Yesterday this picture caused me an attack of the vapors. That's Lane! If you've never seen "Better Off Dead," go find it. I love his other stuff, too, but that one remains my favorite because it's just so quotable.
" Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky."
" This is pure snow! Do you have any idea what the street value of this mountain is?"
" Two brothers... One speaks no English, the other learned English from watching "The Wide World of Sports." So you tell me... Which is better, speaking no English at all, or speaking Howard Cosell?"
After I recovered myself I wondered if the Poe Toaster had ever recovered. The Poe Toaster is a mysterious figure who always showed up at Poe's grave on January 19th and left three red roses and a bottle of cognac. Every year early morning news shows would report that the figure dressed in black with a wide brimmed hat and scarf obscuring his or her face had made a pre-dawn visit to the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground in Baltimore, left the offering and then slipped out. It was a little bit of post-holiday magic. The tradition started in the 1940's and was covered at one point by "Life" magazine who claimed they'd gotten a photo.
In 2010 the Toaster didn't show and you have no idea how I had to restrain myself from typing "Jackie Paper came no more" there. The Toaster also failed to appear this year. According to this page 2009 may have been the last year. There's some debate about whether it should be continued and I fear that it may wind up as a cheap publicity stunt for something. It was a beautiful thing that had enough meaning for someone to go out into the cold of wintertime Baltimore. It's still magic.