Forrest J Ackerman Tributes
Thanks and Best Wishes to the Ultimate Fan
Author: the SciFi Japan Staff
Friends of Forrest J Ackerman have reported that “Uncle Forry” is in ill health. The 91 year-old is battling pneumonia and has also been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
Forrest Ackerman has gone by many nicknames over the years… 4E, FJA, 4SJ, Uncle Forry, Dr. Acula, and so on. Another word often linked to him is “legendary”, a word that gets tossed around much too often, but anyone who knows or has heard of Forry Ackerman would agree that in his case it absolutely fits. He is best known for the legendary (there it is again) magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, but his impact extends far beyond FM…. the man has influenced literally generations of fans, artists, writers, and filmmakers. Forry has given an amazing gift to his fellow fans and will leave behind an incredible legacy.
Rather than remain in the hospital, Forry has chosen to return home where he can spend his days meeting with his legion of friends and fans. Forry’s friends, including caretaker Joe Moe, have stated that anyone wishing to stop by and pay their respects are welcome to visit. Cards and letters may also be sent to the same address:
FORREST J ACKERMAN
4511 Russell Ave
Los Angeles CA 90027
Joe Moe recently posted on Forry’s Facebook page, “All of your cards, letters and well-wishes have really caused Forry to rally! The torrent of love flooding the Ackerminimansion has encouraged Forry to fight for his life. I can’t predict how much longer we’ll have him around. A day? A week? A month? Who knows? But I CAN tell you we’re taking full advantage of this upturn to really encourage Forry to get stronger and hang around a while more. I am actually feeling hopeful he’ll make it to his 92nd birthday on Nov. 24th. Please pass this message on and let everyone know that their tributes, stories and prayers have had a miraculous effect on Forry. We should all continue to support him (and each other) and enjoy his presence as long as we are able… Thank you all so much!”
The staff of SciFi Japan are proud to be among the countless number inspired by Forrest Ackerman and Famous Monsters, and we encourage everyone who sees this report to follow Joe’s advice and call, write, or visit Forry and let him know how much he means to you and to fandom. We’re also pleased to share Sean Kotz’s look at the many accomplishments of FJA as well as reminiscences by many of our writers and contributors.
For more information and regular updates on Forry’s condition we highly recommend the Classic Horror Film Board.
One Glorious Day: Chance meetings, Monster Kids and the Legacy of 4SJ Ackerman
It is more or less impossible to imagine the “Monster Kid” culture of the 1950s and beyond without the influence of Forrest J Ackerman. I suppose in some of the countless alternate universes surrounding us, sci-fi, horror and fantasy take various and often similar shapes without him, but 4SJ was clearly the master of this particular universe.
Publisher, promoter, curator, writer, editor and actor–the facts of Mr. Ackerman’s life are fairly well known. Unfortunatley, however, there is very little discussion of what his contributions have really meant . . . how it matters in the shape of things as we know them and the shape of things to come.
Perhaps it is a bit wistful to say this, but indirectly, 4SJ may be the single most important lynchpin of genre films and sci-fi culture in the last century–not just in the USA, but worldwide, especially in Japan.
Consider, for instance, Uncle Forry’s leadership of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society, which became a cradle for the talents of Robert Heinlein, A. E. Vogt, Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen. In fact, it was through Forrest J Ackerman that Harryhausen met Bradbury, creating a thunderous echo in popular culture there after.
This particular line of history seemingly began in 1938, when Harryhausen had gone to see a revival showing of KING KONG and came across some film stills on display at the theater. Naturally, the stills belonged to 4SJ who loaned Harryhausen the stills to study, setting in motion a momentous series of events.
Soon after their introduction, Forrest J Ackerman asked Ray Harryhausen to join his weekly meetings of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society in the Little Brown Room of the Clifton Cafeteria. Here, Harryhausen met Ray Bradbury and the two began a lifetime of mutual support and inspiration that lead Bradbury to become the premier name in American science fiction and Harryhausen to become the most significant film animator in history.
Eventually, Bradbury penned a story called The Fog Horn, about a dinosaur appearing from the sea believing the sounding of a fog horn to be a mating call. This story went on to inspire the film THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, which Bradbury screen wrote and Harryhausen animated. THE BEAST, in turn, launched the “giant monster on the loose” films of the 1950s and established Harryhausen as the standard bearer for modern special effects.
