Forry Ackerman PDF Print E-mail

photo of Forry Square dedication November 17, 2016:Forrest J Ackerman Square dedicated. We have a photo of several LASFS members at the dedication.

Tales of the Time Travelers, Adventures of Forrest J Ackerman and Julius Schwartz, currently sold out, reviewed by Len Moffatt .

pic of Forry as a young fan Commemoration of Forry's Centenary (PDF)
by John L. Coker III

File 770 - Ackerman tributes and memorials

January 24, 2009 - LASFS Memorial to Forry

Ray Bradbury sent a message to be read at the gathering

     "I was with Forry a few weeks before he left us and was able to look into his face and tell him of the million things he did for me over a seventy year period.

     "Forry changed my life completely, starting when I was 17 and he paid for my Futuria Fantasia completely.

     "He then loaned me the money to go to New York to see the first World Science Fiction Convention .

     "There are so many things that he did, and he was so wonderful.

     "Please pass this message to all my LASFS friends.  I'm sorry that I can't be there with you."

--Ray Bradbury, 1/23/2009]

 "My Friend Forry," by Ted Johnstone, 

"Through Time and Space with Forry Ackerman" (autobiography, in Mimosa)

"The Battle Hymn of the Fanation" (filksong about Forry)

 December 5, 2008 - Associated Press, relayed by Craig Miller
Forrest J Ackerman died Thursday [December 4th] of heart failure at his Los Angeles home, said Kevin Burns, head of Prometheus Entertainment and a trustee of Ackerman's estate.

 SFWA Obituary 

Wikipedia Article

December 5, 3008 - from Alex Paige
Joe [Moe] says "At 11:58 last night. Thursday Dec. 4th. Forrest J Ackerman passed away quickly and peacefully. I am struggling to give you this nformation between bouts of profound grief of the sort that you will all be experiencing at the sight of this news. I will give you more details as I'm able. For now, trust me when I tell you he left us gently, in complete lucidity and with as much dignity as any of us could have wished for our beloved Uncle."

November 25, 2008 - from John Hertz
I had last week's distribution of APA-L with me at a birthday party that Ray Bradbury hosted on Saturday for Forry Ackerman, whose 92nd was yesterday.....We sang Happy Birthday to him by phone, for which he thanked us from his home....After Ray signed [a birthday card for Len Moffatt, in honor of his 85th birthday] I took it to Forry so he could. 

November 24, 2008  -- from Alex Paige
Well, Forry has made it to 92! How about that!  Ray Bradbury held a celebration at a bookshop in Glendale on Saturday; Forry couldn't attend but they did a brief weblink, I believe.  Photos here .

November 12, 2008 -- from Alex Paige

Forry's primary carer Joe Moe says: 
    Following a long depressing haul, there is some GOOD NEWS.
   All of your cards, letters and well-wishes have really caused Forry to rally! The torrent of love flooding the Ackerminimansion has encouraged Forry to fight for his life.
    I can't predict how much longer we'll have him around. A day? A week? A month? Who knows? But I CAN tell you we're taking full advantage of this upturn to really encourage Forry to get stronger and hang around a while more. I am actually feeling hopeful he'll make it to his 92nd birthday on Nov. 24th.
    Please pass this message on and let everyone know that their tributes, stories and prayers have had a miraculous effect on Forry. We should all continue to support him (and each other) and enjoy his presence as long as we are able...
    Thank you all so much!

November 6, 2008 -- from Alex Paige < This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it >
The British Fantasy Society has posted on its website that Forry has passed away. I just wanted to give you a heads-up that this is not correct, he s weakening but still with us. The erroneous reference to Forry's death on Wikipedia seems to have been removed.  I've sent an email to Locus [which cited the Wikipedia article as a source] and notified Forry's closest associates.

The trouble is they have their hands full just looking after Forry. There is no media liaison officer" to handle getting news out. And all it takes is one incorrect report for it all to snowball.  yway ... I can report that Forry is feeling a little better. And he's still lucid and cracking puns.
As SOON as I get any further detailed info I will pass it on.

See the Wikipedia discussion page on Forry's current state of health

Alex Paige states, "Mr Ackerman is suffering from congestive heart failure and pneumonia and has elected not to undergo any further treatment or medication. He is resting comfortably at home surrounded by close friends and is lucid though weak. He is not deceased."

See the Classic Horror Film Board page on Forry's current state of health.

