10 Versions of Poe's "The Raven"


Even though the Poe Toaster appears to be nevermore, we couldn’t let Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday pass without a tribute to the master of the macabre. Poe's poem “The Raven” has inspired many a creative thinker since it was first published in 1845, so in honor of what would have been his 205th birthday yesterday, here are a few renditions of the chilling classic.

1. "Treehouse of Horror I," The Simpsons

That’s James Earl Jones as the narrator, by the way.

2. “Fry Hard 2: Chicken (Fried)," Alton Brown’s Good Eats.

Instead of a raven perched upon the bust of Pallas, a chicken alights on a likeness of Julia Child.

3. “A Nauseous Nocturne," Calvin & Hobbes

Image courtesy of Bradshawfamily.net

This Poe-esque piece was an original strip created for The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury.

4. “A Cartoon Travesty of ‘The Raven,’” Fleischer Studios

In this 1942 version, the persistent raven is a vacuum cleaner salesman. Terrifying, indeed.

5. “Quoth the Weirdo,” The Muppet Babies.

In a season six episode, the young Muppets explore various poems. It should come as no surprise that Gonzo’s a big Poe fan. (Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha” transitions into “The Raven” around 9:30.)

6. The Grateful Dead, "The Raven"

The Dead performed their own interpretation of “The Raven” at the Baltimore Civic Center on April 19, 1982.

7. Lou Reed, "The Raven"

Poe also resonated with Lou Reed, whose 2003 album “The Raven” paid tribute to the poem. The album’s guest stars included Steve Buscemi, David Bowie and Willem DaFoe. Below is DaFoe’s contribution to the album:

Here’s Lou Reed reciting his inspiration at the Cannes Advertising Festival last year.

8. "No Parking Hare," Looney Tunes

Bugs Bunny recites a few lines from “Poe’s Kiddie Komics” to complain about his interrupted sleep in 1954’s “No Parking Hare.”

9. "Quoth the Raven," Night Gallery

The Rod Serling series imagined that the eponymous raven actually harassed Poe as he was trying to write his poem back in the 1800s.

10. "How Sweetie It Is," Tiny Toon Adventures

My favorite doesn’t appear to be available online, unless you’d like to purchase the episode on Amazon. Sweetie the canary is a freeloader at Edgar Allan Poe's house, raiding the fridge and hogging the couch. (Well worth your $1.99, in my opinion.)