Famous Monsters of Filmland

The network is everything. Never forget that.

On September 10, out of the clear blue, I got a call from my old friend Connor Cochran. He just finished an all night chat with independent film producer Phillip Kim and decided I was exactly who Phil was looking for.

Surprisingly, Phil wound up going to court house for one thing but then was tipped off that the trademark to Famous Monsters of Filmland was for sale at a bankruptcy hearing. He put up some money and won it but now needed to figure out what to do with it.

Enter yours truly. Connor knew of my Fangoria and Starlog experience and my enduring affection for science fiction, fantasy and horror and clearly, I could help Phil revive the brand. What he didn’t know was that reading the mag was a part of my reading habits growing up so I was more than a little familiar with the mag.

Since its heyday under Jim Warren and Forest J. Ackerman, the magazine wound up in the hands of Ray Ferry who has continued to publish the magazine since the 1980s, achieving several dozen issues during the years. As best I understand, it Ackerman sued and won a huge judgment from Ferry which has, to date, gone unpaid. The loss of trademark was apparently a part of this process.


Ray is still out there and still contending he owns the trademark and with luck, the courts eventually settle the matter and then maybe we can avoid confusion. Thankfully, I’m not a lawyer.

Anyway, Phil and I immediately agreed a relaunched magazine was not going to be viable given how tough it is to get distributors to pick you up and actually do their job. Instead, we agreed an online presence was the way to go. From October through December, things moved in fits and starts as the first two web designers to come aboard weren’t really the right fit. Phil also discovered that the TM may be his but Jim Warren has the copyright to the 191 issues he published so reprinting anything was problematic. Finding Jim was a case worthy of Sherlock Holmes.

For one tantalizing moment, it appeared Forry was going to participate and blog but things didn’t work out and at 91, isn’t in the best of health. My hope is we get to spend some time together in San Diego.

My efforts were to begin in earnest December 1 then got delayed until February then finally March. Since then, though, I have been dutifully reporting news, conducting interviews and reviewing books, comics and DVDs in an effort to populate the site while testing the platform’s capabilities. A few weeks ago, I invited a bunch of pals to test it out and we made tweaks.

Two weeks back, I read at Boing Boing that Jim Warren had spoken at a library so I finally had a clue and was able to track him down. We’ve had some phone calls, exchanged some letters and hope we can work things out so Phil and I can gain access to this issues. Someday, I hope to meet the man.

My role? Chief cook and bottle washer for the moment. Truth to tell, until we start bringing in some revenue, I am the editorial staff. With luck, we can start using other writers to spread the coverage and allow me to do some longer form things with the site. Stay tuned.

Today, we’re live. I hope you come visit us here. Post your comments and let me know what you like, don’t like, want to see covered and so on.

I can’t believe it’s finally live!

5 comments

  • As someone else who grew up on Famous Monsters of Filmland – though many years before you did, ya young whippersnapper – I think this is a very cool news. Not “holding old or new issues in my hands” cool, but very cool nonetheless.

    Tony

  • dick siegel

    Bob,

    Where’s Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff and ChristoFEAR Lee?!

    Those guys are FAMOUS MONSTERS!

    KONGratulations,

    ds

  • I was never a regular reader of Famous Monsters, but I would grab issues here and there as a kid and as a teenager was more of a Fangoria die-hard.

    But the new site looks fantastic! I’ve already bookmarked it and will be checking it out regularly. This is very cool and exciting. And, it’s a WordPress blog, I see. (As a fan of that program, I always check.)

    Horror’s big on the web. I check a few sites regularly and I’m glad to put this one in my rotation.

  • Jessica Bagnall

    Hello,
    You might (maybe) remember me from a long time ago in farpoint I was in costume call as Wharf and Deana Troi’s love child. Yeah, I thought I was famous. I am Heather Scheeler’s little sister and I am running a marathon for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I would like to run on your behalf. I will run June 21st in Alaska and if you would like to hear more let me know. I admire you and your strenth. Who knows I might even sport a transporter if I was asked 🙂