Do you remember when your English teacher first made you read Edgar Allan Poe? Whether his works had you keeping a closer ear to the floorboards or looking over your shoulder for any sign of a rogue raven, Poe’s influence on both literature and readers’ nightmares is not to be underestimated. And to celebrate that influence, SiriusXM’s Radio Classics (Ch. 148) channel is dedicating an extra special, extra dreadful On Demand block to the master of macabre himself in honour of his 211th birthday.
The annual Poe Man’s Radio block features classic programs from the Golden Age of Radio — including Suspense, The Hall of Fantasy, Mystery in the Air, The Weird Circle, Family Theater, NBC University Theater, and The Cavalcade of America (including a special Poe biography produced in 1941) — combined with radio versions of the 19th-century writer’s legendary works. Put down the SparkNotes and catch Poe classics that will be keeping you up at night.
The Tell-Tale Heart
Though few can relate to having a body under the floorboards (or in most cases, laminate flooring), the idea of reliving guilt to the extent of losing your mind is a universal experience. Imagine the narrator is being haunted by someone he cut off in traffic and Poe’s tale is downright timeless.
The Black Cat
Black cats tend to have an unfair negative reputation, and Poe proves as much in this story, in which the feline in question essentially serves as a more ominous Lassie (except in this version, the well is a makeshift cellar morgue).
The Murders in the Rue Morgue
This work is considered by many to be the first modern detective story — step aside, Knives Out — complete with a particularly hairy whodunit twist that not even Law and Order: SVU’s elite squad could predict.
The Mystery of the Marie Roget
Seen as the sequel to “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” amateur detective C. Auguste Dupin takes center stage again while investigating the murder of a perfume shop clerk (based on a true story that happened in New Jersey, of all places) that smells fishy.
The Purloined Letter
“The Purloined Letter” is another of Poe’s Dupin-centric detective stories, this time focused on retrieving a stolen letter being used for blackmail. This is a classic tale of playing 4D chess when everyone else is playing checkers.
The Gold Bug
This story of a man’s descent into presumed madness after being bitten by a gold bug is not entirely unlike the story of Spider-Man, except in this case, the bite leads to buried treasure rather than the building pressure of having to save all of Manhattan.