Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Paperback Odysssey, Part Five by Greg Dziawer

A photograph of the infamous  T.K. Peters, often purported to be a pseudonym of Ed Wood.

Paging Dr. Peters

Encyclopedia of Sex ad
As I prepared to write this week's Ed Wood Wednesdays article, I decided to do a quick search of eBay, to see if the old myth of Dr. T.K. Peters being a pseudonym of Ed Wood still persists. You guessed it (merely one example, sadly). Apart from inflating prices, it continues to muddy the waters of Woodology, this muddying now its own niche within the larger spectrum. Dr. T.K. Peters was real, and we'll refute some counter-claims that his esteemed name was "borrowed" from the real "Kim" in future Ed Wood Wednesdays.

In the past, Pendulum Publishers, Inc. and its myriad offshoot imprints (covered ad nauseam in previous posts) published two series of photo-illustrated sexual paperbacks in the early 1970s, sourced from the comprehensive sexual study by Dr. T.K. Peters that he sold to Pendulum boss Bernie Bloom (itself rooted in his work as a marriage counselor in Atlanta from 1950 through 1965, following his retirement from Oglethorpe University...but that's another story that WILL be told). 

Fully three-fourths of the Peters' titles constituted SECS Press' (an unincorporated Pendulum imprint) Encyclopedia of Sex, the rest being the Sexual Enlightenment Series published under the Calga imprint, unleashed just on the cusp of legal, accessible and affordable hardcore sexual imagery via multi-media. For some alchemical reason, the censorship damn bursting encouraged a propensity toward the weird, the extreme and the just plain fucking nuts. In all, between Ed's own resume and an additional few titles in his collection with title-page inscriptions by him, Ed wrote or co-wrote roughly 25% of the Peters paperbacks. That index, too, is another story. Suffice to say that Ed's cohort on West Pico in the Pendulum mag office played a large role in the Pendulum Peters canon. Ed collaborated with fellow staffers Charles D. Anderson and Leo Eaton. William D. "Bill" Jones produced Peters, and so did Robin "Redbreast" Eagle. They did this under a slew of pseudonyms, one of them, Norman Bates, still falsely claimed a pseudonym of Ed. It's impossible to talk about T.K. Peters without running into these clumsy mis-Ed-tributions. That's a charitable statement and I'll leave it at that.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Collaborator Odyssey, Part Six by Greg Dziawer

Three Terminator novels credited to John Quinn, a pseudonym of Dennis Rodriguez.

Copyright listings for Dennis Rodriguez

Recently here at Ed Wood Wednesdays, we identified the pseudonymous adult paperback author Hudson Carr as Dennis Rodriguez, friend and associate of Ed's who worked with him at the Pendulum magazine office on West Pico Blvd in Los Angeles in the '70s. Rodriguez adopted other pseudonyms, and eventually broke out of the adult milieu (as did fellow mag staffer with Ed at Pendulum for a brief stint, Leo Eaton).

As we follow the work of Ed's associates on staff at Pendulum (and Calga/SECS Press/Edusex/Libra Press/Gallery Press/Art Publishers, Inc.), the milieu in which Ed worked becomes clear: a small cohort of writers and publishers situated in SoCal, churning out free-wheeling porn during the infancy of its existence as a mass cultural artifact. 

As Hudson Carr, Dennis Rodriguez wrote paperbacks for Brandon Books in the early '70s. An apparent one-off pseudonym, he also authored The Night Games for Brandon as Ralph Markfield. Other pseudonyms seem likely, and certainly in the fanciful Pendulum-family magazine story and article credited pseudonyms.

The Night Games cover
The name Dennis Rodriguez certainly rings a bell for you serious Woodologists. Quoted numerous times in Rudolph Grey's Nightmare of Ecstasy (his anecdote about Bride of the Monster's casting now a part of Wood lore shared in every other Ed bio since), Rodriguez is given only a birth year—1941—here. In NOE, the index entry for him mentions that he wrote action-adventure mass market paperbacks under the pseudonym John Quinn in the early/mid '80s, and alsot eleplays under his own name for action series' including Knight Rider, Hunter, and The New Adam-12. A current listing for Rodriguez' paperback Pachuco (1980) mentions that he spent over 20 years writing for television, presumably into this century. And that same mention giving his birth year—among the scant info available on Rodriguez—states that he worked for Ed Wood (wrong!). 

