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Robert N. Skir Written by Robert N. Skir
Dec. 10, 2008 | 11:03 PM

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A Letter to Forry

November 11, 2008

Dear Forry,

It was 34 years ago today that I finally met face-to-face with a man who had been an important figure to me.  I was at The First Famous Monsters Convention at the Hotel Commodore in New York City, and I was finally getting meet the one and only Forrest J Ackerman.

You were friendly and engaging to all of us fans, telling us great stories and letting us see rings worn by Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.

Thanks to you we knew all about the stars of the classic films.  And you also introduced us to the people behind the camera, makers of magic such as Jack Pierce, Ray Harryhausen, and George Pal.  And you let us know about young filmmakers such as John Landis and Rick Baker, who made a little movie called Schlock, who were themselves readers of Famous Monsters of Filmland.  As were Dave Allen, Dennis Muren, and Jim Danforth, California kids who went out and made a frightening film called Equinox.

Because of you, we readers knew all about these filmmakers, the grandmasters who made the classics as well as youngsters aspiring to become professions, and we knew that we, too, could go out and try our hands at making movies.  And we did, turning our backyards into graveyard locations, our bedrooms into makeshift animation studios, and figuring out how to cast life-masks in our basements.

I knew all of that during the Famous Monsters Convention back in the fall of 1974; but could any of us guess what was about to follow?

A mere six months later Jaws was released, made by Famous Monsters fan Steven Spielberg.  And soon after that, the frightening film Carrie, based on the novel by a young writer who had been a Famous Monsters reader: Stephen King, who was about to become the world’s bestselling author.  And shortly after that… Star Wars, a phenomenon which triggered the sci-fi boom supercharging the film industry to this very day.  Director George Lucas would then turn his attention on revolutionizing movie sound with his THX system, and then spearheaded the pioneering of Computer Graphics, which forever changed the way films looked.  And he, like the others, grew up reading FM.

So many of the people who redefined popular culture were influenced and inspired by Famous Monsters of Filmland.

And that magazine, needless to say, was you.  And your mission statement never changed:

“I am your average reader.  I am 11 years old.  Make me laugh.”

We did.

And then we changed the world.

In time, I too became a professional, writing animated television shows including Godzilla, Extreme Ghostbusters, and The Mask.  And I’m proud of the work that I’ve done.

But more than that, I’m proud to be your friend, and love having chocolate milk and chili burgers together with you at The House Of Pies and visiting with you in your living room as you entertain guests with great stories, bad puns, and Al Jolson songs.

I’m proud to know somebody who has brought so much happiness into the lives of so many people, and who has inspired them to change the world.

I love you, Forry.


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