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Remembering Fred Patten

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Fred PattenThere is a balding man with glasses, standing in the corner, cradling a book against his stomach, reading. You saw him a lot. At the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society meeting hall, the APA collation room, in the library, at science fiction conventions in function rooms and room parties, at San Diego Comic Con in the Rowrbrazzle contributor parties, at furry parties.

His name is Fred Patten, and was in no way the passive participant he seemed. With a partner he opened a book shop in Long Beach, California that not only carried SF and Fantasy books, but comics from all over the world. He reviewed SF and Fantasy literature for fan and professional publications. His apartment was literally wall-to-wall books. He collected SF/F art, storing paintings in his bed frame. I don't think anyone knew where he slept... or if he did.

I believe I met him at a LASFS meeting, and later when I was showing Japanese animated shows (like Yusha Raideen and Getter Robo G, both examples of the popular giant robot genre) in a room at LOSCON, our local literary SF convention. People liked the shows, and he suggested I might screen them regularly at the LASFS clubhouse.

Not long after, Fred, with Wendell and Judy (both animators in LA), and Robin (a special effects creator), and myself met in a park and founded the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization. It was the first animation fan club to feature Japanese animation (Anime as it is known now) in the U.S.; Fred handled the newsletters and membership directory. I provided the video tapes.

Fred became a promoter of Japanese animation in the US, working for studios that translated shows for syndication on US television. He also wrote the book(s) on Japanese animation and manga comics for US fans. Fred often rode shotgun on our drives to out-of-state conventions, and we shared lodging to save money. At SF conventions I presented video screening rooms which included Japanese animated shows and features.

Fred PattenWhen the premier funny-animal APAzine Vootie was replaced by Rowrbrazzle, Fred took on the responsibility of editor/publisher when the original founder retired. Besides keeping track of the membership and waiting list, he handled shipping and kept an archive - which was donated later to the science fiction library at the University of California Riverside.

When furry fandom became a thing, Fred became the most scholarly fur. His articles in Rowrbrazzle researched funny animals from around the world. He was basically furry Google. If it had anything to do with funny animals, he knew about it, and wrote about it. His experience in literature made him the perfect choice for editing furry fiction anthologies for exclusive furry publishers. He also wrote articles and books about the fandom, including his history of furry conventions.

Fred was a super-fan, and when he suffered a stroke many years ago, he recovered and continued to write and attend conventions, with the help of his friends. Sadly, Fred Patten passed away, the same week we lost Stan Lee, a comics and popular culture giant. I knew Fred. I worked with him and was aware of his accomplishments, and I hope that others in the fan community realize how important he was to the things we all love. And I have the feeling, sometime in the future, at some party at some fan event, I'll catch out of the corner of my eye...

A balding man with glasses, standing in the corner, cradling a book against his stomach, reading.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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God bless Fred.

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Thanks Mark. A lot of anime fandom sites have been remarking about how much of what they love is thanks to Fred helping to import it in the early days. Then there was his work with Streamline Pictures with Jerry Beck of Cartoonresearch.com. I think this involved subtitling for imported anime (?) - (relating to a comment I left about that here) and I'm wondering if the rise of fansubbing led to the company ending. Anyways, when Fred moved on, he still kept a long relationship with Jerry, who left a note on the 2017 finale of Fred's "Funny Animals and More" column here.

Jerry also answered my private message to him:

I knew Fred very well. We were friends since the 1970s and I employed him to work at Streamline Pictures from around 1991 till he finally left when money ran out in the early 2000s. We remained good friends after that - we were colleagues in an animation apartment, APATOONS, and he wrote entries for my books ANIMATION ART and THE ANIMATED MOVIE GUIDE - as well as five years on weekly columns on my blog CARTOON RESEARCH. I am not a furry, so we did not talk about that much. We knew each other over anime, manga comic books, classic TV and movie animation and science fiction books. Fred was well rounded as a fan, as he had many interests. Our world is a better place because of Fred's research and writings. He will be missed.

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I kinda sorta anticipated this when I heard from a outside source last month he came down with pneumonia (at that age it can be fatal), after inquiring why he had been absent from flayrah. It was only a matter of time before he bought the farm And sure enough... here it is (although it double sucks it had to happen on the same day Mr.Lee passed on as well). But this just serves as a reminder that we as the furry fandom are no longer a new or recent trend, and those who helped build the founding blocks are slipping away. And it's up to us as the next generation of furries that they helped create to carry on that legacy, and to give the furries of tomorrow that are, for now, just toddlers and infants something to look into.

Anyway, thank you for all your hard work Fred Patten. Rest easy and enjoy your eternal bless in God's kingdom. Your be gone, but certainly not forgotten.

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We've been busy trying to digitize much of Sysables footage from the 80s/90s and had just posted this footage that has Fred very prominently running this Furry/Funny Animal panel at Comicon 1990:

https://youtu.be/CrasgaPALAg

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I'm glad you shared your perspective on Fred as someone who knew them personally. Fred and yourself busted your butts to do things that many of us take for granted in our more ever connected world, and that is appreciated.

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I talked about this in 2 other places already, feels so strange to do it again. I got to talk to him (online) about a year ago. He seemed cool and have an occasional word that I found really witty (although he cared way too much about details). Man was a living computer for dates and publishers and whatnot, perfectly suited for a historian.

And Mark..... why did you abandon your podcast? 3 years of hiatus is a bit much. I talked to Steve Gallacci, he is okay to appear on the show (as long as you let him say what he wants).

Well, I'll be...

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They ran into some technical issues that I need to help them fix and light a huge fire under them. I will make a much larger effort to help them get more episodes up and to have them pre-record more.

(I live at the PS and the resident IT/Tech staff here so I blame myself for not nagging Rodney more.)

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Thank you (a lot). I was afraid the thing is cancelled.

Well, I'll be...

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About the author

SylysSable (Mark Merlino)read storiescontact (login required)

a communication engineer from Garden Grove, CA, interested in everything furry

A founder of Furry Fandom, with my mates and friends. Started Furry Parties in 1985, first Furry BBS in 1984, and organized ConFurence (the first Furry convention) for 11 years. I do some art (VCL gallery), created the Skiltaire (alien weasel race), write