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Hollywood Rat Race

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In this never-before- published memoir of Hollywood, Ed Wood, Jr., reveals the down and dirty about the cutthroat world of movie-making.


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In this never-before- published memoir of Hollywood, Ed Wood, Jr., reveals the down and dirty about the cutthroat world of movie-making.

30 review for Hollywood Rat Race

  1. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Gibson

    Not since Joan Crawford's Life My Way, have I read an author that has so little self-awareness. This book is part how-to-become-an-actor, part memoir, and totally wacky! I was laughing out loud at many sections due to Wood's serious tone, but other parts, especially any place where he talks about his friendship with Bela Lugosi, can actually be touching. I highly recommend this book to movie buffs, and fans of old Hollywood, Ed Wood, or camp. Not since Joan Crawford's Life My Way, have I read an author that has so little self-awareness. This book is part how-to-become-an-actor, part memoir, and totally wacky! I was laughing out loud at many sections due to Wood's serious tone, but other parts, especially any place where he talks about his friendship with Bela Lugosi, can actually be touching. I highly recommend this book to movie buffs, and fans of old Hollywood, Ed Wood, or camp.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Not a paragraph goes by without multiple redundancies, shocking "facts" about Hollywood, or a reference to angora sweaters... My favorite parts were his talk about why starring in your high school play doesn't mean you're ready for Hollywood (what!? really!) and how his film Orgy of the Dead is not just an exploitive skin-flick. This book is so, so funny. Ed Wood is one of the worst writers I've ever read and if you've seen any of his movies or read Nightmare of Ecstasy, his bio, you'll enjoy th Not a paragraph goes by without multiple redundancies, shocking "facts" about Hollywood, or a reference to angora sweaters... My favorite parts were his talk about why starring in your high school play doesn't mean you're ready for Hollywood (what!? really!) and how his film Orgy of the Dead is not just an exploitive skin-flick. This book is so, so funny. Ed Wood is one of the worst writers I've ever read and if you've seen any of his movies or read Nightmare of Ecstasy, his bio, you'll enjoy this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    juicy brained intellectual

    eds cool everyones a hater

  4. 5 out of 5

    Josh Spurling

    Who better to write a guide to Hollywood than Ed Wood Jr., the worst filmmaker in history? Wood's films include the absurd anti-classics, "Plan 9 From Outer Space," "Glen or Glenda?," and "Bride of the Monster" among others. In "Hollywood Rat Race" Wood gives advice on such matters as what to pack for your trip to Hollywood (angora sweater of course), how to get an agent, whether you should have sex to get a part, and how to sleep in the park for free, before finally recommending that you just s Who better to write a guide to Hollywood than Ed Wood Jr., the worst filmmaker in history? Wood's films include the absurd anti-classics, "Plan 9 From Outer Space," "Glen or Glenda?," and "Bride of the Monster" among others. In "Hollywood Rat Race" Wood gives advice on such matters as what to pack for your trip to Hollywood (angora sweater of course), how to get an agent, whether you should have sex to get a part, and how to sleep in the park for free, before finally recommending that you just stay home instead. The book seems to be less about advice, however, than about bolstering Wood's own self-image as an acclaimed writer-director-producer. He name-drops at every available opportunity, exaggerates wildly, and frequently gets sidetracked, rambling on about angora sweaters and people's strange fetishes. It often becomes unclear in his tirades whether he is attacking others or himself. He is outraged by: - drama teachers ("Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach... Let each of them challenge me. I accept! I have made many films, yet I do not teach. I wonder why the schools and colleges hire these never-has-beens.") - actors who criticize Hollywood ("Who are these people who hate Hollywood? Perhaps a bunch of communists?") -sleazy producers ("More than a few of them will be undressed and into your dress or sweater and skirt, almost before you've got them off.") -cross-dressers ("Many of your favorite movie actors go in for this fantastic fetish. Horror of a lawsuit keeps me from naming names.") -bad filmmakers ("The only science (or fiction) about [this science fiction film] was the fact it came into being at all. And this so-called producer is still around Hollywood today taking backers' money for the same crap") -cheap novelists ("It doesn't take an overwhelming talent to write these books") I would not recommend "Hollywood Rat Race" to anyone who plans to move to Hollywood, or anyone who doesn't plan to move to Hollywood, unless, like me, you're morbidly fascinated by Ed Wood. Wood was anything but modest about his lackluster accomplishments, but he was right about one thing: "Perhaps none of our films, so far, have been up for awards, but they are entertaining pictures." Just not entertaining in the way he meant them to be.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Scott Williams