Moreover, THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS also directly inspired the original GODZILLA, and subsequently, every sequel, imitator, book, comic, toy and model kit that ever cashed in on the Japanese giant, unleashing not just a radioactive lizard but a remarkably powerful economic engine.
4SJ’s silent impact can also be seen in another important fact: Ackerman, with his friend, Myrtle R. Jones, were the first people to dress in costume for a science fiction convention. In 1939, Forry arrived at the First World Science Fiction Convention in New York dressed as a futuristic space pilot, clearly influenced by the FLASH GORDON serials.
Since then, the practice of costuming has become its own freestanding hobby known as “cosplay,” which is a multi-million dollar business and again has reached its aesthetic apex in Japan. There are now hundreds of similar conventions globally and in some cases costume is actually non-optional. From TREKKIES to Comicon, the spectacle all began with Forrest J.
Then, there was the “Ackermansion,” an 18-room private home and public museum that 4SJ was eventually forced to sell. However, at its height, Forry’s home housed hundreds of thousands of items from original stills, first editions, film props, magazines and autographs. Over the course of eight decades, Ackerman acquired and preserved what we can now see as significant artifacts of film history and popular culture. Uncle Forry had Lugosi’s cape and ring from the original DRACULA, original prop models from WAR OF THE WORLDS and EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS, and the Brontosaurus armature made by Willis O’Brien for KING KONG in 1933 on display in his home, just to name a few. And the whole thing was open to the public every Saturday for more than 40 years.
Essentially, Forrest J Ackerman embraced his inner obsessive compulsive and flew his freak flag for everyone to see, normalizing a behavior that is today, another multi-million dollar business. With each new sci-fi or fantasy film blockbuster, McDonald’s and Burger King clamor for the rights to issue collectors cups and collectors pay hundreds of dollars for original STAR WARS figures. (And strangely enough, again, in Japan, this practice reaches towering heights.)
But in the end, 4SJ will probably be best remembered for editing the magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland. In the 1950s and 60s, FM (as it is affectionately known) stood side by side with the television release of the Shock Theater package and the invention of the TV horror host to create an entire subculture—the monster kid.
Starting in 1958, Famous Monsters appeared across the nation in drug stores and on news stands and was read by kids and adults alike. It reputedly inspired the likes of Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, as well as the creation of several horror comics and journals. FM also ran ads for masks, posters and model kits, capturing the consumerist imagination of a generation and promoting the collecting hobby. FM was even asked to design its own Aurora model kit which went on to be very popular . . . “The Forgotten Prisoner of Castle Mare,” and 4SJ’s work at FM led him to create an even more astonishing pop-icon, Vampirella.
Realistically, it is probably going too far to say that you can thank your Uncle Forry for a whole subculture from Bradbury to Speilberg to Godzilla, including approximately 25% of the Japanese GNP and 95% of all nerd related humor. Then again, with Ray Bradbury’s story A Sound of Thunder in mind, I would not care to risk stepping on the far-flung butterfly that would have given us Forrest J Ackerman, CPA.
So thank you, Mr. Ackerman, for being the culture hero that you are.
It’s easy to say that a certain generation of creators within film and fiction industry were inspired by Famous Monsters of Filmland. Looking through the letters sections, several writers to Uncle Forry whose names might’ve been unknown at the time are now giants in their field. George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg, James Cameron, Stephen King and many others have written to FM or later in life talked about the influence Forry’s magical magazine had on their careers.
I am an animator and though maybe not a giant in my field, I’m not sure where exactly I’d be without FM helping to bring the world of the fantastic to my fingertips during the 1970s. There was no internet to rapidly pull up information on whatever might pique one’s interest at the time. There were no specialized cable/satellite TV stations dedicated to the horror and scifi genres. No DVDs with special features on how the magic was brought to screen.
But there was Famous Monsters of Filmland. It was my monthly fix for the inside track on the movies and shows that brought the imagination of a landlocked Midwestern kid alive. Through the Ackermonster’s humorous quips and inside info I learned about Godzilla and Rodan. I saw things I’d never otherwise dream of seeing, like diagrams of a Japanese monster movie studio. Learned about Ray Harryhausen and his special effects techniques and Willis O’Brien’s Lost Worlds. Saw glimpses of dinosaurs, monsters and aliens from the past. I learned about Dick Smith’s, Jack Pierce’s and Lon Chaney’s make up effects and marveled at publicity photos of Vincent Price and Boris Karloff.
