Monday, December 8, 2008

Remembering Forrest J Ackerman (November 24, 1916 – December 4, 2008)

Photo and text (c) Robert Barry FrancosI grew up reading Famous Monsters of Filmland. In fact, after Highlights, Life and National Geographics (the three magazines to which my parents subscribed), it was the first magazine I read cover to cover, and certainly the first one I bought regularly with my own money.

In the late 1980s, I had the opportunity to meet Forrest J Ackerman (aka "Forry"), creater of FMoF a few times at horror film conventions (Horror-Thon, Chiller Theatre). He still wore the huge ring that Bela Lugosi had given him (the one Bela wore in the original Dracula in 1929.

Forry was infamous for being a collector of probably the coolest stuff on earth for the golden- and silver-age horror and sci-fi geeks like me. Heck, he even had the original Maria robot from Metropolis (1927). He was always willing to show people his collection.

But there were so many aspects of him that had huge culture influences that most people didn't even realize, such as helping to publish the legendary lesbian magazine Bilitis(and even publishing his own lesbian-based sci-fi novels under a pseudonym), being instrumental in getting the Perry Rhodan series translated into English, and he was even fluent in Esperanto!

When I heard yesterday that he had passed away, I actually smiled, because he had a good life doing what he loved the most, and had the longevity to see the fruits of it.

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