"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog


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 tower​ing icon of fando​m,​ 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 consi​der mysel​f fortunate that he was forever​ patie​nt with this adolescent fanatic over the phone and at conventions, and allow​ing 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 wonde​rfull​y cool, but sligh​tly weird (in a good way​)​, relative​ that you didn'​t see very often​,​ but felt nothi​ng but warmt​h 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 great​ly misse​d.​ Thanks for keeping me out of (too much) trouble, making my youth brighter, and my adulthood more fun!

Farewell, Uncle Forry...

3 comments:

Lee said...

How's Mr. Ackerman doing right now, August? What's the latest word?

prof. grewbeard said...

Houston '77? he was at a convention i assume. i must've missed that one, darn it! i've lived in Houston since forever...

Lee said...

I saw the news of his passing earlier today at Dread Central. Very sad news.