Saturday, December 10, 2022

The 2022 Ed-Vent Calendar, Day 10: Eddie and Nurse Beulah

Ed Wood, minus his dentures, in September 1978.

Believe me when I say that no planning whatsoever went into this series. I just decided spontaneously on December 1 to write a short article per day about Ed Wood until Christmas. I didn't even think about the fact that the 44th anniversary of Eddie's death would fall somewhere in the middle of it. How sad that, during a time when Christians look forward to the birth of Jesus, we must pause to reflect on the death of Ed Wood. But that's the hand we've been dealt.

Is there anything left to say about that tragic day in December 1978 when Eddie—recently evicted from his Yucca Flats hovel and downing vodka shots at an alarming rate—died in the bedroom of his friend, actor Peter Coe? Well, yes. There's a minor supporting character in this story who has long intrigued me: an elderly nurse named Beulah Ames. She was apparently the first person to discover Ed Wood's dead body on the afternoon of December 10, 1978. In Nightmare of Ecstasy (1992), she's mentioned by both Peter Coe and Kathy Wood. Here's the relevant passage:

All the mentions of Beulah Ames in Nightmare of Ecstasy.

Who was Beulah Ames and how did she come to be in this apartment on December 10, 1978? Was she a neighbor? A friend of Peter Coe's? Admittedly, I'm intrigued by Beulah for two main reasons. First, obviously, is her wonderfully old-fashioned first name. You don't see too many Beulahs walking the streets these days. Second, there's the highly dramatic quote attributed to her: "Ooooooooooh! My God! Eddie's dead!" Now, maybe Peter Coe is exaggerating here. He was an actor, after all. But maybe Beulah Ames really did say something like this 44 years ago today.

Either way, Beulah remains one of the many mysterious figures in the Ed Wood saga. Perhaps as a result of posting this article, I will hear from someone with the lowdown on this aged nurse and her connection to either Peter Coe or Eddie. One can only hope.