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The Hollywood Rat Race Paperback – August 13, 1957

4.3 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Paperback, August 13, 1957
$293.67
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Advice on achieving silver-screen immortality from an unlikely source, this kitschy and catty portrait of Tinseltown isn't likely to win any new fans for Wood, the writer, director and producer of what is generally agreed to be the worst movie ever made, Plan 9 from Outer Space. Wood offers tips on how to be discovered in Hollywood (you won't, stay at home); how to achieve stardom (become a character actor the likes of Jonathan Hale, Jane Darnell, Addison Richards and a seemingly endless list of other Hollywood nobodies of the 1950s); how to elude the casting couch (or at least, how to distinguish, and sleep with, legitimate producers rather than "phonies"); and how to comport oneself in debtor's court. This somewhat entertaining glimpse of Hollywood's sleazy side won't disillusion those who think of Wood as an inept writerAhis work is filled with mindless clich?s ("You're only as good as your last picture!")Aand numerous, even obsessive, references to fluffy white angora sweaters (true to Tim Burton's recent portrayal). The irony of Wood's authorship of this manual (unpublished until this printing) during the 1960s, one of the bleaker times in his career, will be apparent to all readersAas will Wood's understandable bitterness as he spews out unending invective against the "phonies" who take advantage of young, angora sweater-wearing talent. While this brief book isn't quite bad enough to rank with Woods's most distinctive creations, dedicated fans will find it a howler.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

The King of the Really Bad Movies reveals the secrets of his, well, successsomewhat inadvertently. Wood is best known as the writer, director, and producer of such instant trash-can liners as Bride of the Monster, That Sinister Urge, Plan 9 from Outer Space, and the never-to-be-forgotten (or forgiven) Glen or Glenda? (a.k.a. ``I Changed My Sex''). The subject of an affectionate Tim Burton film that bore his name, Wood was nothing if not persistent in his desire to crack the walls of the Hollywood palace. In this previously unpublished effort, he outlines for all would-be actors and actresses the pitfalls that await them when they go west in search of the cinematic El Dorado. And it is truly a worm's-eye view. Wood manages the singular feat of simultaneously depicting the film industry as a kind of hard-earned nirvana and a cesspool of greasy-handed lechers, quick-buck artists, and con men. He does so in a tortured prose that will be familiar to anyone who has seen one of his films, littered with solecisms, bordering on a kind of hysterical incoherence. (``They never error in their delivery of lines. . . .''; ``But the guy had such a dynamic veneer. . . .,'' to offer two choice examples.) If there is a finite supply of exclamation marks in the world, this book will deplete it. As a period piece that includes advice on cheap hotels at which to stay, it has a certain stupid charm. But if you weren't suffering from ``irony fatigue'' before, the publication of this curiosity will send you over the edge. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (August 13, 1957)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312112858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312112851
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,849,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ed Wood is famous as "the world's worst director." That title was never true, because his movies were always interesting even on a shoestring budget. In this book, the Great Man offers his [intentionally] hilarious advice for those aspiring to Hollywood. "Stay home," he insists. "You can be a devoted actor or actress there as well as any place."
All of his favorite fetishes are here in this book as he explores the [1960s version of] seedy Hollywood. He manages to mention "angora sweaters" nearly a dozen times throughout the book. Mr. Wood warns starlets that there isn't any film in that screen test camera. He explains how to seem like a bigshot while living a dive apartment-- have all your meetings downstairs at the complex's POOL. He brags that all of his movies got RELEASED [wow]-- unlike some other cheapie
directors. He even explains how to live for FREE in Hollywood [sleep in the park-- but don't forget blankets].
Chapter Ten: How to Make a Cheap Picture and Fail. "This is the easiest chapter of all to write,"-- Ed's implied admission that maybe he isn't the Hollywood BigWig he pretends to be.
Ed wrote his books as a stream of consciousness-- and it shows. But "Hollywood Rat Race" is like having a great three hour conversion with someone who's seen it all... and can still laugh about it!
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Format: Paperback
"Hollywood Rat Race," a guide to surviving in Hollywood by none other than Edward D. Wood Jr., should be considered a must for any of his fans. Unpublished until the late-nineties, this guide covers Ed's thoughts about acting, screenwriting, producing, and a lot more. In addition, this is probably the closest we're ever going to come to Ed's memoirs. He tells stories about his early Hollywood career, his films, his friends (Kenne Duncan, Lyle Talbot, Tom Keene, some long stories about Bela Lugosi), and, best of all, his own account of the notorios baptism performed to get financing for "Plan 9 From Outer Space."
Some highlights: his scattered references to angora; his referring to the "Plan 9" cast as "The best cast I ever had" (listing off the names of David De Mering and Ben Frommer as if they were legendary); his list of some top character actors (all of them obscure); and his guide to living in Hollywood without any money (sleep in the park!). It's all written in a decidedly humorous style.
In conclusion, if you're a self-respecting Ed Wood fan, you simply can't be without this book.
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Format: Paperback
I just started reading this book, and I am enjoying it. I've noticed that the book has a couple of negative reviews, and I disagree with what those reviews say. This book is well written, contrary to what is written in those reviews.. (What were they expecting an Ed Wood Jr. book to be like??? Ernest Hemmingway, John Steinbeck or William Shakespeare?) It never ceases to amaze me how people with no talent, very little talent, or "no credits" whatsoever to their name, are so quick to judge someone else. Hollywood Rat Race has a great amount of advice and insight about Hollywood. Some of the information is dated, but Ed Wood Jr. Pulls NO PUNCHES, and it is better written prose than what you're reading about from some of these clowns here. I reccomend this book...

Also, who is to say that Ed Wood never "made it" in Hollywood? He may have never made it to the to the top level that say Sylvestor Stallone made it, etc,etc... But on various levels he did "make it", and he does have the authority to write such a book even though he didn't make it in the traditonal definition of the words "making it"...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was well written and Ed Wood in his own way attempted to give young people who aspire to the field of motion picture entertainment to look at the acting profession and field in a realistic way rather than through rose colored glasses,, His specialty was the world of fiction so this book was a departure and the principles that he tried to pu across then still applies today.
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Format: Paperback
OK. I admit it. I thought I could be an actor in Hollywood and in 86 moved to Hollywood. Basically I failed on every turn. So much of what Ed writes in this book is true. This is the best (BEST) book ever writen about what to do if you really want to go and try. Not only is it totally honest, but it is written in the great Ed Wood style. I am a big Ed Wood fan, so I know. I also have the pleasure of knowing many of the original Ed Wood actors personally. One of the few perks I got out of Hollywood. I never got to meet Speilberg or Lucas, but I did hang out on the fringe with people like Russ Meyers, Titus Moody, Kitten Natividad, Ray Dennis Steckler, Paul Demarco, Jena Jamison and Conrad Brooks. Far more interesting then the so called Hollywood stars. This book is a must for all Ed Wood fans. Buy it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ed Wood Jr. wrote this book which is less of a "how to succeed" than a "how to survive" in Hollywood. As a companion piece to Nightmare Of Ecstasy, which chronicles Wood's life and career, this book is a nice addition.

Like the rest of Wood's output, it works best on its own premises, and shouldn't be compared to others work.

I recommend it, especially if you're an Ed Wood fan.
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