Oh, but the wings do flap (at least they did on those shooting days when the strings were working) and look closely at Giant Claw's beak -- not only does it move, a little, but his nostrils flare -- on a beak!? It's the pop eyes and mussed feathers sticking out from the top of his head that drive me crazy.
Ed's octopus of course didn't move at all, which is why Bela is so obviously grabbing a few tentacles and trying to pull them over himself. I think his pie plate saucers in PLAN 9 are closer to the Claw's work, as they're both airborne, but still, GC's FX seem a tiny bit better. I said, "tiny". I believe the effects work was in fact farmed out to a studio in Mexico (really) -- saving money on a low-budget B film. Now that's desperate.
Interesting thought about Ed teaching a film course. I've seen film of Ed telling prospective filmmakers some of his secrets, tips on filmmaking, that he said he was giving them for free. Well, yeah, obviously, Ed. Nothing memorable, and Ed was quite clearly loaded at the time, but I guess that's as close as he ever got to film school.
But ironicaly, the real director of THE GIANT CLAW, Fred F. Sears, did teach an early filmmaking course as well as drama at Southwestern University in the 50s, in addition to directing for TV. His filmography is amazing. He started with a single B for Columbia in 1949 and by the mid-50s was doing a minimum of 5 or 6 a year. In 1955 he made 6, in 1956 a record 8, and in 1957, 6 again, including CLAW. But at a price -- Fred Sears was so peripatetic and driven that he died of a heart attack in November 1957 at age 44. It's a measure of how many films he churned out for the studio that in 1958, the year after he died, no fewer than 5 films he'd directed were released! Ed Wood (not to mention David Lean and Stanley Kubrick) -- eat your hearts out!