Hey folks, Harry here... "Ding Dong the merrio, clap your hands, get out of bed, Ding Dong The Wicked Witch is Dead!" Sorry, the sound of joyous munchkin voices rises up to my ears as I received the following letter today of Forrest J Ackerman's complete and total vindication against a man, whose name need never be mentioned again... For far too long this case and this decision has continued to hang over the head of Uncle Forry, the true Godfather of Film Fandom. As I've watched his treasures leave his possession via Ebay, his home being sold and to continually hear Ferry's protestations via his website and various publications... I've grown sick. Without Forrest Ackerman, there would be no Aint It Cool News, because I never would have developed the zeal and the passion that I have for cinema had it not been for his fervent mania which he embraced it first. The same can be said for the likes of John Landis, Joe Dante, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Deltoro and a host of others. When Guillermo was a child he wrote Ackerman a letter asking to be adopted and to live with him in the Ackermansion. Before the age of the Internet, it was through his magazines that fandom felt united. That it was a valid part of culture. A legitimate interest to have. Personally, having the appeals court slam the door on Ferry, well... It just means that at last, Ackerman can reclaim his mantle, pride and distinction as the one true king of horror, sci-fi and movie fans! Huzzah! To find out more, check out Forry's personal site by clicking here!
To friends and fans who have waited patiently for the final resolution of the “Ackerman v. Ferry” case: as many may know, on May 10, 2000, a unanimous jury - and the Judge of the Superior Court of the State of California, brought in a huge verdict in my favor and against my nemesis, Ray Ferry, for actions of breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, libel, violation of my rights of publicity and trademark infringement, in addition to other causes of action.
After the verdict was rendered, Ferry transferred the Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine trademark to his own attorneys in the case, and transferred his business to long-time friend/associate Gene Reynolds. The business was set up as Gothix Marketing, Inc. FM continued to publish under the name Central Media while Ferry claimed he was insolvent and filed for Bankruptcy.
Since the trial, Ferry has been puffing, blowing smoke, boasting and bragging on his website, and to anyone else he could bamboozle, that he was wronged, that the jury decided in my favor in sympathy, not on the evidence presented of his wrongdoing, and that he would prevail on appeal because the law was on his side. He repeatedly posted a false blow-by-blow scenario claiming that the Appeal was going his way and would be decided in his favor and that the judgment would be overturned on appeal. All this time he continued to disparage my reputation and me with Internet postings. I have kept quiet while all of this has played out. I sat by patiently, without responding to Ferry’s self-serving ravings. I had confidence in the judgment.
Finally, I am coming forward to report that Ray Ferry has lost his Appeal. On November 12, 2002, the California Court of Appeal decided the Appeal in my favor and affirmed my judgement against Ferry in its entirety, on all nine legal theories presented, and awarded me costs of the Appeal! An Appeal is decided strictly on the law and evidence presented at trial to support the verdict rendered. (Ferry can’t claim that the Appeal was decided on sympathy. I never appeared before any of the Appeal judges). In fact, four judges of the California Court of Appeal, in record time (4 days) rendered a 47 page (!!!) decision totally in my favor. Contrary to Ray Ferry’s claims, the Supreme Court will not take up this case. So, the world’s biggest braggart is where he belongs, trounced, out of business, kaput, hoisted on his own petard. My nemesis is now history – a black page of it.
Additionally, the Judge of the Federal Bankruptcy Court declared Ferry’s filing of a Bankruptcy to be fraudulent (what else is new?) and denied him discharge, which means that he can’t get out of payment of the judgment. The Federal Court also issued an order of Contempt against Ferry and fined him an additional $50,000 for the Contempt. His transfer of the business to Gene Reynolds/aka Gothix Marketing, Inc. (done right after the verdict was rendered) was also declared fraudulent by the Federal Bankruptcy Court. This is all a matter of public record and court files. Ray Ferry has lost Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, the Famous Monsters of Filmland trademark, the website…and his home. The Bankruptcy Trustee took these assets and I have not gotten a single penny yet. He has also lost face and destroyed his own reputation once and for all.
According to the official trial transcript, Ferry admitted at trial that he lied to the readers of the magazine, and he has continued to lie to the readers of his website about the Appeal. Recently, Ferry falsely posted on his website that I was preventing the publisher (him?) from sending copies of FM to paid subscribers, even having their subscription money seized so they couldn’t get refunds. That is absolutely untrue. I do not know of any subscription money being seized from Ferry. The Bankruptcy Trustee attached Distributor’s money owed to Ferry for the sale of the magazine through stores, but no subscriber’s money was seized. I am told that Ray Ferry and Gene Reynolds refused to produce the subscriber’s list to the Trustee. I have not received one cent to date. In my opinion, Ferry’s name must be worse than Mud in the magazine industry in general and the Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre particularly.
Ferry had the “chutzpah”, as Ray Bradbury stated at the trial, to identify himself by my ages-long identity, “Dr. Acula”, and to infringe on my Trademark. No one believed this for a moment! Not any of the jurors or the judges. The evidence of Ferry’s Trademark Infringement of my “Dr. Acula” identity was overwhelming, as was the evidence establishing that he had libeled me. BTW, in my 106th cameo film appearance, I wear Bela Lugosi’s cape to play Dr. Acula. The film is titled The Boneyard Collection. Screenwriters are George Clayton Johnson and Brad Lineweaver. Brinke Stevens plays the part of…Brinke Stevens.
So, an approximately three-quarters of a million dollar judgment will hang over Ray Ferry’s bowed head for the rest of his life, and he will forever be tracked for payment on the judgment. His wrongs to me and this legal case validate my rights and prove his conduct at law has cost me my savings, my home and much of my famous collection. But the end result of my vindication and upholding my reputation with my friends and fans is what matters most to me. Ferry set out to destroy me and malign my reputation in fandom. In the end, he brought about his own self-destruction.
Obviously Ray Ferry’s monumental boast of a super-extravaganza filmonster convention is now in limbo, in Ray Cumming’s World of Unwrought Things, as are Ferry’s plans for another magazine. I’m sure he’d get no cooperation from my loyal friends. His stellar line-up of imagi-movie personalities? Frank and Bobbie Brezee? Perhaps Elvira? Considering transatlantic airfare, Ray Harryhausen doesn’t seem a likely guest. And, as I did in 1993, I wouldn’t be importing overseas fans (to the tune of $20,000) to give his pipedream an international flair. If I knew where Ray Ferry and his “cosmic brother” were hiding I’d let you know so you could send them a giant crying towel. This final chapter in Ferry’s ultimate defeat and exposure proves that his book (a barely-seller) should have been titled “Life is but a Scam!”
HarperCollins plans to follow the recent Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Life (by Jerry Weist) with a prestigious volume - my autobiography, My Life in a Time Machine. I doubt I’ll even waste a footnote on my abominable adversary. If I never hear of him the rest of my life it will be too soon.
In closing, I want to thank my many friends and fans that have stood by me all through this trying but worthwhile fight. Justice has prevailed my health is restored and now I intend to return to my normal life of monsters, space travel, and an endless world of wonder. Look for me at Conventions around the world this year!