Saturday, October 10, 2009

Edgar Allan Poe's Funeral Do-Over

Time for a non-political posting....

When Edgar Allan Poe, American author and father of the modern detective story, died at the age of forty in 1849, fewer than ten people attended his funeral, in part because his cousin didn't announce his funeral and in part because of the circumstances of his death, even including the possibility of rabies.

On Sunday, October 12, Poe will get a proper sendoff, albeit many years after his death:
...The body [lay] in state for 12 hours Wednesday at the Poe House, a tiny rowhome in a gritty section of west Baltimore. Visitors are invited to pay their respects.

Following the viewing [was] an all-night vigil at Poe's grave at Westminster Burying Ground. Anyone who [attended had] the opportunity to deliver a tribute.

On Sunday morning, a horse-drawn carriage will transport the replica of Poe's body from his former home to the graveyard for the funeral.

Actor John Astin, best known as Gomez Addams on TV's "The Addams Family," will serve as master of ceremonies.

"It's sort of a way of saying, 'Well, Eddie, your first funeral wasn't a very good one, but we're going to try to make it up to you, because we have so much respect for you,'" said Astin, who toured as Poe for years in a one-man show.


Eulogies will follow from actors portraying, among others, Sarah Helen Whitman, a minor poet whom Poe courted after his wife's death, and Walt Whitman, who attended the dedication of Poe's new gravestone in 1875 but didn't feel well enough to speak. Writers and artists influenced by Poe, including Arthur Conan Doyle and Alfred Hitchcock, will also be represented....
Read the entire article.

John Astin, from his one-man Poe show "Once Upon A Midnight," as Edgar Allan Poe reading "The Raven":

I twice saw John Astin perform as Edgar Allan Poe. The above video doesn't do Mr. Astin justice. The man actually morphed into Edgar Allan Poe on the stage!

I must also say that John Astin is one nice guy. When I went up to him and introduced myself as a teacher, telling him that I'd had a huge crush on Gomez Addams back during the days of the television show The Addams Family, he laughed heartily and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

Mr. Astin does look back upon The Addams Family with great affection. Below is the opening theme for that show, from forty-five years ago. Can you sing along?

Read more about John Astin at Wiki. He presently teaches at Johns Hopkins University, so being master of ceremonies at Poe's funeral won't be much of a commute for him.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 10/10/2009 04:00:00 PM