Thursday, May 30, 2013

CRISWELL PREDICTS ED WOOD TO GET HOMETOWN STATUE



This news clipping submitted by Hall of Flame Doug reports that legendary auteur filmmaker Ed Wood may get a statue erected (no pun intended) in his honor. The article is written by Anthony P. Musso for the Poughkeesie Journal.
"Now uninhabited, the boarded house at 115 Franklin St. in the City of Poughkeepsie was once home to a somewhat dubious Hollywood legend. Despite being posthumously awarded the Golden Turkey Award as the worst film director of all time and having his sci-fi film, “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” dubbed the worst movie ever made, screenwriter, director, actor and author Ed Wood has become a cult figure in more recent years.
Edward Davis Wood Jr. was born in Poughkeepsie on Oct. 10, 1924. His father, Ed senior, was a maintenance man-custodian at the post office on Market Street, then between the Nelson House Hotel and the Dutchess County Courthouse.
Young Ed did not have a happy childhood, largely because of his overbearing parents and the bizarre behavior of his mother, Lillian, who desperately hoped to have a girl. When Ed was born, his mother frequently dressed him in girl’s clothing, a practice that he embraced for the rest of his life.
Wood attempted to find solace by reading pulp magazines and attending local movies. His initial inspiration toward filmmaking occurred while watching a Bela Lugosi film at the city’s Rialto Theater. The youngster became attracted to horror and science fiction genres.
While he frequented the Rialto, Wood secured his first job as an usher at the nearby Bardavon 1869 Opera House.
“In those days there were quite a few movie houses in Poughkeepsie,” recalled Ed Fitchett, 91. “The Bardavon showed first-run motion pictures and the Rialto, which was a very large theater, offered lower-budget films.”
Wood received a Kodak movie camera for one birthday. One of his earliest films captured the German airship Hindenburg flying over the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie on its route to – and demise in – Lakehurst, N.J.
Following time in the military during World War II and a brief period performing in a carnival, Wood moved to Hollywood in 1947 to pursue his dream.
Despite enlisting the services of a then-elderly and drug-dependent Lugosi, his low-budget, campy films were never well-received.
Wood continued to write, authoring 80 crime and sex novels from 1960 to his death in 1978. A combination of rejection, alcohol and depression contributed to his massive heart attack at 54 years old.
In recent years, Wood’s films have attracted a new audience, one that celebrates his creativity as opposed to those that condemned his work decades earlier.
Perhaps most astonishing is that the director who could not produce a hit movie was portrayed by Johnny Depp in the 1994 motion picture, “Ed Wood,” which won two Academy Awards.
Poughkeepsie’s Joe Mendillo is attempting to raise funds to commission and build a life-size bronze statue of Wood in the city.
“Ed Wood dared to dream,” Mendillo said. “Here’s a guy from Poughkeepsie who started as a theater usher, went on to Hollywood and though he wasn’t the most talented guy, he made the most of his life, had an incredible time and we are still talking about him 90 years after his birth.”'


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