Sunday, December 21, 2008

Forry's Last Pun, or, Forry Laffs e-Ternal!

Forry Ackerman's last laugh was on me.

Not that he had a laugh at my expense-- no, I mean "on me" as in "the last drink's on me."

A few days before Forry died, I e-mailed a list of 10 puns (not original, but ones I liked) to Joe Moe, Forry's friend and caretaker. He wrote back, "Hilarious! Can't wait to read em' to Ack!"

And he did. I had the surprise of my life when I read, less than 48 hours after "Ack"'s passing, a post at the Classic Horror Film Board by Forry's close friend of many, many years, Lee Harris, who saw Forry every day near the end:

"Here is what you've all been waiting for, 4e's last pun. This was not a pun BY him - fans sent him puns in his last weeks, and Joe read him the worst of them. (It works in this whole "anti" aesthetic, where the pun's merit is based on how awful it is) What follows is the last pun 4e ever heard, and laughed hard at, just a few days ago:

"Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath.

"This made him a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis!"

Predecapitation: Meeting Forry for the first time-- at the 25th ARCHON convention in St. Louis, 1997.

is was one of the puns I sent! I was stunned! By sheer luck, had I been able to give the man who'd made my miserable childhood more delightful, whose wordplay got me interested in reading, his last good laugh (at a bad joke)?

I had! I contacted Mr. Harris, who confirmed that this pun was not sent by anyone else.

I was so amazed and so moved, I ACKtually had tears in my eyes.
What a privilege to make him laugh!

Farewell, Forry. Dankon.

"Uncle Forry" (Forrest J. Ackerman: 1916-2008)

Thanks to my friend Harry Woodbury, some video of me with Forry has been preserved-- for me to treasure always, and to also share with you.

Below are links to footage of me and Forry singing (him singing, me struggling) at brunch at the 2007 Monster Bash:
"Sonny Boy"

My friend, musician and educator Robert Taylor, sharing song with FJA that same day:
"Don't Send Me Shoesies..."

Special thanks to Charles and Maria Henson for the 2nd and 3rd posted photos of Forry.


The Igloo Keeper... said...

Great story! Any tips for getting that pun out of your head once you've heard it? :)

Max the drunken severed head said...

A frying pan wielded against the medulla oblongata works for me!

Thanks for commenting!


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