Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Thanks to everyone who has visited and/or left comments on my blog in 2008. I really appreciate it. See you all in 2009!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Favorite Holiday Pie Poll Results

With 138 votes cast, this poll has come to an end. And, as no surprise to me, Pumpkin was the big winner. Here's the results --

  1. Pumpkin 59 votes (42%)
  2. Apple 28 votes (20%)
  3. Pecan 26 votes (18%)
  4. Lemon Meringue 13 votes (9%)
  5. Cherry 12 votes (8%)
Thanks to everyone who voted. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt, RIP

NEW YORK (AP) — Eartha Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, has died, a family spokesman said. She was 81.

Andrew Freedman said Kitt, who was recently treated at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, died Thursday in Connecticut of colon cancer.

Kitt, a self-proclaimed "sex kitten" famous for her catlike purr, was one of America's most versatile performers, winning two Emmys and nabbing a third nomination. She also was nominated for several Tonys and two Grammys.

Her career spanned six decades, from her start as a dancer with the famed Katherine Dunham troupe to cabarets and acting and singing on stage, in movies and on television. She persevered through an unhappy childhood as a mixed-race daughter of the South and made headlines in the 1960s for denouncing the Vietnam War during a visit to the White House.

Through the years, Kitt remained a picture of vitality and attracted fans less than half her age even as she neared 80.

When her book "Rejuvenate," a guide to staying physically fit, was published in 2001, Kitt was featured on the cover in a long, curve-hugging black dress with a figure that some 20-year-old women would envy. Kitt also wrote three autobiographies.

Once dubbed the "most exciting woman in the world" by Orson Welles, she spent much of her life single, though brief romances with the rich and famous peppered her younger years.

After becoming a hit singing "Monotonous" in the Broadway revue "New Faces of 1952," Kitt appeared in "Mrs. Patterson" in 1954-55. (Some references say she earned a Tony nomination for "Mrs. Patterson," but only winners were publicly announced at that time.) She also made appearances in "Shinbone Alley" and "The Owl and the Pussycat."

Her first album, "RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt," came out in 1954, featuring such songs as "I Want to Be Evil," "C'est Si Bon" and the saucy gold digger's theme song "Santa Baby," which is revived on radio each Christmas.

The next year, the record company released follow-up album "That Bad Eartha," which featured "Let's Do It," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "My Heart Belongs to Daddy."

In 1996, she was nominated for a Grammy in the category of traditional pop vocal performance for her album "Back in Business." She also had been nominated in the children's recording category for the 1969 record "Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa."

Kitt also acted in movies, playing the lead female role opposite Nat King Cole in "St. Louis Blues" in 1958 and more recently appearing in "Boomerang" and "Harriet the Spy" in the 1990s.

On television, she was the sexy Catwoman on the popular "Batman" series in 1967-68, replacing Julie Newmar who originated the role. A guest appearance on an episode of "I Spy" brought Kitt an Emmy nomination in 1966.

"Generally the whole entertainment business now is bland," she said in a 1996 Associated Press interview. "It depends so much on gadgetry and flash now. You don't have to have talent to be in the business today.

"I think we had to have something to offer, if you wanted to be recognized as worth paying for."

Kitt was plainspoken about causes she believed in. Her anti-war comments at the White House came as she attended a White House luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson.

"You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed," she told the group of about 50 women. "They rebel in the street. They don't want to go to school because they're going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam."

For four years afterward, Kitt performed almost exclusively overseas. She was investigated by the FBI and CIA, which allegedly found her to be foul-mouthed and promiscuous.

"The thing that hurts, that became anger, was when I realized that if you tell the truth — in a country that says you're entitled to tell the truth — you get your face slapped and you get put out of work," Kitt told Essence magazine two decades later.

In 1978, Kitt returned to Broadway in the musical "Timbuktu!" — which brought her a Tony nomination — and was invited back to the White House by President Jimmy Carter.

In 2000, Kitt earned another Tony nod for "The Wild Party." She played the fairy godmother in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" in 2002.

As recently as October 2003, she was on Broadway after replacing Chita Rivera in a revival of "Nine."

She also gained new fans as the voice of Yzma in the 2000 Disney animated feature "The Emperor's New Groove.'"

In an online discussion at in March 2005, shortly after Jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman won Oscars, she expressed satisfaction that black performers "have more of a chance now than we did then to play larger parts."

