glenda (1953).|
|Columnist Scott Rivers wrote about Ed.|
The publication of Michael and Harry Medved's snide Golden Turkey Awards in 1980 fueled it all, dubbing Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) the worst movie ever made and Ed Wood himself the worst director of all time. The book's success inspired numerous screenings of Ed's films, often at revival houses and college campuses. Soon after, Paramount's zany compilation movie It Came From Hollywood (1982) featured an entire segment about Wood hosted by famed comedians John Candy and Dan Aykroyd. While not a critical or box office hit, It Came aired ubiquitously on cable TV throughout the '80s. But it was the arrival of Ed's movies on VHS that made it all real, finally affording the general public a glimpse into Ed's work beyond Plan 9.
Throughout these crucial years, newspaper staffers regularly overviewed Ed Wood, trotting out a version of events that reads like deja vu regardless of authorship. The same basic tropes—Eddie's Grade-Z ineptitude, his "strange" cast of regulars, the "camp" fun of watching his films—appear again and again in these articles. The same notions and even verbiage are repeated ad nauseam, along with the same biographical details. The effect was twofold, painting Eddie as a character of derision, a naive fool at best and cynical hack at worst, and cementing a highly limited and oft-inaccurate version of his biography.