Difference between revisions of "Forrest J. Ackerman"
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Forrest J Ackerman(born November 24, 1916) is a legendary science fiction fan and collector of science fiction-related memorabilia. Ackerman, known as "Forry" or "4e" or "4SJ", was influential not only in the origination, organization, and spread of science fiction fandom, but he was also a key figure in the wider cultural acceptance of science fiction as a respectable literary, art and film genre. Ackerman is also known as the editor-writer of the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, as well as an occasional author, actor, producer (Vampirella), and literary agent.
Forrest J (no period) Ackerman helped found the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, a prominent regional organization in science fiction fandom, as well as the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F). He was personally acquainted with many mid-twentieth-century writers of science fiction. He is noted for having amassed an extremely large and complete collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror memorabilia, which was, until 2002, maintained in a remarkable home/museum known as the "Ackermansion" in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles. Until 2002, Forry lived in his 18-room "Ackermansion" filled with 300,000 pieces of movie memorabilia. He's entertained approximately 50,000 fans at open houses since 1951, including 186 fans and pros in one memorable night, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
Ackerman enjoys a well-earned reputation as a fan and purveyor of Science Fiction art, literature and film. Aside from being one of Sci-Fi's earliest and biggest cheerleaders, he is credited with nurturing and even inspiring the careers of many of his early contemporaries like Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame, was Edward D. Wood's "illiterary" agent and represents 200 authors of science fiction and fantasy. Ackerman is also notable for having coined the term sci-fi by analogy with hi-fi. Although many serious science fiction fans hated the phrase, considering it gimmicky and disrespectful, it gained widespread usage by the early 60s. Harlan Ellison has derided the term "sci-fi" as a "hideous neologism" that "sounds like crickets fucking," a comment to which Ackerman fans responded by producing buttons bearing the slogan, "I love copulating crickets."
Forrest Ackerman or, "Mr. Science Fiction," saw his first "imagi-movie" in 1922 (One Glorious Day), purchased his first Sci-Fi magazine (Amazing Stories) in 1926, created The Boys' Scientifiction Club in 1930 ("girl-fans were as rare as unicorn's horns in those days"), contributed to the first fanzine (The Time Traveller) in 1932, and by 1933 had 127 correspondents around the world. He's attended the First World Science Fiction Convention in 1939 (where he wore the first "futuristicostume" which sparked fan costuming) and every WorldCon but two since, has had 50 stories published (including collaborations with A.E. van Vogt and Catherine Moore) and the world's shortest -- one letter of the alphabet...translated into 6 languages, is fluent in the "universal language" Esperanto, has had cameos in over 100 films (The Time Travellers, The Howling, Innocent Blood, Amazon Women on the Moon -- as future President of the United States). Ackerman named the sexy comic-book character Vampirella and wrote the origin story for the comic.
Due to his appreciation for and touting of the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genres through the editing of the Warren magazine, "Famous Monsters of Filmland" (Late 50's - early 80's), Forrest J Ackerman is considered a profound influence on a generation of filmmakers. At a time when most movie-related publications glorified the stars in front of the camera, "Uncle Forry" as he's referred to by his legion of fans, promoted the behind-the-scenes artists involved in the magic of movies. In this way Ackerman served as a mentor to many of Hollywood's most successful artists like Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Stephen King, Penn & Teller, Billy Bob Thornton, Gene Simmons (of the band Kiss), Rick Baker, George Lucas, Danny Elfman, Frank Darabont, John Landis and countless other writers, directors, artists and craftsmen. Ackerman received the first Hugo Award (the Science Fiction equivalent of an Oscar). He has known genre icons Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, George Pal, Hugo Gernsback and H.G. Wells. Been friends with Fritz Lang, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, Elsa Lanchester and many others. Corresponded with Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. P. Lovecraft.
In the 1970s, Ackerman organized the publication of an English translation in the U.S. of the German science fiction series Perry Rhodan, the longest science fiction series in history. His German-speaking wife Wendayne ("Wendy") did most of the translation. The American books were issued with varying frequency (basically as fast as Wendayne could translate them and the Ackermans could sign up new subscribers), from one to as many as four per month. Ackerman also used the paperback series to promote science fiction short stories, including his own on occasion. Unfortunately, the American series was never a major commercial success, and eventually lost its publishing outlets around issue #120. (The original German series continues today and passed issue #2200 in 2003.)
Ackerman says, " I aim at hitting 100 and becoming the George Burns of Science Fiction." Forrest J Ackerman is a board member of the new Seattle Science Fiction Museum, where many of his own treasures are displayed for posterity.
Ackerman currently lives in the new “Acker-mini-mansion” in Hollywood where he continues to entertain and inspire fans weekly with his amazing collection of memorabilia and priceless stories of the golden age of art, filmmaking, literature and all things fantastical.
A life-long fan of science fiction "B-movies", Ackerman has also appeared in bit roles in many monster movies (e.g., The Howling, Return of the Living Dead Part II), more traditional sci-fi films (e.g., The Power, The Time Travelers, Future War), and spoofs (e.g, Amazon Women on the Moon, Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold).
- A Reference Guide to American Science Fiction Films
- Forrest J Ackerman's World of Science Fiction
- Famous Forrie Fotos: Over 70 Years of Ackermemories
- Mr. Monster's Movie Gold, A Treasure-Trove Of Imagi-Movies
- Rainbow Fantasia: 35 Spectrumatic Tales of Wonder
- Science Fiction Worlds of Forrest J. Ackerman
- Best Science Fiction for 1973
- Gernsback Awards 1926
- The Gernsback Awards Vol. 1, 1926
- Gosh! Wow! (Sense of Wonder) Science Fiction
- Gosh! Wow!
- Reel Future
- I, Vampire: Interviews with the Undead
- Ackermanthology: 65 Astonishing, Rediscovered Sci-Fi Shorts
- Ackermanthology: Millennium Edition: 65 Astonishing Rediscovered Sci-Fi Shorts
- Film Futures
- Nymph of Darkness
- The Shortest SF Story Ever Written
- A Martian Oddity
- Nymph of Darkness
- Earth's Lucky Day
- The Record
- Micro Man
- Tarzan and the Golden Lion
- A Martian Oddity
- The Mute Question
- Atoms and Stars
- The Lady Takes a Powder
- What an Idea!
- Death Rides the Spaceways
- Dwellers in the Dust
- Burn Witch, Burn
- The Girl Who Wasn't There
- Count Down to Doom
- Time to Change
- And Then the Cover Was Bare
- The Atomic Monument
- Letter to an Angel
- The Man Who Was Thirsty
- The Radclyffe Effect
- Cosmic Report Card: Earth
- 4e's Foyer: biography of Forrest J Ackerman
- SFSite: Gary Westfahl's Biographical Encylopedia: Ackerman, Forrest J.
- DragonCon 2005: bio of guest Forrest J. Ackerman
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