Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Uncle Forry!

That's Forrest J (no period--the "J" didn't stand for anything) Ackerman for those not in the know, founder of the near-mythic Famous Monsters of Filmland and hero (if not Living Gawd) to hundreds of thousands of monster-crazed baby boomers:

When (somewhat predatory publisher James Warren) came out to my home and saw that, indeed, I did have 35,000 stills, the next thing I knew I was sitting at a dining room table with an old mechanical typewriter, and he was sitting opposite me with a sign which read, "I'm 11½ years old and I am your reader. Forry Ackerman, make me laugh!"*

Though, really, the point wasn't to make us laugh; the point was to give us ready access to the information about MONSTERS! and MONSTER MOVIES! and MONSTER MOVIE STARS! and MONSTER MERCHANDISE! with which we of a particular disposition so desperately wanted to immerse ourselves, incredibly difficult to do in those pre-cable, pre-satellite dish, pre-Web, pre-videotape, pre-DVD days. Hell, we counted ourselves astoundingly lucky if we got to see Shock! once a week (and if you remember Shock! your age is showing).

Forry took care of us for many years.

He's not doing well these days and won't be around much longer, but hey! He made it to 92 and according to the Classic Horror Film (Message) Board is in good spirits (I'd make a Ackermanesque pun here but it doesn't seem particularly appropriate).

If you'd care to send him a belated birthday card or some good wishes here's his address:

4511 Russell Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

No period.

And some useless personal trivia--this...

...was the first copy of Famous Monsters I ever owned (1964) which I got after I wheedled fifty cents out of my poor, indulgent Dad one night in a local drugstore (for the record, People's Pharmacy, "The Little People's," in Waynesboro, VA).

* Through Time And Space With Forry Ackerman, Part V


Cathy VanPatten said...

Wow! Amazing that he's still alive!

I would never buy Famous Monsters, but I did sneak peeks at it when we went to Haney's (our family's preferred local pharmacy, for those not up on their Waynesboro retail history).

G. W. Ferguson said...

It IS amazing! Further proof that an active sci-fi/fantasy life keeps ya young!

Admit it--you were at Haney's buying Tiger Beat for the hot, non-threatening Boy Porn!

Cathy VanPatten said...

Oh no! NEVER Tiger Beat. Only 16 Magazine for me. Gloria Stavers was my mentor!

But otherwise accurate...