Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Loop Orbit, Part Four by Greg Dziawer

"I'd like to buy an O."

Widening The Aperture

A legendary porn producer.
Founded in 1974 by Noel C. Bloom, Caballero Control Corporation (later Caballero Home Video) was one of the most successful and durable adult film studios in American history. Noel was the son of another legend in the porn industry: publisher Bernie Bloom, whose Pendulum family of magazines employed Ed Wood frequently throughout the 1970s. Always desperate for quick cash during the last years of his life, Ed worked as a writer for Bernie on various adult magazine imprints, starting with Pendulum Press titles in 1969 and running through titles from Art Publishers, Inc (home to the multi-media Swedish Erotica empire) in late 1978, just before Ed's passing. Drawing on the Pendulum talent pool, Caballero likewise threw some work Eddie's way during those years for its film productions.

Another Pendlum staffer from that era, artist Phil Cambridge, was a coworker and personal friend of Ed Wood. He talked about the origins of Caballero and Ed's involvement therein with author Rudolph Grey for the book Nightmare Of Ecstasy: The Life And Art Of Edward D. Wood, Jr.

"When Caballero first started, they just did 8mm movies," Cambridge told Grey. "They'd put one-liners, captions, on the bottom of the screen, just like silent films. They gave Ed a hundred bucks to write ten movies. There had to be fifty lines in each movie, minimum."

We've quoted Cambridge before in this series, as a signpost to the discovery of 8mm loop subtitles that could have been written by Ed. In this week's Ed Wood Wednesdays, we're sharing another set of loop subtitles. These come from Danish Films International #10 Photo Layout from 1976. This short film stars a trio of Golden Age porn legends, though who is saying what is open to interpretation.

Read on and see if you detect the presence of Edward D. Wood, Jr. in these lines.


Photo Layout


Annette Haven (unnamed female, in a surprising white beaded necklace): DO WE HAVE A MODELLING JOB TODAY?

Linda Wong (as Susie, wearing the de rigueur chiffon neck scarf, here yellow): YES I HAVE TO CALL HIM.

Linda: SO IT IS ALL SET FOR TODAY.

Linda: WE'LL BOTH BE IN PINK AND WHITE GOWNS.

Linda: I'LL WRITE IT DOWN SO WE'LL BE SURE TO BE THERE.

Linda: BYE!

Linda: LET'S GO.

Annette: IT'S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY TO TAKE PICTURES.

John Leslie (unnamed male): WHY DON'T YOU TWO GIRLS STAND OVER THERE.

John: WHY DON'T YOU MOVE IN A LITTLE CLOSER.

John: HOLD HANDS.

John: GREAT.

John: MOVE OVER THERE.

John: MOVE OVER HERE.

John: SUSIE ALONE.

Annette: YOU'RE PRETTY CUTE.

John: AW, COME ON.

John: LET'S GO IN THE HOUSE.

John: THAT SESSION WAS PRETTY GOOD.

Linda: WE ENJOYED IT, TOO.

Annette: LET'S SEE WHAT WE HAVE HERE.

Annette: UMMMMMMMM!!!!!!

Linda: LET ME GET MORE COMFORTABLE.

John: BOY, YOU SURE ARE STACKED FOR AN ORIENTAL CHICK.

Linda: LET ME.

Annette: BE MY GUEST.

Linda: OHHH!!!!

Linda: OH, YOU'RE MAKING ME SO WARM AND MOIST.

John: HELP ME MOVE THIS.

Annette: YOU MAKE MY NIPPLES SO HARD.

Annette: AHHH!!!!! IT'S SO BIG.

Annette: PUT IT IN, PUT IT IN!!!!!

John: OHHHH!!!!!!
  
Ending title card from the film.

Linda Wong in the customary yellow scarf
Whew! That's a veritable epic by the spare standard of these subtitled loops. And by "these," I mean the loop series that evince signatures of each other, traceable back to producer Noel Bloom. We've previously mentioned that Ed lists an astounding 716 so-called "short picture subjects" on his own resume, just from 1971 to 1973 alone. The possible playing field in which we could find evidence of Ed's hand is clearly immense, and still largely remains unknown. This week, we'll stick strictly to the subtitles.

