Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Ed Wood Summit Podcast #6 by Greg Dziawer and Joe Blevins

Apparently, the public was demanding a sequel to Watts... The Difference. And Ed Wood gave 'em one!

Edward D. Wood, Jr. rarely had the opportunity to produce official follow-ups to his films, books, and stories, but we do have a few memorable sequels in the Wood canon. His kinky 1963 novel Killer in Drag, for instance, eventually spawned Death of a Transvestite (aka Let Me Die in Drag) in 1967. Wood's long-unreleased movie Night of the Ghouls (1959) works as a companion piece to his earlier epic Bride of the Monster (1955). Eddie must have also been fond of his short story "Captain Fellatio Hornblower" from 1971, since he brought the title character back for a second adventure two years later.

This week, we're examining another of Eddie's literary sequels: Watts... After (1967). This remarkable novel furthers the story of Rocky Alley, a Black actor who works his way up from poverty to stardom in Los Angeles in the turbulent 1960s. We first met Rocky in Watts... The Difference (1966), a book that attempted to capitalize on the racially-motivated Watts uprising. By the time of Watts... After, Rocky is now a famous TV Western star and is getting serious about his relationship with his white, angora-loving girlfriend, Angie. But some shady characters from Rocky's past resurface and threaten to destroy it all.

The front and back covers of the novel.

Teeming with political and social commentary, Watts... After is one of Ed's more orthodox narratives as well as one of his more atypically positive works. We hope you will enjoy this thorough and wide-ranging breakdown of the novel. As you'll soon see, our conversation branches off in a number of directions. Yes, spoilers abound.

Although this book is over half a century old, Watts... After remains surprisingly relevant today. In addition to the topics mentioned in this video, the characters Rocky and Angie face similar issues as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they prepare to bring an interracial child into the world. All the more reason to explore this somewhat overlooked Ed Wood creation.

NOTE: All previous installments of The Ed Wood Summit Podcast can be found here.