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Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:24 pm
by Jim Roots
I just finished "reading" (quotes because only about 50 of its 280 pages actually have text) Forrest Ackerman's Lon of 1000 Faces! and it raised two questions in my mind.

1. Where did his Chaney collection end up after his death?

2. What the heck did he have against Michael Blake, anyway? Simply miffed that Micheal didn't give him "enough" credit in his bios of Chaney? The introduction to the second edition of this book is one of the most off-putting, sustained snarks against one individual that I have ever read.

Jim

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:35 pm
by Brooksie
Jim Roots wrote:1. Where did his Chaney collection end up after his death?
Profiles in History auctioned it all off in 2009 - see a rundown at https://www.dreadcentral.com/news/11017 ... a-auction/.

As they state in this article, some of the better items are at what is now known as the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle. I felt certain Chaney's vampire teeth from London After Midnight would command top dollar; instead, it was his top hat from the same film. There were various rumours as to who bought what (Peter Jackson supposedly bought all of the King Kong memorabilia, for example) but I don't recall whether anyone was mentioned in relation to the Chaney items.

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:22 pm
by wich2
Jim Roots wrote:(Forrest Ackerman)

1. Where did his Chaney collection end up after his death?

2. What the heck did he have against Michael Blake, anyway? ... The introduction to the second edition of this book is one of the most off-putting, sustained snarks against one individual that I have ever read.
1. Jim, some of 4SJ's collection came in odd ways - and some of it left in odd ways.

2. 4SJ was, as you guess, All About The Ego-boo (his word; ego-boost.) Also, Blake is about 100 times the film historian that Ackerman fancied himself.

3. Insightful reading, for those who are not aware:

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/monster ... 68925.html" target="_blank" target="_blank

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:29 am
by Jim Roots
Thanks to both of you.

Reading his Chaney book, I was left in no doubt that he wasn't so much a Chaney admirer as he was a mere collector of Chaney still photos. There are hundreds of photos in that book but not one of them is a particularly interesting or unusual shot. (They are poorly reproduced, too, which was the norm for the era of the first edition; but this was the second edition, published in 2003, when digital reproduction was the norm, and he didn't bother with that technology.)

And his writing, puns aside (I don't mind them at all), is awful. It's idiosyncratic, which would please him, but still awful.

So sad to learn he was a groping monster in real life. Not what Chaney would have wanted of his fans.

Jim

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:00 am
by boblipton
4E was certainly not a rigorous academic by any means. He was an enthusiast of low-brow contemporary culture that were not held in esteem when he started out. He was the guy who haunted the studios and theaters when they were tossing out the stuff they didn't want, when they were clearly worthless. His collections -- stored in numerous garages around Los Angeles, was legendary; about thirty years ago, I attended an auction of art at Sotheby's that was largely supplied from that collection: art from pulp sf magazines like Amazing Stories, digests like Sexology, of commercial artists that were held in esteem by sf fans..... and when I and other fans went through the stacks, we realized that the "art experts" had no idea of how to evaluate these works. As a result, I picked up some monochromes by Virgil Finlay at very modest prices.

Ackerfan may never have had the inclination or training to do the sort of deep research or analysis to produce works like Mr. Blake or even you, or like Maggie Hennefield (of whose work, sight unseen, we share similar opinions), but he certainly knew what he enjoyed and understood that these things had value. Without his idiosyncratic work, we all would be lacking a lot of important artifacts. Don't you wish he had been there when Universal dumped its silents in the sea? Too bad that wasn't what he was collecting.

Bob

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:16 am
by wich2
Bob, your last point is exactly the problem (well, that and, as Jim notes, the sexual harassment...)

As you say, Forrest Ackerman was there at the right time, and he had good access - but for the most part, he wholly squandered same!

He met folks like Lugosi, Karloff, Van Sloan, and many others from the golden age. If he'd just had the common sense to think up a few logical talking points beforehand, and take a legal pad with him, we'd have some priceless facts from that era that are now largely lost. (Yes, as Jim also notes, his writing ability was far from stellar; but at least the data would be on record.)

As a Monsterkid, I appreciate FAMOUS MONSTERS. But beyond that, the self-styled "World's Number One Fan" really let down the team!

- Craig

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:26 am
by boblipton
Well, Craig, living in Manhattan, I run across the interesting and near-interesting now and again. When I do, my witty, incisive repartee is generally "I've enjoyed your work." Because I believe they like to spend some time just being human beings.

Bob

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:55 am
by Jim Roots
Some good, some bad. Same as anybody else.

