Forry Ackerman Tributes
Jim Warren worked with Forest J Ackerman since 1958 and they founded Famous Monsters of Filmland together. They last appeared in public at this summer’s Comic-Con International but Warren flew west to see him one final time this month. He provided us with the following:
Forrest J. Ackerman was in a class by himself. You don’t have to tell this to anyone who knew him or his work. You don’t have to tell anyone Babe Ruth was a great hitter.
Our fifty-year relationship was also in a class by itself. I found Forry Ackerman the man was every bit as interesting as Forry ackerman the talent. Now he’s gone. But the talent still lives. The words he wrote for Warren Publishing will be read and savored for as long as memory and words exist.
The King is dead. No other King can take his place.
Harry Knowles, Ain’t it Cool News
Uncle Forry as many Ackermaniacs referred to him, was for me, my ghoulish Santa Claus. He didn’t live at the North Pole or even the South Pole, but at a magical place called the Ackermansion – and it was my visit there in 1993 changed the direction of my life. My father and I had been life long collectors and fans of all thing cinematic – but it was Forry’s Famous Monsters of Filmland issue 2 that forever put my father on the path to all things geeky cool. He found a load of 7500 issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland in San Antonio, that were in their original shipping bundles that the San Antonio PTA pressured the local distributor not to distribute. Well those 7500 issues were stacked against my far bedroom wall as a young child – the lurid photos convinced me that I had to know what the text said and my father would sit with me, reading Famous Monsters of Filmland to me as a child. Once I could read, I read every issue I could get my hands on. BUT it was that encounter at the Ackermansion that stuck with me. All at once I looked and thought… "What a life!" Looking at the ephemera, the mementos… this wasn’t a fictional Bat Cave or Fortress of Solitude… this was a truly real location, where I real life character invented wholly by himself created a lair more fantastic than any dreamt of in fiction.
I didn’t want to live in the Ackermansion, but I wanted to be in a lair of my own construction, surrounded by the sort of things I loved and I wanted to express that passion with the equal level of unabashed love that Forry did. I’m very different from Ackerman, and so not worthy, he is and always will be one of my fondest inspirations. That final conversation I had with Forry is a warm and sad memory that I will carry with me for the rest of my days.
Jessie Lilley, Mondo Cult
When I met Forry, back in 1990 or thereabouts, I was like a kid on Christmas Morning. Stammering and making a total ass of myself I’m sure. Over the years, he and I have laughed, chatted, sung duets at conventions, danced (!) and most exciting of all for me – we worked together.
I worked with Forry when I was still publishing Scarlet Street. When I left, he asked me if this was a Warren/Ackerman sort of thing, because if it was, he’d follow me and leave SS. I told him it was personal and between Richard Valley and myself and he should stick with SS ’cause it was a good book and had a damned good editor. He laughed and said, "Well, okay Wonder Woman. If that’s the way you want it." And he and Richard worked together for all these years. After one of his birthday parties, I went back to the house and schmoozed a bit with Richard and Tom and Forry beckoned me over after awhile to ask whether the hatchet had yet been buried…. "in Mr. Valley’s head?" I almost choked. "No Forrest," said I, "nor will it be. Richard only has one head and I think he should keep it whole and where it is." Or words to that effect. He patted my hand and said, "Now you know why I continue to refer to you as Wonder Woman. What is you name, anyway?"
I also have the good fortune to have worked with Forry on Mondo Cult. He gave Brad and me a wonderful piece on King Kong in issue 1 and of course, he’s all over issue 2 as well, in photographs from The Boneyard Collection and such.
Forry and I drove to Kelly Freas’ funeral together. We talked about everything under the sun there and back again. He asked me to lunch at the House of Pies and I had to decline as I was expected elsewhere very quickly. He sighed and said, "Jessie, you have to promise me something. When you drive home from my funeral, stop and have lunch at the House of Pies for me, will you? If you don’t I’ll come back and haunt you."
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