But she also said: "I don't carry myself as a black person but as a woman that belongs to everybody. After all, it's the general public that made (me) — not any one particular group. So I don't think of myself as belonging to any particular group and never have."

Kitt was born in North, S.C., and her road to fame was the stuff of storybooks. In her autobiography, she wrote that her mother was black and Cherokee while her father was white, and she was left to live with relatives after her mother's new husband objected to taking in a mixed-race girl.

An aunt eventually brought her to live in New York, where she attended the High School of Performing Arts, later dropping out to take various odd jobs.

By chance, she dropped by an audition for the dance group run by Dunham, a pioneering African-American dancer. In 1946, Kitt was one of the Sans-Souci Singers in Dunham's Broadway production "Bal Negre."

Kitt's travels with the Dunham troupe landed her a gig in a Paris nightclub in the early 1950s. Kitt was spotted by Welles, who cast her in his Paris stage production of "Faust."

That led to a role in "New Faces of 1952," which featured such other stars-to-be as Carol Lawrence, Paul Lynde and, as a writer, Mel Brooks.

While traveling the world as a dancer and singer in the 1950s, Kitt learned to perform in nearly a dozen languages and, over time, added songs in French, Spanish and even Turkish to her repertoire.

"Usku Dara," a song Kitt said was taught to her by the wife of a Turkish admiral, was one of her first hits, though Kitt says her record company feared it too remote for American audiences to appreciate.

Song titles such as "I Want to be Evil" and "Just an Old Fashioned Girl" seem to reflect the paradoxes in Kitt's private life.

Over the years, Kitt had liaisons with wealthy men, including Revlon founder Charles Revson, who showered her with lavish gifts.

In 1960, she married Bill McDonald but divorced him after the birth of their daughter, Kitt.

While on stage, she was daringly sexy and always flirtatious. Offstage, however, Kitt described herself as shy and almost reclusive, remnants of feeling unwanted and unloved as a child. She referred to herself as "that little urchin cotton-picker from the South, Eartha Mae."

For years, Kitt was unsure of her birthplace or birth date. In 1997, a group of students at historically black Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., located her birth certificate, which verified her birth date as Jan. 17, 1927. Kitt had previously celebrated on Jan. 26.

The research into her background also showed Kitt was the daughter of a white man, a poor cotton farmer.

"I'm an orphan. But the public has adopted me and that has been my only family," she told the Post online. "The biggest family in the world is my fans."


As a small tribute to Ms Kitt here is her Christmas smash hit Santa Baby and her follow-up song This Year's Santa Baby.

Click the link below to download --

--> Eartha Kitt <--

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Billboard Bing

A few years ago my wife bought me this book for Christmas called Christmas in the Charts 1920-2004 by Joel Whitburn. It features the complete history of every Christmas, New Year's, seasonal single and album that charted on the Billboard charts from 1920 to 2004. Of course Bing Crosby is the artist with the most different songs on the charts. This mix includes all of those tunes. Bing recorded several versions of some of these, so I decided to include only one version of each song.

Track Listing

1. Silent Night
2. Adeste Fideles (Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful)
3. White Christmas (1947)
4. Let's Start The New Year Right
5. I'll Be Home For Christmas (If Only In My Dreams)
6. Jingle Bells (with The Andrews Sisters)
7. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (with The Andrews Sisters)
8. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
9. A Crosby Christmas (Part 1) (with Gary, Phillip, Dennis and Lindsay Crosby)
10. A Crosby Christmas (Part 2) )with Gary, Phillip, Dennis and Lindsay Crosby)
11. A Marshmallow World
12. Silver Bells (with Carol Richards)
13. How Lovely Is Christmas
14. Do You Hear What I Hear?
15. The White World Of Winter
16. Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy (with David Bowie)

Click the link below to download --

--> Billboard Bing <--

Which Christmas Character Are You?

Which Christmas Character Are You?


Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas! Like Father Christmas, you're a jovial, easygoing people-person which puts you first in line, should the man in the red suit ever retire. You're probably known for your generosity and good heart and even if you don't have your own magic workshop, we'd guess there's plenty you do to put smiles on people's faces — every day.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz

Quizzes and Personality Tests

My Father

A Tribute To My Dad

Today (Christmas Eve) my dad would have been 76 years old. Thursday (Christmas Day) is the 10th anniversary of my dad's passing. I can't believe it's been 10 years already.
Dad and mom (Christmas 1965)

Because I'm not very good at writing paragraphs, here are some facts about my dad --

  • Born Dec. 24, 1932

  • His parents were Hungarian immigrants

  • His name was Wendell, but everyone called him Wendy

  • He worked for Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. for 30 years

  • He married my mom in 1966

  • Died Dec. 25, 1998

  • My dad and his usual Christmas gift, a can of pipe tobacco (1989)

    In the 1970s he would buy comic books, read them, then give them to me and my brother. In the 1980s when my brother and I would buy boxes of non-sport trading cards he would sit with us and open packs and help sort the cards. It's because of him that I'm the geek I am today.
    Dad as Santa for the Foresters (1989)

    Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas Dad!

    Tuesday, December 23, 2008

    Reindeer Games

    Besides a few little figures, stuffed animals and PEZ dispenses, this is one of the few Christmas related toys I own. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer board game made by Cadaco in 1977.

    Saturday, December 20, 2008

    Big Kids Christmas Mix

    Well, I didn't get as much posted this year as I wanted to. I still haven't found my missing flash drive with the files I was working on. Plus I've been working some overtime and other stuff. This may or may not be my last post before Christmas. I don't know yet. I still have to finish Christmas shopping and wrap gifts. It sure is hectic this time of year.

    I originally put this mix together in 2005 to give to some family and friends. Enjoy.

    Track Listing

    1. A Christmas Story Quote
    2. All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth - Dracula
    3. Blue Christmas - Porky Pig
    4. Boofo Goes Where Santa Goes - Linn Sheldon (Barnaby)
    5. Christmas At The Farm - Garfield The Cat & Jon
    6. From All Of Us To All Of You - Disney
    7. Frosty The Snowman - Jimmy Durante
    8. Hark, The Herald Angels Sing - Vince Guaraldi Trio
    9. Hermie Quote
    10. I Hate Christmas - Oscar The Grouch
    11. I've Had A Very Merry Christmas - Jerry Lewis
    12. Merry Christmas Santa Claus (You're A Lovely Guy) - Max Headroom
    13. O Christmas Tree - Disney
    14. O Holy Night - The Brady Bunch
    15. Peanuts Quote
    16. R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Jon Bon Jovi, C-3PO, R2-D2 & Choir
    17. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - Burl Ives
    18. Rusty Chevrolet - Da Yoopers
    19. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town - Fred Astaire
    20. Santa Claus Is Watching You - Ray Stevens
    21. Santa's Birthday - Caroleer Singers & Orch.
    22. Snoopy's Christmas - The Royal Guardsmen
    23. The Grinch Quote
    24. The Little Drummer Boy - The Vienna Boys Choir
    25. Trim Up The Tree - How The Grinch Stole Christmas
    26. Twas The Night Before Christmas - Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo)
    27. We Need A Little Christmas - The Muppets
    28. We Wish You A Merry Christmas - John Denver & The Muppets
    29. Winter Wonderland - The Partridge Family
    30. Wreck The Halls - The Three Stooges

    Click the link below to download --

    --> Big Kids Christmas Mix <--

    Thursday, December 18, 2008

    My Grown Up Christmas List

    If you've been wondering what to get me for a last minute Christmas gift, wonder no more. Check out my Amazon Wish List in the side bar -->


    Sunday, December 14, 2008

    Archie Has Been Found!

    Well, a photo of him anyway. Thanks to The King of Jingaling over at for digging this up.

    Now if I can just find out the fate of Archie.

    EDIT: Thanks to Ferris for posting this article in the comments. I thought I'd bring it to the front page in case anyone was interested --

    Here's the Beacon Journal column that David Giffels wrote in 2004. It's not on the free/non-member part of any more, but you can look it up via library access...

    Akron Beacon Journal (OH) -
    Thursday, November 11, 2004
    Author: David Giffels

    Archie ?

    Archie ?

    Can you hear us? Don't worry, buddy. We haven't given up on you yet.

    Somewhere out there in the commercial wilderness, Chapel Hill Mall's beloved 20-foot talking snowman sits in cold storage. He's down, but not necessarily out.

