A pre-Halloween treat: Roto-Rooter's 'The Raving' turns 30

Plus a couple of bonus renditions of Edgar Allan Poe's creepy classic

It's a week before Halloween (my birthday) and that's all the excuse I need to veer off topic as we head into the weekend.

(2010's 25 Geekiest 25th Anniversaries)

A few days ago, my wife Julie forwarded me an e-mail newsletter from Roto-Rooter -- I didn't ask why she's on such a list -- because it had useful tips about how and how not to dispose of Jack-o-Lantern innards. That was interesting enough, I thought, given that such advice could only serve to reduce the demand for Roto-Rooter's services, but what caught my eye was another item near the bottom of the newsletter: "Did you know ... In 1979, Roto-Rooter created a popular TV commercial called 'The Raving,' which was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem 'The Raven.' It's still popular today."

Sure, I remember the ad, but if you don't, here it is:

Very clever ... and it holds up well 30 years later.

Searching for the clip on YouTube led me to an incredibly wide assortment of "The Raven" treatments, including this one by horror master Vincent Price:

And then there's this incredibly creepy animated version:

More? You say you want more?

Try "The Simpson's" with James Earl Jones (not sure about copyright on that one). And Christopher Walken's voice was made for this.

How did we ever amuse ourselves without the Internet?

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