November 2, 2008

From Alex Paige < This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it >
writing the APA-LASFS Yahoogroup

I haven't seen any postings on this group to this effect, but --

Speaking frankly (as he would want it) the end appears to be near for LASFS founding member Forrest J Ackerman who is battling pneumonia and congestive heart failure. He has spent several days in hospital over the past week but is now at home, resting comfortably and being well looked after by a contingent of close friends.

Ray Bradbury visited yesterday afternoon and a steady stream of old friends has been through the doors over the past few days to say what looks o be their final goodbyes.

Forry's close friends Joe Moe and Terry Pace have been getting the word out online. Anyone who would care to send cards or letters now is the ime to do so. The address is
Forrest J Ackerman
4511 Russell Ave
Los Angeles CA 90027

by Ted A. Johnstone, for the Ackerman Testimonial
found among Ted's papers

[with a few references supplied by Lee Gold]

     It’s hard to write a short essay on Forry Ackerman, especially when others are doing the same.  Memory always supplies endless stories about The Time Forry Did Something Real Nice For Me, and hundreds of anecdotes with complex introductions featuring Big Name Fans forgotten twenty years and ending with “And then Forry said...”
    Ackerman has been doing nice things for people for as long as there have been fans — and probably before, though the records of that unenlightened era are rare and uncertain.  And he was recognized as the finest punster in the world before Willis came along with quite a different style.  But this is too easy a way out.  Let’s suppose — if we really try hard and suspend disbelief with both hands — let’s suppose someone has never heard of Forry Ackerman.  An article such as this would leave them the impression that he was just a real nice guy who made puns.  And that would be a shame, because although it’s true, it’s barely the start.
     Forry didn’t invent science fiction; he didn’t even invent science fiction fandom.  But he was almost single-handedly responsible for the invention of the LASFS, and he was certainly the most influential fan in the club for some twenty years.  One of his few enemies once admitted that whatever befell, the LASFS would always be Ackerman’s own Science Fiction Society.  When nationwide fandom faded, when feuds raged outside, when genzines were folding and clubs collapsing, the LASFS stayed as an island of trufannishness where some of the old ideals were kept alive:  often split within by bitter rivalries, but presenting a front to the rest of the world.  This was Forry’s creation.
    And then there’s the Fantasy Foundation.  Every fan has his own story of The First Time I Saw Forry’s Collection, usually describing a mild daze after seeing the living room, deepening into shock after seeing the den and devolving into near-catatonia upon being introduced to the garage.  The Ackermansion is the center, as its inhabitant was the founder, of the Fantasy Foundation, upon which the Institute for Speculative Literature was based many years later.
    But my own personal knowledge doesn’t begin until a relatively short time ago — about ten years.  Other matters can be better reported by those who were there at the time.  Properly, I should restrict my testimonial to things I remember first-hand. 
    Forry not only had a direct personal effect on the LASFS — he is also responsible, directly or indirectly, for a remarkable percentage of members, past and present.  George W. Fields, a fine talented lad who is no longer with us, was recruited into the club by Ackerman — and George brought in Steve Tolliver [mundanely known as Fred Langley], Milo Mason, Rich Brown, Rich Stephens, and me, some of whom are still active or at least hanging on eight or ten years later.  Forry was responsible for the discovery of one Tony Tierney, who did nothing at all worthwhile except bring in Dian Girard, later Mrs. Pelz [and now Mrs. Crayne].  In fact, if you traced back everyone who was active in the LASFS as of a couple of years ago, you would find Ackerman down there somewhere behind most of them.
    He must also accept much of the blame for a number of professional writers being where they are today — some in jail on pornography charges, to be true, but some on magazine covers and some in paperbacks, some in hard covers, and some in TV and screen credits.  Again I can use myself as an example.  Some years ago, before I knew where I was going, I wrote a charming little children’s fantasy for a friend.  Forry saw it, liked it, and praised and encouraged my writing.  Not only that:  he took the manuscript and proceeded to send it out to publishers until the press of monster fandom took him out of the agenting business. 
      Regardless of what I said at the beginning, I can’t wrap this up without a couple of my own personal favorite Ackerman stories.  One time, many years ago, I croggled and faunched over a short shelf in the famous Living Room containing nothing but variant editions of The King in Yellow, a book I’d been wishing for a copy of for some time.  A few weeks later, Forry presented me with a copy, suitably inscribed....”A gift without a reason,” it says on the endpaper.  It occupies an honored place in my library today.
    Some of you may remember Barney Bernard, probably the most inveterate punster the LASFS — and possible fandom — has ever seen.  His puns were usually bad, but they were nearly constant.  He was famous for being able to pun on absolutely anything.  One night at a club meeting about 1959, Forry stood to review a movie.  (Incidentally, how many people remember when there was a regular section of the meeting called “Forrest Murmurs,” wherein Forry would tell us what was new in prodom, movies, TV, and the rest of fandom?  That's what we did before the newszine was invented.)  Forry announced his review of the film version of ZOTZ, and Barney said, “Well, at least nobody can make a pun on that!”
    And then Forry said, “Oh?  ‘Zot so?”
    I once said publicly that no one had ever been able to make a living out of fandom except Forry, and he’d had to invent his own fandom to do it.  It could also be said that if science fiction fandom did not exist, it would have been necessary for Ackerman to invent it.  He could have, too.
    There are a lot of people who could be called the salt of the earth; calling somebody the finest guy in the world is a little maudlin.  But nobody can complain if you call Forry the Number One Fan Face of all time.  From the first Worldcon in 1939, through VOM [Voice of the I-Magi-Nation], 4sj & Morojo's letterzine, which flourished for fifty issues in the early 40s.  It was originally just the lettercolumn of the LASFS OO [Official Organ], IMAGINATION!, but later took off on its own under Acky's ministrations.  Through Fancyclopedia and the LASFS, and the famous feuds, and everything else that makes fandom what it is today, there was Ackerman. 

