Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy 203rd, Mr. Poe.

Oh yes, pubgoers, one of our most celebrated icons, most beloved literary, horrorary and Hallowe'enary icons is having a birthday!


Sure, he's not necessarily 'around' to see it, but Edgar Allan Poe's spirit is alive and well -- well, okay, gloomy and brooding -- even 203 years after his birth in 1809.

A remarkable man was Poe. He is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the detective story. He is considered America's first true regularly published (and scathing!) literary critic. He wrote books of poetry before he left grade school. His works have been in print, continuously, since 1827. Ponder that a moment.

I have always enjoyed his works, even when I was too young to grasp the language or even the concept (in some cases) of much of it when I first attempted to read him seriously. Hell, even now I have to admit he's not an easy read.

But the great, dark magic that is a Poe work is a thing of beauty.

In honor of his birthday, the Skull & Pumpkin will be celebrating all day and night with Poe goodies -- fireside readings of his works in our library, absinthe and bourbon and cognac at the bar -- and I hope you will join us in our celebration wherever you are, if you cannot get to the S&P in person.

I'd like to think we are all here in spirit.

As a treat, do this: go here, and download/print/cutout/assemble this awesome paper Edgar Allan Poe from the cool folks at Toy A Day.


And then another treat: give a listen to the jukebox to the right. I've added two delightful tracks of Poe's genius recorded in the early 1960's, and sure to bring a smile to any Monster Kid who ordered things from the Captain Company in Famous Monsters magazine, and in fact any genre magazine from the '60s to at least the early '80s -- Richard Taylor reading The Tell-Tale Heart and The Masque of the Red Death!

Oh but I must comment briefly, here. You see, I don't know who Richard Taylor was, or is. I am certain (as you will be after hearing him) that he loved doing these things, and his heart is easily in the rightest of right places.  Heck, the back of the album says he's fast becoming the Crown Prince of Terror:


But when you get around to actually listening to it, Taylor's narration seems less "sinister", "mystifying" and "full of suspense", and more like the kid who played Fat Sam in Bugsy Malone reading Poe over the telephone in 1960. Amazing we haven't heard from him since.

And I love it. LOVE it. It works (especially with that cool jazz guitar back), and it's fun, and it's goofy, and it's timeless to us Monster Kids who pored over magazine ads like this:


It's the perfect stuff to listen to while making a paper Edgar Allan Poe doll.

Have a wonderful Poe Birthday, good Autumn Folk.

And happy birthday, Mr. Poe. A toast...



  1. A toast indeed! I am working on my own small blog tribute at the moment.

    Happy birthday, Mr. Poe!

  2. Happy 203rd Mr. Poe.
    Thank you for making our lives richer.


  3. Richard Taylor was probably a New Yorker-at least that was what I got from hie accent.

    I especially like where he explained that the rooms were lit by a "brassiere of fire." Truly demented interpretations of Poe.

  4. Oh definitely a NY or NJ resident. I know, isn't it amazing? You should hear his 'Fowall of da House of USH-ah!'

    Wonderful stuff!