Movie News

Moriarty Yells, "Hey Boils And Ghouls! Forry Ackerman is in Trouble!!!"

Published at: Nov. 16, 1999, 8:44 a.m. CST by staff

Hey folks, Harry here. Last Friday, I received a call from Tim Sullivan detailing to me that Forrest Ackerman was going to court to try and win back his life's work... FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. Instantly, I knew what had to be done. Firing up my Inorociter, I reached Moriarty and... Instantly we began our plan... Alert the entire world. I opened up my sacred Scooby Doo book and handed over names and contact info for a ton of media contacts. I handed them to Moriarty and assigned him the task of being the AICN 'Clarence' to our 'George Bailey' (aka Forrest Ackerman). Time to earn our wings I told him, and like that... his evil intentions melted away, and he decided this was THE noble quest to end all quests. A righteous battle for truth and justice. Before I turn you over to Moriarty and his first EXCELLENT EXPOSE on the Ackerman Incident, you might familiarize yourself with Forrey through this old report of mine. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6) And now... Here's Moriarty...









Hey, Head Geek...

"Moriarty" here.

As the sun rises this morning, most everyone in town is talking about the same few things: the astonishing business for POKEMON, the battle next weekend between SLEEPY HOLLOW and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, how dangerous it is to star in musicals (Nicole Kidman broke a rib! The cast of AIDA was crushed by a set!), and that demented Michael Jackson/Edgar Allen Poe thing. You've probably read about all of those if you have scanned the major entertainment news sources. There's one other story that's being discussed by a number of people that's getting no attention in the press at all, though, and it's a shock to us here at AICN. It's not just a story... as far as we're concerned, this week it's THE story.

You see, as the sun rises this morning, various parties are making their way across town to convene at the Van Nuys Municipal Courts Building, where they'll meet in Department C for the first day of the civil trial that pits Forrest J. Ackerman against Ray Ferry in a battle for control of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, one of the single most influential magazines in film history. It's a battle that will hinge on payments, contracts, and legal wrangling, but it's one that should be easily decided based on the morals involved. As Forry celebrates his 83rd birthday, he's going to be sitting in a courtroom, fighting to reassert his ownership of his life's work.

I don't want to just assume that because you're here at Ain't It Cool News, you're also familiar with FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, but you should be. The magazine, which was started in 1958, was for most of us the first film magazine we discovered. I remember my first exposure. It was 1977, the day after I had seen STAR WARS, and I needed to get a fix, something I could hold in my hands that would tell me more about the greatest experience I'd ever had. What I found on the stands was a special issue of FM, the STAR WARS SPECTACULAR. I bought it and read the magazine cover to cover, over and over, amazed that someone out there was writing about something like this. I had no choice but to go scare up (sorry... you write about Forry and the goofy wordplay starts flowing) a few issues of the magazine to see what it was all about. Keep in mind... I was still a wee pup, and the idea that any adult would actually spend their time writing about monsters for a living was just too immeasurably cool for me to process. By the time I finished reading my first real issue, I was hooked. Our local Saturday afternoon monster movie marathon was hosted by Dr. Paul Bearer, and Forry struck me as the same kind of man... in love with the monsters and the howlingly bad jokes and the whole world that all these movies suggested. I fell in love with that world, too, and no matter what else I've read, no matter what else I've seen, there's a part of me that has always remembered how special that first magazine was to me.

As Frank Darabont says, "We all grew up with Forry." It was at Frank's house, at one of his always-wonderful birthday parties, that I first met Forry. I was with my significant other, and she just couldn't understand why I was so excited by the sight of the old man sitting alone on the couch. I'd been fearless about walking up to people like Clancy Brown and Tobe Hooper all night, delighted to indulge my geek nature to its fullest, but the sight of Forrey just stopped me cold. I had to ask Frank, "Do you think it's okay if I talk to Forry? Will he mind?" I remember Frank laughing about it, and I understand why now. Forrey is one of the most approachable, friendly men I've ever met. He loves to tell long stories about himself and his friends, full of wild digressions and random movie history, and it's a little dizzying on first encounter. I realized as my girlfriend even got drawn in (and she was as non-geek as she could be) that his spell was undiminished by age. His voice was the voice of that magazine that had held me in thrall as a child, and a conversation with him was like digging through every issue at once.

When I started contacting people this weekend about this story, I realized how huge my list of numbers to call was, and I found myself intimidated all over again. As this week progresses, and as we continue to cover this trial and the results of it, I'd like to offer some of the kind words of support offered by filmmakers whose lives have been touched by the work Forry has done over the years. For example, John Carpenter offered me the following thoughts: "Through FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, Forrest Ackerman has profoundly influenced fantasy cinema through his seminal love of horror and science fiction films. Without him, an entire generation of filmmakers would have been without a voice. Let there be no doubt: Forrest Ackerman is FAMOUS MONSTERS. To adjucate otherwise would be a tragedy."

The man who leapt to Forry's defense most readily in this first round of calls was producer Tim Sullivan. He was one of the guys behind DETROIT ROCK CITY (the DVD of which is going to kick your ass... details are forthcoming), and when I got him on the phone, he was more than willing to defend his friend. Instead of me paraphrasing Tim or quoting bits and pieces of what he said, let me show you just how passionate the mention of Ackerman got him.

"Forry Ackerman is suing Ray Ferry for breach of contract, among other things, and my understanding -- see, Forry's a very gentle, sweet old man. He's very trusting. The fact that every Saturday he opens his home to the public and people come from all over the world to see these priceless props from movie history, and Forry just sits in the living room and tells stories, so anybody can just wander around the house, and anybody can just take stuff. I'm sure they have."