    As I reported recently, the mall's new ownership has decided to retire the 35-year-old local icon. With cookie-cutter mall Santas now settling into their thrones, the one-of-a-kind Archie is notably absent. I (hopelessly nostalgic) think this is a bad thing. So, apparently, do many of you.

    One local mom offered to put up Archie in her front yard. (Gracious, but not practical.)

    A Tallmadge man, whose courtship ritual has included visiting the talking snowman with his fiancee, suggested a Save Archie Foundation.

    Meanwhile, the snowman languishes in exile.

    Chapel Hill is not going to change its mind, but the mall's management has not directly dismissed the possibility of donating Archie to some community group that would give him a new home.

    "We haven't even explored that yet," said Sandra Heymann, a spokeswoman for the mall's new owner, Tennessee-based CBL & Associates Properties.

    So for anyone interested in saving Archie , this would be a good time for a good idea. And some sweat equity -- Heymann said Archie is in bad shape.

    "He needs to go back to the North Pole. He's not safe," she said. " Archie 's body structure has worsened over the past few years and is in a serious state of disrepair. You'd have to rebuild him completely."

    So here's what Archie would need. A sponsor willing to take over the snowman operation. (A competing mall, obviously, is out of the question.) A public setting with 20 feet of head room. A few handy souls who can put him together again.

    The response from readers has been passionate, if not overwhelming. I heard from about 15 Archie fans, uniformly dismayed. (An old newspaper rule of thumb is that for every reader who picks up the phone, you can count on 100 others who feel the same way.) Many who called and wrote were parents who grew up with Archie and have carried on the tradition.

    "Tell me it's not so!" pleaded Edie Shultz of Mogadore.

    The 39-year-old mother of 6-year-old twins has fond memories of visiting Archie as a child, approaching the giant snowman to unload her wish list. Each holiday season since her children were born, she has returned.

    "They just asked last week if Archie was going to come around," Shultz said. "What can we do?"

    Edward Nime has an even more intimate connection to Archie . In 1999 and 2000, he worked evening shifts, providing the voice of Archie through a hidden microphone. His reason?

    "My daughter and nephews," he wrote in an e-mail.

    His little girl was 2 the first year he worked. His nephews were 2 and 5.

    "I told my family and wife-to-be that I always wanted to be the voice of the snowman that we remembered as children," he continued. "It was fun, seeing kids I knew and calling them by name. You could see that they actually thought their time with him was special, even if it was a minute or two."

    Nime's day job precluded him from continuing, but this year he'd planned to return with a new motivation -- his 2-year-old son.

    "If Archie is moved to another location, you can bet yourself that it will be a welcomed addition at any holiday spot, and that I would love to be the first one to make those giant eyes flash when he first speaks!"

    I've made a couple of inquiries to groups I thought might be a good fit, but so far nothing has panned out. But you probably have better ideas than I do. If you send them to me and I think they have merit, I'll forward them to the mall's management.

    Saturday, December 13, 2008

    Archie The Talking Snowman

    Archie the Talking Snowman was a 20 foot tall snowman with huge red glowing eyes that appeared every holiday season inside Chapel Hill Mall in Akron Ohio for 35 years. Sadly, when the mall came under new management in 2004 they got rid of him. My parents took me and my brother to see Archie every year when we were kids and I took my son when he was young. You would walk up a little ramp to a microphone that was in front of him and tell him what you wanted for Christmas. And the amazing thing is HE WOULD TALK BACK TO YOU! How cool is that? Then you would take a piece of candy from a bucket and be on your merry way. Who needed Santa when you could see Archie the Talking Snowman?

    Unfortunately we never got any photos of Archie and I can't find any on the internets. Does anybody have any memories or photos of Archie? If you do, please post them in the comments.

    Here's a couple of photos from Chapel Hill Mall I found online --

    The carousel in the food court

    JC Penney

    Thursday, December 11, 2008

    Bettie Page, RIP


    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bettie Page, the 1950s secretary-turned-model whose controverisal photographs in skimpy attire or none at all helped set the stage for the 1960s sexual revolution, died Thursday. She was 85.

    Page suffered a heart attack last week in Los Angeles and never regained consciousness, her agent Mark Roesler said. Before the heart attack, Page had been hospitalized for three weeks with pneumonia.

    "She captured the imagination of a generation of men and women with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality," Roesler said. "She is the embodiment of beauty."

