Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Ed Wood Wednesdays, week 140: Some Woodian curiosities, nothing more...

An illustration from Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop.

How did he do it? How did Edward D. Wood, Jr., a man with an out-of-control drinking problem, remain so prolific during the most chaotic years of his life? Even in the 1970s, when he was spiraling toward oblivion at an alarming pace, Eddie was still dependably churning out short stories, articles, novels, film scripts, and more -- all written in his unique style. 

Meanwhile, I, a total non-drinker, can barely find the time or energy to compose even a single blog post a week about dear Eddie. Work has been heavy lately, and when I get home from a long shift, all I want to do is collapse. Keeping the podcast going is a hell of a lot of work, not all of it fun, but I've managed to keep doing it. That's pretty much my only semi-creative outlet these days.

Still in all, I'm determined not to let Ed Wood Wednesdays die or even go into hibernation. It's my stated goal to post something to this series every week in 2023, barring some huge disaster or emergency. To that end, I'll point you toward some of the more interesting Ed Wood-related items I've come across lately.

Jordan Todorov, my co-author on the Steve Apostolof book (still available), posted a link to a 2004 interview with artist Chester "Chet" Collum, who created the posters for The Snow Bunnies (1972), The Cocktail Hostesses (1973), and Fugitive Girls (1974), as well as the covers for Ed Wood's novels Killer in Drag (1963) and Watts... the Difference (1967). Collum is remarkably forthcoming about his career: how he worked, what he was paid, why he stopped, etc. A must-read for Wood fans.

Meanwhile, some Ed Wood fans are doing very interesting things on YouTube. For instance, the amazing Kelly Luck has created an anaglyph 3D version of Plan 9 from Outer Space (1957) that you can watch if you happen to have a spare set of red-and-blue glasses lying around. Being a B-movie junkie, I always have plenty of those damned things, and I can say that Kelly's version of Plan 9 works great and provides a fun new way to see this much-dissected movie. As with the colorized version, this edition made me spot new details in a film I've already seen dozens of times by now. (For some reason, I started fixating on Jeff and Paula Trent's patio furniture.)

Another great YouTube channel belongs to one Dennis Smithers, Jr. Let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, Dennis is providing a real service to the Wood fan community with his so-called "circumcised cuts" of Eddie's adult films from the 1960s and '70s. What he's done is take out all the sex and nudity, leaving just the acting and dialogue. Here's his version of Orgy of the Dead (1965).

Fun, right? It does my heart good to know that Ed Wood is still inspiring his fans, all these decades after his death.