EDW. D. WOOD, JR.’s MAGAZINE WORK
Compiling a complete list of Edw. D. Wood, Jr.’s short stories and articles for various adult magazines from the ‘70s seems nearly impossible unless you find someone who has kept a complete collection of several publishers titles. Even then it would undoubtedly be incomplete, as who knows how many publications he wrote for, and under what pseudonyms? His paperback books are far from all accounted for and they’ve been better documented than the magazines containing his work. In spite of that, I’ve tried to get as much information together as possible concerning his short stories in magazines.
The seminal source for this info, other than the mags themselves, is Rudolph Grey’s excellent oral history biography of Ed Wood’s life and output–Nightmare of Ecstasy. It was a starting point of reference and inspiration for me to look into the magazines and try to find some of them.
As it turned out I had several in my collection already without knowing they contained anything by Ed Wood. My source for finding some of these magazines was the internet (other than the two I found in the trash). Of the mags I purchased on-line, in many cases I didn’t know myself if Ed had anything in them and was buying with educated guesses and hunches, sometimes this proved fruitful and other times it did not. The checklist of Ed's writing for mags that I provide in Bad Mags will partially help to rectify that.
Gallery Press, Calga, Pendulum, SECS Press and Edusex Press were basically the same staff cranking out soft and hardcore porn mags from the late sixties until the mid-seventies.
Although Wood liked to use his own “Edw. D. Wood, Jr.” byline, he also wrote under a plethora of pseudonyms, his most often used were Ann Gora, Dick Trent, and Shirlee Lane. There were plenty of short stories, articles, and text with the photo layouts in these magazines without any byline that were also written by Ed.
Occasionally the articles and stories were culled from Ed’s paperback books, for instance Bloodiest Sex Crimes of History from which the article of the same name (about Albert Fish) in Horror Sex Tales was taken. The piece entitled “The Perversions of Gilles De Laval” from Weird Sex Tales, might also have been lifted from the aforementioned Wood paperback original.
His writing for these mags was, nine times out of ten, laden with an over abundance of ellipsis (...) which made certain uncredited stories filled with ellipsis throughout more likely to be his work, although if you read enough of his writing, his quirky phrasing jumps out at you, and of course a mention of pink angora sweaters was always a tip off. Many of the editorials in these mags were also written by Wood.
In Nightmare of Ecstasy Grey included quotes from several of Ed’s co-workers at Gallery Press that give us a peek at these publishers and their impressions of, and relationships with Wood. Namely Bernie Bloom who had worked as general manager of Golden State News, an adult magazine distributor/publisher in L.A., Bloom also published mags as Bernel Associates in 1967/68 and later packaged magazines for Michael Thevis's Pendulum when it moved its editorial offices to L.A. in 1968. Kathy Wood, Ed’s widow, mentioned Ed going with Bloom when he left GSN in 1968, which implied that Ed was writing for Bernel/GSN titles earlier. Two of the first things Wood wrote for Bloom and Pendulum were the paperback originals Bye, Bye, Broadie and Raped In the Grass. Whether Wood was writing for the magazines yet at that time is not clear.
Bloom stated that Ed was one of the first writers he hired and then the staff of writers grew to five. Grey’s book also included quotes from: Blanche Bloom, Bernie's wife; Charles D. Anderson, editor and writer, who wrote under the pseudonym of Norman Bates; Dennis Rodriguez, editor and writer, and Phil Cambridge one of the house artists whose work could be found throughout Pendulum/Gallery/Calga mags including the four “Sex Tales” mags.
Bernie Bloom talking about Ed’s drinking said “To me, Ed Wood was a crazy genius. Way ahead of his time. Everybody was afraid to do the things that he would do. He was the most prolific writer I’ve ever known. And the fastest. He could write better drunk than most writers could sober.”
In fact most of the quotes from his co-workers at Pendulum/Gallery Press centered around his drinking habits and dilemmas. Vodka spiked coffee could sometimes be found making its way down Ed’s gullet at Pendulum as it didn't make his breath smell the way his favorite, Imperial Whiskey, did. Wood was eventually fired from Pendulum by Mr. Bloom because of his drinking.
