The film includes almost 14 minutes of stock footage, including the end credits, and 73 seconds that run concurrently with new footage of Bela Lugosi. The stock scenes include "Fake Lightning" (used 6 times), "Pedestrians" (3 times), "Highway Day" (3 times), "Highway Night" (twice), "Playground" (twice), "Superior Court" (twice), "Ridiculous Soft Core", "Natives", "Bison Stampede", "Parking Lot", "Steel Foundry", "WWII", "Ambulance", "Airplane", "Signalman", "Milkman", and "Girls with Fuzzy Hats or Sweaters."
In March 1981, Paramount placed a full-page page ad in the New York Times announcing the reissue of Glen or Glenda (1953). It was heralded as a lost trail-blazing masterpiece in the tradition of Citizen Kane (1941), Freaks (1932), The Godfather (1972) and Napoleon (1927). A big New York premiere was scheduled for the reissue, but the date, April 1st, made film buffs suspect that the whole thing was an April Fool's Day joke. Paramount abruptly canceled the premiere the night before, citing the attempted assassination of then-president Ronald Reagan on March 30th. The film was quietly put into limited re-release the next month, and started appearing in TV "bad movie" film festivals soon after.
While the film had no sequel, Ed Wood used the character Glen/Glenda again in two of his novels. In "Killer in Drag" (1963), Glen/Glenda has become a serial killer. In its sequel "Death of a Transvestite", Glen/Glenda is executed.
The erotic-themed vignettes were not created by Wood. They were reportedly added by producer George Weiss. He needed extra scenes to add to what he felt was an overtly -short film. While not organic parts of the narrative, they seem to tell their own tales of gender dynamics and so fit in the general themes of the film.
The second part of the film, titled Alan or Anne, is much shorter, told largely through stock footage, and was made to meet the distributor's demand for a sex change film. Alan is a pseudo-hermaphrodite who fights in the World War II wearing women's underwear. After his return, Alan undergoes surgery to become a woman.
The erotic vignettes feature several uncredited actors. First a woman is whipped by a shirtless man in a BDSM-themed vignette. Several women "flirt and partially disrobe" for an unseen audience. A woman tears apart her dress in a dramatic manner, then starts a coy striptease. The whipped woman from an earlier vignette appears alone in an autoerotic session. Her pleasure is interrupted by another woman who forcibly binds and gags her. Another woman has a similar autoerotic session and then falls asleep. As she sleeps, a predatory male approaches and rapes her, with the victim seeming partially willing by the end of it.