Forry Ackerman, Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen were three amigos for many years. How did they meet?
Let Bill Warren tell us the story:
I have been exchanging a lot of e-mails with Chris O’Brien, who’s working on what sounds like a major project: the bibliography of Forrest J Ackerman. And yes, he’s going all out — tracking Forry’s letters in prozines and fanzines of the 1930s onward. I originally feared he was a Famous Monsters fan who knew little about Forry prior to 1958, when the magazine began, but far from it; he’s doing lots of research on First Fandom itself, in addition to Forry; he recently did an interview with Dave Kyle which appeared in the two most recent issues of Filmfax.
Today he passed along to me a link to eFanzines (the specific link is below) which was a reprint of a British zine [Futurian War Digest #9, PDF file] which featured a big chunk from an issue of VoM, written by Forry. I always knew that Ray Harryhausen saw some stills at a theater showing a revival of King Kong; he wanted to copy them, but was told they were the property of Forrest J Ackerman. The guy at the theater put him in touch with Forry, who put Harryhausen in touch with Bradbury–and so forth and so on.
The guy at the theater was Roy Test, Jr. This is the first time I saw his name in conjunction with this encounter.
Roy was a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of the Science Fiction League (renamed the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society when it left the SFL). Roy died just about a year ago.
Ackerman’s account from that 1941 issue of Futurian War Digest (with Forry’s famous simplified spelling) reads:
“Cashing in on Fantasy” on pg 568 of Pop Mechanix for Apr. Fan pictured is LA’s own Ray Harryhausen (Hon Mem LASFS) who came to our notice when he attended, a revival of “King Kong” at a theater where imagi-native Roy Test Jr was working at the time. Stills loand by me to the theater attracted Ray to me & hence to the Club. I’m proud to be the owner, by the way, of that original of the Jupiterian Monster pic on 569.
[Thanks to Bill Warren for the story.]