Each one of these images was a revelation. An inspiration and a stepping stone towards wanting to make the same type of magic I was seeing on the printed page. As I grew and matured, FM fell a bit to the wayside as I started honing in on my passion for animation. My new magazines were more on the purely technical side, such as Cinemagic. With a foundation of fantastic imagery burned into memory from FM and the technical skills learned in Cinemagic I started making my own 8mm special effects films. Since then it has gone from stop motion animation to computer graphics.
These technical aspects evolve. But the launchpad of imagination known as FM and its creator, Forrest Ackerman, are the things that not only started this lifelong quest for the fantastic, but it’s memory has kept fuel in the fire. The wonderful thing is knowing that I am one of many thousands who have shared this same ride. Thank you for that Uncle Forry. Your dedication to the cinema of the fantastic and to its fans has certainly changed the face of modern film making and fandom.
My appreciation for Forry Ackerman is a bit unorthodox compared to most. I never read Famous Monsters growing up. In fact, my first exposure to what the magazine contained was in discussion of what was inaccurately conveyed about my favorite Japanese movies. Sorry kids, there never was nor will there ever be two endings to KING KONG VS GODZILLA!
However, what Forry’s magazine may have gotten wrong in facts, it got right in passion and I am a big fan of passion! I appreciate knowing there was a fan base out there discussing Godzilla, Frankenstein, Hammer Studios, Ray Harryhausen and other monster classics long before we invaded the internet with our opinions. Forry was the architect.
I finally got to meet Forry a few years back on a rare return visit to Los Angeles. He was out of the Acker-Mansion and was in the Acker-Condo at this time, but he still had some killer pieces he loved to show us!
I really got into the METROPOLIS room and was so excited to see he had the same appreciation (if not more) than I had for Fritz Lang’s masterpiece. The armatures from the other rooms were thoroughly discussed and dissected by my stop-motion brethren.
Lest I forget, the ring and cape worn by Bela Lugosi in DRACULA! Look, but don’t touch! So many great and rare items, we were staring at movie history. Forry appreciated his fans and shared his passion (there’s that word again), something I find sorely lacking anymore.
Thanks for sharing with us, Uncle Forry!
In learning about Forry’s illness, it is not easy for me to write about the impact that Forrest J. Ackerman has had on me, but I will do my best to try.
Perhaps no one individual has met or befriended so many of the greatest names in horror or science fiction films than Forrest J. Ackerman. A few individuals do come to mind; names such as Ray Harryhausen, Peter Lorre, Borris Karloff, Bela Lugosi… the list goes on and on. Forrrest J., or Forry as he is affectionately called, has been a writer, agent and movie collector for well over 75 years. He is also the sole individual who coined the name Sci-Fi which is short for science fiction or science fact as they would call it back then.
My first introduction to Forry was through his groundbreaking magazine Famous Monster of Filmland or FM as his fans would call it. This magazine was the first of it’s kind to bring horror and fantasy films to a wide audience. I remember vividly how this came to be. I was with my mother and we had to stop by a drugstore. While I was waiting for her to make up her mind on what type of eye shadow she wanted to buy, I wandered over to the magazine rack. As I was thumbing thrue the comic books or just hoping to maybe catch a glimpse of a Playboy magazine, something else caught my eye.
On the top shelf was a magazine cover with a gorilla clutching a winged dinosaur. I asked my Mom if I could have it and she said yes (she liked that stuff, too). I wen’t through the magazine in the store and out to my car like a kid possesed. I had never seen such cool images before. Not only did the magazine open me up to the fantastic world of fantasy films, but it was also my 1st introduction to the original KING KONG. After this, not a month would go by when I wouldn’t bug my mom to go back to the store to see if another issue would be coming out soon. Finally after a few years, I received a subscription as a birthday gift.
By the the time 1978 rolled around, I was 16 years old and had collected every issue I could of FM magazine. Around this time I noticed in print that Forry’s telephone number was made available. I figured I had nothing to lose except a large phone bill and a slap upside my head from my parents. So I gave the Ackermonster a call.
