Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Ed Wood Summit Podcast #21 by Greg Dziawer with W. Paul Apel

Has Greg turned up a forgotten Ed Wood classic?

Late one night, about a month ago, I was idly paging through some vintage adult magazine scans from the early 1970s. I was just about to go to bed when the text of a particular short story caught my tired attention. I read some more, and upon closer inspection, it seemed a little bit like it could have been written by Ed Wood!

The story in question, "The Golden Rivet," was uncredited. It was surrounded by captioned pictorials (including "The Love God" and "Wild Women of the West") that claimed to hail from sex films. The magazine itself—the first issue of Skin Film Erotic Cinema Review from 1970—carried a Swedish publishers address in the index.

What was going on? I invited W. Paul Apel back to The Ed Wood Summit Podcast to discuss it with me. Tune in and find out the truth about the mysterious Golden Rivet!

Thanks to the poster at Internet Archive for scanning and uploading the entire magazine issue here. And a special thanks to our podcast sponsor Triple X Books ( The next time you grab some affordable vintage adult paperback scans there, drop an order note and let them know The Ed Wood Summit Podcast sent you!

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Podcast Tuesday: "Makin' it Rain"

Marion Ross and Henry Winkler on Happy Days

Maybe Marion Cunningham and Marge Simpson have more in common than I originally thought. Just like Marge, Marion (played by Marion Ross) is a nurturing, overprotective TV mom with a boisterous, rotund husband and three children, one of whom is often overlooked. (Sorry, Maggie and Chuck!) More than that, both Marion and Marge are defined by their sweetness and naivete. Their societal roles as wives and mothers keep them largely confined to their homes, away from the evils of the world. Their lives are defined by routine: cooking, cleaning, shopping, and generally taking care of the family. 

Obviously, if you're going to write a story involving such a character, you will have to interrupt that familiar, workaday routine. Surprisingly, both The Simpsons and Happy Days came up with numerous parallel stories for their respective matriarchs. Just a few weeks ago, we reviewed the Season 7 Happy Days episode "Marion Goes to Jail," which I compared to The Simpsons' "Marge in Chains." In both stories, the mom character is sent to jail, which only makes her family appreciate her all the more.

This week, we're reviewing "Fonzie's a Thespian," which bears a strong similarity to another classic Simpsons adventure, namely "A Streetcar Named Marge." In short, both Marion Cunningham and Marge Simpson seek excitement in their lives by participating in community theater. And they both have to deal with pompous, overbearing directors. One difference between these stories is that Marion's husband, Howard (Tom Bosley), is supportive from the beginning, while Homer Simpson needs an entire episode to stop being an insensitive jerk.

You can find out what we thought of "Fonzie's a Thespian" by listening to the latest installment of These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast. As luck would have it, it's available now!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Magazine Orbit, Part 6 by Greg Dziawer

Two ladies on the cover of Tailgate magazine, 1968.

As time wears on, I become more convinced that there are numerous texts written by Ed Wood that have yet to be unearthed. Last week, Joe Blevins and I discussed one such item, a paperback that is surely a title previously known but considered lost. And we've previously noted other instances of Ed's work that had never even been properly Ed-tributed.

This week, let's turn the clock back to 1968. This was a highly productive year for Ed's paperback work, with such releases as Purple Thighs, Hell Chicks, and The Sexecutives. It was also the year Bernie Bloom and Michael Thevis launched a company called Pendulum Publishers, Inc. through which they released numerous adult books and magazines. When Pendulum incorporated in April 1968, the very first staff writer Bernie hired was none other than Ed Wood. 

Happily, Ed's work at Pendulum is quite well-documented. In the early 1970s, he compiled a detailed resume listing much of his textual work there. Thus far, thanks to archivist Bob Blackburn, two volumes of short stories from that prolific body of work (Blood Splatters Quickly and Angora Fever) have been published. I highly recommend you grab them both if you haven't already done so.

Obsessive Wood fans may be familiar with the Ed-tribution of text in the inaugural (and perhaps only) issue of the 1968 magazine Fetish in Film. Like so many other sex mags of the time, it is comprised of photos and stills from a variety of then-contemporary sexploitation films, with accompanying pictorial text. It is credited to Bernel Associates and carries a P.O. Box in Los Angeles as its address. Although not identified as such, the opening text could be a possible Ed-itorial, which is why we're sharing it here.

Did Ed Wood write this for Fetish in Films magazine?