Just to back up Tim's statement, here's a partial list from Forry's website (which I'll discuss below) of some of the items that have been stolen from Forry's home over the year by his "guests":

A nice large full color painting by Hannes Bok taken right off my living room wall by some fan in l939. A black & white litho of it appeared on the cover of Ray Bradbury's fanzine Futuria Fantasia, 4th issue. Painting consists of a seated female nude, side view, with two large bell-shaped flowers on either side and 2 winged men in the air above her...Bela Lugosi's medallion worn 'round his neck in l93l DRACULA, stolen in Chicago when exhibited in conjunction with the premiere of THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, 1967...TV'S TRILOGY OF TERROR, the segment by Richard Matheson where Karen Black is chased around her kitchen by a horrid little wooden doll. I had the head...The claw of the THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, original version...A copy of the first edition of "Final Blackout", effusively inscribed to me by L. Ron Hubbard...A pair of Mr. Spock's ears from the original TV series...FRANKENSTEIN the front half (!) of an l8-foot-long submarine...Framed lobbycard of Karloff as Ardath Bey with a square of the gauze that wrapped around him in THE MUMMY.

Yet, amazingly, Forry continues to open his door and allow strangers in. He continues to treat each person through the door as a friend. He continues to trust.

"I think that analogy is similar to what happened to FAMOUS MONSTERS," Tim continued. "Ray positioned himself as a fan of the magazine and a fan of Forry's, and, you know, Forry gave over the magazine to Ray thinking he was going to be playing a part. I don't know exactly what happened, but Forry is no longer a part of the magazine. There's a bitter feud going on between Ray and Forry. Ray has never made a formal announcement in the magazine that Forry is no longer a part of it, and he continues to use all the catch phrases all these things that Forry created."

In working on this article tonight, I finally made my way to Forry's personal website, which you can find at http://www.best.com/~4forry if you want to get a better look at the man we're talking about here. On that website, wedged inbetween amateur costume contests, a virtual tour of the Ackermansion, and an explanation of Esperanto ("Shakatabulo!"), there's an article called "Why I Left FAMOUS MONSTERS" that details some of what Tim discusses here. I recommend you check it out to get Forry's exact comments on the situation. One of the most remarkable parts is when Forry lists the puns and gags he created that he supposedly can't use anymore. The fact that Ferry signs his editorials as "Dr. Acula" is loathesome. It's as if he's trying to erase Forrey and his history completely. I asked Tim why anyone would behave this way.

"This may be between the two of them, but I know from my personal dealing with Ray Ferry that the man promises one thing and then delivers another. This is a fact. This is not slander. When I produced DETROIT ROCK CITY, Gene [Simmons], Adam Rifkin, and I wanted to pay homage to FAMOUS MONSTERS. We wanted the specific presence of Forry Ackerman, but he wasn't well enough to come to Toronto to do a cameo in the film, so we thought the second best thing was to have the magazine appear in a scene in the movie. That happens twice. There is a scene in the convenience store where Jimmy De Bello is standing next to it, and then in the opening credits there's a big close-up of the cover of FAMOUS MONSTERS. I forget the number, but it has the Melting Man on the cover.

"In securing the rights for that, our people contacted FAMOUS MONSTERS and were told that Ray Ferry has the rights to say yes or no as to whether we could use it. He gave me a verbal OK, and as a thank you for that OK, I arranged for him to do an elaborate interview with Gene Simmons. I photographed Gene Simmons and KISS reading copies of FAMOUS MONSTERS, and Brad Parker the comic book artist came in and painted four covers of the KISS members -- all for free! I handed all of this over to Ray Ferry on a silver platter. He published the interviews, published the covers, had great success with the magazine. There is even a picture in the magazine of the kid reading FAMOUS MONSTERS, and it says, 'Look for a cameo by FAMOUS MONSTERS in the upcoming movie DETROIT ROCK CITY.'

"All of a sudden, we're getting lawsuits from Ray. He's trying to stop the film from opening. He's claiming that he never signed any paperwork. He's saying that his verbal agreement was no good, and then he starts a smear campaign that FAMOUS MONSTERS was a family magazine, and he doesn't want it to appear in a movie that promotes sex and drugs among teenagers. He went to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. He actually was going to, you know, he issued an injunction to have DETROIT ROCK CITY stopped before it could be released.

"Well, the irony of this is that I got a call from Forrest J. Ackerman and his lawyer telling me that Ray doesn't have the right to give his yes or no to FAMOUS MONSTERS prior to him owning it, and that he can only give the right to a magazine that he edited. Anything prior to 1990 is Forry's domain. That ended the lawsuit right there. Ray was just trying to get some money, and didn't care whether or not he hurt people who supposedly were his friends. Even though I was somewhat aware of what was going on, to me to get FAMOUS MONSTERS in there and to get KISS in FAMOUS MONSTERS was important. I wasn't aware of how bitter the feud was at the time between Forry and Ferry. Here I am, handing all this to FAMOUS MONSTERS on a silver platter, with Brad Parker giving the guy free artwork, and then all of a sudden the guy I'm working with turned around to sue me for all this great stuff.

"Now, Gene Simmons and myself are producing a movie at New Line Cinema called REAL MONSTERS which Adam Rifkin is directing and writing. Somehow Ray Ferry got in his mind that we were ripping off FAMOUS MONSTERS by calling this movie REAL MONSTERS. That title is a working title. The plot is ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN for the new millennium. How can you say that we're ripping off a magazine that's a nonfiction publication? I don't even know, but he insisted that we make him a producer on the film, or else he was not going to let us use FAMOUS MONSTERS in [DETROIT ROCK CITY]. He basically blackmailed us and extorted us into a situation, but the irony was that he never had the right to say yes or not to having that magazine in the movie, and once New Line's lawyers pointed that out to him, he immediately backpedaled on the lawsuit, and then had the audacity to ask us if we'd like to do a T-shirt deal with him -- with FAMOUS MONSTERS and KISS.

"From my personal experience with Ray Ferry, I can only imagine what he has done to poor Forry, because Forry is only one person, and he's having to fight for himself, and it's only because of people like myself and Gene Simmons and John Landis and Ray Bradbury and Sarah Karloff, who have witnessed what has happened to Forry, that we have finally said, 'Enough, Forry. Stand up for yourself.' Now he has a lawyer named Jacqueline Appelbaum who is basically working for free. His legal bills are all coming out of what little money he has. She believes in him, though. She was a secretary back in the early days of FAMOUS MONSTERS, and now she's handling the lawsuit on her own, just hoping to get Forry control of FAMOUS MONSTERS again, or at the very least to have a public venting once and for all of all that Forry Ackerman has contributed and how he's been treated. Gene Simmons is going to be a witness. I'm going to be a witness. John Landis is going to be a witness. If Ray Bradbury's recovering enough, he's going to be there. Sarah Karloff will be there."