He worked with Ed, not only at Pendulum and its offspring imprints, but penning paperbacks for publishers Eros Goldstripe and Swedish House (a paperback line from Swedish Erotica). His work in the Pendulum-family mags remains largely undocumented. 

In 1982, Rodriguez broke through. Or better: broke out. Out of the dying world of the adult paperback, and into mass market paperbacks. Under the pseudonym John Quinn, Rodriguez wrote the Terminator series of five novels about CIA contract killer Rod Gavin, running through 1984. Gavin went on a hit mission in Central America, fought the Yakuza and Columbian drug lords and even crossed paths with a "hotshot Hollywood director."

Ed Wood wrote Diary of a Transvestite Hooker for Eros Goldstripe in 1974, under the pseudonym Dick Trent. And his last known work, TV Lust, also credited to Dick Trent from Eros Goldstripe, was published in 1977. 

To tie all of these strands together, there's a paperback whispered about in the remote corridors of Woodology. The Eyes Have It, published by Eros Goldstripe in 1973 (GFS-104/Goldstripe Fiction Series), details the voyeuristic adventures of a sex book novelist, "almost 50". While the near-constant (even at gunpoint) forced rapes are highly politically incorrect, everyone seems to like it and the tone is stridently comical, even cinematic. 

The Eyes Have It, a mis-Edtribution in case you haven't guessed, is credited to John Quinn. 

More to come about Dennis Rodriguez in future Ed Wood Wednesdays, including an annotated select bibliography and an overview of Rodriguez' work for a Los Angeles publisher who published his fellow Pendulum-family mag staffers Charles D. Anderson and, naturally, Ed Wood.

You'll find a heaping helping of images related to Dennis Rodriguez and all his pseudonyms over at the Ed Wood Wednesdays Tumblr.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Promo Odyssey, Part Two by Greg Dziawer

Romance on her lips and a six shooter on her hip: A lobby card for The Lawless Rider

Previously at Ed Wood Wednesdays, the esteemed proprietor of this blog, Joe Blevins, brilliantly dissected The Lawless Rider...and Ed Wood's involvement in it.

This week, I'm sharing images of my lobby card set from the film (photos courtesy: Kitten).

To state the obvious, there are Seven Deadly Sins, an equivalent number to the unique cards in this set. I bought it on eBay earlier this year, a Buy-it-Now for under 15 bucks before shipping, in my recollection. Though I received eight cards, one is a duplicate. I have thought about this far too long and hard, wondering if the seller had a few sets and mis-packed mine?; if the set deliberately had a dupe, maybe one for the ticket window?; if the distributor had mis-packed the set upon providing it to a theater? 

The Woodologist in me finds it very fitting. All I knew is that there is very likely an eighth card out there. I am no expert on lobby card sets but an uneven number screams NO. 

Here are the seven Lawless Rider cards I have:

And if you see that eighth card, pardner, be sure to drop us a line.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Ed Wood extra! Some "utterly stupid" fan art for 'The Revenge of Dr. X'

So Utterly Stupid: James Craig as Dr. Bragan. Artwork by Joe Blevins.

"How in the hell can anybody be so utterly stupid as to build a rocket base on the coast of Florida?"

If there's an immortal line in the Ed Wood-written screenplay for The Revenge of Dr. X (aka Venus Flytrap and numerous other titles), that's it. And a big part of what makes that line great is the over-the-top way it's delivered by apoplectic actor James Craig as the harried Dr. Bragan. Over the Labor Day weekend, I found myself stranded in a motel in Indiana with very little to do for hours at a time. For some reason, I had a hankering to rewatch Dr. X. I don't think I'd watched it all the way through since reviewing it for Ed Wood Wednesdays.

Anyway, that experience of revisiting the film inspired me to create a bit of Revenge of Dr. X fan art. There's surprisingly little of that. Maybe this will inspire more. I worked on that portrait of Dr. Bragan for a few minutes here and there over the course of the weekend, starting Friday and finishing today. Enjoy it or don't. Up to you.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Erotica Odyssey, Part Three by Greg Dziawer

Another week, another obscure author to ponder.

A Carr-penned paperback
In a previous installment of the Wood Erotica Odyssey, we identified the supposed title Swedish House from Ed's resume as a paperback line and not a paperback title, as has been commonly surmised. We subsequently delved into one author of titles from the Swedish House line, concluding those titles were not written by Ed. This week, we'll take a closer look at Hudson Carr.

