Farewell, Uncle Forry

Forrest J Ackerman -- Uncle Forry to thousands of sci-fi fans -- passed away last week at the age of 92. Beyond trumpeting writers like Ray Bradbury as well as comic-book artists and B-movie filmmakers for decades, Uncle Forry helmed "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine, a colorful, lurid, funny and scary tribute to all that lurks in the night (it folded a quarter century ago, but lives on online in various forms).

We spent much of the weekend thinking of that dear man and his legendary Ackermansion, which was not only his home but a rambling museum for thousands and thousands of sci-fi and horror movie artifacts. For years, Uncle Forry welcomed visitors into his Los Feliz abode, giving a descriptive and entertaining tour of each of the rooms (including bathrooms) and all the items within (vampire capes, rubber masks, movie posters galore). Props, both recognizable and not, crowded passageways and corners. We recall oohing over a ring Bela Lugosi wore.

And we are grateful to have visited the Ackermansion on three occasions, enthralled by the wonders within, yes, but also the character who called it home. A kinder man we couldn't have imagined, nor a better storyteller; our genial tour guide spoke Esperanto to us, and compared us to a '50s starlet he once knew (which had never happened before to us and will definitely never happen again).

Goodbye, Mr. Ackerman, and thanks. We can all pay tribute to Uncle Forry by patronizing movies featuring swamp creatures and werewolves, diving into pulpy sci-fi books and staying just a wee bit frightened that monsters might be real.

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