|Patrick/Patricia is a crucial figure in Glen or Glenda (1953).|
For reasons known only to himself, Ed Wood formatted Glen or Glenda (1953)— his surprisingly bold exploration of transgender issues—as a Dragnet-style police procedural. The film's inciting incident occurs when a young crossdresser named Patrick aka Patricia commits suicide in his small apartment after being arrested repeatedly for dressing as a woman. On the soundtrack, we hear Patrick's suicide note, presumably read in the man's own voice:
The records will tell the story. I was put in jail recently. Why? Because I, a man, was caught on the street wearing women's clothing. This was my fourth arrest for the same act. In life, I must continue wearing them. Therefore, it would only be a matter of time until my next arrest. This is the only way. Let my body rest in death forever in the things I cannot wear in life.
The policeman investigating the case is the humorless but sensitive Inspector Warren (Lyle Talbot). So concerned is he about the situation that he visits the office of psychologist Dr. Alton (Timothy Farrell). It is Alton who relates the two stories that comprise the bulk of the film, the first revolving around Glen/Glenda (Ed Wood), the second revolving around Alan/Ann (Tommy Haynes).
While Glenda moves on from Patrick/Patricia after about the first ten minutes, I could not help ruminating about this key supporting character and the actor who portrayed him. Glenda's own credits offer no help in identifying him, so we must turn to Rudolph Grey's Nightmare of Ecstasy (1992), where the filmography section tells us that this role was played by "Mr. Walter." Furthermore, the book's fourth chapter, entitled "Glen or Glenda & Jailbait" contains a Glenda cast photo provided by Conrad Brooks. There, the actor is identified as Walter Hajdwiecyz. Though he is at the center of the action and obviously among friends, he is unsmiling.
|Back row: Makeup man Harry Thomas, Tommy Haynes, Ed Wood, unknown extra.|
Center row: Conrad Brooks, Walter Hajdwiecyz. Front row: Henry Bederski.
Unfortunately, I cannot find any records of anyone with the surname Hajdwiecyz in the world. But a handle like Walter Hajdwiecyz can only be Polish in origin, and the similar moniker Hajkowicz is a real Polish surname. As for the "Mr." part, it was once common practice for hairdressers to go by "Mr. _____," omitting their last names. The most famous example was Mr. Kenneth (1927-2013). I'm not saying Mr. Walter was definitely a hairdresser, but he sounds like a midcentury hairdresser. In John Waters' Multiple Maniacs (1970), actor/hair stylist David Lochary is referred to as Mr. David.
Then, we must consider the voice we hear on the soundtrack, reading Patrick/Patricia's suicide note. We can take it on faith that this was Walter Hajdwiecyz himself, though it may not be. I've suggested in the past that this bit of voiceover narration was an inspiration for Johnny Depp's performance in Ed Wood (1994). I know Johnny watched Glenda repeatedly while prepping for the title role, and I feel that the Patrick/Patricia scene may have influenced his vocal cadence. Oddly, though, I don't think Ed Wood himself provided this bit of audio.
My dark horse candidate is another mysterious figure in the Woodiverse: Clancy Malone (aka Scott McCloud), the gawky male ingenue of Jail Bait (1954). I know it sounds screwy to you longtime fans, but these two characters have a very particular way of speaking—low and sort of whispery, their confidence wavering at the ends of sentences. Here, I've presented a little side-by-side comparison. Listen for yourself and make up your own mind. Either way, if you can provide me with more information about Mr. Walter, I'd appreciate it. You know how to reach me.