    Edward D. Wood Jr. is a personal hero so I was excited to find this slim volume. It begins as something of a guide for young people who are planning to migrate to Hollywood in search of stardom but becomes a memoir of Wood's own experiences. It is poorly written and in need of an editor but it's still an interesting historical document. Wood was a person who lived through the great shifts that took place in Hollywood between the 30s and 60s. Wood's cynical observations about the decline of Holly Edward D. Wood Jr. is a personal hero so I was excited to find this slim volume. It begins as something of a guide for young people who are planning to migrate to Hollywood in search of stardom but becomes a memoir of Wood's own experiences. It is poorly written and in need of an editor but it's still an interesting historical document. Wood was a person who lived through the great shifts that took place in Hollywood between the 30s and 60s. Wood's cynical observations about the decline of Hollywood's greatness are both fascinating and hilarious.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti

    "Who are these people who hate Hollywood? Perhaps a bunch of communists?" The well-known "worst director ever" (Plan 9 from Outer Space) writes a memoir. Perfect irritainment. At one point he compares acting, cake-baking, and the atomic bomb. "Far-fetched? Think about it!" Perhaps the most entertaining part of this book is the author's blatantly obvious angora-sweater fetish. I like 'em too . . . but not THAT way. :-) "Who are these people who hate Hollywood? Perhaps a bunch of communists?" The well-known "worst director ever" (Plan 9 from Outer Space) writes a memoir. Perfect irritainment. At one point he compares acting, cake-baking, and the atomic bomb. "Far-fetched? Think about it!" Perhaps the most entertaining part of this book is the author's blatantly obvious angora-sweater fetish. I like 'em too . . . but not THAT way. :-)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    I didn't think this book could be as delightfully stupid as Wood's movies but I should have known better. I especially like the way, writing in the 60s, he complains about how Hollywood has gone downhill, with all those damn beatniks and folksingers. Then there's the chapter about unscrupulous producers who try to lure young girls into appearing in nudie-cuties (as opposed to Wood's classy productions such as ORGY OF THE DEAD). This is priceless. I didn't think this book could be as delightfully stupid as Wood's movies but I should have known better. I especially like the way, writing in the 60s, he complains about how Hollywood has gone downhill, with all those damn beatniks and folksingers. Then there's the chapter about unscrupulous producers who try to lure young girls into appearing in nudie-cuties (as opposed to Wood's classy productions such as ORGY OF THE DEAD). This is priceless.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Eleanore

    So wonderfully, timelessly cynical. Not inaccurate, though.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eduard

    Ed Wood! The King of crap movies (that later achieved cult status b/c they are so bad) made notorious in the superb 1994 movie "Ed Wood" starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton. I highly recommend this movie as a primer for this book. After seeing this brilliant movie and gaining insight into the author Ed Wood can the reader really enjoy this book for what it is. Amazingly it is a "how to book" for hollywood wannabes that flock to Los Angeles by the droves seeking fame and fortune. The Ed Wood! The King of crap movies (that later achieved cult status b/c they are so bad) made notorious in the superb 1994 movie "Ed Wood" starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton. I highly recommend this movie as a primer for this book. After seeing this brilliant movie and gaining insight into the author Ed Wood can the reader really enjoy this book for what it is. Amazingly it is a "how to book" for hollywood wannabes that flock to Los Angeles by the droves seeking fame and fortune. The book is non-fiction explanatory on how the entertainment business works for the average naive wannabe actor. Every wannabe actor should read it. Though it was written probably in the early 70s (published posthumously) the book holds true today. It is timeless in the sense that nothing has changed in the sleaze of Hollywood, especially for the newbies who have no idea what they are getting themselves into coming from the proverbial "midwest" seeking fame. At the very least the book will be an eye opener to the predators that await the stupids that want to become actors. Sleazy producers existed then in the 60s, they exist today. Nothing has changed, nor will it. If you update some of the names in the book to modern actors the book could be written today as the concepts have not changed. Certainly an amusing book if you know the back story on Ed Wood.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elisala

