Friday, January 25, 2008

Monster Kid of the Year-- Terry Ingram! (If you ask me.)

A "Monster Kid" is anyone (roughly speaking) who has a passion for the film monsters that appeared in the films of the nineteen twenties through the nineteen sixties. And for purposes of the Rondo Awards, a "Monster Kid of the Year" is someone who made "efforts beyond the call of duty to build a better 'world of gods and monsters'?" (The category quotes from "Bride of Frankenstein.")

I know the Monster Kid of the Year! (He's not yet recognized with a Rondo, but I'm hoping!) His name is Terry Ingram. Here he is drinking something that looks suspiciously like blood:

I've posted about Terry before-- and you can read my interview with him here.

Before YOU vote in the Rondos, please read the following two descriptions of Terry and his accomplishments. Both have been posted at the Classic Horror Film Board. The first is by me and the second was written by my friend Raymond Castile:

Why Terry Ingram is the "Monster Kid of the Year"!

The Rondo award for Monster Kid of the Year goes to the individual who most "helped keep classic monsters alive" in the preceding year. It can be anyone; as a past ballot has said, it can be "a star, an archivist, an editor, an artist, an organizer or an unheralded fan."

I want to make the case for "an unheralded fan": Terry Ingram, founder and host of the Universal Monster Army, and a fan extraordinaire!.

Every year, there are many individuals who do things that make them worthy of being considered the "Monster Kid of the Year." Some people produce great art every year, some produce great monster magazines, some organize monster conventions. But each year, a window of opportunity opens up that puts the contributions of one person into perspective-- one monster kid's pinnacle is reached.

This past year, because of Terry Ingram's dedication, the Universal Monster Army transformed from being one of the internet's most successful monster message boards (over 1200 members with more than 1500 posts a month in some months) to one of the most rapidly growing monster forums in the virtual world of gods and monsters: in the first month and a half of the new UMA, there have been over 8800 posts! Not only that, but importantly, the UMA has become the de facto classic monster toy and image repository of the internet, and is preserving a vital part of Monster Kid pop culture and iconography. There are more than a 1000 monster toy and collectable images in all the UMA incarnations! (This includes the Yahoo groups Universal Monster Army and Universal Monster Army Reserve-- which are now photo, file and message archives only-- and the newly created forum found at In an age where the number of printed magazines is shrinking, sites like the UMA have helped to fill the gap. Terry Ingram is a luminous, exemplary leader of fandom in cyberspace.

"I don't hang out at the Universal Monster Army-- so why should I vote for Terry Ingram?"

Maybe you've seen the impressive traveling vintage toy and collectible display put on by the Universal Monster Army and produced by Terry Ingram. If you've seen it, you know that's a fairly good reason. (Though the UMA Vintage Toy tour was the brainchild of Raymond Castile, Terry was the producer for the traveling exhibit, and worked mightily to see the exhibit designed, built, hauled and assembled.) BUT--- there are even more important reasons. There are many people out there building great blogs, constructing fun websites, and hosting interesting message boards, but Terry Ingram shines as a 21st century facilitator for fandom's celebration of classic monsters. (Why, he's the very model of a modern major monster kid!) The Universal Monster Army has become of the best known classic monster fan communities because of Terry's personality and hands-on skill as a host, commentator, and site designer. Terry has never been content to let any aspect get stale, and is always introducing some new element into the Universal Monster Army. A few small examples out of many:

* Other monster groups had a shared interest in classic monsterdom, but no outside organizing theme; the UMA's Army "schtick" was a fun hook that added to fun and relaxed atmosphere at the UMA board. One example: Terry's curiosity about other fans and friendliness led him to posting a colorful, sound-effect-enhanced "Officer of the Month" feature spotlighting interesting individual members. This helped create one of the most closely-knit group of the many boards and forums I've been in.