I interrupted here, surprised that Bradbury was still considering showing up in court in light of his stroke last week.

"He had the stroke about a week ago, but Ray Bradbury and Forry are like brothers. They call them the Bat Pack. Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, and Forry are all the same age. They all grew up together, and Forrey was Ray's literary agent for years and helped him get all his big deals. Bradbury would do anything for Forry."

In a town where dreck like ACTION passes for an insightful look at the way people in the business relate, I am always amazed at how much more decent the giants of the business are in real life. I've met hundreds of my favorite filmmakers and actors and writers and cameramen, and I've only had a handful of experiences I would call negative. When you're possessed of the decency that Forry is, people respond in kind, as Tim's next story demonstrated.

"I've never seen Gene Simmons at a loss for words, I've never seen Gene Simmons speak in anything but sound bites, and I've never seen Gene Simmons get choked up, but at the Saturn Awards this year I saw Gene Simmons stand up there. He had a whole speech prepared, and he just dropped it. He said, 'I'm standing up here and I'm looking at this man. Many years ago, I was a little kid from Israel who came to this country. I did not speak your language. I did not know your culture, but I got this copy of FAMOUS MONSTERS. That magazine raised me. That magazine made me who I am. Everything that I have, I owe to this man, Forrest J. Ackerman.' He held up the FAMOUS MONSTERS that he was on the cover of and said, 'More than anything else in my life, this is my greatest achievement... that I'm on the cover of FAMOUS MONSTERS.' The whole room was choked up. I've never seen Gene like that before. The only person who humbles him is Forry."

A little while after I spoke with Tim, the phone rang again, and I found myself on the phone with my first Oscar winner of the day. Bill Condon won, of course, for his haunted, beautiful adaptation of GODS & MONSTERS, a film that paid homage to one of the great fantasy filmmakers, James Whale. Bill was on the set of the new NBC series THE OTHERS, but he took a moment to share some thoughts with me.

"Forry's magazine was the first place I ever read about FRANKENSTEIN or BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN or James Whale. You know, those movies were forgotten by the mainstream press, and thank God for Forry's magazine. He basically kept those movies alive. Then of course, there's meeting him. I met him and went to Ackermansion. That is one of the great tourist attractions in Los Angeles. This city has a lot of hidden wonders, and that's one of them. I wish to god the city would somehow get involved and pay for all that and basically make it a public attraction, something that could be preserved. It's really a remarkable place, and he's a remarkable man."

To be fair, I am going to make every attempt to get Ferry's side of the story this week. I'll be attending as much of the trial as I'm able to, and I'm going to try to get Ferry to talk to us. I spent a little time tonight checking out the website for Ferry's version of our beloved magazine, and what I saw sickened me. You can check it out at http://www.ktb.net/~fmof/menu.htm if you have to, but I wouldn't advise it. The site is basically there to sell subscriptions and to sell merchandise. There's no love of the genre present. All the shtick is directly copied from Forry's writing style. There's literally not an original idea on the site, which is what makes the following warning so damn funny:

HELP PREVENT "GRAVE" ROBBERIES! It's no secret that Famous Monsters is the world's most respected classic filmonster magazine. We appreciate that some fans like to publish web sites and fanzines paying tribute to the magazine and its world. We don't want to seem ungrateful but the FM logo and its related graphics, properties, slogans, magazine covers and content of the issues themselves and our website are copyrighted and/or are trademarked. If you are considering or you are currently publishing a non-commercial FM tribute site or fanzine, we request you e-mail us with the address of your site to request official permission. We'll advise you as to whether your site is OK or what may need to be done if you are displaying material improperly. If we authorize your fansite, there is no charge. If your site isn't acceptable (usually because it contains foul language or gory material) we'll advise you. Please note that no one other than Dynacomm is authorized to grant permission for use of FM's logo or other properties. Write us at webmaster@famousmonsters.com. We won't bite!

Sorry, Ray, but you do bite... quite a bit. The idea that you're in any way worried about the misappropriation of material is just obscene. Still, I wasn't officially sick to my stomach until I read the "official" version of the history of the magazine:

A MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER. Four scares and seven fears ago our gorefathers brought forth upon this kongtinent a new notion, conceived in ribbery and deadicated to the proposition that all monsters are created. With deepest respect to the legacy of classic Horrorwood and the great, innocent fun that these "monsters" have brought us for so many years, we at Dynacomm are proud to carry on the tradition of the World's Greatest Classic Horrors in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine. If you are an old-time reader, we welcome you back to the weird world of the truly great monsters and hope to make you feel like a kid again as we revisit the things that made the 1950s and 60s a terrorific time to grow up in. If you are a youngster just discovering FAMOUS MONSTERS for the first time, we welcome you to our little family. You won't find buckets of blood here. But you will discover a terror-chest of the greatest Gothic horrors from some of the world's most renowned authors and film makers. You'll discover the classic tales of terror that have frightened audiences for hundreds of years. And, beast of all, you'll discover a world of frightful fun! We here are very proud that so many of our older readers are sharing the fun and tradition of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND with their kids. Like the werewolf says: "The family that bays together, stays together!" So, on behalf of the Fang Gang, I bid you welcome to the world of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. This place in cyberspace is here to acquaint you with the World's Greatest Screamag™ and give you a taste of what you'll find in each, new issue. Look for FM at your favorite noosestand or order from our Virtual Noose-stand page (see our main menu under "The FM Online Store") which makes it easy to get the latest issues and our quickly-disappearing number of back issues sent to your tomb die-rect from our factory scarehouse. So grab your copy, crawl under the bedsheets with a trusty flashlight and join us as we here highly resolve that these undead shall not die! We will be adding many more features to this site in the coming months so be sure to stop by again. And tell a fiend about FM."

I included the entire text so that Ferry and Dynacomm couldn't accuse me of taking something out of context. Somehow, they've managed to write a history of this magazine that doesn't even toss an acknowledgement in the direction of the man who created it, who self-published it for decades, and whose voice is still evident in the style of everything they push upon the public. This goes so far beyond a simple business scuffle. Make no mistake. This is rape.