While we're at it, let's check out the index page, which lists a number of topics for the photo features and accompanying texts. It should be highly interesting to Wood fans.

The Fetish in Films index page.

Less known than Fetish in Films—and barely whispered of in the back alleys where Wood obsessives lurk—is another Bernel Associates magazine called Tailgate. Like Fetish in Films, Tailgate may have only lasted one issue. It, too, came out in 1968 and lists the same Los Angeles P.O. Box (35163) as its address. Curiously, on the indicia page (which contains no listing of the contents), Bernel Associates is noted twice, the first time with an apparent typo as "Berneu Assoc."

This issue contains three texts and numerous pictorials accompanied by "humorous" captions. Please have a look at the final text in this issue, "The Legacy of Sappho," credited to Caine Richmond.
"The Legacy of Sappho" from Tailgate magazine.

Just what's happening here? I surmise that, after leaving the large adult paperback/magazine distributor Golden State News, Bernie Bloom struck out first independently and formed Bernel Associates. (The name could well be a portmanteau combining Bernie Bloom with his son, Noel.) After publishing only a few magazines under the Bernel banner, Bernie then partnered with Michael Thevis and began Pendulum Publishers, Inc.

I'll let these two texts speak for themselves. Could they have been written by Ed Wood? What do you think?

In future installments of this series we'll share more from these two magazine issues. Both are exceedingly rare and hard to find today. Meanwhile, on The Ed Wood Summit Podcast, we'll also perform a thorough analysis of the lengthiest text from Tailgate, also credited to Caine Richmond.

Let's keep hunting. There's more Wood out there!

  • I once saw a listing for a third Bernel Associates title, but for the life of me cannot locate that info in my notes.
  • You can grab the two volumes of Ed's short stories here and here. A third volume of articles is shortly on the way!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Podcast Tuesday: "Anyone for Venice?"

Ron Howard and Jenny Sullivan on Happy Days.

After eight seasons of The Andy Griffith Show and two more of The Smith Family, Ron Howard was not exactly eager to do yet another sitcom when he begrudgingly agreed to star in Happy Days. By then, he already had his sights set on a directing career anyway. Nevertheless, he consented to play fresh-faced Milwaukee teen Richie Cunningham because he (correctly) assumed the role would keep him from being drafted by the military and serving in Vietnam. 

Ron's contract with ABC called for him to do seven seasons of Happy Days, and he honored that commitment like the true professional and showbiz lifer he was. But he was never particularly enthused with the series, especially when it became a vehicle for Henry Winkler's cool, attention-grabbing Fonzie character. Plus, he was tired of being typecast in "kid" roles. At the end of Happy Days' seventh season in 1980, Ron left the show and devoted himself full-time to directing.
SIDE NOTE: He wasn't quite done playing Richie Cunningham, even then. In addition to voicing the character on The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang in 1980 and 1981, Ron appeared in a few Season 11 episodes of Happy Days, plus a couple of subsequent reunion specials and even a 2008 Funny or Die video with Henry Winkler.
Happy Days viewers were probably shocked at this development, but there had been some foreshadowing on the show. For example, the Season 7 episode "Richie Falls in Love" demonstrates that Richie Cunningham also experiences some wanderlust and longs to be taken seriously as an adult. The plot: Richie meets and becomes infatuated with a traveling photojournalist named Barbara (Jenny Sullivan). After spending just one night with this woman, Richie wants to drop out of school, quit his job, leave his family, and fly to Venice with Barbara.

Does that make for a good episode? This week on These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast, we talk about "Richie Falls in Love" and ponder the riddle that is Richie Cunningham. We do hope you'll join us. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Ed Wood Summit Podcast #20 by Greg Dziawer and Joe Blevins

Did Ed Wood write Sex Salvation (1975)? The answer may surprise you.

I'm always on the hunt for books written by Edward D. Wood, Jr. in the 1960s and '70s. You never know quite where they'll turn up, which is part of what makes the hunt so fun. A few months back, while I was scanning through some vintage adult paperbacks published by Eros Goldstripe, one title immediately jumped out at me as having been written by Ed Wood: 1975's Sex Salvation, credited to Raoul Woody. Eros Goldstripe was the company behind such Wood paperbacks as Diary of a Transvestite Hooker (1974), Forced Entry (1974), and TV Lust (1977), so it seems likely that they would have handled more of Eddie's work during this era. 

