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"Sci-Fi is Our High!" -- Forry's Legion of Nieces and Nephews
I had begun my trip on the Sunday before driving (with my dog Pal) and arriving Thursday. Forry's event was the following Sunday. I enjoy this photograph showing the mix here of what I see as Old and New Hollywood.
After anxiously staying overnight in Joshua Tree National Park the evening before, sleeping under the stars, we arrived at the home of 'the Stars' and my dog found some rest at the local Pet Hotel.
I'd visited what remained of the Acker-MiniMansion the day previously and it was then it finally hit me. With no one at home, I peeked through a window and seeing that emptyness inside created one heck of an emotional rush.
Having a chance to speak with Ms. Laemmle for a moment helped ease that pain. Carla has lived a very interesting life. She is the niece of Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Pictures and she lived the golden era of motion pictures. I would highly recommend anyone interested in some Hollywood history as told by this insider, her biography "Among the Rugged Peaks" can be found here:
The book is authored by my friend Rick Atkins.
He was wonderful and his collection and all of that. I don't know what is going to happen to it, do you know? It was a lot of stuff.
Shown here is Bela Lugosi's wardrobe from "The Raven" (1935)
Check out the signatures and see who you can identify! (All of these photographs can be selected and enlarged.)
Dracula's Ring worn by Bela Lugosi.
One person we discussed (a Forry favorite) was Fritz Lang shown here displaying his famous monocle.
Author Pam Keesey collaborated with Forry Ackerman compiling/editing the 1993 book project "Sci-Fi Womanthology" being an anthology of Sci-Fi Stories by women writers spanning over 70 years. So great to share Forry memories with Pam.
You can find "Sci-Fi Womanthology" and many other books authored by Pam here:
A list of other Pam Keesey sites can be found here: http://thatis.me/pamkeesey/
Angus Scrimm: So much to say about Forry, goodness! When I think of the two Ray's and Forry's relationship going back 70 years....
Mine went back 30 when a picture I did called "Phantasm" came out. I got a call from him and we went to the Ackermansion and we've known each other since. He was just a dear sweet man. The most serene generous nature of virtually anyone I've ever known. His spirit suffuses the lives of so many which is a wonderful heritage to leave. I think he still crosses my mind almost everyday and if I don't fall asleep too soon I include him in my prayers at night. His wife Wendy also was a delight. They both were charming together.
Who should I see as I come in? Almost immediately I'm greeted by Joe Dante, Tim Sullivan, Mick Garris and then look at that crowd outside. Forry loved a full house!
John Landis, however, was very kind in letting me take his picture only if...
Ron Chaney: I think probably on my grandfather's behalf when he (Forry) ran the article in the Famous Monsters about that he was sick... he was very much against it, he didn't want anyone to really know that. Forry ran that article and I think it was the first time that my grandfather really realized how many fans he still had out there and it really touched him. He got letters and get well cards and kids making cartoons of the Wolf Man being sick and things of that nature. He kept them all. I still have them and hope to put that in one of the chapters in my grandfather's book. And it was all due to Forry making that happen and not listening to him and running it anyway. That was a wonderful moment for my grandfather.
The man left us knowing he was loved. And whether you were there in person, or whether you sent a card or whether you had him in your hearts, he knew it. So thanks to all of you!
(Note: The next 20 photos suffer from poor photography & poor processing. Fortunately with the help of Ritz Camera Shop and some digital work I was able to salvage the following recorded memories.)
Back when I was 17 years old he took me into his life. He introduced me...to Ray Harryhausen and that made my career with Ray possible. I am the total result of my friendship with this fabulous man.
(The Original "Bat Pack" was Forrest J Ackerman, Ray Bradbury & Ray Harryhausen -- Ray, Ray & FJA!)
Most memorial services and most funeral services are not sad, but I think today of all days I give you permission to be sad because we miss him and we loved him. And I'm terribly sad and my tears are in my eyes and in my heart. ....and we'll go on loving him for the rest of our lives.
"Just tell 'em that I loved that man. Steve."
"lit a flame in the young Ray Harryhausen" and eventually that inspiration led Ray to know Forry, it was Mr. Harryhausen's "7th Voyage of Sinbad" which inspired a young John Landis in 1958.
Mr. Landis eventually was able to contact Ray Harryhausen through Forry.
In 1971, I wrote and directed my first feature film the appropriately titled "Schlock". It was my first collaboration with the young make-up artist Rick Baker.
Forry had a long life before Famous Monsters. He often said he wanted the last words on his lips to be "Science Fiction." That's what he really loved. It wasn't so much monsters or horror, it was Science Fiction. In the 1930's he was the #1 Science Fiction fan in the world.
When I came down here and I'd lost my job Forry took me in and I stayed at the Ackermansion taking calls from people like Lon Chaney Jr., Vincent Price and I got to meet people there, amazing people! Fritz Lang, Michel Piccoli the French actor, Ray Bradbury, Fritz Leiber all kinds of people. Everybody in Southern California I met either through or because of Forry Ackerman.
I'm starting to 'lose it', sorry folks.
When his (Forry's) wife Wendy passed away, he would then send out letters to his friends and they would all begin "WWW60" or "WWW84" and Forry would explain that stood for (how many days of the) World Without Wendayne. His world really changed when Wendayne left him and our world changed when Forry left us.
