10/5/10

Fact or Fiction? #15:The Infamous Heidi Saha Magazine


Basically, the story goes like this:

Heidi Saha's dad was in the publishing business - specifically genre stuff like science fiction.  Subsequently, young Heidi was taken to all the conventions and got to meet all the big names like Arthur C. Clarke at a very young age.

At the age of 14, she came to a convention dressed in a skimpy Vampirella costume.  In the costume contest, she came in third and was booed by the crowd because everyone knew she was up there because of daddy's connections and to promote Forrest J. Ackerman's Vampirella character.



To those who don't know who Forrest J. Ackerman is, he is the King of all Fanboys.  Famous Monsters of Filmland and a host of other genre mags owe their existence to the one and only FJA.  What made him such a success was that no one was more of a fan of monsters and sci-fi than Forrest himself.

Anyway, at some point prior to this convention, FJA was smitten by the young (and I do mean young) Heidi.  Suddenly, there were ads in all of his magazines declaring the arrival of Heidi Saha, and she was to have her very own Ackerman magazine devoted entirely to her. Very odd.

The magazine was released, but was quickly pulled off the shelves for some unknown reason.  Rumor spread that FJA had put nude pictures of this minor in the magazine, but no one could get a hold of a copy to verify the claims.  The magazine quickly became a thing of legend among young nerds and old pervs. As all urban legends go, the story became embellished over the years.  Pretend you're a 13 year old boy with hormones raging - you can imagine the avenue the urban legend took: it was rumored to contain porn, pictures of FJA and her in the act, etc. 

Then, we entered the digital age.  The magazine was finally scanned and posted on the internets.  The infamous magazine turned out to be just a bunch of boring, harmless black and white photos of Heidi.  More like a family photo album - a far cry from decadent smut. Indeed, the only thing disturbing about the mag is Forry's constant gushing over this girl. 

The question remains as to why FJA ever put this magazine out to begin with.  The theories I've heard are (1) FJA was working with the parents to get Heidi prepped for a movie career; in return, FJA would get publishing assistance from Heidi's publisher dad, (2) FJA felt sorry for Heidi after she was booed at the costume contest, blaming himself for putting her in that position, or (3) FJA really was digging this young chick.

Which is true? I don't know - but I'm sure someone out there has an answer.


"Hobbit forming".... get it? She's reading The Hobbit. HA HA HA (mean spirited sarcastic laugh fades out as the post comes to a close...)

26 comments:

  1. Never heard this story before. Interesting though.

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  2. Never heard this, either, but it's creepy and disturbing to see a child being exploited in this way.

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  3. FJA was notably obsessive - hence the famous collection. Probably didn't get out much, so how many relatively pretty girls did he meet who were willing to talk to him?

    I'm thinking it would have been best if Heidi's parents didn't let him be alone with her...

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    1. Heidi's parents were the problem. Her mom trotted her out in the costume and her dad had the book made.
      She doesn't seem to even want to be there.

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  4. Great work and it inspired me to do a post as well:

    http://uraniumcafe-the.com/2010/10/07/the-heidi-saha-warren-magazine-w-samples-and-rapidshare-link/

    I even made a PDF out of the complete magazine. I remember Heidi Saha and she sort of drifted out my memory until this article. I did not know anything about some sort of stories accusing Forry of being a lecherous old man. I refuse to believe it. The book is a little weird when viewed in todyas light but I think the book was well intentioned fun though it seems to be a little bizarre in places as you pointed out. Thanks for the great job you continue to do over here.

    Bill @ The Uranium Cafe

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  5. Amazing story! *Never* heard of this. I believe that's Robert Bloch behind her and Charles L. Grant under her arm.

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  6. I had heard of this story before and also remember the Heidi poster sold in the back pages of Vampirella magazine. The story seems very odd today but back then it was just the sign of the times. I really don't consider the magazine itself inapropiate, but then again, I too am from another era.

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  7. Wonder where she is/doing today?

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  8. Great story Gilligan, thanks for sharing. I think I'm close to Heidi's age, plus I collected Vampirella (and Eerie & Creepy) magazines as a kid AND I REMEMBER seeing that poster ad all the time--I always wondered what was so special about her, now I know--sorta!

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  9. Pulled from the stores? I always heard it was mail order only and that a limited number had been published since no one knew who she was anyway outside of convention circles. Only once ever saw a copy and it was being offered for 200 dollars twenty years ago. I finally saw a scan a few years ago and I agree FJA's smarmy text is at times disturbing but remember, we all looked at things differently back then.

    By his own admission in his autobiography and elsewhere, Uncle Forry liked younger women. He stopped short of saying more than that and I have no info to indicate that there ever WAS more than that so don't get me wrong!

    Some other blog claimed to have tracked down Heidi a few years ago and she was said to be married and well away from those days with no desire whatsoever to revisit them in any way.

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  10. Heidi has apparently left the spotlight

    Some here. One suggestion is that she's now an artist.

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  11. Found this on one blog from this past January:

    http://junglefrolics.blogspot.com/2010/01/much-of-whats-written-about-heidi-saha.html

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  12. As someone else mentioned, the Heidi Saha story seems very odd by todays standards. But in the seventies, there seemed to be all sorts of odd, stange underground stuff bubbling just beneath the surface. I think its because so many cultural elements of the era that, in the '50s and early '60s would simply not have existed at all, and which in the '80s and onward would have been mainstream, in the '70s existed in a shadowy underground that was just emerging but was not entirely out in the open.

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  13. Wow,

    I must admit that I have never heard this one before, and I went to number of conventions during the 70s.

