Anthology short on really big laughs
Forrest James Ackerman, born on this day (November 24) in 1916, did not invent science-fiction fandom. What the native Los Angelino did do, though, is play a major role in popularizing the genre at a time when it was still a marginal entertainment form. In the process, he lived his passion, turning fandom into his profession. Although Ackerman was a celebrity — the man who became famous for being a fan — he was less interested in personal aggrandizement than in sharing his enthusiasms and promoting their creators. He was friends with most of the writers working in the genre, and amassed a personal library of about 300,000 books, plus items of movie memorabilia, all of which he shared with fellow fans in his home-turned-museum. Often credited with coining the abbreviation "sci-fi," he supported his collecting habit by working as a literary agent and magazine editor. He's best remembered for Famous Monsters of Filmland (1958-1983), a celebration of classic horror movies that ran for 27 years and 191 issues. Less known was his Spacemen (1961-65), a magazine that ran just eight issues, but focused on his first love, SF movies. The moviemakers returned the love, often creating cameo roles for him in their pictures. Though most of his appearances were in low-budget exploitation features, Ackerman had his share of A-list moments, including one playing the President of the United States in the team-directed 1987 comedy Amazon Women on the Moon.
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Our Feature Film Fest: 4
In Part 4 of a 20-part series, Reeling Back continues The Greater Vancouver Book's Feature Film Festival, with restored notes on the four features in the program called Documentary.
Cat in tune with times
Comix with a deranged Disney look
Though the artists did not see eye to eye on the result, adult animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi, born on this day (October 29) in 1938, made cartoon history with his feature adaptation of underground comics pioneer Robert Crumb's most famous character, Fritz the Cat (1972).
Quality key to competing
Planning for future of feature films
During interviews conducted in 1975 and 1976, Oscar-winning producer F.R. "Budge" Crawley shared with me his views on feature filmmaking in Canada, a rentals-tax plan to encourage quality productions and the "good light" in Vancouver.
A change of hope
My Blog; Your Guide to What's New
There's just a touch of black humour in the fact that October ends with Hallowe'en, a celebration of mock horror. Then comes November, with its various elections, political rituals full of mock hope. Americans voted on November 4; Vancouver goes to the polls today (November 15).