12/10/08

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.

3 comments:

Mel said...

Aw man, you're making me tear up.

ZT said...

Terrific tribute art Ash...

POP CULTURE DEBRIS said...

One stands in stark sadness and silence at Forry's passing, but in many ways, I think a lot of the joy in his life had passed on when he had to start selling off the Ackermansion collection piece by piece for medical and legal bills. Someone with deep pockets (yes, I'm looking at you Spielberg) should have purchased that treasure trove of movie and monster memorabilia and kept it full and intact, setting up a museum and letting Forry serve as curator with a paycheck. In another universe, that's what happened, and the world is all the better for it.