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Dec 8 08 1:05 AM
At the group dinner during Monster Bash 2005, I ended up sitting just to Forry's left, somewhere in the middle, far
from the action at either end of the table. Forry didn't say too much, nor did I. I'd been told that told he had hearing problems, which was fair
enough at his advanced age. We exchanged a few comments on the goings-on. I was content to bask in his presence. (I got a good look at that magnificent Dracula
ring he wore.)
At one point, Richard Valley looked up from his menu and asked aloud, "What's
I confess that I my mind at once turned to a sharp rejoinder, but Forry beat me to it.
"Past tense of screwed" he said softly.
I may have been the only one that heard him, but I got a good laugh out of it. I knew enough about him that he was quite skilled at walking the line between
family entertainment and ribald humor. It's what got him into our childhood homes in the first place and what kept our interest
I'll always remember that.
Best wishes wherever (or nowhere) you may be, old fellow.
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Dec 10 08 9:46 AM
(posted earlier on Classic Horror Film Board and Universal Monster Army FJA obit threads)
Early this morning, between showings of CAT PEOPLE and CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE on the Turner Classic Movies channel, I caught, for the first time, this
year's "TCM Remembers" tribute to film industry professionals who died this year. Among the fallen listed and pictured were a number of genre
notables including Stan Winston, John Phillip Law, Michael Pate, Arthur C. Clarke, Evelyn Keyes, Ben Chapman (in Creature costume with the head off), Vampira,
Hazel Court, Julia Ege, Nina Foch, and -- Forrest J. (sic) Ackerman, credited as "film historian." Forry's image was a handsome still portrait
from about 20 years ago, with an Ackermansion backdrop and a large Chaney LAM vampire photo in frame. The still photos and movie clips ran over the elegiac
words and piano of Joe Henry's "God Only Knows." As always I was moved to tears, especially when I saw that Forry was remembered.
They seem to have missed Beverly Garland and perhaps some other film fantasy favorites who left us this year -- do they ever edit these things once
Dec 10 08 3:09 PM
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Dec 11 08 3:44 AM
story is like many others - the weird, monster lovin' kid, who found acceptance in the welcoming arms of our Uncle Forry & in the joy filled pages of
Famous Monsters. I discovered FM in December of 1974, on the magazine rack of the neighborhood grocery
store. I had to read it at the store because my mom (God rest her soul) was too tight to shell out a whole buck for
something so frivolous as a monster magazine! Now we weren't poor, my dad made an average living, it was just that
my dear mother was profoundly frugal. I eventually wound up buying my copies for a dime each at the used magazine shop
across town, which was actually pretty cool because I could buy 3 or 4 copies at a time with my pop bottle money. I
acquired quite a few older issues of FM at that shop, along with a lot of the copycat mags. Though I had been a fan of
monsters & monster movies since I was 3 years old (thanks to my young parents, who let me stay up to watch
the "Late Night Horror Show" with them) it wasn't until discovering FM that I really
knew anything about monster movies or the people who made them. I learned the name Forrest J Ackerman at the same time
that I learned the names Karloff, Lugosi & Chaney & too me they were all equally important. I loved them all
& I still do. It was Forry & FM that really taught me how to read (because I
finally found something I wanted to read) inspired me to write, filled me with dreams of
becoming a filmmaker & even helped me to make new friends. Years after my monster kid days I had the pleasure of
becoming acquainted with Forry. I had spoke with him by phone many times over the years however I'm sure he
wouldn't remember any of these conversations were it not for my connection to Monogram. However I am happy to say
that we did correspond quite regularly for several months in 2001 & 2002. At that time I was working on a little
Sci-Fi spoof in which Forry was to have co-starred, along with other genre notables. Unfortunately the funding fell
through & the project was never realized. Not too long afterward Forry fell ill.
I have few regrets in my life but not being able to complete that film is one of them. I finally got to meet
Forry face to face in 2006. My sister & I were in Hollywood on business, & so we decided to drop by & visit
with Uncle Forry. He greeted us with a wide smile & welcomed us in with all the charm & grace he is known
for. We looked around at the remainder of his collection, while he finished up his bowl of ice cream. Then we sat down & listened to Forry be Forry for nearly 2 hours, stories, puns, songs & all. I was so happy I could hardly speak. For more than 30 years that dear sweet man brought
joy into my heart, first as a boy & then as a man, only now, with his passing has he brought me tears. Though I may
not have known him as well as some of you, I will always be grateful to him & I will always miss him.
Forrest J Ackerman was truly an example to live by & we the children of FJA should honor his memory by trying to give each other what he always
gave to us - so the next time we feel like lashing out at a fellow fan perhaps we should stop & ask ourselves one thing . . .
Incidentally, I didn't get a copy of the December 74 issue of FM, until 30 years later. It was given to me as a
40th birthday gift from my youngest sister. My sister, who was born in 1980, had no idea of the significance
that that particular issue held for me. So yes Uncle Forry there is a God. May
he be as kind to you as you were to all of us.
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