Friday, December 12, 2008

Forry Ackerman is Gone

I bought a recent issue of Rue Morgue magazine because a portrait of a frightened Forrest J. Ackerman stared from the cover beside the tease "50 Years of Famous Monsters of Film Land."

As you've probably heard if you ever read anything here, I was a Famous Monsters of Filmland kid. 

The mag was still around in the early '70s as were Aurora model kits of the Universal movie monsters, so I read about them in the pages edited by Forry Ackerman, built model kits of them and, again,  loved Forry's bad puns. 

A little later I had a crush on Vampirella who he created as well, so the Ackermonster added a little something to my early days, a little fun, a few shivers and a sexy vampira who battled a Cthulu-like cult.  

Eventually when I decided I wasn't quite suited to writing detective novels, I wrote horror. Of course.

Currently Wayne and I swap digital Famous Monsters cover art gifts on Facebook--my favorite is the Dr. Phibes--so really there's always a little bit of Forry somewhere. You can't see the work of cover artist Basil Gogos, who did the RM cover too, without thinking of FM and Forry's bad-pun captions. 

I knew when I saw there was an interview with him in RM that he must be getting older, and the articles inside mentioned he was not doing well, which made me a little sad. I remember seeing him at conventions in the '80s and '90s, usually with a copy of the FM retrospective book tucked under one arm.

Then the other day came the word that he had passed on, having sold his famous Ackermansion filled with movie props and posters to cover medical bills. I think Cliff got to visit the Ackermansion once. I always wanted to.

Didn't I note recently time marches on? Profound of me. Still, in some ways, as the narrator notes in A Separate Peace, there are some times that will always be. For him it was an era in which Roosevelt would always be president.

For a part of me, it will always be a quiet Sunday afternoon in central Louisiana. I'll always be working on airplane gluing pieces of Bella Lugosi's Dracula together, while waiting to be read is a copy of Famous Monsters with Yul Brenner on the cover as the Westworld robot or the Creature from the Black Lagoon or Vincent Price in Madhouse. 

R.I.P. Forry. We'll miss ya.


Charles Gramlich said...

A very nice tribute. I really like your last paragraph. Makes me think a little bit of McCammon's BOy's life.

Steve Malley said...

And Bettie Page too. The Titans of my youth are vanishing...

Lana Gramlich said...

I don't know that I'm familiar with his work, but my sympathies, all the same.

Erik Donald France said...

Seems like the senior greats are dropping like angels, these days.

Thanks for posting this.

Sidney said...

Now that you mention it, Steve, Bettie Page would have made an interesting Vampirella. I was sorry to hear she was gone too. Thanks for the thoughts, guys.

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