In addition to continuing our coverage of this trial, we're going to be researching another interesting fact that came to light this evening when another call alerted me to the fact that Jim Warren and Warren Publishing are also suing Ray Ferry over FAMOUS MONSTERS. Seems he misrepresented himself to them, violated the terms of the deal that he made with a very ill Jim Warren, and now that Warren's bounced back, Ferry's facing a world of hurt. He originally bought the name only, and isn't allowed to use the rest of the format. I'll be investigating this angle, checking into what other promises Ray Ferry has broken, and I'll be describing to you Forry's day (or days) in court. I'll also be bringing you more feedback from filmmakers as they try to sum up the influence Forry's had on them and this business. This is when we geeks get to fight the good fight, everyone, and we're just warming up. Until then...

"Moriarty"out.

Readers Talkback

comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Nov. 20, 1999, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Methinks he protests too much

    by ellid

    I just reread Moriarty's comments on Forrest Ackerman, and I was appalled by the disingenous of some of Ackerman's statements. This is a man who tried to haul a senile, incontinent A.E. van Vogt into small claims court over a dispute Ackerman was having with Harlan Ellison (who dropped the whole matter when Van Vogt's wife/caretaker, in hysterics, begged him) complaining about being hauled into court; a man who may well have obtained much of his collection by borrowing it for his dreadful magazine and simply not returning it to its rightful owner complaining about being robbed; a man who has misrepresented the provenance of some his collection (20 years ago the Robot Maria from Metropolis was an exact copy, but lately I've seen print reports claiming that Ackerman owns the original - impossible, since the original was destroyed after the film wrapped), who has called one of the most distinguished speculative fiction writers alive "a k--e" in a letter, who inflicted the appalling Perry Rhodan books on America under the guise "sharing this great German space opera with the fen" - this man has managed to hide behind the "I'm just a naive old man in a house full of treasures" persona for decades, all the while merrily amassing a collection worth several million dollars and being considerably less than nice in his private life. I received word from Scotvox@cs.com after my original posts. Seems that Scotvox knew Ackerman back in the 80's and was friendly with him - until "gentle, naive Forry" tried to talk Scotvox's wife into posing semi-nude for one of his fanzines (he did the same thing to cartoonist Trina Robbins at the beginning of her career). Scotvox also reported seeing documentation that Ackerman was banned from at least one TV set in the 60's for "liberating" production stills for his collection, "forgot" to return memorabilia to a horror actor, and generally has behaved like one of his own monsters in his business dealings. He is NOT naive - he's very sharp, and not particularly scrupulous. One last thing: what precisely is Ackerman (or Moriarty, for that matter) hoping to accomplish by this "get out the fen" effort? Courts are not influenced by petitions, nor will a judge care if every single viewer of this Web site sends him a nasty letter. The law is concerned with facts, not popular opinion. If Ackerman signed a contract with Ray Parker, all the fannish protests in the world will not erase that signature. And all the character witnesses in the world (and how well will Ray Bradbury perform after a stroke? A decent cross examination will shred his testimony in about five seconds) really don't count for much if the facts indicate otherwise. The law isn't a popularity contest. If anything, a fan effort will produce the opposite effect. Judges do NOT like having their business questioned by non-professionals.....

  • Nov. 21, 1999, 12:36 a.m. CST

    Ferry's Brother?

    by Renfield

    Sheesh! An attack like the foregoing sounds exactly like the kind of character assasination Ray Ferry's been doing on Forry. In fact, one wonders if that writer is Ferry's brother. At any rate, here's a few answers to his screed: "This is a man who tried to haul a senile, incontinent A.E. van Vogt into small claims court over a dispute Ackerman was having with Harlan Ellison (who dropped the whole matter when Van Vogt's wife/caretaker, in hysterics, begged him) complaining about being hauled into court;" My understanding is that Forry is welcoming this court action; at any rate, one hardly believes that Forry would try to get a witness who was "senile" to testify for him...that would be, ummm, "senile" of Forry. At any rate, this is irrelevant to the current situation "...a man who may well have obtained much of his collection by borrowing it for his dreadful magazine and simply not returning it to its rightful owner complaining about being robbed; a man who has misrepresented the provenance of some his collection (20 years ago the Robot Maria from Metropolis was an exact copy, but lately I've seen print reports claiming that Ackerman owns the original - impossible, since the original was destroyed after the film wrapped)..." My, my, such smears without verifiable specifics to back them up. There are a few of us who don't think his magazine was "dreadful," but let that pass. How does this poison-penner know for certain the fate of the "Maria" robot? Perhaps he worked for UFA in the Twenties...? "...who has called one of the most distinguished speculative fiction writers alive "a k--e" in a letter..." Proof? And proof that it wasn't a joking (albeit in bad taste) reference if true? "...who inflicted the appalling Perry Rhodan books on America under the guise "sharing this great German space opera with the fen"..." Now, now, different strokes also applies to one's source of preferred reading material. The size of Rhodan's following proves that Forry was quite justified in handling his works. "...this man has managed to hide behind the "I'm just a naive old man in a house full of treasures" persona for decades, all the while merrily amassing a collection worth several million dollars and being considerably less than nice in his private life..." I don't recall even hearing or reading anything from Forry where he claims to be "naive." His success as a literary agent would dispell that impression in anyone who knew anything about him. Forry was one of the first folks to collect "fantastic film" memorabilia, and it's a case of being among the first and doing it for decades reaping a rich reward, and a well-deserved one. He genuinely enjoys his collection, enjoys showing folks that collection, and has suffered some thefts because of it. A money-grubbing arvacious collection should be made of sterner stuff. "...I received word from Scotvox@cs.com after my original posts. Seems that Scotvox knew Ackerman back in the 80's and was friendly with him - until "gentle, naive Forry" tried to talk Scotvox's wife into posing semi-nude for one of his fanzines (he did the same thing to cartoonist Trina Robbins at the beginning of her career)..." Horrors! Asking an attractive woman to pose for a magazine spread UN-NUDE! The fiend! Why isn't he doing time? "...Scotvox also reported seeing documentation that Ackerman was banned from at least one TV set in the 60's for "liberating" production stills for his collection, "forgot" to return memorabilia to a horror actor, and generally has behaved like one of his own monsters in his business dealings..." This is the most pernicious kind of character assasination, viz., "I heard" or "someone told me." Proof, please. At least the name of the TV station and/or "horror actor"? "...He is NOT naive - he's very sharp..." Q.E.D. "...and not particularly scrupulous..." Proof, again? This writer is not "particularly scrupulous" either, proffering accusations without facts. "...One last thing: what precisely is Ackerman (or Moriarty, for that matter) hoping to accomplish by this "get out the fen" effort? Courts are not influenced by petitions, nor will a judge care if every single viewer of this Web site sends him a nasty letter. The law is concerned with facts, not popular opinion. If Ackerman signed a contract with Ray Parker, all the fannish protests in the world will not erase that signature..." No, but it will alert Forry's fans to his situation and the fact that he's trying to take back what he created. Just what Forry really agreed to give and what Ferry took will come out in court. "...And all the character witnesses in the world (and how well will Ray Bradbury perform after a stroke? A decent cross examination will shred his testimony in about five seconds)" If Ray Bradbury gets on the stand and testifies, stroke or no stroke, the court will listen to him. If he's wanting to do that despite the stroke, it speaks well for Forry's side, don't you think? "...really don't count for much if the facts indicate otherwise. The law isn't a popularity contest. If anything, a fan effort will produce the opposite effect. Judges do NOT like having their business questioned by non-professionals..." No one's suggesting fan support will sway a judge. But, fan support of Forry will give Forry some measure of comfort whilst he battles the unlovely Mr. Ferry in court. That's the purpose of the "call to arms." as I understand it. Well, gentle friends, you've now gotten a taste of what Forry has had to put up for some time now. Keep the faith for Forry. Cheers!

