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Fireside Chats: Fireside Chats with Ed Wood

I named this segment “Fireside Chats” after the “Fireside Chats” implemented by Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression. They were radio broadcasts where FDR spoke in a conversational tone to the American public. It was from one of these Fireside Chats that the famous adage “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” came from. The Fireside Chats were meant to provide comfort to the American people, and they succeeded at that. They also probably had more than a little to do with FDR being the only US President ever elected to four consecutive terms. The Fireside Chats outlasted the Depression and carried over into World War Two, not ending until 1944 after thirty broadcasts. It was while listening to one of these latter broadcasts that a guy named Ed Wood from Poughkeepsie, New York, years before he would befriend the great Bela Lugosi and achieve legendary status as the creator of PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, would be inspired to join the military. This would have likely been the broadcast of Tuesday, December 9, 1941, made right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or the one from early 1942.

There are a lot of stories about Ed Wood’s time in the Marines. These stories must be taken with a healthy seasoning of salt, as Ed, ever the showman, was wont to exaggerate and to invent, crafting some wildly entertaining but not wildly accurate stories of his time spent in uniform. The story about how he lost his teeth, for example. Knocked out by the butt of a Japanese soldier’s rifle at the battle of Tarawa? Ummmmm, could be. It’s a great story, though, isn’t it?

TheCheezman • May 18, 2020


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