A few weeks ago, I sung the praises of Forrest J. Ackerman and the childhood joys his Famous Monsters of Filmland gave me. Now comes sad word, already up on numerous websites, that he is ailing, and the end is very soon. (I have seen some statements that, in fact, he passed on yesterday, but nothing, fortunately, that strikes me as authoritative, as of yet.)
Assuming, then, that it isn’t too late, I will also pass on that he is receiving cards at the following address:
Forrest J. Ackerman
4511 Russell Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Last time, I said I wouldn’t belabor the obvious. But, given the circumstances, I will just a bit now, because the man deserves to have it said over and over and over again. Anyone who is any kind of fan of horror, SF (or, to use Forry’s coinage, SciFi) and fantasy owe this man an enormous debt. Would fandom exist without the Ackermonster? Perhaps, but I think it safe to say that if he didn’t exist, it would be necessary for fandom to invent him. His magazine is the direct ancestor of every other genre publication since. His collection preserved priceless artifacts of film history. He fired the imaginations of countless filmmakers, writers and other artists. He loved the world of fantastic film profoundly, and he shaped that world profoundly. Quite honestly, the more I think about it, the more just about every aspect of horror/SF/fantasy/cult/genre/whatever appreciation is just an outgrowth of his work.
I’ve been stealing plenty of phrases in this short piece, so I’ll steal yet another. When it comes to the fantastic in film, this is Forry’s world. We just live in it.
And for that, we should be profoundly grateful.
So while (and if) there’s still time, send the man your thanks.
And if it is too late, take a moment to think about what he has meant.