Saying goodbye to our Uncle Forry
A fun and kind hearted legend we will all miss.
Danny Northside - Monday, November 3, 2008
Today I heard some news that really broke my heart, but understood that it was bound to be coming. That news is regarding the passing away of Mr. Forrest J. Ackerman – aka Uncle Forry.(The article was updated Dec 6th, 2008)
Born November 24th, 1916, Forrest has lived through all generations of sci-fi and horror and has seen it all. Ackerman was the editor and a writer for the legendary magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, as well as an author, movie producer, actor, and a literary agent of almost two hundred writers. Not to mention, he is one of the words biggest collectors of movie memorabilia, props, private items from legends such as Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney, to one of the biggest collections of books and magazines you could ever imagine. And the coolest part is – he has opened his doors to fans who are total strangers to come inside and tour all of this amazing stuff in his own home with open arms. Not to mention, he coined the term used so frequently used today: Sci-Fi.
When I first discovered Famous Monsters of Filmland I was in sixth grade. I had seen the film Gorgo on a rainy Sunday afternoon on television and really enjoyed it. That next Thursday, while shopping at this local comic book store (Most likely buying the new Usagi Yojimbo or Reagan’s Raiders!) I came across a back issue of Famous Monsters with non other than Gorgo on the cover. Needless to say I put back my comic books and bought this strange magazine I had never seen that was really beat up but fascinating. From then on, once a month I purchased another back issue and read each one from cover to cover.
The stories were so interesting and introduced me to a generation of films I was totally unaware of. Fangoria was covering today’s films, but with Famous Monsters of Filmland I had an encyclopedia of movies way before my time that I might have never found out about. I was introduced to films such as It Came from Outer Space, Metropolis, Murder’s in the Rue Morgue, and Tales of Terror. I got to read about the people behind the scenes making these classics that were way before my time. I was introduced to legends such as Ray Harryhausen and the art of Basil Gogos. Let’s not forget my early puberty days sponsored by his character Vampirella!
Though Famous Monsters of Filmlands’ run ended in 1983 (191 issues in total), it has continued to be one of the most interesting publications I have ever come across. Other than National Geographic, there is not another publication I can think of that documents history in the form of a magazine like Famous Monsters did. I had been planning to go to Los Angeles myself to take the tour of his new home this winter. Ever since I watched the bonus features on The Groovie Goolies DVD and the documentary Sci-Fi boys it is something I have really wanted to do. Most recently, the article in the latest Rue Morgue has really stirred me up to get out there. It was really cool to read about director Tim Sullivans trip to the mansion as well as how icons such as Joe Dante, John Landis, and Gene Simmons all claim there paths in life from the inspiration of Famous Monsters.
To shake Uncle Forry’s hand and rap about old movies has been a dream of mine for years. But unfortunately it doesn’t look like I’ll get the chance. Aint it Cool News reported today the following:
“Hey folks, Harry here... I spoke briefly with Forrest J Ackerman earlier today, he wasn't sounding very strong, it hurt to hear his voice knowing that it wouldn't be here with us much longer. But at the same time, it was nice to say goodbye to one another. Ackerman is one of the founders of my love of cinema. My father is the geek he is, because of his magazine - and I'm the geek I am because of his magazine as well as the influence it had on my father. That magazine was, of course, FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. In speaking with Uncle Forry's caretaker, an amazing gentleman named Joe Moe, I was told that Forry was lucid, peaceful and not even on pain medication, but that he was progressively getting worse - and was ready to move on. However, he was wanting to say his goodbyes to as many of his niece and nephews that he has created in his almost 92 years on this Earth. His 92nd Birthday is this November 22nd. Many friends of Forry have visited his bedside, hearing one last story, one last pun and to say one last goodbye. Ray Bradbury even flew to his bedside. We here at AICN are preparing a fitting memorial - and something, most likely, permanent to AICN. In the meanwhile - there is a chance for you to say your final goodbye, here's how...
From reading so much of Famous Monsters of Filmland, I personally feel like I am losing someone I have known my whole life. Since I was told the news this morning I have been pretty bummed out all day. The world has lost a living legend, and one of the coolest and most humble humans I’ll ever have he opportunity to be entertained by in my lifetime. Thank's for letting me realize that it's ok to grow up but to stay a kid at heart.
“Beast Wishes” Uncle Forry…… your devoted nephew Danny
It's how he rolls!