    Page, who was also known as Betty, attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure in bikinis and see-through lingerie that were quickly tacked up on walls in military barracks, garages and elsewhere, where they remained for years.

    Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic poses.

    The latter helped contribute to her mysterious disappearance from the public eye, which lasted decades and included years during which she battled mental illness and became a born-again Christian.

    After resurfacing in the 1990s, she occasionally granted interviews but refused to allow her picture to be taken.

    "I don't want to be photographed in my old age," she told an interviewer in 1998. "I feel the same way with old movie stars. ... It makes me sad. We want to remember them when they were young."

    The 21st century indeed had people remembering her just as she was. She became the subject of songs, biographies, Web sites, comic books, movies and documentaries. A new generation of fans bought thousands of copies of her photos, and some feminists hailed her as a pioneer of women's liberation.

    Gretchen Mol portrayed her in 2005's "The Notorious Bettie Page" and Paige Richards had the role in 2004's "Bettie Page: Dark Angel." Page herself took part in the 1998 documentary "Betty Page: Pinup Queen."

    Her career began one day in October 1950 when she took a respite from her job as a secretary in a New York office for a walk along the beach at Coney Island. An amateur photographer named Jerry Tibbs admired the 27-year-old's firm, curvy body and asked her to pose.

    Looking back on the career that followed, she told Playboy in 1998, "I never thought it was shameful. I felt normal. It's just that it was much better than pounding a typewriter eight hours a day, which gets monotonous."

    Nudity didn't bother her, she said, explaining: "God approves of nudity. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they were naked as jaybirds."

    In 1951, Page fell under the influence of a photographer and his sister who specialized in S&M. They cut her hair into the dark bangs that became her signature and posed her in spiked heels and little else. She was photographed with a whip in her hand, and in one session she was spread-eagled between two trees, her feet dangling.

    "I thought my arms and legs would come out of their sockets," she said later.

    Moralists denounced the photos as perversion, and Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, Page's home state, launched a congressional investigation.

    Page quickly retreated from public view, later saying she was hounded by federal agents who waved her nude photos in her face. She also said she believed that, at age 34, her days as "the girl with the perfect figure" were nearly over.

    She moved to Florida in 1957 and married a much younger man, as an early marriage to her high school sweetheart had ended in divorce.

    Her second marriage also failed, as did a third, and she suffered a nervous breakdown.

    In 1959, she was lying on a sea wall in Key West when she saw a church with a white neon cross on top. She walked inside and became a born-again Christian.

    After attending Bible school, she wanted to serve as a missionary but was turned down because she had been divorced. Instead, she worked full-time for evangelist Billy Graham's ministry.

    A move to Southern California in 1979 brought more troubles.

    She was arrested after an altercation with her landlady, and doctors who examined her determined she had acute schizophrenia. She spent 20 months in a state mental hospital in San Bernardino.

    A fight with another landlord resulted in her arrest, but she was found not guilty because of insanity. She was placed under state supervision for eight years.

    Born April 22, 1923, in Nashville, Tenn., Page said she grew up in a family so poor "we were lucky to get an orange in our Christmas stockings."

    The family included three boys and three girls, and Page said her father molested all of the girls.

    After the Pages moved to Houston, her father decided to return to Tennessee and stole a police car for the trip. He was sent to prison, and for a time Betty lived in an orphanage.

    In her teens she acted in high school plays, going on to study drama in New York and win a screen test from 20th Century Fox before her modeling career took off.

    Christmas Fun Songs

    Christmas Fun Songs (Cema Special Markets, 1992). This was ripped from a cassette tape that I have. It only has eight songs on it, but some of them you don't hear very often.

    Track Listing

    1. The Happy Reindeer - Dancer, Prancer & Nervous (The Singing Reindeer)
    2. Monster Holiday - Lon Chaney
    3. I Tan't Wait Till Quithmuth - Mel Blanc
    4. I've Had A Very Merry Christmas - Jerry Lewis
    5. The Chipmunk Song - The Chipmunks
    6. Nuttin' For Christmas - Stan Freberg
    7. I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas - Yogi Yorgesson
    8. Santa Caught A Cold On Christmas Eve - Dick & Richard

    Edited Dec. 14, 2010 -- Download link fixed.