After a minute of sweating on the line and thinking of something to say, Forry picked up and I said hello. Knowing I was a kid, he asked me where I was calling from. I told him San Francisco and he said he spent time there too! The ice was broken so now I could really start talking. We talked for about 20 minutes about King Kong, and I threw a little Harryhausen into the mix. Afterwards he was very gracious with me as we ended the conversation. It was one of those great memorable highlights when you’re a teenage kid that I won’t soon forget.
Well, its 1998 and 30 years had passed since I had last spoken to Forry. Fortunately for me, I was down in L.A on vacation when I was invited by a few special effects friends to have lunch. It was decided to meet at 4SJ’s house in sunny Karloffornia. I was not told any specific details about the get together other than directions to the mansion. I said to myself that I am finally going to meet Forrest J. But when I arrived, I was told that he was back east at a film convention and would not be here. That was the bad news. The good news was that he trusted the key’s to my effects buddies and we had the run of the whole mansion. ALONE!
Well, not totally alone. Effect genius Jim Danforth, Bill Hedge, Jim Aupperle, Chris Endicott and Ernie Farino were all in attendance. I have to thank Ernie & Chris for this. They knew that I have admired these men’s work for many years and it was one of the highlights of the day.
We entered the mansion and it was very different than I thought it would be. Though the place was big, the 17 to 18 rooms were very small and cluttered. Forry’s collection was massive on a scale that I cannot even try to comprehend. I made my way through the house knowing that I was looking for one specific room, the “King Kong Room” as I would call it. I finally made a couple of twists and turns and found the room. Though there were quit a few models missing from past photographs I’d seen, there was still alot of great Kong Models still there. The Stegasaurus, Styracosaurus, and the Son of Kong Cave Bear. There was also alot of Ray Harryhausen’s props and models present. Over all it was a great day and the only time I was able to see his house and collection.
It would not be for a few more years when I would finally meet Forry. It was 2003 at Ray Harryhausen’s walk of Fame ceremony. Many people were there to celebrate Ray and his achievments as stop motion animator. While there quite a few well known people there to speak about Ray, a hush came over the crowd as Forrest J was announced as one of the speakers.
The crowd became very quiet as a very frail and weak Forry made his way to the mike stand. He spoke about how Ray visited him as a teenager and the many years they have been friends. He also spoke about the many times he felt he cheated death and how he almost did not make it. But with all the strength he could muster, he told Ray that he had to stick around for this day and that there was no way he was going to miss it. As he said to Ray – ”Kongratulations on your Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame” which brought on the huge cheers! I would finally be introduced to him after the ceremony was over.
A few years would pass and I would run into Forry at film screenings and get togethers. I would often marvel on hearing in the last few years how this man in his late 80’s to early 90’s would still travel across the country to film conventions to meet and greet the fans. While other people back then would consider a magazine such as FM trash, it was Forrest J. Ackerman, the older kid who would say ” Its okay, I understand” It just proves that Forrest J. Ackerman still loves life and the world of science fiction and Fantasy. As I’ve said about FM magazine, ”Often imitated but never Duplicated” That is true of Forrest J. Ackerman, too. Never Duplicated!
Godbless and Good Heath…
Like so many kids growing up in the 1960s and 70s, I was a big fan of Famous Monsters of Filmland. I loved monsters of all shapes and sizes, but my particular faves have always been dinosaurs and giant beasts. I was in heaven whenever FM would run articles on King Kong, Godzilla (imagine that!), Gorgo, or the the latest stop-motion spectacular from Ray Harryhausen.
My parents were supportive of my love of monsters. They wouldn’t complain when I watched ULTRAMAN, KING KONG, or THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON for the “umpteenth” time, and would even wake me to catch a Godzilla or Gamera movie on the Late-Late show. Shortly before my 6th birthday my dad brought home a copy of Famous Monsters #114, the 100 page “Japanese Monsters Special” issue. It was the first time I had ever seen so many photos and articles about Godzilla and the other Japanese giants, and I treasured that magazine.
Famous Monsters was one of those constants of my childhood, and I can remember at an early age being aware of Forrest Ackerman (or “Uncle Forry”) and that FM was his magazine. As I grew older, one of the things I appreciated about FM was Forry’s writing and editorial style… it was obvious that he was a true fan of monster movies who wanted to share his knowledge and excitement with other fans. That really hit home with me.