  • Nov. 21, 1999, 5:59 p.m. CST

    famous monsters, forry and me

    by chancellor909

    hey! my name is bill chancellor. im an illustrator. you might have seen my work on CULT MOVIES, SCREEM mag and coming in dec. SCARLET STREET..i just wanted to thank you for your cool site and all the forry info...i myself met forryfor the first time in 1974 at the famousmonsters of filmland convention in new york...i also visited his mansion in 1994..lemme tell you, as someone who grew up with fm and forry..i was jazzed! anyway i too feel it is a crime what evil ray ferry has done to forry...fm has always and willalways be forryand noone else in my book. more power to forry etal...i hope he kicks ray ferrys proverbial ass! bill chancellor

  • Nov. 22, 1999, 4:07 a.m. CST

    Ellison?!

    by DrPraetorius

    I have no doubt that Harlan Ellison and Forry are mortal enemies. But since Ellison has demonstrated throughout his overblown career that he can form lifelong hatreds toward anyone for any reason, it's not particularly damning nor even particularly relevant. Ellison could find reasons to get into a death match with Mother Teresa -- and it wouldn't even matter that she's already dead, as he so gutlessly proved when he published Harlan Ellison's City On The Edge Of Forever, a savage attack on Gene Roddenberry that he didn't have the balls to release while Roddenberry was still alive. As Ellison ages, his childish behavior becomes less and less "colorful" and more and more embarrassing. Forry, on the other hand, has no such reputation. As for the so-called ethnic slur, it sounds as though it's Harlan's word against Forry's. All things being equal, I'll side with Forry.

  • Nov. 22, 1999, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Heartless/groundless

    by HellTemple

    What a lot of time Ellid is spending on a vendetta. And for what? To sway a legion of fans to the suggestion that Forrest J Ackerman

  • Nov. 22, 1999, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Protests, Ellison

    by Sorcerer

    I too have gotten e-mail from the same person that ellid contacted, detailing the same allegations. No proof, though he claims a book coming out early next year will tell all. Still have to give a guy the benefit of the doubt, especially when accusing him of theft, lechery and racism. As for Ellison- I felt the CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER script-book was wholly justified in the allegations, as he had the photostatic proof to back up his allegations. And the script WAS much better than what was aired, and rejecting it on the basis of "not being STAR TREK" set a precedent for a narrow, limiting environment that's caused the franchise to stagnate. I regard Ellison as a man of integrity still, with some legitimate grievances, but as I said I have to give Ackerman the benefit of the doubt until incontrovertible proof is made available. Hearsay doesn't cut it.

  • Nov. 22, 1999, 7:25 p.m. CST

    oh, come on

    by DrPraetorius

    I don't want to get too far off the topic, but the pity party for Ellison regarding his treatment at the hands of Roddenberry has really got to stop. Ellison won a Writer's Guild award and a Hugo award THAT YEAR for "City". The quality of the work was immediately recognized. Yet he would have us believe that he's been nursing a secret grudge for 30 years, that he's been horribly heartsick over it -- but that he could only work up the nerve to say anything about it AFTER Roddenberry was dead. And gee, all sympathy to poor, defenseless Harlan -- but if he couldn't deal with the CREATOR of the show and the characters stepping in to make changes, then he shouldn't have taken a job writing SOMEONE ELSE'S creation to begin with. There's an asinine quote in Ellison's book that claims that if it had been an episode of Outer Limits, not one word would have been changed. Well, yeah -- but then it wouldn't have been James Kirk in the lead role, would it? Does anyone really think that the story would have worked at all if it had been filled with totally unfamiliar characters? Ellison hates. Irrationally. And he attacks his targets with all the dignity of a rabid dog, and all the courage of a jackal. Forry's just one of the latest targets.

