Friday, June 17, 2011

A Forbidden Look Inside the House of Ackerman

Book Review by Brett Weiss

During his 92 years, the late, great Forrest J Ackerman indulged in many an eerie endeavor, from winning the first Hugo (#1 Fan Personality) to creating Vampirella to coining the term “sci-fi.”

Forry was an actor, a writer, a literary agent, the editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland and the world’s foremost collector of SF (ahem, sci-fi) memorabilia, the latter housed for many years in the Ackermansion, an 18-room vacation destination for thousands of monster kids. (Forry called it Son of Ackermansion since it was actually the second home to house his immense collection).

I never had the pleasure of visiting the hallowed halls of Forry’s aforementioned abominable abode, but in 2006 I did manage to squeeze in an hour or so at the Acker-mini-mansion, a Hollywood bungalow displaying a drastically reduced portion of Forry’s autographs, posters, movie props and other items. (Advanced age, health problems and financial concerns had forced Forry to sell much of his memorabilia and move to a smaller house).

I was struck by the informal nature of the visit, with Forry—hard of hearing, but still sharp—sitting in his easy chair, commenting on his collectibles, posing for photos, telling jokes and fawning over his favorite film: Metropolis (1927), which he told me he had seen 105 times.

As the title suggests, A Forbidden Look Inside the House of Ackerman isn’t a history book (photos far outweigh the text), but it does offer certain behind-the-screams tidbits, such as co-author Paul Davids helping Forry move, and attending the 2009 auction of “the last remaining treasures from the famed Forrest J Ackerman collection”

More importantly, the book gives readers an up close and personal view of the Ackermansion (all three locations) and its many treasures, including Bela Lugosi’s Dracula ring, Lon Chaney’s teeth from London After Midnight (1927), original art by Basil Gogos, a latex head of Forry as the Ackermonster, a torso from the Rod Steiger character in The Illustrated Man (1969) and many more rare, one-of-a-kind and otherwise invaluable items.

In addition to collectibles, the book includes color photos of the mansion’s occupants (Forry and his beloved Wendayne), along with some of its more prominent guests, including Ray Harryhausen, Fritz Lang and Barbara Steele.

Forry and his Ackermansion(s) is no longer with us, but A Forbidden Look Inside the House of Ackerman will help the preserve the legend for generations of SF (ahem, sci-fi) fans to come.

My family and I hanging out with Forry at his Hollywood home back in 2006.

Monday, June 13, 2011

NOW ON KINDLE -- Classic Home Video Games, 1972-1984

My first book, Classic Home Video Games, 1972-1984, is now available on Kindle for $19.24, which is less than half of the price of the hardcover version (previously, only the second book was on Kindle).


You can read sample pages here: Sample Pages

You can order the Kindle version of the book here: Kindle

What they are saying about Classic Home Video Games, 1972-1984:

"a labor of love...comprehensive...recommended"
--Library Journal

"a great-looking new book"
--classicgaming.gamespy.com

“thoroughly researched”
--Game Informer

“a must-read...both fun and informative, a highly recommended purchase”
--Video Game Collector.

"Brett Weiss knows his video games, and this book is a must for all fans"
--Bart Bush (former editor of Larry Bieza's Pinball Price Guide)

“Weiss’s deep familiarity with his chosen subject matter is an asset of the text, and as a writer he conveys information clearly and without pretension...Weiss’s reviews of obscure games make the book a treasure...impressive and fun book...valuable...the breadth of coverage here is astounding...a fun read and a nostalgic trip supreme...undeniably smart, historically valuable and wide-ranging in coverage”
--GameCulture Journal

Friday, June 3, 2011

Monday Night Football

On a recent trip to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, seeing this Monday Night Football game instantly transported me back to my childhood. My brother and I played this game for hours and hours.

For more photos and info on our spring break getaway, check out my wife's blog post:
Texas Sports Hall of Fame