Many years later, I finally got to meet Forry at one of the San Diego Comic Cons. I asked him to autograph Famous Monsters #114 and we chatted awhile about FM and movies. It was great to see that he was as kind and friendly in person as he appeared to be in the magazine.
After moving to Los Angeles, I was able to visit the Ackermansion with friends, which was a kick after reading about the place for so many years. We spent hours just looking at all the incredible props and memorabillia Forry had accumulated. It said a lot about his character that, week in and week out, he would let complete strangers wander about his house which was packed with hundreds of one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable items.
I haven’t seen Forry often over the past several years but would occasionally bump into him at various conventions and screenings. When Forry moved to the Ackerminimansion (a.k.a. the Ackercondo), some friends and I spent a nice afternoon looking at memorabilia and hearing Forry’s movie stories. Another time, Forry invited Tom Kenny (better known as Spongebod Squarepants), Bob Skir (story editor for GODZILLA: THE SERIES), my girlfriend, and I to join his group for dinner at the House of Pies (apparently Forry’s favorite restaurant). I have a lot of fond memories.
Perhaps my favorite memory occurred in late 2005. With Peter Jackson’s KING KONG remake just around the corner, I pitched a King Kong film festival to my friends at the American Cinematheque. The Cinematheque liked the idea, and we put together screenings of the original KING KONG, SON OF KONG, and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG as well as behind-the-scenes footage from the new KING KONG, plus other giant ape movies like KONGA. Actress Teri Moore attended the MIGHTY JOE YOUNG screening, Bob Burns graciously displayed the original armatures for Kong and Joe, and Forry introduced SON OF KONG.
Having grown up on Famous Monsters, it was a thrill to introduce Forrest Ackerman and listen to him talk about the movie. I approached him as he left the stage and thanked him for being a part of the King Kong festival. He asked me if I was attending the West Coast premiere of the new KING KONG at Universal Studios and I replied that I didn’t have an invitation. An impish smile crossed Forry’s face as he said “You do now” and handed me an invite.
A few days later I was at the KING KONG premiere. Forry had his own section at the Universal Amphitheatre and I sat with 80 or so of his closest friends. It was a great way to see the movie (which I thought was fantastic) and I have Forry to thank for that. The added bonus was seeing Forry, Bob Burns, Ray Bradbury and others almost bursting with the fun and excitement of the event… even those who didn’t care for the film were probably swept up in their enthusiasm.
I’m planning to see Forry in the next few days, but am recovering from a cold and want to make sure I’m healthy before doing so. I hope I can have the opportunity to thank him in person again for what he shared in the pages of Famous Monsters and the kindness he showed to a fellow monster movie fan.
As a kid who loved monster movies, Forry’s Famous Monsters of Filmland was pretty much the Holy Grail to me during my formative years.
I was first introduced to FM in 1962, by my 2nd Grade friend Don Luskin. He was lucky enough to have parents who not only let him subscribe, order all the available back-issues (which, at the time, was back to issue #1), but also let him order the 8mm films Forry offered through “Captain Co.” of all the classic Universal monster movies. Don would show these films to his friends when they visited, as well as at birthday parties, etc.
On the other hand, my parents not only wouldn’t let me watch monster movies, let alone read FM, but on the rare occasions when I was able to get my hands on a copy (thanks, Don!), would either destroy it outright if they figured out I had bought it myself (with lunch money), or make me return it to Don accompanied by a hostile phone call to his mother, if he’d loaned it to me.
Forry also made available through advertising in the back pages of FM just about everything a young monster fan could possibly want in the back pages of his magazine… Oh man, monster models, records, books, Venus Fly-Traps (which Don marketed to our entire elementary-school class), and stuff you would otherwise have to order a Johnson-Smith catalog to order.
Not only did Forry have the best photos of the best movies we almost *never* got to see, including stuff from Japan, Mexico, England and America, he reported even the crappiest of films with a sense of humor and affection that said he genuinely *loved* monster movies.
Even as a kid, it was always clear to me that Forry was himself a BIG kid with a budget who had never outgrown his love of fantasy films since first seeing Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS as a child, and therefore a kindred spirit.
Those early years of Famous Monsters were priceless to me in developing my love of monster movies, fantasy films, and particularly Forry’s coverage of Japanese films, specifically Godzilla, whether he actually liked them or not. One of my prized possessions to this day is issue #39, dated June 1966, which featured a cover-story on FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD.