Hudson Carr is credited author of (at least) three titles in the Swedish House line, a brief paperback line from 1978 published by Art Publishers, Inc. The company that once began as Pendulum Publishing in the late '60s, where Ed worked as a magazine staff writer (see previous Odysseys et al for more on this) morphed through the '70s into the publisher/producer/distributor of Swedish Erotica loops, magazines and books. Even that megalith, begun modestly a mere decade earlier by Bernie Bloom (a patriarchal figure in Ed's life for well over a decade in his final years) under sponsorship from porn kingpin and later convicted murderer Michael Thevis, would soon be subsumed by an even bigger porn empire: Caballero Control. Corp, run by Bernie's son Noel Bloom.

With no known Swedish House paperback titles credited to Ed or a recognized pseudonym of his, Hudson Carr is worth considering. He was writing adult paperbacks in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area where a cluster of large and small paperback publishers operated in the first half of the '70s. 

The earliest Carr credit I came across is for Nightmare for a Virgin (1971) from Brandon House's imprint Dansk Blue Books (DBB-128). The very next year, Carr penned The Carnal Kiss for Brandon. Although the genre's material had become numbingly graphic by this point, Carr was obviously having fun:
There I'd be, halfway up the hill to glory, and Mitch was pouring his boiling fluids into my hungry, aching womb. And it wasn't like Mitch didn't know any better—he's a college man with three years of business administration under his belt. Maybe he didn't graduate, but in my opinion, he's smarter than any of the guys who went on for their master's degree! 
-The Carnal Kiss, 1972, Brandon Books BB-6233

Told as a first-person series of confessions across the sexual spectrum, with pseudo-scientific wrappers (an intro, and summations at the end of each confession, or in this case, "kiss") citing the usual suspects, from Freud and Jung to Masters and Johnson, The Carnal Kiss is a perfectly representative artifact of its era. That's not something I'd likely find myself saying about a title written by Ed. But that's not a FACT, so we need to dig deeper. 

The Nymph-Stud House followed, again from Brandon (BB-6522) and also with a "scientific" intro. But for the main course, in place of first-person confessions, we here get narrative text, playing to Carr's strengths. The pace never lags, and "Judson Carr" (as the introduction mistakenly introduces him) even aspires to an occasionally breathless literary flair:
Still lying on her back, her feet pointed towards the sea, she opened her legs, exposing her damp thighs to the cooling breeze off the ocean. It felt good and she liked it and just before she fell asleep again she felt the dampness start between her legs and she wished the surf would just once reach her and soothe the heavy heat that felt so good. 

Carr/Rodriguez penned The Making of a Teenage Call-Boy for Barclay House in 1973. We'd go too far afield to dig into all of the details surrounding the relationship of Brandon Books, Brandon House and Barclay House, and where Bernie Bloom and Dansk Blue Books fit into the picture. Suffice to say, at least two of Ed's fellow mag staffers wrote for these publishers. And if you guessed that Hudson Carr is one of them, you win the prize!

But if Hudson Carr is a co-worker of Ed's and not Ed, then who is he?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Time for a clown cartoon. Sorry.

Oh, Snoodles, when will you ever learn?

Credit where credit is due: I found a one-panel cartoon by Ryan Burke at this site and then decided to expand it to a full comic strip. I sincerely hope you don't enjoy it.

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Magazine Odyssey, Part Eleven by Greg Dziawer

Get it? Washington? York?

The renowned Mr. York.
In our last Wood Magazine Odyssey, I closed by asking the cryptic question: Who wrote "The Legend of Washington York?"

It's a question that continues to haunt me. I additionally opined that solving the York Riddle would spill us beyond the "next and final frontier" of Woodology. That tall claim intimidates as much as it excites me. Once again unto the breach, this week's Ed Wood Wednesdays falls eagerly headlong into the darkest corners of Woodology: the uncredited pictorial text and the gay-themed Pendulum-family mag.

The pictorial "The Legend of Washington York," from the Apr/May issue of Pendulum's Male Lovers, Vol 2 No 1 (and reprinted in the 1971 Male Lovers Annual), runs a mere four pages and its accompanying text is only 10 lines long:






Any of the Pendulum mag staffers could have written these freewheeling rhymed couplets on a lark. At the time, staffers included Leo Eaton, Robin "Redbreast" Eagle and William D. "Bill" Jones... and, of course, Ed Wood.

Though we still lack an answer to the crucial question of who wrote these lines, I must confess that this has become one of my favorite poems. Its accompanying pictorial achieves the pinnacle of Pendulum's authenticity.

Beyond that, I'll let it speak for itself.