Half-Mast: Forrest J Ackerman
King of the monster geeks, Forry Ackerman, died this week at age 92. He was the first of the seemingly-indestructible trio of long-lived sci-fi pals - Forry, Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen - to pass away. In the pre-VCR era, Ackerman's vital periodical, Famous Monsters of Filmland, gave glimpses of classic horror and science fiction films to those too young to remember (and couldn't see unless they showed up on TV). As we all found out when video came our way, most of the movies weren't half as good as Forry's magazine made them seem.
Ackerman's collection of monster movie memorabilia was legendary, with tours provided by the man himself for decades. Sadly, with no museum offering to buy his various masks, lobby cards and robot suits, he was forced to sell most of the collection piece by piece in recent years. A damn shame. I mean, the Smithsonian will spring for Warren G. Harding's pajamas but they won't buy Karloff's neck bolts? As a nation, we've lost our priorities.
But those of us who know the score will look to our Wolfman Soakies and glow-in-the-dark Hunchback model kits and salute the man who opened the Chamber of Horrors for our juvenile minds. Arise, Forrest J Ackerman! May you keep Van Helsing at bay.