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!