    May he stay with us for another hundred years.  May he even get back on the FAPA waiting list.  May he always and invariably be the first fan you see in the lobby when you walk into the con hotel the first day.  But most of all, let him stay with fandom.  It just wouldn’t be the same without him.  As Con Pederson wrote a heck of a long time ago, in “The Battle Hymn of the Fanation”

        When Atomigeddon’s over and the sweeping up’s begun
        When Man deserts the planet and humanity is done
        In Science Fiction Fandom he will still be Number One:
        Forrest J goes marching on!

Through Time and Space with Forry Ackerman (Forry's Autobiography) was serialized in Mimosa and can be found at

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
part 6
part 7
part 8  
part 9
part 10
part 11
part 12  

 The Battle Hymn of the Fanation:  the National Fanthem
by Petrov Pederson aka Con Pderson
originally published in THE OUTLANDER #2, May, 1949
(with thanks to Len & June Moffatt for finding this)

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Fan.
He is trampling out the places with Amazing on the stand.
His fantasy collection is the greatest in the land.
Forrest J goes marching on.

    Forry, Forry hallelujah
    Forry, Forry hallelujah  
    Forry, Forry hallelujah
    Forrest J goes marching on.

Without a mind to guide them and without a guide to spare,
Dick Shaver takes the low road while Ray Palmer tears his hair,
They have felt the mighty vengeance of the Weaver in his lair.
Forrest J goes marching on.


While New Hampshire echoes wildly in the city of LA
With people owing money and without a dime to paym
Their Ackerman will reign until their hair is old and gray.
Forrest J goes marching on.


With Laney in the back seat and with Burbee cranking reams,
Our Ackerman is victim of a host of ghastly schemes,
Tho they think that they will conquer, he will chase them in their dreams.
Forrest J goes marching on.


In the famous Ackermansion, not a bit of room will show
For books and pics and magazines, both amateur and pro,
Not even for a mirror, just to watch his tendrils grow.
Forrest J goes marching on.


(later added by Ted Johnstone and Rick Sneary, in Zap #1)

We tremble in the presence of fandom's number one       
Lest he loose the fateful lightning of his terrible swift pun
His hoard of imitators will soon be on the run
Forrest J goes marching on


He's the agent for a host of sci-fi writers near and far
His action can decide between a failure and a star
And woe betide his clients if he's feeling under par
Forrest J goes marching on 


In Hollywood he's an expert on their alien planet scenes
He has seen them all a million times in all his fannish dreams
In his eyes you can see the distant future brightly gleam
Forrest J goes marching on



and back to Pederson's original for the last verse 

When Atomigeddon's over and the sweeping up's begun,
When Man deserts the planet and humanity is done,
In science fiction fandom he will still be Number One.
Forrest J goes marching on.


Last Updated ( Friday, 11 October 2019 )