    It does seem a little creepy, an older man obsessed with a 14 year old girl. The stuff of later books and talk show appearances.

    Thanks for the bit of history.

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  14. This was a great story, and something that I have amazingly never heard of! I chose it as one of the best post of October over at my blog for one of my Halloween posts. Here's a LINK, if you'd like to check it out.

    --J/Metro

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  15. I knew Heidi in passing; we were both about the same age, and going to science fiction conventions and comicons and dressing in costume at them. (I will say that I did make my own costumes; Heidi's mom used to make hers. But then, as far as I know, I'm the only red-headed Vampirella* who showed up in the 70s. I will say this: at 14/15, I could make an ACCURATE Vampi costume which stayed in place, which more than one movie version has failed to do!) Heidi was a perfectly nice girl (as much as I knew her, which wasn't well - but nasty shows up early and often, so I think that "perfectly nice" speaks for itself.
    One of the Vampirellas who used to show up was Destiny - it was never much fun for the youngsters to be up against professional strippers who could write off their costumes as "expenses"; c'est la guerre.
    I can tell you one reason why a lot of good costumes stopped showing up at conventions: Money. There used to be pretty decent cash prizes to hope for if you worked hard on your costume; at the last few cons I went to, prizes were pretty bottom-of-the-barrel (not even kitsch-worthy), and most of the folks who got really interested in building costumes go to CostumeCon.
    I hope Heidi is doing well, wherever and whatever she's doing now.
    (*The red hair was mine; I came prepared to darken it for the costume call and got talked out of it; since I placed first, and was well-received, apparently the inaccuracy didn't bother purists at the time.)

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  16. http://enjolrasworld.com/Richard%20Arndt/Angelique%20The%20Unconventional%20ComiCon%20Costumer.htm

    I'm Anonymous from the above comment; I found this very sweet interview, above, with Destiny, aka Angelique Trouvere, and she adds her own impressions of Heidi, which correspond very exactly with mine. She credits Perdita Boardman with making Heidi's costume; Taimi, Heidi's mother, did make the other costumes, but needed someone with greater skills to help I knew Perdita and John from the SCA, and Perdita made beautiful outfits, so I'm not surprised Heidi's outfit, from boots to bat, looks so nice.

    Richard Arndt's interview with Ms. Trouvere is worth reading; it's a look at the period under discussion, it's a look at a whole generation of con-costuming, and it gives a look inside the mind of a dedicated costumer: compulsive, overwhelming, and a world in its own right, peopled by men and women who are generally as willing to help you figure out to overcome your construction challenges as they are in figuring out their own.

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    1. Dear anonymous, I must know you. We knew the same people. I hope my post makes the page. You knew Destiny, so if you are from the day than I know you must know me. KC

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  17. I'm somewhat older than the rest who have posted here, and believe me, ANY man of any age who isn't screwed together perfectly (probably most of us) can be smitten by a 'kid' like Heidi, as long as she plays the role of 'Lolita' (look it up). The facts that this guy FJA had less than stellar character and that her parents were willing to look the other way, made it easy for him to forget that she was woefully underage.

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  18. Let's set the record straight! I have known Heidi since I was Fourteen. I still have the first letter that she wrote to me, we wrote to each other a lot, as well as talked for hours on the phone every night.We used to go out to concerts, dancing, and yes, conventions. I myself was a part of running most conventions in the mid-seventies to 1984. I grew up quickly at fourteen to become an a dealer at many sci/fi cons,trek cons, and comic cons. Heidi was one of the sweetest girls I have known. I spent much time with her, and her family in NJ and the above "urban legend" is a far cry from the truth. I also knew her when she was living at the Boardmans in Brooklyn, which is the last time, Heidi and I saw each other aro 1983. Destiny, Patia, and many others were all in the group of people I had as friends in the con scene of the seventies. These were the conventions that made the way to San Diego Comicon, in NY at the seventies, Phil Seuling's July Comic Art Convention showed these others the way....Heidi..if you somehow read this, I hope you are well and happy. I found this site trying to find you,as I was thinking about you today!If you read this,you gave me my nickname and I hope you remeber my real name. Look me up on FB I hope to hear from you. Love Always, KC

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  19. I used to see Heidi at Lunacon in the mid-to-late '80's; at the time her father was still in the Lunarians, and I was acquainted with her through her parents. I never really got to know her that well, she seemed rather reserved and perhaps even guarded (I don't mean she was unfriendly, just reserved). I didn't hear about the Vampirella & other similar costumes until later on (from the ex-wife of another noted author of the time), and that at least explained to me her private nature by the time I met her. Last time I saw her at Lunacon would probably be 2002 or 2003, when I was talking with her about her dad who had passed by then. At that point she was married, and working as an artist.

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  20. KC, we knew you back then; Mark and Steve Collins, Eli Friedman, Kenny Paisani. we're all still friends

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  21. The original Miley Cyrus

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  22. AnonymousJune 21, 2015

    I talked to Heidi in the early 1970s and was a friend of her father. Heidi liked pop music of the time. The sf con attendance was like a family thing.

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  23. Going to conventions from 1971 until the mid 80s, my crowd knew her as the little girl who was being paraded by her folks, and we generally referred to her as Seidi Haha.

    I was in the 1973 Torcon masquerade as well (the giant boob, the reference to Astrid Anderson- I'm not proud of what I did), and I just thought Heidi's outfit was creepy. Not as bad as the guy covered head to foot in peanut butter, leaving rancid peanut butter foot prints throughout the hotel.

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