Famous Monsters’ beloved editor and founder Forrest J Ackerman is sadly missed, but as we near his centennial birthday in November and are plotting out a blowout birthday, we thought we’d gather some of his friends together to remember who he was and how he changed pop culture forever.
After a screening of the 2014 documentary UNCLE FORRY’S ACKERMANSIONS, Famous Monsters exec editor David Weiner gathered FM’s publisher, Philip Kim; the film’s director and cowriter, Strephon Taylor; and one of Sci-Fi’s classic authors Jean Marie Stine to share recollections of everybody’s favorite uncle.
Taylor says he was lucky to be able to tour both of Forry’s houses and was able to collect things on his tours for the film. Fans also submitted images, which gave him material he would have never had access to otherwise.
Stine pointed out that “Forry loved the mag, the puns he hated, everything about it.” She then recounted a story of seeing Forry and asked him if he could make up puns on the fly. Not missing a beat, he said, “Pun my word, I think I can!”
Kim collected comics as a kid and as a first-generation American-Korean, TV was companionship for him and how he learned to master the English language. He said, “Famous Monsters represented to me companionship. When he was sick, “SCOOBY-DOO reruns and Famous Monsters” were his comfort.
Stine gave Forry mad props, saying, “He was the first geek, cosplayer, he invented the term Sci-Fi!” She recalls going to the legendary Ackermansion: “Every wall, including windows, was covered by books. Forry slept in a motel for more room to house his treasures.”
Taylor remembers being late for a tour of the Ackermansion, but he and his friends popped in anyway, and Forry, being as generous as ever, started the tour over so they wouldn’t miss a drop. He was the grandfather you never had. And because Forry was forever finding new treasures, each tour was different because the house constantly evolving.
Stine says that Forry had a dream that there would be a Science Fiction museum – books, props, anything you could name. Everyone who loved horror or Sci-Fi was part of his family.
Kim related another fantastic pun Forry liked: A guy goes to Forry’s house. Forry says, “Do you want to see my Toyota?” The guy’s like, “Uh… sure.” Forry says, “OK, but it’s in my living room.” They go into the living room and right there is a toy Yoda.
Wrapping up, Stine remembered a Comic-Con where a child wanted a copy of Famous Monsters, but his mother couldn’t afford it. Kim gave the child a copy of the magazine out of the goodness of his heart and the kid walked away on clouds. Stine says, “And THIS is who Forry chose to carry on FM.”