Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Summit Podcast #3 by Greg Dziawer and Joe Blevins

Are you ready for socially conscious Ed Wood?

For this week's Ed Wood Summit Podcast, I sat down with blogger Joe Blevins to discuss Watts... The Difference, the first of Eddie's two Watts paperbacks, both originally published by Pad Library in 1967. (Watts... The Difference was also reprinted in 1969 by Selected Adult Library as Burn Baby Burn and credited to the nonexistent Ray Jones.) While Ed wrote many erotic novels during this time, the Watts books stand out because of their connection to historic events.

Following the adventures of an African-American actor named Rocky Alley and told largely in flashbacks, Watts...The Difference is set in South Central Los Angeles during the Watts Uprising of August 1965. For nearly a week, the Watts neighborhood was the site of intense civil unrest, with the destruction eventually spreading across 46 square miles of L.A. At the time, newscasters compared the area to a warzone. While the violence in Watts was rooted in longstanding racial inequality, it was a traffic stop that set it all ablaze.

Apparently, Ed Wood's imagination was also set ablaze by these events. Curious what Ed will make of this incendiary backdrop? Watch the review to find out!

The original cover art.
And just to give you a little flavor for this astonishing book, here's a selection of memorable quotes from Watts... The Difference:
  • "I carry an angora sweater with me all the time."
  • "Lover...I believe you're an advocate of the bottomless bathing suit also..."
  • "One day you're standing around on a street corner looking at everybody, then the next there is only the big black."
  • "You might be causing them a time of it in their jeans..."
  • " IS control!"
  • "Good Christ, man, I knowed it was you all the time."
  • "The girl was a petite little negro with long raven black hair which fell lavishly down the back of her yellow mohair slipover sweater."
  • "Her little butt rode the yellow stretch capris like jello in a perfect mold."
  • "Rape me Rocky...Hurt me Rocky...Rape me..."
  • "He was never in male attire if he could help it and absolutely never without panties..."
  • "...loot - burn - kill - burn Whitey to his knees..."

ADDENDUM: To provide further insight into this era, I have uploaded this 1967 sermon by pastor and politician Adam Clayton Powell entitled "Burn, Baby, Burn." Powell talks about the Watts rioters and explains why he sympathizes with their plight but does not endorse their actions. - J.B.