  • Nov. 23, 1999, 1:16 p.m. CST

    The Facts about Forry

    by Torgosi

    Here's some news delivered by folks who have firsthand knowledge of facts ... that's F-A-C-T-S, not speculation, idle rumor, or mean-spirited sniping ... relating to the outragious accusations being made in this forum. Forry's lawyer was his original secretary about 40 years ago. She is not working pro bono but gives him a regular official monthly statement which Forry has been paying to the best of his ability. So far he has had to sacrifice 5 of his most precious possessions, including his Margaret Brundage Weird Tales pastel cover, a Frank R. Paul original painting, and an early Ray Bradbury painting. He is in dept but not being pressed by his lawyer. Several months ago he publically offered $10,000 to anyone who could prove him to be an anti-Semite (Hugo Gernsback, life-long friend Robert Bloch, clients Horace Gold & Stanlet Weinbaum, and Forry's late wife were all Jewish as are scores of other friends). Naturally, no one has come forward with any proof. There is none. Forry denies ever cheating any of his clients of royalties, doesn't know what the meaning is of accusing him of wishing to drag A.E. van Voght (an Alzheimer's victim) into Small Claims Court on his behalf (Mrs. Lydia van Voght will gladly deny this calumny). Forry sees nothing wrong with having asked his dear friend Robert Bloch, famous for his macabre sense of humor, for his last autograph after Vincent Price had given him his, and now A.E. van Vogt has followed suit. Forry himself has promised his own last autograph to a friend. To attack (falsely) an 83 year old national treasure while he's invloved in the fight of his life, disregarding the known facts of the current case in order to engage in forwarding petty and blatantly untrue accusations and rumors is a travesty which no amount of strung-together four letter words could accurately sum up. These accusations, timed as they are, trumped up as they are, speak volumes about the person leveling them and in no way reflect the reality of events. Forry Ackerman holds a unique and well-earned place in the mosaic of American popular culture. He has been nothing but kind, generous and sincere for generations. And no amount of malicious misinformation 'reported' here can ultimately do anything to damage his reputation or his place in the hearts of fans around the world. Signed, The Bat Pack (a group of professional people who volunteer time and energy to the preservation and improvement of Forry's life for a debt owed which can never be repayed)

  • Nov. 23, 1999, 11:17 p.m. CST

    So How's About An Update?

    by Rich Wannen

    It's been a week now since the trial started - what's the status of the thing? How is Forry doing? Could you get us a copy of the written suit and Ferry's response (both should be available as public documents for the cost of copying)? Keep us posted.

  • Nov. 24, 1999, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Thanks!!

    by Rich Wannen

    That's what I call super service! :)

  • Dec. 9, 1999, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Forry

    by chernabogboy

    I want to talk about Forry but let me say this about Harlan. HE is not a nice guy. I met him at a convention some years ago and asked him to sign my copy of Strange Wine, he threw the book back at me and said

  • Dec. 19, 1999, 2:18 p.m. CST

    THE TRIAL

    by djv

    So what was the result of the court case?

  • Dec. 19, 1999, 4:20 p.m. CST

    James Warren

    by Scrivner

    I had to groan when I saw James Warren's name come up. This is the guy who fire Forry one issue before the last one published by Warren was done. But worse, more than ten years after his company went bankrupt (which means that all assets were sold to satisfy creditors) he's trying to claim that he just leased rights, not sold them, and has been harrassing the now legal owners of what he sold. That's not how bankruptcy works. What brought him out was the realization that Vampirella has been turned into a lucrative property by the new owners. If anyone deserves anything from Vampirella, it's her creator, Forry, but he has no legal standing there either due to the bankruptcy liquidation which took everything out of his hands.

  • Dec. 19, 1999, 4:20 p.m. CST

    James Warren

    by Scrivner

    I had to groan when I saw James Warren's name come up. This is the guy who fire Forry one issue before the last one published by Warren was done. But worse, more than ten years after his company went bankrupt (which means that all assets were sold to satisfy creditors) he's trying to claim that he just leased rights, not sold them, and has been harrassing the now legal owners of what he sold. That's not how bankruptcy works. What brought him out was the realization that Vampirella has been turned into a lucrative property by the new owners. If anyone deserves anything from Vampirella, it's her creator, Forry, but he has no legal standing there either due to the bankruptcy liquidation which took everything out of his hands.

  • Dec. 19, 1999, 4:20 p.m. CST

    James Warren

    by Scrivner

    I had to groan when I saw James Warren's name come up. This is the guy who fire Forry one issue before the last one published by Warren was done. But worse, more than ten years after his company went bankrupt (which means that all assets were sold to satisfy creditors) he's trying to claim that he just leased rights, not sold them, and has been harrassing the now legal owners of what he sold. That's not how bankruptcy works. What brought him out was the realization that Vampirella has been turned into a lucrative property by the new owners. If anyone deserves anything from Vampirella, it's her creator, Forry, but he has no legal standing there either due to the bankruptcy liquidation which took everything out of his hands.

  • Dec. 19, 1999, 4:21 p.m. CST

    James Warren

    by Scrivner

    I had to groan when I saw James Warren's name come up. This is the guy who fire Forry one issue before the last one published by Warren was done. But worse, more than ten years after his company went bankrupt (which means that all assets were sold to satisfy creditors) he's trying to claim that he just leased rights, not sold them, and has been harrassing the now legal owners of what he sold. That's not how bankruptcy works. What brought him out was the realization that Vampirella has been turned into a lucrative property by the new owners. If anyone deserves anything from Vampirella, it's her creator, Forry, but he has no legal standing there either due to the bankruptcy liquidation which took everything out of his hands.

  • Dec. 19, 1999, 4:21 p.m. CST

    James Warren

    by Scrivner

    I had to groan when I saw James Warren's name come up. This is the guy who fire Forry one issue before the last one published by Warren was done. But worse, more than ten years after his company went bankrupt (which means that all assets were sold to satisfy creditors) he's trying to claim that he just leased rights, not sold them, and has been harrassing the now legal owners of what he sold. That's not how bankruptcy works. What brought him out was the realization that Vampirella has been turned into a lucrative property by the new owners. If anyone deserves anything from Vampirella, it's her creator, Forry, but he has no legal standing there either due to the bankruptcy liquidation which took everything out of his hands.

  • Dec. 19, 1999, 4:21 p.m. CST

    James Warren

    by Scrivner

    I had to groan when I saw James Warren's name come up. This is the guy who fire Forry one issue before the last one published by Warren was done. But worse, more than ten years after his company went bankrupt (which means that all assets were sold to satisfy creditors) he's trying to claim that he just leased rights, not sold them, and has been harrassing the now legal owners of what he sold. That's not how bankruptcy works. What brought him out was the realization that Vampirella has been turned into a lucrative property by the new owners. If anyone deserves anything from Vampirella, it's her creator, Forry, but he has no legal standing there either due to the bankruptcy liquidation which took everything out of his hands.

