Fan, pop culture icon, and Monsterologist supreme, Forrest J Ackerman would have been 95 yesterday. We are fortunate to have much material on his life and accomplishments, not least of which was his most notable -- editing "The World's First Filmonster Magazine", FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. I suspect Forry himself would point out many other achievements, both public and personal, that came close -- or even surpassed -- the notoriety of his and publisher James Warren's immortal 'zine.
The last years of his life were unfortunately fraught with lawsuits, health issues, and the requisite financial burden of someone who was self-employed for much of his life. Forry was forced to downsize and turn much of his treasure trove into a quick buck to pay for legal fees and doctor bills. Living out his days in a pint-sized "Ackermansion", what remained was a failing icon amidst only his most cherished possessions.
It stunned me to see a large portion of his once-in-a-millenium collection of memorabilia land the auction block not long after he passed away. Where were his benefactors, I asked myself? Where were the fans that professed their love for the man and how he had not only formed their lives and careers, but their bank accounts as well? Where was the financial help to assist him with his lawsuit when he needed it? Why wasn't his hitherto, priceless archives and artifacts not collected by a consortium of wealthy "friends" and conserved and protected from being scattered to the four winds?
Dammit! His collection should have been housed in a museum, supported by the various millionaires who in no small measure owe their livelihood to him. Instead, we are left with documentary images of the many well-known and wealthy talking heads singing the praises of "Uncle Forry" and how they were transformed into who they are now because of him. If there ever was an argument for the transferrence of wealth, the building of an eternal Ackermansion by the people that gained from his inspiration is about as good a reason as I can come up with -- at least in this case.
In 1967, Forry suffered his first heart attack. A few months before, he had invited a group of guests to his fabled Ackermansion, located in "Horrorwood, Karloffornia" for his annual Halloween party. In attendance was the writer Dennis Etchison, who has since become a notable horror ficiton author. Etchison wrote about his experience and had it published in the June 1967 issue of the men's magazine CAVALIER. It includes a follow-up interview after Forry had his heart attack.