Friday, December 5, 2008

Uncle Forry taken by Prince Sirki

One of the disadvantages of growing older (there are many) is hearing that someone that meant a lot to your childhood has passed.
Forrest J. Ackerman, founder, writer, publisher and all around Nice Sci Fi Guy left this world today.
My appreciation for classic films sprang forth from the pages of his baby Famous Monsters of Filmland.
I met Uncle Forry several times, but my favorite visit was 10 years ago when my fellow film fan friend Raven White asked me to project films for a presentation in smell-a. (Los Angeles). After the screening of some sci fi and horror forgettables, we headed out to a local restaurant. Favorite guest Uncle Forry joined us. At our prodding, Forry regaled us with one amazing story after another. Stories that included Bela Lugosi's less then supportive wife. Al Jolson calling Forry "Sonny Boy" as he sang him that song! His amazement at seeing Frankenstein (1931), King Kong (1933) and his beloved Metropolis (1927) First Run!!! etc. etc.
I drove Forry home at nights end. I explained to him a memory that was very personal to me. I told him how at the ripe old age of 12, I was devastated to hear that Boris Karloff had passed. I cried and my parents were clueless as to why. Forry explained to me that indeed when Boris Karloff passed, he received letter after letter from distraught young fans who had never dealt with death before. He took the time to write every one of them back and could not have been more supportive.
At 51, death has become somewhat routine to me now. With the passing of my Mom and Dad, I realize how the last thing we truly have left to savor are our memories. I remember that trip to the original Ackermansion (in Beverly Hills Karloffornia of course), and how I asked question after question to a patient Forry of his memories of my favorite actors. I remember seeing amazing props from several of my favorite fantasy films. I also spotted a sense of pride in Forry when I correctly identified each and every piece of memorabilia, naming each film that they were featured in that he had on display. He had the look of a proud parent who had raised that kid right!
Yes, you did raise this kid right, Uncle Forry.
Do me a BIG favor thou won't you? Say hi to Bela, Vincent, Lon and especially Boris for me will you.


Jeff Adcock said...

Beautiful tribute, John. Forry's spirit will be with us always.

Raven White said...

Yes John, a thumbs up on your farewell to Uncle Forry. I was lucky enough to have him as my *Special Guest* at 2 Events I produced out of my pocket. The Film Fest you mentioned and a Mini Comic Book Convention.

I also befriended Forry at a number of other conventions and embarressed a convention promoter by getting Lunch for Forry before he could! :)

I am unhappy to learn of Forry's passing. I visited him 9 times this past year and saw him the Saturday before he passed.

He was still the same Forry, except that I could see him struggling to get past his failing health, but he was still the real Forry, full of classic stories about Boris, Bela, Basil and more !

He called me his *Dorian Grey Fan* because he said my lookS hadn't changed in 20 years.

I recall the 1st issue of Famous Monster I ever saw that had photos of Forry in his *Acker-Mansion* with all the movie props at his house and tons of letters from fans covering him while he lay on a couch . . . . .

Forry let all of us " Sci-Fi Fans " that we are not alone in out interest in this genre.

I will miss his friendship and the the golden era of his magazine Famous Monsters.

He was a one-of-a-kind person and this world is an empty place without him.

Goodbye Forrest J Ackerman ~