  • Dec. 19, 1999, 4:21 p.m. CST

    James Warren

    by Scrivner

    I had to groan when I saw James Warren's name come up. This is the guy who fire Forry one issue before the last one published by Warren was done. But worse, more than ten years after his company went bankrupt (which means that all assets were sold to satisfy creditors) he's trying to claim that he just leased rights, not sold them, and has been harrassing the now legal owners of what he sold. That's not how bankruptcy works. What brought him out was the realization that Vampirella has been turned into a lucrative property by the new owners. If anyone deserves anything from Vampirella, it's her creator, Forry, but he has no legal standing there either due to the bankruptcy liquidation which took everything out of his hands.

  • Dec. 19, 1999, 4:21 p.m. CST

    James Warren

    by Scrivner

    I had to groan when I saw James Warren's name come up. This is the guy who fire Forry one issue before the last one published by Warren was done. But worse, more than ten years after his company went bankrupt (which means that all assets were sold to satisfy creditors) he's trying to claim that he just leased rights, not sold them, and has been harrassing the now legal owners of what he sold. That's not how bankruptcy works. What brought him out was the realization that Vampirella has been turned into a lucrative property by the new owners. If anyone deserves anything from Vampirella, it's her creator, Forry, but he has no legal standing there either due to the bankruptcy liquidation which took everything out of his hands.

  • Dec. 19, 1999, 4:21 p.m. CST

    James Warren

    by Scrivner

    I had to groan when I saw James Warren's name come up. This is the guy who fire Forry one issue before the last one published by Warren was done. But worse, more than ten years after his company went bankrupt (which means that all assets were sold to satisfy creditors) he's trying to claim that he just leased rights, not sold them, and has been harrassing the now legal owners of what he sold. That's not how bankruptcy works. What brought him out was the realization that Vampirella has been turned into a lucrative property by the new owners. If anyone deserves anything from Vampirella, it's her creator, Forry, but he has no legal standing there either due to the bankruptcy liquidation which took everything out of his hands.

  • Dec. 19, 1999, 4:21 p.m. CST

    James Warren

    by Scrivner

    I had to groan when I saw James Warren's name come up. This is the guy who fire Forry one issue before the last one published by Warren was done. But worse, more than ten years after his company went bankrupt (which means that all assets were sold to satisfy creditors) he's trying to claim that he just leased rights, not sold them, and has been harrassing the now legal owners of what he sold. That's not how bankruptcy works. What brought him out was the realization that Vampirella has been turned into a lucrative property by the new owners. If anyone deserves anything from Vampirella, it's her creator, Forry, but he has no legal standing there either due to the bankruptcy liquidation which took everything out of his hands.

  • Dec. 23, 1999, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Warren

    by Eagle One

    Mr. Scrivner, Im not a lawyer and I'm not sure whether you are, but did you ever suppose that maybe Jim Warren sold the rights to his published properties and trademarks but not the rights to future development of the existing properties? Also, did you ever think that maybe Forry Ackerman owned Vampirella, at a minimum "intellectually," and that Jim Warren had no legal basis to sell Forry's rights and ownership in that property. The question as to Forry Ackerman's rights in Vampirella probably has more to do with whether he created the character as a Warren employee (in which case Warren would most likely own the property) or as an independent contractor (in which case Forry would probably own the property). Think about it.

  • Jan. 28, 2000, 2:20 a.m. CST

    Forry 'n Stuff

    by AniJourGuy

    I first met Forry at the '66 WorldCon (Tricon) in Cleveland. Shortly after I got a postcard from Harlan Ellison (typed, unsigned) re: Star Trek. Maybe I should auction it on eBay as an Ellison autograph... Anyway, I started reading FM with issue #11 and there's no doubt in my mind how much of the intellectual property (and how much of the moral authority) goes to Forry. FM without Forry is the walking dead, soulless. Of course KISS on the cover was a low point for many purists because it tainted the mag with rock and roll, which even I as a longtime rock musician know is a line that shouldn't have been crossed, though I am moved somewhat by Gene Simmons' speech. I guess maybe the satanic makeup could be a rationalization for such an appearance, as Forry has always covered makeup people, amateur and pro. I digress. From about 1969-72 I had the good fortune to hang with Forry quite often (dinner at Ship's, trips to the then-Ackermansion, functions & screenings) because I was a reluctant Vice President of the Count Dracula Society for a couple of years. I organized at least one of tne annual banquets (George Pal, Ray Bradbury, Robt. Bloch, Roger Corman, A. E. VanVogt etc etc in attendance) and generally was a social go-between. All I have to say is that I found Forry generous, courteous, more than friendly, kind, considerate, supportive and never a clue about any of the stuff being bandied about here. I do know that Forry is an original, and L.A. has exponentially more than its share of wannabes, hangers on, bathers in reflected glory, and plain wackos of the variety Woody Allen so pointedly criticized in Stardust Memories. Forry's publishers have always, it seems, tended to want to try to whittle him down to their size, hold him back, assert legal ownership of things they could never have owned by virtue of creative right. They have always, unfortunately, treated him like an employee instead of making him, as in a good law firm, the partner he had long ago deserved to be. And the eventual inheritor of all he had created. Forry Ackerman and Famous Monsters are, if this life means anything at all, two terms for the same being, one organism. Two names like Yahweh and Allah, describing two facets of a oneness. No legal shenanigan can change that reality, and no court can give Forry what is already his, though they can make it possible for him to again access society's rewards for his property. Like good hero protagonists in Hollywood classics, Forry is the stable, unchangeable force in the eye of the hurricane, around which things whirl. I have no doubt whatsoever that he has been much taken advantage of. I'm glad that an effort is now being made to restore him. When people like Forry get abused, "things fall apart". In this existence we often don't get what we deserve, but I can say with assurance that the world will be a little saner if and when Forry is redressed. Steve Towsley Co-editor, The Animation Journal, 1963-66; VP, CDS, 1969-71

