John Hertz: Forry Remembered at Lunacon

By John Hertz: Lunacon is hosted annually by the New York S-F Society, the Lunarians. Lunacon LII in 2009 was March 20-22 at the Hilton Rye Town, Rye Brook, N.Y., fondly known as the Klein Bottle Hotel because the fourth floor is the seventh floor and the green grass grows all around.

The Forry Ackerman memorial was Sunday morning at 10. Lee Gilliland moderated Louis Epstein, Dennis McCunney, the Wombat, and me. Dave Kyle was attending the con but not staying in the hotel. We asked him to join us but he couldn’t get his car through the multi-dimensional barriers in time.

Without Kyle, everyone on the panel was much younger than Forry. I thought this showed how he reached into the future. The Wombat had met him in 1973 – when Forry had already been an active fan almost forty years.

Lenny Provenzano in the audience had some photos of Forry and his house the Ackermansion on a laptop computer. Failing to get a big screen and a projector we put the laptop on the table and crowded in. Forry would have found some way to joke about the laptop turning into a desktop and no doubt being a were-computer.

Gilliland who is active in Man from U.N.C.L.E. fandom remembered Forry in “The Vampire Affair”. He had many cameo appearances. Epstein who co-founded the National Tolkien Society remembered Forry in the 1981 edition of Tolkien’s letters. Forry was an agent for an early project to film The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s comments are pungent today.

I told how Forry had co-founded the Big Heart Award. When he stepped down from administering it after fifty years, we could finally give it to him. He won the first fan Hugo. When he was called to the stage he said “But I really think this should go to Ken Slater” and walked away.

Once Forry was driving Walt Willis across the country. Just thinking of those two punsters together staggers the mind. In Wyoming he told Willis they should visit Cheyenne because of its literary reputation. Willis said he didn’t know it. “What!” said Forry, “you haven’t heard of Cheyenne’s fiction?”

Forry held Open House at the Ackermansion every Saturday he was in town. He had hundreds of thousands of books, and things too fierce to mention. He told tours, “I’ve read every last word.” They would gasp. “Yes,” he would say, “as soon as I get another book I turn to the last page, and read the last word. So I’ve read every last word.”

1 thought on “John Hertz: Forry Remembered at Lunacon

  1. The esteemed Rye Town Hilton is also known by many here on the East Coast as the “The Escher Hilton”.

    I am reminded of the DC Sheraton Park, from 1972 to 1979 home of Discon II and Disclave. Some referred to the lower areas as Gormenghastian. For you kids, here’s a nice aerial view: http://i21.ebayimg.com/05/i/001/3f/aa/c600_1.JPG

    Another delightfully bizarre hotel was the City Line Marriott in Philadelphia. It was entirely appropriate that the Principal Speaker (aka GoH) was A. E. van vogt. This was sometime in the mid to late 1970s.

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