R.I.P. to an infamous monster of filmland

ForrestackermanJust heard about the passing of Forrest J (no period) Ackerman, on Thursday at the ripe vintage of 92. (This news warrants a brief detour out of Book Hell.)

The AP’s lead on his obit gives a good nutshell description of this only-in-Hollywood character:

Forrest J Ackerman, the sometime actor, literary agent, magazine editor and full-time bon vivant who discovered author Ray Bradbury and was widely credited with coining the term “sci-fi,” has died.

For years, Forry stored an absolutely amazing collection of memorabilia from sci-fi, horror and fantasy movies in the “Ackermanse,” a spacious house in the hills off Vermont Avenue. (His phone number, back when all of these parts were 213, famously spelled out MOONFAN.)

I can’t say that I’m of the generation that waited breathlessly for my copy of his semi-monthly fanzine Famous Monsters of Filmland to arrive in the mail. But thanks to my husband, I did visit his house once and got a guided tour of his collection. (Somewhere out there, in the ether devoted to long-kaput magazines printed on cheap paper stock, is a Q&A I did with him for BAM, sometime in 1993 or ’94 if I remember correctly.)

When Forry showed off a few ragged bits of foam rubber that he kept under glass and proudly informed me that they were from original “King Kong” models, I thought he was going to choke up.

Here’s hoping he’s somewhere up above (or maybe below?) enjoying a glass of blood-red wine with Willis O’Brien and Merian C. Cooper right now.

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  4. Ian Johnston says:

    Actually, Forry didn’t believe in an afterlife, which may explain why he put so much into his 92 years.
    I had the great honor of meeting him in the last few years, and he really was THE MAN. Like meeting an elderly 12 year old….this guy really loved and lived the scifi life….very sad…anyone out there left doing an impersonation of HG Wells? No…probably not…

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