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 3:59 p.m. CST

    4SJ Trial, etc.

    by rscurry

    Just wondering if there was more news on the Ackerman/Ferry trial? Also, in Forry's column in the new issue of Cult Movies, he mentions a forthcoming magazine called "It's Alive!" (hmm...sounds familiar). Any news on this item? Thanks -- Robert Curry

  • March 25, 2000, 3:38 a.m. CST

    Saint Forry

    by FJA Ultra-Fan #1

    My name is Stuart Gardner and I'm fortunate enough to be a friend of Forry's. To read vile garbage about this dear man such as the above posting by Ellid is incredibly infuriating; I thank Renfield, Helltemple, and Torgosi for their reactions against these idiotic lies and for their loving support of the amazing Forrest J Ackerman, a living saint if there ever was one. I feel these three have said enough about Ellid, but I will add the fact that Forry takes every opportunity to point out that his METROPOLIS robotrix (Ultima Futura Automaton, for the record) is a reproduction which was built for him and that the original was undoubtedly blown to bits in the Berlin blitz. If any article in print describes Forry's model of the METROPOLIS robotrix as being the original, it's the fault of the writer of the article. Forry takes every opportunity to read and correct articles written about him and his collection, and very often the corrections he makes are of errors that would sound more appealing and more flattering than the truth (I know this, because I've been made gifts of MANY such manuscripts by Forry). Throughout his astounding career Forry has been lauded by thousands of people who have had the good fortune to benefit directly from his selflessness, his kindess, his generosity and his honesty. A.E. van Vogt was so pleased with Forry's honesty as his literary agent that he voluntarily increased the agentorial commission which Forry received from that point on in their business dealings! Another of Forry's clients, Charles Beaumont, wrote an open letter to the publishing industry (I have a copy of it) describing Forry as being "scrupulously honest in all of his business dealings, almost fanatically so." There are many adults today who as children wrote letters to Forry during his helming of FAMOUS MONSTERS and had the surprise of their lives when a package of gifts arrived unexpectedly in the mail; Forry adores giving unexpected gifts (I should know; I'm tempted to detail some of the remarkable things he's given me out of the blue, but I'm almost afraid that if I did he'd be barraged with requests... and I've never asked Forry for a thing). Throughout his 83 years Forry Ackerman has lived a life which any human being should be proud to emulate. His passion for science fiction and the fantastic and his accomplishments in these fields are the LEAST of what makes Forry a great man... my enormous respect for him is not due to the facts that he's famous, has known a lot of people, been a lot of places, or done a lot of things. Instead, my respect for Forry is due to having known firsthand what an extraordinarily GOOD man he is, plain and simple... and there are tons of people like me who have had the same kinds of experiences with Forry. Ray Ferry claims that Forry has placed posts on the internet encouraging his fans to use violence against Ferry... what utter, fantastic nonsense! I have followed Forry's career with such keen interest for such a long time that I have seen EVERYTHING which Forry has ever had on the internet, and not one word of it could possibly be construed as a call to violence, even by the wildest imagination. Anyone who's read a smattering of Forry's work knows that he abhors violence; and if he DID desire that anyone should hurt Ferry, can any of you conceive of his being so foolish as to post such a desire on the internet? The claim is so stupid that it deserves no response; unfortunately, Forry has to respond to it in court. Ferry is amazingly shameless about the fact that his incarnation of FAMOUS MONSTERS slavishly copies not only Forry's unique and extremely idiosyncratic style but actually uses many coinages of Forry's; "Dr. Acula" is only one of dozens. Thousands of us watched Forry write and edit FAMOUS MONSTERS for 25 years, and the fact is that it was Forry Ackerman and no one else who made FM what it is... nothing could be plainer. Ferry made and marketed a video tape of the FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND 35TH ANNIVERSARY CONVENTION, at which the debut issue of the Dynacomm FM (#200) was unveiled. In introducing Forry to the audience, Ferry said (watch the tape and see and hear this for yourself) that only one man is and will be forever associated with FAMOUS MONSTERS, and that that man is Forrest J Ackerman (I can't quote these words verbatim, but this is extremely close and may well be exactly correct). Now somehow Ferry feels that he can get away with usurping "Dr. Acula" and doing his best Forry Ackerman imitation in the hopes that the world will simply not notice. WE NOTICE. On Sunday 26 March 2000 Forry will be seen in E! Entertainment's documentary on Al Adamson, the murdered independent filmmaker. On Tuesday 4 April 2000 the trial against Ray Ferry begins; Court TV will be covering it, and witnesses for Forry include Ray Bradbury, John Landis, Gene Simmons of Kiss, Ron "Graven Images" Borst, and Sara Karloff. Look for Forry's new monster movie magazine... the debut issue of IT'S ALIVE! is due in April! Stuart Gardner 25 March 2000 forryfan@yahoo.com

  • April 28, 2000, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Forry vs. Ferry (Pray Forry Wins)

    by tales_from_ack

    I can't believe what's being done to Forry. I couldn't have been more elated when Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine was revived with Forry Ackerman back as the editor (he should be the publisher too). I had read for years how original publisher Jim Warren had mistreated him and it was good to see Forry reunited with his creation. I have yet to meet anyone who has anything nice, good or positive to say about current "publisher" Ray Ferry. I witnessed first hand how Mr. Ferry treats people when I saw him in "action" at one of the Famous Monsters conventions. I am a filmmaker currently in post-production on a feature film entitled TALES FROM THE ACKERMANSION. As the title suggests, Forry introduces and provides narration for the 3 stories comprising the film. Forry has never been less than cooperative and encouraging during the negotiations and long, "less-than-Dreamworks" production period. Long before ACKERMANSION, despite having appeared on hundreds of network and nationally seen television shows, Forry was gracious enough to appear on my public access show. As if this wasn't enough, without asking, Forry went through his rolodex and gave me mailing addresses of celebrity friends he felt would be good sports about being future guests. If there is any legal and moral justice Forry will be the publisher of Famous Monsters or at the very least never be harassed by the Ray Ferrys of the world again. Sincerely, Scott Halper Hollywood International Productions tycoon_scott@hotmail.com

Top Talkbacks