You may not know literary agent Forrest J Ackerman by name, but chances are you’re familiar with some of his clients. Ackerman, known as “Uncle Forry” to his fans and friends, represented such iconic sci-fi writers as Isaac Asimov, L. Ron Hubbard, and Ray Bradbury. Alongside James Warren, Ackerman created Famous Monsters of Filmland, a horror-oriented magazine that is largely responsible for Fangoria, Cinefantastique, and websites not unlike the one you’re reading right now.
When Ackerman passed away in 2008 at the age of 92, he left behind a massive collection of movie memorabilia. Although he was forced to sell quite a few pieces due to financial difficulties in 2002, the bungalow still housed an impressive number of items and doubled as both Uncle Forry’s home and a private museum. Fans who wanted to check out his impressive collection were able to do so every Saturday. The price of admission: absolutely nothing. He was that kind of guy.
Unfortunately, Uncle Forry’s bungalow, dubbed “Acker-Mini-Mansion,” could soon disappear from the face of the planet. If developers have it their way, the late literary agent’s home and private museum will be torn down to make way for a parking lot. However, screenwriter Alexandra Kondracke and a group called Concerned Citizens of Los Feliz are hoping to turn the tide and transform the mini-mansion into a historic monument. Of course, they’ll need some help from Ackerman’s fans.
The petition on Change.org reads as follows:
Forrest J Ackerman is widely considered “a father of science fiction.” He was a magazine editor, science fiction writer and literary agent who represented Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and L. Ron Hubbard, among many others. He corresponded with H.P. Lovecraft and met H.G. Wells! “Uncle Forry’s” movie magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland, was an inspiration to writers and filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Stephen King, J.J. Abrams and Guillermo del Toro. Ackerman housed his extensive collection of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror memorabilia in a private museum in his home at 4511 Russell Ave. in Los Angeles, dubbed the “Acker-Mini-Mansion.” The Smithsonian described Ackerman’s home as “one of the 10 best private museums in the country” open to visitors every Saturday, free of charge, since 1951 until Ackerman’s death in 2008. Please support designating Ackerman’s house a historic monument to prevent its demolition by developers who want to “put up a parking lot.”
Online petitions will only take you so far, which means those who want to help preserve a piece of history will need to take action. In an email addressed to those who would love to save Uncle Forry’s bungalow, Kondracke outlined what everyone can do to lend a helping hand:
Thank you to everyone who signed the petition. However, it’s very difficult to get a historic monument and the people who decide don’t give much weight to petitions. If we want this to happen, we need people to SHOW UP AT HEARINGS and WRITE LETTERS.
Here’s a list of relevant times, dates and locations.
1. January 13, 2016 at 7:30 PM — The Los Feliz Neighborhood Planning, Zoning and Historic Preservation Committee Hearing. We need their support for the Historic Monument so we need LOTS OF PEOPLE to show up and explain why Forrest deserves a monument. The location is Our Mother of Counsel Church, 2060 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
2. January 19, 2016 at 7:30 PM — The full Neighborhood Council Meeting. They need to hear why 4E deserves a monument. Not everyone on the council supports a monument so we need LOTS OF PEOPLE to show up to convince them. The location is Our Mother of Counsel Church, 2060 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027.
3. January 26, 2016 — This is the day all letters are due to the Historic Resources Committee. They need to be convinced that Forry deserves a monument. More on how to send a letter below.
4. February 4, 2016 at 10 AM — This is the final hearing of the city’s Historic Resources Committee where they decide whether to make the house a monument or not. We need LOTS OF PEOPLE to show up and speak or they’ll think there’s not enough interest for a monument. These are not easy to get. The location is Los Angeles City Hall, Room 1010, 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
If you don’t live in LA or can’t make the hearings, you can still help by SENDING A LETTER/EMAIL.
Again, it’s not easy to get a historic monument so we need all the letters we can get. Here’s how to email a letter.
1. Write an email about why 4511 Russell Avenue should be a historic monument. Include how Forrest influenced you personally or how he influenced our culture at large, and remember, this is the mini Ackermansion, the final home/museum Forry lived in.
2. Make sure to put CHC-2015-4249-HCM, ENV-2015-4250-CE / 4511 Russell Ave in the subject header of the email.
3. Email it to Shannon.Ryan@lacity.org
4. If you want to make it formal, here’s the physical address:
Los Angeles Department of City Planning
Office of Historic Resources
200 N. Spring St., Room 559
Los Angeles, CA 90012
5. cc Kondracke@gmail.com so we can make sure all the letters get into the file.
6. Spread the word and encourage other Forry fans to write emails/letters.
If you’re interested in helping preserve Forrest Ackerman’s former home and private museum, the power is now in your hands. Be sure to write those letters soon, as time is quickly running out. To learn a bit more about Uncle Forry and his collection, check out the video embedded below.