With 33 lines and 154 words (4.7 words per line) this is the lengthiest set of Bloom-family loop subtitles I've yet transcribed, with a smattering of reasonably full sentences. And if Ed wrote it, the directions by John during the shoot take on a special meaning. Overall, the minimalism, simple syntax, font/placement and penchant for including the grunts and groans are all highly consistent across the subtitles through the years in a wide array of Bloom-family loops released under dozens and dozens of imprints. It's worth noting that, outside of this family of loops, other production companies and distributors rarely subtitled their 8mm porn loops. Why bother with the extra hassle and expense?

Box covers did not always include the information that a loop was subtitled, but when they did, it was touted as a selling point. It seems a questionable selling point to me, but given the silence of the loops, perhaps it appealed to a few (highly advanced) men out there craving a sense of sound. The Bloom-family loop series' of the first half of the '70s also distinguish themselves by possessing an arty quality compared to most of the other series out there, pointing not only to Bloom's (magnum opus) Swedish Erotica series but to the Golden Era's Porno Chic aesthetic, as well.

Annette Haven
Photo Layout was, like the loop Young and Proper aka Prudish Secretary (also starring Annette), a loop that Bloom derived plenty of mileage from. Both were released on the Danish Films International label, silent with subtitles and running almost 90 meters (roughly 16 minutes). Both were also released, cut to a shorter and more typical loop length, on the Danish Films loop label, in versions minus subtitles, with dubbing (yes, they dubbed films that were originally shot silent). Both turned up in features, on the same DVD compilation (Swedish Erotica Hard Vol 16) and both were given photo features in Danish Films magazines, with accompanying text likely written by Ed.

If you're familiar with the pornographic loops of this time period, the opening shot of the edited and dubbed version of this film will give you déjà vu: John walking out of and away from the camera, quickly revealing a girl on each side. The actual photo shoot is excised, necessitating a title change to Fashion Layout, and the dubbing never references it, nor does it in any way correspond to the the subtitled version. It also appeared as the finale of the feature Black Silk Stockings, a 1978 Swedish Erotica loop carrier.

Young and Proper aka Prudish Secretary likewise ended up in a feature, 1979's collection of Swedish Erotica loops, Sheer Panties. Both are credited to producer-director Billy Thornberg (real name Chris Warfield), who often put together loop carriers centered around Bloom-family loops. Beyond Fulfillment from 1975, featuring John Holmes throughout, includes loops with set decorations recognizable from a host of Bloom-family loops. Not to get too far astray from the topic at hand, but could Warfield's presence be a clue to the artistic personnel sometimes behind (when including multiple signatures) the Bloom-family loops on the whole? The loop carriers are introduced in the features with newly-shot footage including narrators. It's equally possible the credit refers to Warfield's involvement there. We'll come back to this in a future Ed Wood Wednesday.

Porn legend John Leslie
If all of those permutations have you confused, now factor in two Danish Films International loops with the index number #10. Flesh Eater is from 1973. Photo Layout was released in 1976, on a second run of titles under the Danish Films International imprint that featured longer loops and replicated the index numbers of the first 30+ loops in the series. We surmise this is #10 as the last subtitle before The End card, same font and placement as the subtitles reads: DANISH #10. And that End card, of course, is in the same script-like font that closes out the Swedish Erotica loops.

What you are really wondering, no doubt, is if Ed really did pen these subtitles. Let's cut to the chase. I've included this as a Wood Loop Orbit, areas of Woodology suggestive of Ed's involvement at best and stages upon which we knew he stood (literally and figuratively) at very least. I surmise a high likelihood that Ed wrote many if not most of these Bloom-family loop subtitles, which ran into the hundreds if not thousands, including this one.

If he didn't, who did?

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