JOHN DOYLE TELEVISION

The Globe and Mail, Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Famous Monster is a cheerful, engaging tribute to the eccentric Forrest J Ackerman, a key figure in the development of science fiction and famous fan of horror movies. This elderly gent, known as Forry, is credited with coining the term “sci-fi,” to the chagrin of many serious authors of science fiction. Mainly he’s known for editing the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, a journal that nourished the interests of such figures as Stephen Spielberg. He was also a literary agent and represented Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov.

            Such was Forry’s interest in sci-fi that he began collecting everything to do with the movies he admired. He collected tens of thousands of still photos and acquired the props used in movies. He took the genre seriously before it was popular or profitable and his interest was never that of a hobbyist. He was an amateur historian and protector of the material that might have been lost. He never saw sci-fi movies and magazines as ephemera. He took it seriously, but had a sense of humour about his obsession. He’s a wonderful character to meet. The stories he has – about young L. Ron Hubbard and the infamously awful movie director Ed Wood – are funny and to be cherished, as he is.