It’s pretty telling that since the death of Forrest K. Ackerman last week, there has been a steady flow of memorial essays singing his praises. The man was clearly beloved.
Carolyn Kellogg, one of my colleagues here at The Times, took the photo above during a 1994 visit to the famed Ackermansion. She’s written a nice piece on her visit that day, and I especially liked her appraisal of her host’s demeanor:
The really wonderful thing Forrest Ackerman shared with us that day was glee. I mean, seriously, he was gleeful. He loved all his stuff, he loved showing it to people. We could have stayed longer, much longer than we did. If there is a heaven for each of us, I hope Forrest Ackerman’s is filled with heavenly versions of his entire collection, and an endless line of people eager for tours.
There are plenty of tributes around the Internet but, the I one I found to be the most earnest and emotional was the piece that Harry Knowles wrote at Ain’t It Cool News:
His influence can not even closely be put into perspective. That so many of us know so much about classic horror, fantasy and sci-fi is due to a large degree to Ackerman. Whether you directly read “Famous Monsters” is irrelevant, that everyone that you have read has read it is true. Be it Starlog, Fangoria, Scarlet Street or any geek publication — the fountain that we have all sipped from sprang from Karloffornia and the home of Forrest Ackerman. Many of the the technicians, special effects masters and filmmakers that work in the realms that Forry loved … do so in no small part based on the childhood passion that Forry gave them. The same can be said of the toy-makers and animators. Ackerman gave us permission to openly love these things and to share our passion of them. I can easily say … without Forrest J Ackerman — you would not be reading Aint It Cool News.
Knowles writes that AICN will be taking some archival steps to preserve some of the great treasures of Ackerman, which is good news indeed.
Did you ever get to hear the Uncle Forry speak? After the jump you can find some video of the late icon that’s quite entertaining, including a montage of his film appearances through the years and his narrated tour of his home from 1986.
– Geoff Boucher
Ackerman showed up in a lot of films through the years, no surprise considering his stature among younger generations of fans-turned-filmmakers. Here’s a fun montage:
Here’s a tour of his mansion from 1986:
And here’s Ackerman delivering a brief history of early sci-fi films: