A look at one of the true pioneers of science fiction
A World Television Premiere – Wednesday, May 16 at 9pm ET / 6pm PT
“If Forrest J Ackerman had not existed, it would have been necessary to invent him.”
-Anthony Boucher, author
(Toronto – May 1, 2007) Known amongst some of the biggest names in Hollywood as “Forry” or the “Ackermonster”, Forrest J (no period after the J by preference) Ackerman may not be a household name, but he has influenced the lives of people such as Roger Corman, Boris Karloff, L. Ron Hubbard (the founder of the Church of Scientology) and Ray Bradbury. Famous Monster, premiering Wednesday, May 16 at 9pm ET / 6pm PT on SPACE,delves into the life of the kooky and eccentric fellow who embraced science fiction well before the term was known, and when it became popular in the 1950s, coined the cooler term “sci fi.”
Featuring interviews with Roger Corman, Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, John Landis, Joe Dante, Star Trek writer George Clayton Johnson and Jovanka Vuckovic (editor of Canadian horror magazine Rue Morgue), this one-hour
SPACE-supported documentary, produced by Halifax-based Roadhouse Films Inc., takes a look at the life of science fiction’s greatest fan. Ackerman’s 85-year love affair with the genre helped bring it into the mainstream and shape the way we view science fiction today, while looking specifically at the magazine he started in 1958 – Famous Monsters of Filmland – which featured articles about monster movies old and new. Powered by Ackerman’s own collection of 35,000 movie stills, the magazine inspired filmmakers and fans alike.
Born in Los Angeles in 1916, Ackerman became a fan of the big studio monster flicks, like Dracula and Frankenstein at an early age. Getting a job selling newspapers outside the gates of Universal Studios gave Ackerman the chance to meet many influential people in the industry, but also gave him the opportunity to acquire and save props and memorabilia from the films, some of which would have been lost forever if not for Ackerman’s interest in them. His collection, which included objects such as the original gorilla from Mighty Joe Young, was once considered the largest of all time. Along with pals Ray Bradbury and special effects legend Ray Harryhausen, the trio organized the first World Science Fiction Convention, where Ackerman became the first conventioneer to go to the event in costume, now a common element of the modern day conventions. Ackerman was also a literary agent to writers such as Boris Karloff, Isaac Asimov, A.E. van Vogt, Ed Wood and Rod Serling.
Through CHUM Television’s ongoing support of Canadian Independent productions, SPACE has been a major contributor to the success of series such as The Collector, Charlie Jade, Alienated, Relic Hunter and Tripping the Rift. Documentaries include Girly Ghosthunters, Bigfoot’s Reflection, Shadow Hunter and Mary Shelley.
SPACE, a division of CHUM Television,is a 24-hour-a-day English-language national science fiction, science fact, speculation and fantasy channel (www.spacecast.com). SPACE is truly the boutique station for all those who dare to challenge their imagination. CHUM Television is a division of CHUM Limited (www.chumlimited.com), one of Canada’s leading media companies and content providers which owns and operates radio stations, local television stations, specialty channels and Internet properties.