It has been reported today that beloved icon of horror fandom everywhere, Forrest J. Ackerman, has passed away after a protracted battle with congestive heart failure.
FJA, or “Uncle Forry” to many, was the creator of the seminal monster mag Famous Monsters of Filmland, literary agent to many science fiction authors, inventor of the term “sci-fi,” and basically established the world of fandom as it exists today. He was an uncredited contributor to the screenplay of Mad Monster Party (which is going to cast a certain melancholy pall over the upcoming Silver Scream Spook Show…either that or cause a riotous celebration of all those things FJA loved; I hope for the latter), and frequent cameo-appearance mainstay of horror films throughout the years.
It’s hard for me to write about this, because Forry was such a huge influence on me. I’d never have been as enthusiastic about monster movies when I was a kid without FM to point the way and encourage me. I’d never have enjoyed monster-themed novelty songs or aspired to be a TV horror host (still dreaming of that one) without FJA’s love of pun-filled humor and write-ups on TV hosts from across the country. I’d never have developed a fascination for the behind-the-scenes aspect of horror flicks (in kindergarten, I could tell you who played nearly every role in all the major Universal horror movies, who directed ’em, who scored ’em, who did the makeup, and why Kenneth Strickfaden was so important) without Forry’s devotion to all aspects of the movies themselves. So yeah, this is gonna hit me hard for the next couple of days. I’ll probably wind up watching The Raven and Comedy of Terrors to try to brighten things up.
So farewell, dear FJA. The world will not see your like again.