    Pffff moi qui pensais que ce serait drôle... Le début aurait pu le laisser penser, ça pouvait être du second degré, et puis non. En fait c'est très sérieux, c'est vraiment plein de conseils pour se lancer à Hollywood, s'y retrouver, s'y orienter, avec name dropping et auto-promotion à gogo (ce qui 60 ans après fonctionne peu). Tout cela, comme indiqué dans le titre, écrit par un réalisateur reconnu comme un des pires au monde. Alors, ben oui, on peut lire ce livre au 25ème degré - comme on peut vo Pffff moi qui pensais que ce serait drôle... Le début aurait pu le laisser penser, ça pouvait être du second degré, et puis non. En fait c'est très sérieux, c'est vraiment plein de conseils pour se lancer à Hollywood, s'y retrouver, s'y orienter, avec name dropping et auto-promotion à gogo (ce qui 60 ans après fonctionne peu). Tout cela, comme indiqué dans le titre, écrit par un réalisateur reconnu comme un des pires au monde. Alors, ben oui, on peut lire ce livre au 25ème degré - comme on peut voir les films d'Ed Wood au 25ème degré - et rire, mais personnellement ça n'a pas marché, c'était plus comme l'équivalent en lecture du bruit d'une craie sur un tableau noir. La seule fois où j'ai ri, je cite (de mémoire, car j'ai effacé le livre de ma liseuse sitôt fini le livre, c'est pour dire...): "Qui sont ces gens qui détestent Hollywood? Sûrement des communistes". lol forever. Bref, sans intérêt.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Holger Haase

    A How-To-Make-It-In-Hollywood manual written by the most famous Hollywood failure ever towards the end of his life. It's actually pretty well written with chapters about the casting couch, how (not) to live in Tinseltown without money, a lengthy anecdote about introducing Bela Lugosi to stage work late in his career etc. Don't forget to bring your best angora jumper as you may need to pawn it at some stage in your career. A How-To-Make-It-In-Hollywood manual written by the most famous Hollywood failure ever towards the end of his life. It's actually pretty well written with chapters about the casting couch, how (not) to live in Tinseltown without money, a lengthy anecdote about introducing Bela Lugosi to stage work late in his career etc. Don't forget to bring your best angora jumper as you may need to pawn it at some stage in your career.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarospice

    The Icon Ed Wood Jr. gives one valuable piece of advice to starry eyed kids wanting to make it in Hollywood: STAY HOME! He says more, both helpful and goody, even still useful. I can't help but wonder what life would have been like if Ed followed his own advice. The Icon Ed Wood Jr. gives one valuable piece of advice to starry eyed kids wanting to make it in Hollywood: STAY HOME! He says more, both helpful and goody, even still useful. I can't help but wonder what life would have been like if Ed followed his own advice.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Ed Wood, Jr. fans = 5 Stars, everybody else = 1 Star.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tommy

    Surprisingly wise advice on making it big as a character actor from a tragicomic failure who doesn't seem to like communists, pretty-boys and sleazy producers. Surprisingly wise advice on making it big as a character actor from a tragicomic failure who doesn't seem to like communists, pretty-boys and sleazy producers.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This is my first five-star book of 2014, but I want to be clear: it’s the text of the book I loved, not the edition. The publishers did a poor job with it, and I hope to see a more serious historical edition printed someday. The worst offense is the cover price - $15.95 for a 138-page book that looks like it was put out on a café-press-type system (over ten cents a page!). That’s bad enough, but it also lacks any kind of historical front matter, like an introduction explaining its place in Ed’s This is my first five-star book of 2014, but I want to be clear: it’s the text of the book I loved, not the edition. The publishers did a poor job with it, and I hope to see a more serious historical edition printed someday. The worst offense is the cover price - $15.95 for a 138-page book that looks like it was put out on a café-press-type system (over ten cents a page!). That’s bad enough, but it also lacks any kind of historical front matter, like an introduction explaining its place in Ed’s career, and it really could use an index, to make it easier to find the personalities and movies Ed refers to. There are also many typos and errors, which might be Ed’s or the editor’s, it’s hard to know. If they are Ed’s, I’d favor leaving them in, but some kind of explanatory note should be included or better yet, an asterisk indicating each case where the editor has left the prose intact. This book is Ed Wood’s “advice book” for people (mainly girls) who want to break into the film business. Since Ed is today lauded as the “worst director of all time” and was at the time of writing this living on the brink of poverty and beginning a shaky career in nudie films and porn novels, he has a unique perspective on the situation. Yes, he’s a little bitter at the time of writing this. But so much of what we love about Ed (those of use who do love Ed) is still there: his boyish fantasies, his stilted prose, his obsession with women’s clothing and especially angora sweaters. But, more than that, Ed frequently slips from the advice-book genre into autobiography, as he uses examples from his own life or his friends in the business to illustrate some point about filmmaking. He never mentions “Glen or Glenda,” his most personal picture, but there are references to “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” “Bride of the Monster,” “The Sinister Urge” and even “Orgy of the Dead” (!). The most poignant section of the book is a ten-page description of his work to arrange a personal appearance for Bela Lugosi in a movie theater on New Years, 1953. It begins when Bela sees a letter to the newspaper inquiring whether he is still alive. Lugosi movies were being shown on TV, but no one had heard from the old man in years, and he didn’t know how to reach his audience. In Ed’s telling, he came up with the idea of a personal appearance, which stressed Bela out, made the theater owner nervous, and was met with doubt by the press agent who appeared. Then Bela walked out on stage, told his public how much he appreciated them, and invited them to the mezzanine for autographs. The crowd went wild. I see it as sort of an early version of fan-cons. At the time all this took place, Bela Lugosi was 71, which added another level of pathos for me. Ed died in 1978 at the age of 54, from alcoholism and years of self-neglect. If he had lived another two years, he would have lived to see an upsurge in interest in his work after he received the “golden turkey” award. If he had lived two years after that, he would have seen Dan Aykroyd and John Candy remake his “sweater” scene from “Glen or Glenda” in “It Came from Hollywood.” If he could have held out until he turned 71, in 1995, he would have seen Johnny Depp’s sensitive portrayal of him in “Ed Wood,” and would have witnessed Walter Matthau receive an Oscar for playing Bela Lugosi – the Oscar that Bela himself deserved. More important, he could have attended cons and made personal appearances, and lived to know that thousands of his fans love him with the same devotion as Bela’s fans in 1953. If you loved Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood,” you’ll love getting to know Ed in person, and reading this book is sort of like having a chance to see him at a fan con