* Terry's leadership has facilitated at the UMA some of the best work by essayists like Prof. Anton Griffin and artists John Detrich, Rick Stoner, Richard Olson, and John Rozum.

* When the UMA was a Yahoo group, it was known for having great, ever-changing artwork on the home page and a flashing lightning background behind the message board; many other Yahoo sites were very much the same looking. ((Some other groups began adding animated backgrounds after Terry had created the one at the UMA.)

Because of Terry Ingram's continual efforts, the UMA typifies what we turn to online groups for. With members in every age group and walk of life, this group truly a home away from home for its members; the talkative with the terse, the A personality Boomer with the shy Generation X-er, making for one the most welcoming, diverse groups of people I ever known.. Many such monster kids have posted-- or written to me (full disclosure: I help moderate there)-- about how the Universal Monster Army has provided them new friends, relief from the stresses of the "real" world and encouragement for one's inner monster geek!

I am one of those monster kids-- this group and others like it (but mainly the UMA), got me through a rough time when I was struggling through a new career-- and a soured relationship-- that ultimately weren't for me. The rediscovery of my love of monsters made me a happier person. In fact, it made my life take a turn for the best-- I MET MY WIFE THROUGH THE UMA! (And isn't something like that the best thing that can happen in groups of monster kids?) And before our wedding, I was even thrown a virtual bachelor party, complete with racy pictures of me and the classic monsters partying with beauties and villainesses from old horror movies!

The Universal Monster Army is an exemplary 21st century gathering of monster kids who love 20th century horrors. It has just shed its skin and become the kind of gallery and message board more groups are changing over to being. It is, and has been, an amazing success-- and typifies what we love about the horror boards that we hang out in. Vote for its founder, leader, and best monster fan, Terry Ingram, for Monster Kid of the Year. "

--------------Max Cheney (the Drunken Severed Head)

Now for a few words from Raymond:

Monster Kid of the Year

I have a feeling the name "Terry Ingram" is not as well-known as it should be among classic horror fans.

Though he feigns megalomania and calls himself "general," Terry is one of the most humble, generous and self-effacing people in the hobby. He's never bothered to aggressively "brand" himself. Instead of hogging the spotlight, he sets the stage for others to shine.

The Universal Monster Army celebrated its fifth anniversary last year. You would think Terry would spend the year patting himself on the back for having created one of the Web's most popular horror hangouts. But no. He spent it working his tail off to make the UMA better than ever.

Terry spent the first two-thirds of 2007 collaborating with me and other UMA members to bring the fully-realized (we consider 2006 a test run) UMA Toy Display to Wonderfest, Monster Bash and Archon.

He spent the final trimester working almost literally around the clock to build the new UMA. The old Yahoo group was great, but it had limitations. Terry wanted nothing to hinder its growth. So he hunkered down and taught himself how to build and maintain a stand-alone forum. I remember talking to him on the phone as he tried to digest the complex programming. It was like taking a crash course in a foreign language. But he pulled it off. The new UMA debuted Dec. 1. A fantastic online monster kid playhouse painstakingly assembled by Mr. Ingram on his home computer.

I have never seen anything quite like the discussions that have proliferated during the new UMA's first six weeks. People are using the forum as an outlet for their creativity. The threads explode with endless eye candy, sounds, music, games, pranks and pretending. The posts seem hyperlinked directly into the author's brain. The UMA is evolving in directions Terry did not anticipate. But it could not have happened without his dogged determination, his obsession to reach beyond "good enough" and create something capable of changing people's lives.

Like Max, I'm a UMA moderator. So we're both kind of biased. But stepping back and looking at this objectively, I really cannot think of an individual whose contributions to classic horror fandom impacted more people and culminated more magnificently in 2007 than Terry Ingram. That is why I will give him my write-in vote for Monster Kid of the Year.

--------------Raymond Castile (Coffin Ray)

1 comment:

Pierre Fournier said...

I'm in. Mr. Ingram gets my vote.


Related Posts with Thumbnails