    Click the link below to download --

    --> Christmas Fun Songs <--

    Saturday, December 06, 2008

    Wonderful Christmas Time

    I hope to do a couple of Christmas posts this year. I had planned to make a second volume of the Do You Fear What I Fear compilation, but I can't find my flash drive with my files on it. In the meantime, you can download my music shares from Christmas's past --

    Christmas In The Stars: STAR WARS Christmas Album

    Do You Fear What I Fear

    A Classic Cartoon Christmas

    A Classic Cartoon Christmas, Too

    A Classic Cartoon Christmas, Three

    Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town/ Frosty The Snowman OST

    The Twelve Days Of A Cleveland Browns Christmas by Elliott, Walter & Bennett

    Merry Christmas Santa Claus (You're A Lovely Guy) by Max Headroom

    Christmas Passed 2007

    Forrest J. Ackerman, RIP

    It's a sad day in the monster world. The Ackermonster has died. My brother and I grew up devouring every issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. It's what made me the monster kid I am today. I'm glad I got to meet him at the Monster Bash in 2005. Rest in peace Uncle Forry.
    Monster Bash 2005
    Monster Bash 2005

    Visit The Universal Monster Army to read some great tributes to Forry.

    Here's his obituary from Yahoo! News --

    By JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press Writer – Fri Dec 5, 4:02 pm ET

    LOS ANGELES – Forrest J Ackerman, the sometime actor, literary agent, magazine editor and full-time bon vivant who discovered author Ray Bradbury and was widely credited with coining the term "sci-fi," has died. He was 92.

    Ackerman died Thursday of heart failure at his Los Angeles home, said Kevin Burns, head of Prometheus Entertainment and a trustee of Ackerman's estate.

    Although only marginally known to readers of mainstream literature, Ackerman was legendary in science-fiction circles as the founding editor of the pulp magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. He was also the owner of a huge private collection of science-fiction movie and literary memorabilia that for years filled every nook and cranny of a hillside mansion overlooking Los Angeles.

    "He became the Pied Piper, the spiritual leader, of everything science fiction, fantasy and horror," Burns said Friday.

    Every Saturday morning that he was home, Ackerman would open up the house to anyone who wanted to view his treasures. He sold some pieces and gave others away when he moved to a smaller house in 2002, but he continued to let people visit him every Saturday for as long as his health permitted.

    "My wife used to say, 'How can you let strangers into our home?' But what's the point of having a collection like this if you can't let people enjoy it?" an exuberant Ackerman told The Associated Press as he conducted a spirited tour of the mansion on his 85th birthday.

    His collection once included more than 50,000 books, thousands of science-fiction magazines and such items as Bela Lugosi's cape from the 1931 film "Dracula."

    His greatest achievement, however, was likely discovering Bradbury, author of the literary classics "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles." Ackerman had placed a flyer in a Los Angeles bookstore for a science-fiction club he was founding and a teenage Bradbury showed up.

    Later, Ackerman gave Bradbury the money to start his own science-fiction magazine, Futuria Fantasia, and paid the author's way to New York for an authors meeting that Bradbury said helped launch his career.

    "I hadn't published yet, and I met a lot of these people who encouraged me and helped me get my career started, and that was all because of Forry Ackerman," the author told the AP in 2005.

    Later, as a literary agent, Ackerman represented Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and numerous other science-fiction writers.

    He said the term "sci-fi" came to him in 1954 when he was listening to a car radio and heard an announcer mention the word "hi-fi."

    "My dear wife said, 'Forget it, Forry, it will never catch on,'" he recalled.

    Soon he was using it in Famous Monsters of Filmland, the magazine he helped found in 1958 and edited for 25 years.

    Ackerman himself appeared in numerous films over the years, usually in bit parts. His credits include "Queen of Blood," "Dracula vs. Frankenstein," "Amazon Women on the Moon," "Vampirella," "Transylvania Twist," "The Howling" and the Michael Jackson "Thriller" video. More recently, he appeared in 2007's "The Dead Undead" and 2006's "The Boneyard Collection."

    Ackerman returned briefly to Famous Monsters of Filmland in the 1990s, but he quickly fell out with the publisher over creative differences. He sued and was awarded a judgment of more than $375,000.

    Forrest James Ackerman was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 24, 1916. He fell in love with science-fiction, he once said, when he was 9 years old and saw a magazine called Amazing Stories. He would hold onto that publication for the rest of his life.

    Ackerman, who had no children, was preceded in death by his wife, Wendayne.