"There is something inherently cinematic in Poe's stories," explains director and producer Roger Corman in the November 2013 issue of BFI's SIGHT AND SOUND magazine. Like many of us, Corman was captivated by reading Poe in our younger years.
His first Poe-to-film adaptation was HOUSE OF USHER (1960). As Corman tells it, he had a time selling it to AIP head Sam Arkoff, who exclaimed, "But there's no monster!" Corman replied, "Sam, the house is the monster!" The deal was made. His last Poe film was THE TOMB OF LIGEIA (1964), because he felt that he'd done all that he could with the material.
My own falling under the spell of Edgar Allan Poe was in school, of course, with THE RAVEN. As I recall we had a book from of that venerable treasure chest of children's books, Scholastic Book Services in the class room that contained the legendary verse.
One of the frequent weekend trips my family would take from the South Bay area of Los Angeles was the 2-hour drive north to beautiful Santa Barbara. We'd get up early, drive up Pacific Coast Highway, and would pull into town about 10:00 AM, stopping for breakfast at the now culturally-sensitive Sambo's Restaurant (chain closed down in 1982, Santa Barbara location still open). Then it was usually off to the famous mission and the Museum of Natural History. There was always a stop at the local used bookshop, too. That's where I found a copy of "Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe", a Washington Square Press paperback October 1962 5th edition, originally published in 1960.
I was utterly stoked to find it and it barely left my hands for days afterward. A potent literary brew for this 10-year old, and I still have the book (see below)!
|Sambo's, Santa Barbara, CA [Photo: Trip Advisor].|