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June 30, 2017

Book Review: Purple Thighs by Ed Wood

by David Hayes

1968 was a VERY prolific year for Wood. He wrote around 10 novels (confirmed) including this one. Originally titled Lost Souls Delivered (the brilliant Wood euphemism for LSD), you may have already guessed that sex and drugs are the topic of Purple Thighs. Well, if one is prepared for the standard “let’s get stoned and screw” of a majority of 60s smut dealing with drugs, forget about it. Wood has crafted a nice little allegory with biblical (yes, biblical) proportions.

The first chapter alone details a very Wood-ian telling of Adam and Eve in the Garden. And now, an excerpt:
And it was the deepest of all instincts which caused her hands to immediately cover up the intimacies of her body when the bearded face of the man looked at her through the brush. An extremely handsome man, but a man with very long hair, almost as long as her own, and a beard which covered most of the lower part of his face… She liked what she felt in that new experience. Then the pleasure intensified itself when the new creature mounted her and their animal instincts gave each a sensation which would last an eternity; for all men and women for all time.

Scripture or not, Adam and Eve had to have sex at least once… Wood just pointed that fact out. The novel then skips ahead a million or two years and we are introduced to Adam and Eve…a couple of miscreants on the lam from psychiatrists, police and other “squares.” Of course, both Adam and Eve are deeply involved in the drug scene. You can tell because they call people “squares” and throw bricks and have friends with names like Rigor Mortis. Adam and Eve have a falling out with Rigor Mortis and his gang of Pallbearers and run into Beany. Now, Beany (and Adam and Eve) is a real hippie… not like the others. This is why:

“Naw, the colony ain’t for the likes of me. Up there I’d get as frustrated as a transvestite in a nudist camp…” He laughed. “Can you imagine a drag in a nudist camp where he ain’t got no girl’s clothes to put on? Well I’d be just about the same way. I just wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I’m what we call a TRUE HIPPIE… Just like you two! But then again, you’re young enough to learn the new ways… I’m not! Those are the flower children up in those mountains…”

Well, Adam and Eve finally go to the colony. Rigor Mortis dies. Adam and Eve turn their back on civilization and want to live in the colony forever. The preachy psychiatrist talks to Adam before he leaves for good. The ever-wise addict gives the good doctor something to mull over. Maybe these kids aren’t as stupid as all us squares think, the shrink probably thinks. He’d be wrong, of course, they are that stupid and Adam opens his mouth and proves it.

“You want to know what LSD really stands for, Doctor Hammer?”

“I’m a doctor. That much I do know. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide…”

Adam shook his head with a big grin, spreading rapidly. “That’s what I’ve been trying to get across to you. Those damned text books of yours really need a going over.” The grin changed to a serious frown. “LSD really stands for Lost Souls Delivered!” He closed the door behind him.

If the reader doesn’t see that one coming, then I recommend getting pummeled with a baseball bat that has “ironic foreshadowing” wood-burned right below the Louisville Slugger insignia.

Purple Thighs is pretty rare. Expect to pay near the $100 dollar mark. Once again, Wood used his own name and that drives prices up. A copy of the novel with the Lost Souls Delivered title has yet to be located. That could possibly have been credited under a pseudonym, so keep an eye out.

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