Let Us Now Praise Famous Monsters heading text graphic

An FMeral appreciation of FORREST J ACKERMAN

by George "E-gor" Chastain

(click links at right to ackcess webpages and/or images)

Samples of George Chastain's artwork

(Originally contributed to the FLICKHEAD blogsite's "Forrest J Ackerman Blog-a-Thon" on the occasion of Forry's 90th birthday in 2006.)

I tuned in and turned on to Famous Monsters of Filmland with issue #6 (Kong cover), and I've been a fan of the great Forrest J Ackerman and all of his brainchildren ever since. Like many others, I proudly claim that Forry's awesome, eccentric view of the lunaverse MADE my childhood (along with the hip, flip attitude of the Usual Gang of Idiots at Mad). Reading FM and Mad every month provided me with a one-way ticket out of the long procession of Palookavilles I grew up in as a lonely Navy brat, and graduated me with a very liberal education in the ways of the world outside the confines of my narrow personal experience.

Though I never visited the Ackermansion(s), and I was never able to attend any of Forry's famous birthday bashes. I was privileged to talk to him at many conventions, and to make great friends of some of his closest associates, who helped me to offer Forry a few heartfelt tokens of my deep esteem for him over the last three lustrums: paintings, posters, webpages, party favors, publications, and illustrations for some very exciting projects (see links at right).

Many of Forry's most sterling virtues have often been acknowledged: his shameless puns and playful use of language; his vindication of the love of fantasy, collecting, and the inalienable right to be different; his boundless generosity and eternal optimism....

I'd like to focus on two other benefits I got from reading Forry's wonderworks most of my life:

    Forry's lifelong collection of rare photos and illustrations was the primary source for FM's knockout cover paintings, and for its fabulous layouts and innumerable eyeball kicks, issue after issue. Forry had a connoisseur's eye for scintillating imagery, and he generously shared his vision with many thousands since the late 20's. The mind-expanding images in Famous Monsters inspired many young readers to be frightful and multiply Forry's essential message "Monsters are GOOD for you!" passing it on to a mainstream audience of millions through their own creative works later in life. The fantastic creations of these famous monster fans-turned-pro continue to inspire talented youngsters who will pursue their own creative careers; the Future is in excellent hands, and two of them will always be Forry's.

    Forry wrote so glowingly of the glorious events of his own lifetime that I empathized with them very strongly, and his nostalgic accounts of personal experiences translated to my vicarious longing for "Golden Age" experiences years before my time: classic silents and early talkies, serials, sci-fi pulps, myths and icons from the art and literature of many centuries. As I grew older and investigated further, I discovered that many outmoded and neglected forms of art and entertainment from bygone years were indeed worthy of deeper study: films from every era, genre and country in the world; eons of weird and fantastic graphic art, music and literature; old-time radio shows; vintage comics and newspaper strips; pulp fiction; 78 rpm records; and much, much more. Forry Ackerman was my original inspiration for a lifetime of happy delving into the best the past has to offer.

Some of the personal impact of Forry's influence is reflected in the links at right; I hope fellow Ackerfans will find something to amuse them there.

4SJ won't pass away! Many thanks for keeping your inner child alive, Uncle Forry, and for showing us how to do it! May we always strive to be as young as you in heart, mind and spirit.

George "E-gor" Chastain

  The Ackermonster


Painting I gave Forry at '93 FMCON

4e's 84th & 85th birthday party favors:
IT'S ALIVE@85 program | 
buttons for both events

Designs for IT'S ALIVE! Ackerzine, as yet unpublished:
promo flyer |  promo poster | 
cover mockup based on Gogos painting

Monster Bash convention posters:
1997 poster |  1998 posters |  1999 lobbies

Chiller Theatre 13th anniversary tribute poster
(Forry is the bust of Sgt. Pepper)

Ackcentric tribute posters:
Fan of A Thousand Faces | 
Amazing Forrays (The Sci-Fi Boys Meet KONG)

4SJ's U.F.O. hot rod cartoon
Forry Ackerman Soaky Toy

The Ackermonster M.T. Graves Meets the Ackermonster
-- two old fiends reunited after 45 years!

Forrest J Ackerman Filmography on my BOOS WHO: Classic Horror Players Directory website

Forry Decals Captain Company ad spoof

A webpage about MonsterMad, my own one-shot monsterzine inspired by FM, and featuring an interview with Forry conducted by Ron Adams, the man behind the Bash!