For the most part these magazines followed the same layout formula - a short editorial on the contents page, four to five softcore girlie layouts with some text, one article and one piece of fiction to give them their socially redeeming value.
All the magazines pictured here had one or more of Ed’s pieces in them that could be positively identified as his, with the exception of Meet The Girls and the two Whisper mags which were included because they contained Wood-related Rene Bond, Vampira, and "Bunny" Breckenridge. Outre and Cult Movies were relatively recent mags that dealt with Wood's current popularity and pop-cult interest.
Grey listed the dates of Ed’s magazine writing career from 1968-1978 (the year of his death, at age 54). All of Pendulum’s earlier stories and articles went uncredited until sometime in 1970, and after that they used pseudonyms until 1971 when the first stories started to appear with the “Edw. D. Wood, Jr.," “Dick Trent,” and “Ann Gora” bylines.
The logo and look of Gallery Press mags changed a bit in 1974 and with the change, stories and articles started to appear by Jason Kelly, Sy Levy, Kief Grahm, and quite a few by Luke Norman who may have been Charles D. Anderson aka Norman Bates, all of which seemed to have been pseudonyms, but none of them were Ed Wood.
Around that time Wood was let go by Bloom because of his drinking problems. By 1976 Gallery Press was reprinting a lot of their earlier mags contents under new covers and in some cases with new splash page artwork, including some of Wood’s stories mixed in with the new offerings.
The earlier Pendulum mags sometimes had short book reviews (that were more like ads) of their own titles, and in Young Beavers v2 #6 Feb./Mar.1969, there are three short book reviews for Pendulum books, two of which were Ed’s, and who knows, the reviews themselves could have been written by him, and might have been the only reviews any of his books ever got! The books reviewed were Raped In the Grass and Bye Bye Broadie which were advertised, excuse me––reviewed––mentioning the inclusion of 80 photographs taken from the motion pictures of the same names.
The discovery that Ed Wood wrote for Bernel Associates and the Pendulum/Gallery Press gay titles, and in a magazine outside of the Pendulum/Gallery/Calga family of publishers (Vue Jan. 1975), widened the search for unknown and post-Pendulum Wood stories. There are still stories that Wood listed in his resumes that are unaccounted for, but were undoubtedly published.
In regarding Ed Wood’s short stories for the Pendulum/Gallery gay magazines, it must be emphasized that Ed was not gay, even though a crossdresser-transvestite, having said that, it’s hard to think of him as what one would normally consider straight either. I see him as what has been termed in various neologisms such as pansexual, hypersexual, omnisexual or the term coined by writer Marco Vassi – metasexual.
Other Ed Wood related material in magazines was in regard to his movies. Ed had sort of a non-relationship with Forrest J. “Forry” Ackerman, editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland, sci-fi/fantasy/horror collector and monster maven. Forry occasionally used stills from Bride of the Monster and Plan 9 From Outer Space (he called this “one of the unbest movies ever made”) in his mags. Probably most indicative of their relationship was Ackerman's quote in Nightmare of Ecstasy – “For a while he [Wood] called me up a great deal on the telephone, but he was always smashed out of his skull ... and there was nothing much I had to say to him, or could do for him or anything, I don’t remember what in the world he wanted when he would call me up, it was sort of, ‘Well we got to get together, buddy,’ type of thing.”
Some of the sexploitation cinema slicks had reviews and/or pictorials of Wood’s Orgy of the Dead, Necromania, and Take It Out In Trade, which did not mention Ed in them, and again, some of the articles themselves were rumored to have been written by Ed himself! The 1968 Bernel Associates mag Fetish In Film was completely written by an uncredited Wood. But, the Wood movie that got the most coverage in the adult slicks and girlie mags was Orgy of the Dead, probably due to the fact that it had a pressbook that was widely disseminated and used by different publishers for the ad art, photos, cast listing and synopsis.
National Expose - v7 #2 (undated) with late sixties/early seventies soft-core porn actress Malta on the cover. Malta was in Ed Wood's Love Feast (1969) and The Only House In Town (1971).