Sex Salvation proved quite a find, and I knew I wanted to share it with other Wood fans. This week on The Ed Wood Summit Podcast, I talked with Joe Blevins about this remarkable novel, which is striking for its graphic depictions of sex and violence as well as its sincere spirituality. Could Sex Salvation be an unknown paperback written by Ed, or maybe even a known paperback that has thus far gone without notice? Tune in to find out!

You can grab your own scan of Sex Salvation for a mere couple of bucks here and draw your own conclusions. Be sure to note your order that The Ed Wood Summit Podcast sent ya!

All episodes of The Ed Wood Summit Podcast can be found right here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Podcast Tuesday: "Stacking Paper to the Ceiling"

Jed Cooper, Ron Howard, and Ted Gehring on Happy Days.

I honestly don't remember the first job I ever had. Does doing chores around the house count? I once edged the front lawn -- with manually-operated clippers, no less -- in exchange for a Green Lantern action figure. I put off doing any actual work for as long as I could in life. I never had afterschool or summer jobs when I was in high school. Eventually, when I was in college, I took a job as a Spanish tutor. (Don't ask me to speak any Spanish. It's long since vanished from my mind.) That was probably my first regular gig.

I've had plenty of jobs since then -- some fun (writing), most not (customer service). I've never been one to see work as anything more than a necessary evil. You wanna live, you have to work. That's all there is to it. Incidentally, I've tried not working. It's fun, but the pay is lousy. Following my dreams also proved to be enjoyable but unprofitable. So far, joyless drudgery has been the most reliable way of paying my bills.

In this week's episode of Happy Days, "Richie's Job," our man Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) takes a job on the loading docks at The Milwaukee Journal so he can earn money for Shirelles tickets and a new raincoat. Unfortunately, a coworker named Frank (Jed Cooper) immediately takes a dislike to him and begins threatening and bullying him whenever the boss (Ted Gehring) isn't looking. Would you believe that Fonzie (Henry Winkler) actually sides with Frank?

Find out why when you listen to our review of "Richie's Job" on These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast. A new episode is available right now! 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Ed Wood Summit Podcast #19 by Greg Dziawer

Reunited and it feels so good!

Has it really been nine months since the inaugural episode of The Ed Wood Summit Podcast? Yes, somehow, it has been that long. A lot can happen in that time, so I decided to reconvene the panel from that first video—myself, Joe Blevins, Keith Crocker, James Pontolillo, and Mike H—and ask them what they've been up to since then.

This week on The Ed Wood Summit Podcast, my guests and I talk about a wide variety of topics related to Edward D. Wood, Jr., ranging from his earliest Westerns to his prolific porn career. It's a fun, lively discussion I think you'll find entertaining. As a bonus, try to guess which panelists survive the entire show and which will drop out. You may just be surprised!

Panelist Mike H shared some photos of Ed Wood's personal copy of Tales for a Sexy Night, featuring his short story "The Devil and the Deep Blue-Eyed Blonde."

Just as a reminder, you can find all previous episodes of The Ed Wood Summit Podcast right here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Podcast Tuesday: "Marion's Life Goes Downhill"

Marion Ross and Marcia Lewis on Happy Days.

Fans of The Simpsons will undoubtedly remember the classic 1993 episode "Marge in Chains" in which the family's sensible matriarch goes to prison for a short stint after absentmindedly stealing a bottle of bourbon from the local Kwik-E-Mart. So many great moments in that episode: "I'll miss Sheriff Lobo!" "What kind of slime would I marry?" "He's history's greatest monster!" There's a brilliant court sequence featuring Phil Hartman as incompetent lawyer Lionel Hutz. And it ends up being a really sweet story about how much the Simpson family and the entire town of Springfield rely on Marge.

Fourteen years earlier, Happy Days did a very similar episode called "Marion Goes to Jail." The plot has Marion (Marion Ross) getting locked up for a slew of traffic violations after her car rolls downhill and crashes through the wall of Arnold's restaurant. The incident ultimately serves to make Marion's husband Howard (Tom Bosley), who'd previously been behaving like a jerk, appreciate her all the more. In a weird coincidence, when this episode originally aired on ABC, it was up against Homer's favorite show, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo. I'm not sure if Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, the authors of "Marge in Chains," ever saw "Marion Goes to Jail." They're very pop culture savvy, though, so it's likely they did. Maybe it was a subliminal influence on them.

And what did we think of "Marion Goes to Jail"? Well, you can find out on the latest installment of These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast.