In 1957, Ackerman who was working as a literary agent for many science fiction writers had a meeting with publisher James Warren in New York. While this meeting is the stuff of legends, it started as a simple business lunch. Two guys figuring out how to best use one another and make a few bucks in the process.
Ackerman had with him a French film magazine that paid tribute to the old black & white horror films. The magazine interested Warren and the two talked about a one-shot American version of the mag. "Forrey" (Ackerman's nickname) mentioned he had collected somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 thousand movie stills which would come in handy for just such a project. (How's that for understatement?)
The next meeting was in Forrey's 18 room mansion in Southern California which was filled ceiling to floor with unbelievable movie treasures. Convinced they were on to something, Warren stayed in LA as he and Ackerman created the magazine's content in a couple of weeks.
The 2 man team team aimed the writing squarely at kids. They filled the project with the same puns and goofy humor you heard from local horror hosts. Warren chose the pictures and Ackerman wrote the articles filled with the tidbits, he had acquired from 30 years sci-fi & horror collecting. The magazine couldn't have been more authentic. or come at a better time.
Famous Monsters of Filmland was released in January of 1958. For the cover, Warren dressed in a smoking jacket and a Frankenstein Mask in a sort of twisted homage to the "Playboy" lifestyle and two hundred thousand copies were printed. The magazine was so popular it went to press a second time and a magazine legend was born.
There's no way to overstate the impact of Famous Monsters. The magazine became a flashpoint for an undiscovered fandom. Kids who thought they were the only ones who loved monsters found they weren't alone. In their enthusiasm, they wrote stories, made home movies, started clubs, illustrated their own comics and found world wide pen pals. For the monster consumer, ads in the back of the mag offered posters, books, makeup, masks and hundreds more monster products no respectable monster kid wanted to live without. The atomic age of monsters had arrived.