Friday, December 5, 2008
FAREWELL, FORREST J. ACKERMAN
November 24, 1916 - December 4, 2008
The man who coined the word "Sci-Fi" is gone (Houston, 1977).
The mysterious human wellspring known to throngs of Baby Boomers as 4SJ, 4E, Dr. Acula, and other nom de plumes, Forrest J. Ackerman, the world's first and foremost fanboy, has left this Mortal Coil. But, he has bestowed upon us an amazing legacy. Not only was he the man who launched Ray Bradbury's career, he was the avatar of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and the father of Vampirella—but he was much, much more to legions of fans around the world. Not only mavens of Horror and Monster films, but to multitudes of Science Fiction fans as well.
We called him "Uncle Forry." He was a towering icon of fandom, who attended the first-ever science fiction convention and wore the first-ever costume to that very same event in 1939. He was the ultimate fan and loved to share with others, unselfishly. As a kid of the 1970s, I knew him best as the face and voice of Famous Monsters, and consider myself fortunate that he was forever patient with this adolescent fanatic over the phone and at conventions, and allowing me to enter Ackermansion II for the first time in the mid-1980s (where his massive collection of rare props and ephermia was housed).
Uncle Forry was like that wonderfully cool, but slightly weird (in a good way), relative that you didn't see very often, but felt nothing but warmth for. If there were more people like him, the world would be a better place. Now, "Mr. Sci-Fi" is gone, but he will be greatly missed. Thanks for keeping me out of (too much) trouble, making my youth brighter, and my adulthood more fun!
Farewell, Uncle Forry...