So, I’m looking through my local paper, the Los Feliz Ledger (which probably already comes right to your front door, if you live in Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, Hollywood Hills or my own silky fuzz navel of Echo Park), and besides all the excellent reporting on matters of local concern (vote-trading on city council, immigration, changes in DASH service, etc), there’s a sweet little story from Erin Hickey on Forrest J Ackerman. Yes – the guy whose prints are in front of the Vista. Yes – the guy who started classic mag “Famous Monsters of Filmland”. Yes – the guy who Guillermo del Toro asked to adopt him.
Apparently, we might be seeing a Forrest J Ackerman Square at Franklin and Vermont. Why is that a big deal, you ask, not having yet read Hickey’s fine story? I’ll tell you why…
– He was literary agent for Ray Bradbury, AE Vogt, Isaac Asimov, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and many many others.
– He not only edited endless reams of others’ stories for his magazine and books, but wrote stories himself, starting in the 1930s.
– He coined the term “sci fi” in the 50s.
– He won both the Bram Stoker and the World Fantasy Awards for Lifetime Achievement and was the only winner ever of the Hugo Award for “#1 Fan Personality”.
– He used to open his Los Feliz home on weekends for fans to come and gawk at his massive collection of sci fi swag. What a cool dude.
– His science fiction influence on film was as great (maybe greater) than his powerful affect on books (if they can even be separated at all).
– He more-or-less invented cosplay. (Here is an eye-witness account of the 1st World Con, which I’ll take as authoritative, seeing as I found it on Wikipedia. And let’s just pretend that a printed Wikipedia will be the other book in Asimov’s marble room at the edge of the Andromeda Galaxy.)
– He co-created Vampirella.
– He was fluent in Esperanto. Not important, but pretty cool. Perhaps he had long philosophical chats with Shatner..?
Obviously, this is a guy who deserves a little permanent memorialization, and Franklin/Vermont is a great place for it. Read Hickey’s story, and you’ll understand pie — urrf, sorry, I meant “why”.
BONUS: There are a few other literary squares in our hood. Check here for Leo Politi Square. He wrote/illustrated the Caldecott-winning Song of the Swallows and did the famous The Blessing of the Animals mural on Olvera Street. Also, look for Ian Campbell Square. He was the officer killed in the real-life incident that became the Joseph Wambaugh book The Onion Field.
SEE WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM YOUR LOCAL PAPER?