He also claimed to have been the literary agent for a lot of science fiction giants, including Ray Bradbury, and the prolific Leigh Brackett. He was certainly their friend and their champion, but was he really their agent too? Would two such titans have trusted an obvious amateur like him to represent them and negotiate their contracts for them?

Jim

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:03 am
by wich2
boblipton wrote:Well, Craig, living in Manhattan, I run across the interesting and near-interesting now and again. When I do, my witty, incisive repartee is generally "I've enjoyed your work." Because I believe they like o spend some time just being human beings.

Bob
Bob, I live in Manhattan, too. And I'm actually in The Bizness of Show, so I've been blessed to meet some folks. But ~

- 1. Forry did not just bunk into these people (to use an old NY form) on the street. He actually got to spend some time with them.

- 2. Though I'm actually a published writer, I do not cast myself in the role of "World's Foremost" like he did.

Sorry. Again, thanks to him for FM - but not for leaving fandom in the lurch.

- Craig

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:12 am
by wich2
Jim Roots wrote:Some good, some bad. Same as anybody else.
Except that most folks have not been polished with the decades of hagiography that "Uncle Forry" has. I think it's good for those Alternative Facts to be balanced with a little Fact.
Jim Roots wrote:He also claimed to have been the literary agent for a lot of science fiction giants, including Ray Bradbury, and the prolific Leigh Brackett. He was certainly their friend and their champion, but was he really their agent too? Would two such titans have trusted an obvious amateur like him to represent them and negotiate their contracts for them?
Jim, a little Googling around will show that - surprise! - in that arena too, 4SJ (- ahem, coff coff -) embellished a bit:

https://www.facebook.com/adamtroycastro ... 9854212153" target="_blank

- Craig

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:19 am
by boblipton
Jim Roots wrote:Some good, some bad. Same as anybody else.

He also claimed to have been the literary agent for a lot of science fiction giants, including Ray Bradbury, and the prolific Leigh Brackett. He was certainly their friend and their champion, but was he really their agent too? Would two such titans have trusted an obvious amateur like him to represent them and negotiate their contracts for them?

Jim
I don’t recall about Brackett, but there’s little doubt that Ackerman showed up at the First WorldCon in 1939talking about his friend Ray Bradbury and with a bunch of his manuscripts.

Bob

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:54 am
by boblipton
boblipton wrote:
Jim Roots wrote:Some good, some bad. Same as anybody else.

He also claimed to have been the literary agent for a lot of science fiction giants, including Ray Bradbury, and the prolific Leigh Brackett. He was certainly their friend and their champion, but was he really their agent too? Would two such titans have trusted an obvious amateur like him to represent them and negotiate their contracts for them?

Jim
I don’t recall about Brackett, but there’s little doubt that Ackerman showed up at the First WorldCon in 1939talking about his friend Ray Bradbury and with a bunch of his manuscripts.

Bob

My apologies for the briefness of my earlier reply, but things came up that forced me to cut my reply short, It also gave me the leisure to review 30-year-old memories of things read 45 years ago. Here, as best as I can remember, is what was what.

Forrest J. Ackerman was a literary agent for science fiction writers.... in an era when the top market was Astounding Stories, paying 2 cents a word on acceptance, until it went bankrupt and ceased publication; Weird Tales, paying one cent a word, when the publisher could scrape it together; and two other magazines, Amazing Stories and Wonder Stories, paying in the words of a wag, a quarter of cent a word, in one case on publication (which could take years) and in the other on lawsuit. Writing for the sf pulps, at this stage, was not a living, it was a calling, as was being an agent, and Ackerman developed two sorts of clients. There were the youngsters, who eventually left for agents like Scott Meredith, who could do them some good, and there were those who hadn’t written anything since 1937, like David M. Keller M.D. and Ralph Mine Farley. The latter set stuck with Ackerman, who pursued their occasional appearance in Groff Conklin anthologies or reprints by Ace Books (also payable upon lawsuit).

It may not have been NYCon where Ackerman showed up with stuff by Bradbury. It may have been Chicago, a year or two later. In any case, he had Bradbury’s material and the power to cut deals. If that isn’t an agent, I don’t know what is.

