Fun With Forry Ackerman, Part 3


Conclusion of Mr. Dracula, Sir:
and then you'll be right there.' And that was a miracle to behold - here was a poor, desiccated old man. He almost looked like a concentration camp case, and he was going to be dead in two weeks.

"But the world wanted him one more time, and it seemed like before your very eyes he straightened up and became the tall, proud figure Count Dracula as he strode toward them." (for a good web site on Bela Lugosi, check here)
Metropolis (Forry's Favorite Film):
"By the way, after all these years there'll be a Metropolis II. And I've(?) been asked to be the Creative Consultant. And, in an incredible turn of events, Curt Siodmak, the man who wrote Donovan's Brain (inaudible) and he wrote Frankenstein Wolfs the Meat Man.

"And in 1925 and '26, when they were filming Metropolis, it was a closed set - they were very anxious that nobody should know what was going on. However, young Curt Siodmak was (a) newspaper reporter. He was keen to get the inside scoop, so he did a rather clever thing: he became an extra. And nobody could figure out how all this information was getting into the newspaper. And actually, at the end of the film, those of you who have seen it may recall that automobiles are piled up and the robot looks like a human being, has artificial flesh at that point, put atop the automobiles, and they're set on fire.

"Well, Brigitte Helm's dress actually caught on fire during that scene. And Curt Siodmak was one of the (inaudible) people who ran out and put out the fire. Well, now, all these years later, at age 90, and still going strong, he drives 2-and-a-half to 3 hours once in a while from where he lives now to see me. And he's writing the sequel to Metropolis. (update: Curt Siodmak died in 2000, and as far as I know Metropolis II was never filmed.)
Just Imagine:
"In 1930, the mother of Mia Farrow, Maureen O'Sullivan, who was also the "Jane" of Johnny Weismuller's "Tarzan," she made a film called Just Imagine - just imagining what life would be 50 years in the future. And she sang a song in that: "I'm Only the Words - You Are the Melody."

"But on the 70th birthday of Johnny Weismuller, at a science fiction convention in Arizona, there was a banquet for him. And his pal Buster Crabbe, who played Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, was there to congratulate him. And Maureen O'Sullivan was there. So I went over to her and started talking about the film Just Imagine that made such an impression on me in 1930. As a matter of fact, that was the beginning of the whole business, in a way, of why I'm here tonight. Because my dear paternal(?) grandmother, as a present that Christmas got me my first set of stills - they were 10 cents apiece in those days - from Just Imagine. That kind of opened my eyes to the fact that I could have memories of the movies after I'd seen them.

"I went over to Maureen and I began talking about this film Just Imagine. She said, 'Oh, yes, there were some songs in that, weren't there?' And I said, 'There sure were. And in particular there was this one,' and I began humming and singing a little bit, and the next thing I knew I was doing the duet with "Jane" and Maureen O'Sullivan. And there was a world of indexed numbers in that 50 years in the future and a trip to Mars. And she was known as "LN 18." And then she signed a photo for me."
First World Sci-Fi Convention:
"In 1939, if you can believe that I was a shy, introverted, tongue-tied kid who trembled with every clickety-clack of the railroad track across the continent from Los Angeles to New York, just afraid that I might be in a little audience like this. There were just 185 of us at the first World Science Fiction Convention.

"We had a banquet so expensive that only 29 of us could afford it out of the 185 - it was $1 a plate. But I sort of dominated the readers' department; as soon as I read a science fiction magazine I wrote in and gave my opinion of the stories. So I was terrified of the thought that I just might be sitting there in the audience and somebody would notice me. They'd say, 'Oh, ladies and gentlemen, I believe, yes, isn't it Forrest Ackerman? Won't you stand, Mr. Ackerman?' I thought, 'Oh, my God, what if somebody asks me to stand? I'll be absolutely paralyzed, tongue-tied.' Worst than my most

Above: 4E at left with con chairman Fred Eichelman at RoVaCon in Salem, Virginia, 1991
awful nightmare, I was invited up on the stage to the microphone and asked to make a few comments, and I got instant migraine out of that. Well, I did force myself to go, and furthermore, I don't know where I got the nerve, but I wore a futuristic costume that was kind of based partly on the great science fiction film from a few years earlier, H.G. Wells' Things to Come.