5 Hours of Edgar Allan Poe Stories Read by Vincent Price & Basil Rathbone

price reads poe
Record label Caed­mon Audio spe­cial­ized in spo­ken-word record­ings, pair­ing great lit­er­ary works with great actors. They got James Mason to read the poet­ry of Robert Brown­ing, mul­ti-Oscar win­ner Wal­ter Bren­nan to read the works of Mark Twain and Sir Lau­rence Olivi­er to read Win­ston Churchill.

But there were a cou­ple releas­es, lat­er com­piled into one glo­ri­ous CD set, that is so head-slap­ping­ly per­fect that it requires spe­cial atten­tion: Basil Rath­bone and Vin­cent Price read the works of Edgar Allan Poe over the course of 5 hours. Rath­bone was, of course, a South African-born Shake­speare­an actor who is most famous for play­ing Sher­lock Holmes in a string of films (watch one here) and radio plays, though he was also a vet­er­an star of low-bud­get hor­ror films like The Black Sheep and Tales of Ter­ror. Vin­cent Price was, well, Vin­cent Price – the icon­ic cack­ling vil­lain in dozens of hor­ror flicks includ­ing Roger Corman’s campy cin­e­mat­ic adap­ta­tions of Poe – The House of Ush­er, The Raven and The Masque of the Red Death.

The Caed­mon record­ings, which are now avail­able on Spo­ti­fy (down­load the soft­ware here) and can be heard below, are pret­ty much Poe’s great­est hits – from “The Tell-Tale Heart” to “The Pit and Pen­du­lum.” Poe’s goth­ic gloomi­ness pairs bril­liant­ly with Rath­bone and Price’s sin­is­ter bari­tone.

So get into your favorite smok­ing jack­et, get a fire start­ed, pour your­self a stiff glass of absinthe, set aside a good block of time, and have a lis­ten.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” Read by Christo­pher Walken, Vin­cent Price, and Christo­pher Lee

Watch the 1953 Ani­ma­tion of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Nar­rat­ed by James Mason

Edgar Allan Poe Ani­mat­ed: Watch Four Ani­ma­tions of Clas­sic Poe Sto­ries

Down­load The Com­plete Works of Edgar Allan Poe on His Birth­day

1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veep­to­pus, fea­tur­ing lots of pic­tures of vice pres­i­dents with octo­pus­es on their heads.  The Veep­to­pus store is here.

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