God Bless you Forry, for everything you did that made my life feel so special growing up, and opened the doors to me for my own lifelong love of fantasy films. As a kid growing up in the 60s, you and Famous Monsters were, to me, The Beatles of sci-fi, fantasy and monster movies.
Famous Monsters of Filmland will always hold a special place in my heart, and you will always be one of the major cultural heroes of my life.
In the late 1950s, the “Shock!” package of classic Universal monster movies was syndicated to local television (including KTLA channel 5 in Los Angeles) changed the lives of a few million American youths, including me. Soon Famous Monsters of Filmland appeared. The magazine probably influenced me more than the movies as I could hold the mag, reading it and looking at the pictures for hours. More importantly, it let me know I wasn’t a lone weirdo and it encouraged communication with the other kids at school as the issues were passed around and discussed at great length.
Especially important was the tone of the prose; the genuine love of the subject and the incredible wit of the editor Forrest J Ackerman.
I visited the Ackermansion a couple times and was amazed by the joy FJA shared with his visitors. He listened attentively to all questions and usually had marvelous answers. He was delightful to all visitors young and old. He truly shared his love for these movies and the people who made them.
In his later years, I was amazed by the way he kept his joyful appreciation of life in spite of personal misfortunes or professional setbacks. The way FJA retained his enjoyment of life no matter what bad things happened is a source of inspiration to me.
The last time I saw him in public was the showing of colorized SHE at the Aero theater in Santa Monica with Ray Harryhausen. FJA appeared very thin and frail, but he was totally alert and clear, cleverly answering questions from the audience with his usual urbane wit.
Forrest J Ackerman’s genuine kindness, literary wit, relentlessly upbeat approach to life and his love of these weird movies and the even weirder fans will always be an inspiration to me.
As with many fans my age, growing up as a monster movie fanatic, I would scour the Sunday TV section of the newspaper (in my case, the San Francisco Chronicle) as well as TV Guide for listings of monster movies playing that coming week. I’d clip out the rare pictures or ads that would occasionally appear, promoting the latest showing of whatever film on shows like CREATURE FEATURES, CHILLER DILLER MATINEE or THE FRIDAY NIGHT DRIVE-IN MOVIE.
Soon after, I discovered monster movie magazines, including Famous Monsters of Filmland, which always seemed like the best of the best to me!
The thing that really stood out about FM was that it had a unique identity. Not only did if have its own personality, with its witty captions and outrageous titles for articles, but that personality had a name and it was Forrest J. Ackerman.
“Uncle Forry” was there each and every month telling you, “it’s alright kid, you can love these films, because I love these films!” Ackerman’s love for these films took most readers’ interests and turned them into hobbies, lifestyles and for some careers! FM became a rallying point, a focus of that love for fantastic movies.
Above and beyond the magazine though, Forrest J. Ackerman has always been a very unselfish and giving individual. Opening his doors to legions of fans and tourists, showing them the world of collecting through one of the largest and most extensive collections of movie memorabilia ever assembled.
As the years went on, much of that collection was sadly sold off to pay for doctor bills and the costs of declining health. But, even as his collection dwindled, his prized possessions were still kept in his home and his door has always remained open. Despite declining health he has always remained the caretaker of his collection and continues to welcome visitors with a smile on his face and joy in his heart for the movies he loves, the movies we all love.
Seeing him in interviews, live appearances, conventions and at home, FJA has always been amazingly open, candid and enthusiastic about his love for fantastic films. An infectious enthusiasm that has inspired many, many fans.
Ackerman was the person responsible for coining the phrase Sci Fi. It was that phrase and his inspiration that came to mind when Keith and I discussed the naming of this website and the Sci Fi in SciFi Japan will always remain as a tribute to his inspiration to us and to this website.
It is fitting that Forrest J. Ackerman has been a proponent and student of the language Esperanto. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto, the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887. The word esperanto means ‘one who hopes’ in the language itself. Zamenhof’s goal was to create an easy and flexible language that would serve as a universal second language to foster peace and international understanding.
The language and its meaning go a long way in describing the personality and beliefs of Forrest J. Ackerman. No better way to sum up the man, his life, his inspiration and his love of all things fantastic!