Bob

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:15 pm
by Mike Gebert
I had never heard of Ralph Milne Farley. Wow! Very interesting background. There are sci-fi writers who were Grub Street grubbers trying to squeeze out the pennies in a flophouse. And then there's Ralph Milne Farley, or rather, Roger Sherman Hoar:
The Harvard-educated Hoar was the product of a New England family—the son of Sherman Hoar, grandson of former US Attorney General Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar, great-grandson of Samuel Hoar, and great-great grandson of American founding father Roger Sherman, a signer of the Declaration of Independence... Hoar served in the Massachusetts State Senate in 1911 and was involved with the Democratic Party[7][8] and campaigned for women suffrage.[9] Hoar was also an organizer and major force behind the enactment of the Employee Unemployment Benefits Act, served on the Commission to Compile Information & Data, 1917, taught mathematics and engineering, patented a system for aiming large guns by the stars, and authored landmark works on constitutional and patent law. (Wikipedia)

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:25 pm
by boblipton
Mike Gebert wrote:I had never heard of Ralph Milne Farley. Wow! Very interesting background. There are sci-fi writers who were Grub Street grubbers trying to squeeze out the pennies in a flophouse. And then there's Ralph Milne Farley, or rather, Roger Sherman Hoar:
The Harvard-educated Hoar was the product of a New England family—the son of Sherman Hoar, grandson of former US Attorney General Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar, great-grandson of Samuel Hoar, and great-great grandson of American founding father Roger Sherman, a signer of the Declaration of Independence... Hoar served in the Massachusetts State Senate in 1911 and was involved with the Democratic Party[7][8] and campaigned for women suffrage.[9] Hoar was also an organizer and major force behind the enactment of the Employee Unemployment Benefits Act, served on the Commission to Compile Information & Data, 1917, taught mathematics and engineering, patented a system for aiming large guns by the stars, and authored landmark works on constitutional and patent law. (Wikipedia)
Keller was a distinguished psychiatrist — or maybe I’m confusing him with Miles J. Breuer. However, he had no distinguished family whose name he would shame lest he adopt a pseudonym. Another sf writer who had to use a pseudonym, because he might lose his job in the State Department, was Paul Linebarger, who published amazing stuff under the name “Cordwainer Smith.”

These people wrote science fiction because they loved it, not because it would make them money. In my old-fashioned mind, that makes them professionals, far more so than many a rich hack.

Bob

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:30 pm
by Jim Roots
And now, I'm going to open this other can of worms over here, the one marked "Raymond Rohauer"! :D

Jim

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:33 pm
by Jim Roots
boblipton wrote:
Mike Gebert wrote:I had never heard of Ralph Milne Farley. Wow! Very interesting background. There are sci-fi writers who were Grub Street grubbers trying to squeeze out the pennies in a flophouse. And then there's Ralph Milne Farley, or rather, Roger Sherman Hoar:
The Harvard-educated Hoar was the product of a New England family—the son of Sherman Hoar, grandson of former US Attorney General Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar, great-grandson of Samuel Hoar, and great-great grandson of American founding father Roger Sherman, a signer of the Declaration of Independence... Hoar served in the Massachusetts State Senate in 1911 and was involved with the Democratic Party[7][8] and campaigned for women suffrage.[9] Hoar was also an organizer and major force behind the enactment of the Employee Unemployment Benefits Act, served on the Commission to Compile Information & Data, 1917, taught mathematics and engineering, patented a system for aiming large guns by the stars, and authored landmark works on constitutional and patent law. (Wikipedia)
Keller was a distinguished psychiatrist — or maybe I’m confusing him with Miles J. Breuer. However, he had no distinguished family whose name he would shame lest he adopt a pseudonym. Another sf writer who had to use a pseudonym, because he might lose his job in the State Department, was Paul Linebarger, who published amazing stuff under the name “Cordwainer Smith.”

These people wrote science fiction because they loved it, not because it would make them money. In my old-fashioned mind, that makes them professionals, far more so than many a rich hack.

Bob
That's funny, a few months ago I read Ursula LeGuin's giant anthology of post-modern SF and the Cordwainer Smith stories really stuck out of a generally disappointing collection.

Jim

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:35 pm
by boblipton
Jim Roots wrote:And now, I'm going to open this other can of worms over here, the one marked "Raymond Rohauer"! :D

Jim
And here’s the one with Iris Barry. Open it and a giant snake pops out and every NYU Film graduate screams in anger.

Bob

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:14 am
by oldposterho
Forry was friends with (and I believe represented at one point) noted theologian, L. Ron Hubbard.

Knowing what is out there now, that friendship makes a lot more sense.

Re: Ackerman's Collection

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:41 am
by wich2
oldposterho wrote:Forry was friends with (and I believe represented at one point) noted theologian, L. Ron Hubbard.

Knowing what is out there now, that friendship makes a lot more sense.
Indeed.

An "interesting" man, with some "interesting" friends...

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