Forrest J. Ackerman in 1980. Photo courtesy FM..
I have to interrupt the usual frivolity on this blog to mention some sad news in the world of Science Fiction / Fantasy and Horror filmdom today. Forest J. Ackerman, the founder of Famous Monsters of Filmland, coiner the term "Sci-Fi", attendee at the first Science Fiction convention in 1939, author, agent, and the inspiration & discoverer of many of the icons of science fiction such as Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen, passed away on December 4th at the age of 92. It was through FM that I first knew of "Forry" and his tongue in cheek writing style that has had not a small influence on the tone of this very blog. The distinctive look of the that magazine, especially the hand lettering used throughout has had a VERY strong influence on many artists and illustrators including myself.
I was lucky enough to enjoy a few minutes of Forry's company on a couple of occasions in the late 1990s and his undying love for the field he helped shape deservedly gave him the title of #1 fan. His influence on popular culture cannot be underestimated and he will be missed.
Also today news that 1950s pin-up icon Bettie Page has been hospitalized in critical condition after a heart attack. After a decade as a popular pin-up and fetish model Bettie faded from public view in the 1960s only to experience an unexpected resurgence of interest in the 1980s after younger fans, including the late Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens, featured her image in new works.
Our thoughts and best wishes go out to Ms. Page and her friends.
***UPDATE: Friday, December 12th - I'm saddened to have to anounce that Ms. Page passed away yesterday, Thursday the 11th at age 85. I think it's safe to say, however, that her photographs will live on as an influence on pop culture for a very long time.