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jason Coffman

    While not as deliriously perverted as his fiction books, Ed Wood's "How-to" guide to Hollywood is just as entertaining. Here he attempts to paint himself as the man about town, dispensing advice that is almost always instantly retracted with a seemingly earnest plea for aspiring actresses to just stay at home and leave Hollywood dreams behind. Or don't! Even here, Wood manages to sneak in plenty of references to his favorite fetishes, adding another layer of craziness to the proceedings. While not as deliriously perverted as his fiction books, Ed Wood's "How-to" guide to Hollywood is just as entertaining. Here he attempts to paint himself as the man about town, dispensing advice that is almost always instantly retracted with a seemingly earnest plea for aspiring actresses to just stay at home and leave Hollywood dreams behind. Or don't! Even here, Wood manages to sneak in plenty of references to his favorite fetishes, adding another layer of craziness to the proceedings.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Not really what I was hoping for from Ed Wood, frankly. Not that it had to be some sort of self parodying memoir, it just lacked any sense of self. I like Ed Wood, but having him wax nostalgia for how Hollywood works and it's 'glory' days -- I find it hard to take, since he didn't seem to heed his own words. In the end I power skimmed through this very thin book looking for the gems that just weren't there. I guess that's why it was at the used book store. Not really what I was hoping for from Ed Wood, frankly. Not that it had to be some sort of self parodying memoir, it just lacked any sense of self. I like Ed Wood, but having him wax nostalgia for how Hollywood works and it's 'glory' days -- I find it hard to take, since he didn't seem to heed his own words. In the end I power skimmed through this very thin book looking for the gems that just weren't there. I guess that's why it was at the used book store.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Justin Howe

    Reading this I realized that Ed Wood makes sense when he's viewed as being as much a star-struck fan boy of Hollywood and the screen magazines as the purported audience of this book of advice for the aspiring star. Also, you could probably make this into a drinking game and drink every time he mentions an angora sweater. Reading this I realized that Ed Wood makes sense when he's viewed as being as much a star-struck fan boy of Hollywood and the screen magazines as the purported audience of this book of advice for the aspiring star. Also, you could probably make this into a drinking game and drink every time he mentions an angora sweater.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    i was going to check this out today (sunday) but by the time i got done picking up table books all the checkout stations were shut down. so, this book will now be missing (i.e. sitting in my mailbox) til tuesday. i'm a bad librarian. i was going to check this out today (sunday) but by the time i got done picking up table books all the checkout stations were shut down. so, this book will now be missing (i.e. sitting in my mailbox) til tuesday. i'm a bad librarian.

  20. 5 out of 5

    John Thomas

  21. 5 out of 5

    Earmouse

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Petkus

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Siegrist

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joe Blevins

  25. 4 out of 5

    Richard Magnelli

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  27. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marc

  29. 5 out of 5

    Angus Mcwhorter

  30. 5 out of 5

    Zachary

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