Monday, December 08, 2008


I had the pleasure of meeting Forrest J Ackerman a handful of times at various conventions and once at a film festival. Every time I met the man, it was a wonderful experience and he always made the time to have a meaningful conversation or at least a quick greeting. The last time I saw Forry was at the 2006 San Diego Comic Convention and it was really sad to see the condition he was in. He had changed so much since the last time I saw him back in 2000, also at SDCC. After the 2006 meeting I had a feeling I wouldn’t see the Ackermonster again.

Like most everyone else, I was introduced to Forry back when I was eight or nine in the pages of his long running magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. Wow, these magazines were stuffed with everything a monster lovin’ kid would want to see and I devoured every page.

I only have a couple of issues left from childhood. Most of ‘em didn't survive into adulthood. My FMs were kept, along with Cracked Magazine at my rock fort that was located in the middle of the woods. (Yeah, I had somewhat of a Huck Finn childhood.)

The issue above probably survived only because it has a Star Wars cover.

In my 20's, Famous Monsters helped what I already knew, that my girlfriend was the one for me. (She is now the first lady of Neato Coolville.) On Valentine’s Day, she surprised me with some old FM issues and one of them was issue #100. I would eventually have it signed by cover artist Basil Gogos and Forry.

When I first met the Famous Monsters ringleader, I told him the Valentine story which he got a big kick out of.

Every time I met him he was ready for a conversation and I’m sure I asked him many of the same cliche questions that most fans ask. No matter, 'cause he always answered each question with enthusiasm, just like I was the first person to ever ask it. He thoroughly enjoyed talking about his beloved imagi-movies!

Here’s an appropriate 8 X 10 photo of Forry that he signed for me. This is one of my favorite signed items in my collection.

I always get excited seeing original movie props in person, especially ones from the movies I love. Sadly, I never had the chance to visit his famous Ackermansion, but Uncle Forry did wear two important movie props - Bela Lugosi’s Dracula ring and Boris Karloff’s Mummy ring. I had the pleasure of seeing both at a film festival in Kansas City. The photo below is Forry’s hand modeling Karloff’s Mummy ring during the KC film festival.

Of all the times that I met Forry before 2006, I never thought about having my picture taken with him. I guess I thought of him as a permanent fixture in the convention circuit or maybe I was hoping to have my picture taken with him when I had a chance to visit the Ackermansion. Regardless, I never did until 2006. This would be the last time I would see him.

So long Uncle Forry and thanks for all the inspiration.


Mike Middleton said...

Nice tribute NC. When was that Day The Earth Stood Still event at the Englewood Theater? That was before the 2000 SD Con wasn't it?

Glen Mullaly said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories, Todd.

Major Pepperidge said...

So great... Forry was a hero to me, my brother and I loved "Famous Monsters" (and "Mad magazine!). We did go to the Ackermansion about 10 years ago, and I am SO glad that we did. It was a childhood dream come true for us.

We were astonished many times during Forry's tour of his home and amazing collections... maybe most of all when we were in the downstairs room full of books and posters and Kong armatures; the tour ended, and Forry signed some magazines for us, and then he headed upstairs, leaving us standing there. Should we leave? Is he coming back? Can we look around? We finally felt like we'd better go! It was a great experience, and I still have my signed copy of FM to remind me of that day.

Anonymous said...

Aw, nuts. It was inevitable, but still...

I met 4SJ in 1996 at San Diego. There was a huge queue of people lined for autographs from Robert Trebor (Hercules the Legendary Journeys) and Forry was just sitting nearby, watching, smiling. All of fandom were his family.

I couldn't believe nobody recognized him, but there you go. We chatted for a couple of minutes about nothing in particular--really, I just wanted to thank him for all he'd done.

Btw, if you have access to usenet, the first 100 issues of FMM are available for download. Not the same as having the real thing, but better than nothing.