Keep our friendships alive and fresh because Forry lives on in those who love him and appreciate the great and irreplaceable contribution that he has made.
Note: Anyone interested in participating in a wonderful tribute to Forry, and all of us who loved him, check out Mr. Davids' film "The Sci-Fi Boys". You can learn more about the film here:
He made sure we read the works of his friend Ray Bradbury because he knew Bradbury would teach us all those lessons we needed to learn.
"I have been absent from many of my blood family's birthdays, parties, reunions, baptisms but I knew I could not be absent from this. I think we are (of) more than one family and we make another one during our lives."
I bought my first book at age seven, a book by Forry, an anthology published in Mexico. I was introduced to many of the fabulous writers I would grow to love and know. More importantly I was also introduced to Forry as a writer. I admire him as a figure that I wanted to know and meet but he wrote a beautiful story in that anthology called "A Letter to an Angel". Reading that story affected me very deeply.
As a genre magazine we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Forrest J Ackerman and Famous Monsters. We are a new generation of horror fan that could affectionately be called Forry's Monster Grand-kids.
(At the time of this ceremony, Jovanka was Author/Editor-in-Chief of the Magazine "Rue Morgue" which is based in Toronto, Ontario.)
When "Rue Morgue" was invited to this event, my entire staff without hesitation jumped at the chance to be here to remember the man and the magazine that started it all. They're all here.
Note: The cover for "Rue Morgue's" 11th annual Halloween double-issue featured a beautiful rendition of Forry Ackerman by Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine's best known artist Basil Gogos. That cover graced the speaker's podium at this event. It can be seen in the earlier Ray Bradbury frames above. I couldn't help but take it home with me after everyone had left the theatre and now I look at it each day when I wake up in the morning.
The term "Monster Kids" has come up and that's something that we all sort of realized we were later. But at the time, this magazine united a lot of people that didn't know there were other people like them out there.
Forry introduced us to the movies of the past, actors who had long since passed away that we learned to love and appreciate. He did a service to the entire culture. Forry changed the face of the culture with his magazine. Everytime I ever met Forry it was nothing but gracious and wonderful.
The one thing that all of us have in common being contemporaries of Forry is that we discovered him when we were kids and that part of us has stayed with us. That was always one of the things about Forry that was most endearing was that he was very childlike...and that's why he was so infectious.
All those funny names we knew him by, to me he'll always be Uncle Forry. It's funny to me how this strange man affected my life and so many lives of people of my generation.
He not only talked about the directors and the actors he talked about the men behind the scenes. And that's where I learned a lot of the names of the men who made the monsters. Ray Harryhausen, Willis O'Brien, Marcel Delgado, Jack Pierce, Jack Kevan, Dick Smith, John Chambers all these men who made monsters for a living.
And I thought to myself, some day if I'm good enough maybe I'll be in the pages of Famous Monsters....and that day came.
He educated us. He entertained us. He inspired us. I'll be forever grateful.
I met the man behind the curtain, the Wizard of Oz. He did not disappoint me as I feared he would.
Someone said earlier he had a personal relationship with everyone in this room. And he did. Whether you met him or not you did because he touched you as a child. And if you touch the heart of a child, you have him for the rest of your life.
Debbie has some wonderful articles of Forry in Movie Collector World. A Forry tribute in Issue #729 and of this particular tribute in Issue #733 (with photos by David).
Debbie Painter also wrote a book on Forry: The Life of Forrest J Ackerman which can be ordered here:
Here supporting Forry's forever vision is fellow "Scarlet Streeter", and associate Publisher of Scarlet: The Film Magazine, Arlene Domkowski.
Arlene and the gang keep the "Scarlet" memories alive down on the Street here: http://scarletstreet.com/
If one could have gone back in time and told me as a child that some day I'd be able to not only meet the lead lady from "The War of the Worlds", but hang out with her and ask questions, get personal... I think I speak for many close to Forry who allowed them that experience in saying that I'd never have been able to believe it. Thank goodness I lived long enough to believe it!
Ann Robinson: Mr. Ackerman, he kept me alive because he kept me going to all these places. He kept introducing me he kept talking about me. I met him in 1977. Up until that time I knew nothing about fandom. I had no idea who Mr. Ackerman was. Hadn't a clue. And then he invited me to everything and he kept saying, "This is Ann Robinson, do you remember her?"
I was lost for 25 years. No one knew (where I was), not even George Pal. He said, "Whatever happened to you?" Well I moved to Mexico married a bull fighter and had two children.
Ann Robinson still maintains her website here: http://www.annrobinson.com/
Shown here are writer Pam Keesey, filmmaker Tim Sullivan & actor Ryan Fleming.
Without Joe Moe behind the scenes putting all of it together surely this magical experience would not have taken place. I wish I'd been sitting on the other side of the theatre so I could have captured the moment on film.
You can get Joe Moe's in-depth personal record of the event by going to:
I'm leaving with a rare poster (which I understand is partially obscured by my blog window. Please select the image to enlarge it and see the artwork more closely.) The poster commemorates the event and was created by artist Bill Chancellor. You can see more of Mr. Chancellor's work at:
Please select this link to enhance this panorama:
Please select this link to enhance this panorama:
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