I am saddened to write these words....Forrest James Ackerman, whose influence is still felt and drawn upon in the very "pages" of this web-zine, passed away at the age of 92 from heart failure. I had just been cheered a couple of days ago by an update on the "Masters of Horror" site that he had recovered from his recent bout with pneumonia but, sadly, his great heart just gave out.
Inspired by a copy of "Amazing Stories" magazine when he was 9, Ackerman turned his passion for science fiction and horror into a lifelong career. At one time his L.A. home, known to fans as the "Acker-mansion," housed the largest collection of books and memorabilia ever assembled in one place. Such rarities as Bele Lugosi's "Dracula" cape and the original "King Kong" model were displayed proudly. And, every Saturday that he was home, Forry would open his home to fans from all over the world who came to visit. Forry will be remembered for so many things, but the top three, in my opinion, are: 1. In 1958 he created "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine. 2. Inspired by the use of the term "hi-fi" to indicate High Fidelity, he created the term "Sci-Fi," a phrase his wife, Wendayne, said would never catch on. 3. As an adult he formed a science-fiction club in Los Angeles. He was impressed with the writing of one of his teenage members. So impressed that he lent him the money to start his own magazine, called "Futuria Fantasia." Later on the young man would go on to write such novels as "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles." Ray Bradbury.
One final fact: The copy of "Amazing Stories" magazine inspired Forry so much that he held on to it for the rest of his life.
As Matt mentions, this week marks the 20th Anniversary of his father, Louis, passing away. Earlier today I read a great tribute to him that Mark Drinnenberg had posted on FaceBook. My own father's recent passing caused me to reflect on not only his influence on my life but that of Louis Drinnenberg. My dad and I often had a fractured relationship and, without my even realzing it at the time, Mom and Dad Drinnenberg filled a special place in my life. When Matt and I went off to the Army it was his dad that drove us to the airport. And, as we said goodbye, he slipped a $10.00 bill in my hand, "just in case you need something." I never really had the chance to let him know how much he meant to me. I do know that he's looking down on us now and that is a very comfortable feeling. Like my dad, Louis could fix anything. I'd like to think that today they are together hammering nails and trading stories.
HALL OF FAME TIME
Once again, my fingers (and toes) are crossed because this coming Monday, December 8, the National Baseball Hall of Fame Veteran's Committee should FINALLY elect Ron Santo to the hallowed Hall in Cooperstown. Joining Santo on the Veteran's Ballot:
• Dick Allen • Vada Pinson • Gil Hodges • Jim Kaat • Luis Tiant • Tony Oliva • Joe Torre • Al Oliver • Maury Wills
Of these remaining players I would only vote for Dick Allen and Jim Kaat. Pinson, Oliva and Oliver were decent hitters. Hodges was solid but not great. Wills had speed but not much else. Tiant had flashes of brilliance but not enough to be hall worthy. Torre was also solid, but if he gets in the hall of fame it will be as a manager.
As the annual film awards begin to take shape the National Board of Review is once again first out of the box. Their choices:
Best Film: SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
Best Director: DAVID FINCHER, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Actor: CLINT EASTWOOD, Gran Torino
Best Actress: ANNE HATHAWAY, Rachel Getting Married
Best Supporting Actor: JOSH BROLIN, Milk
Best Supporting Actress: PENELOPE CRUZ, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Foreign Language Film: MONGOL
Best Documentary: MAN ON WIRE
Best Animated Feature: WALL-E
Best Ensemble Cast: DOUBT
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: DEV PATEL, Slumdog Millionaire
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: VIOLA DAVIS, Doubt
Best Directorial Debut: COURTNEY HUNT, Frozen River
Best Original Screenplay: NICK SCHENK, Gran Torino
Best Adapted Screenplay: SIMON BEAUFOY, Slumdog Millionaire and ERIC ROTH, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Spotlight Award: MELISSA LEO, Frozen River and RICHARD JENKINS, The Visitor
Top Ten Films:
(In alphabetical order)
BURN AFTER READING
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
THE JUICE AIN'T LOOSE
Karma...it's a wonderful thing!
AND THE OSCAR FOR SHOULD HAVE GONE TO...