If you’ve ever said “sci fi” in lieu of “science fiction,” thank the late Forrest J. Ackerman for coining the term. But wait, there’s more! In 1958, Ackerman also founded Famous Monsters of Filmland, a first-of-its-kind publication devoted to movie-monsters and the acting legends–Karloff, Lugosi, Chaney–who brought them to life. “Uncle Forry”* also generously offered free tours of his 18-room “Ackermansion” in Los Feliz, which once held the roughly 300,000 items of his personal sci-fi and horror memorabilia collection.
It would be difficult to measure the importance that “The Ackermonster”* had on the growth of science fiction, fantasy and horror as popular genres. His passing in December of last year was a sad moment for fanboys everywhere and brought forth eulogies from creative titans ranging from Farenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury to Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. The Los Angeles Times’ Dennis McLellan wrote a beautiful obituary for Ackerman–required reading for anybody interested in the man.
This Sunday afternoon, the American Cinematheque will present a free tribute to “Dr. Acula”* at the Egyptian Theater. Ray Bradbury, Famous Monsters of Filmland publisher James Warner and An American Werewolf in London director John Landis are all scheduled to offer testimonials to help celebrate the life and legend of “Sgt. Ack-Ack.”* Later in the evening, the Egyptian will screen the documentary Famous Monster: Forrest J. Ackerman and Ib Melchoir’s The Time Travelers, which features a cameo by Ackerman.
* I’m not joking. The guy had more nom de plumes than the Wu Tang Clan.
Images: Uncle Forry (left) and a publicity still for The Time Travelers (middle), both courtesy of the American Cinematheque. Ackerman in his Ackermansion (right), photo by Alan Light.