My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Forrest J Ackerman, R.I.P.

Forrest J. Ackerman died on Thursday.

Mr. Ackerman is noted for coining the term "sci-fi" and amassing a vast collection of science fiction and fantasy memorabilia, but I will remember him as being the brains behind the operation known as Famous Monsters of Filmland, which was one of my favorite periodicals when I was a kid.

Famous Monsters of Filmland was 50 cents per issue at a time when my periodical budget was in the 10-cent comic book and 25-cent Mad magazine range. So, I hesitated splurging on the magazine, although I admired its covers whenever I visited the newsstand.

I built the Aurora model kits of the Universal Studios' monsters and one time, while opening the box of a new kit, I found a coupon for a free sample issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland. I immediately filled out the coupon and walked it to the mailbox at the corner of Baldwin and Piedmont Streets, then waited patiently for my free issue to arrive.

The free issue finally arrived, but it was not the current issue. Rather, it was a back issue, but it was the mother of all back issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland: the October 1963 special King Kong issue! King Kong was my favorite film and I read that magazine from cover-to-cover so many times that the cover came loose and the pages were dog-eared.

That issue hooked me on Mr. Ackerman's magazine and I started buying it from the newsstand regularly. However, in my opinion, that special King Kong issue represented the peak of the run of Famous Monsters of Filmland. I did enjoy the subsequent issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland, but none were as good as the special King Kong issue and after a few years, I lost interest and stopped buying it.

Anyway, thank you, Forrest J. Ackerman, for providing a lot of fun for a 12-year-old kid and helping to inspire him to become a writer.

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