WALLY COBERG, in Memoriam, 1948-2011 (Creator & Writer)

This project is dedicated to the legacy of Wally Coberg who died suddenly November 18, 2011 of a heart attack. He was at the time working on this film, a lifelong passion and pursuit. Wally was an award-winning designer and filmmaker. On stage his work has been seen in theatres nationwide, including Center Stage, Louisville Ballet, New York City Opera, as well as at the Virginia, Baltimore and Boston Operas. On the road audiences saw his sets for Dial 'M' for Murder starring Roddy McDowall, and on ice as part of Walt Disney's Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. He designed three productions in Las Vegas, while in the area of theme design created environments for Busch Gardens Tampa and Williamsburg, Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Hollywood. He was the Assistant Designer to the Vienna State Opera and Salzburg Festival, as well as Resident Designer of The Opera Company of Boston. His knowledge of Christmas has been on display in retail centers around the world, as well as in the New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Mexico City productions of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the world famous Rockettes. As a filmmaker, his award-winning dramatic short, Incident, was seen on PBS and at the Kennedy Center, while his screenplay, Death Masque, was optioned by Martin Scorsese. As an educator he taught at Towson University, the Maryland Institute College of Art and Johns Hopkins University. A recipient of two Marcella Brenner Research Grants, Coberg also received a State of Maryland Governor's Citation for his commitment to preserving and promoting the legacy of Edgar Allan Poe.

 

ERIC STANGE (Producer, Writer, Director) is the Executive Producer of Spy Pond Productions. An award-winning independent documentary film producer, director, and writer who specializes in cultural and social history, his work has been broadcast on PBS, The Discovery Channel, and the BBC. Public television credits include The War That Made America, a dramatized documentary about the French and Indian War; Murder at Harvard, an "historical who-dunnit," that explores the process of historical inquiry through a compelling murder story (for American Experience).  He has been a research fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. He is a member of the editorial board of Common-Place, a web journal on early American history, and a visiting fellow with the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

 

JENNIFER PEARCE (Producer) is a freelance producer whose credits include  ‘WE SHALL REMAIN: Trail of Tears” for PBS’s American Experience,  “ The Great Famine” also for American Experience, “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women” for the PBS’s American Masters and “The Most Dangerous Woman in America” for NOVA as well as the four-part series for PBS, “The War That Made America.”  She enjoys the collaborative process of filmmaking, every project is truly a group effort from smart, creative and dedicated people.  She believes a good documentary can educate, entertain and inspire people to think and feel differently about themselves and the world around us.

 

BARBARA COSTA (Production Manager) has worked for 30 years as a project manager and multimedia producer of predominantly science and health subjects for online courses, public television documentaries, websites, educational videos, and museum programs and exhibits. She serves on the Arlington (MA) Commission on Arts & Culture, as well as the Board of the Arlington Center for the Arts.

 

BOYD ESTUS (Producer & Director of Photography) is a Director of Photography and Producer/ Director whose credits include the Academy Award-winning The Flight of the Gossamer Condor and the Academy Award nominee Eight Minutes to Midnight as well as many Emmy-winning television productions. His recent productions include Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind 'Little Women;' Woody Guthrie: I Ain't Got No Home (American Masters); At Home in Utopia (Independent Lens); Typhoid Mary: The Most Dangerous Woman in America, Doctors' Diaries and Japan's Killer Quake (NOVA); Murder at Harvard, Annie Oakley, and Houdini (American Experience).

Additional Contributors

During the early stages of this project, creator Wally Coberg was supported by several consultants who contributed significantly to his efforts to write, submit and ultimately secure the original NEH Development Grant that helped launch the project.  Among them were:

 

 

PAUL DAY CLEMENS

MICHAEL WICKLEIN

PETER FAWN

BRUCE MICHAEL

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Copyright © 2016 Spy Pond Productions. All Rights Reserved.  

Produced in association with the Center for Independent Documentary.

 

This site was made possible by a grant from The Maryland Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities,

and by a grant from the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation.    

The Poe Legacy 

My own personal debt to Poe is a heavy one.

- Rudyard Kipling

 

You remind me of Edgar Allan Poe's Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories.

- Dr. Watson to Sherlock Holmes

 

Born in poverty, the child of itinerate actors, orphaned at three, unable to complete his university education, expelled from West Point, rejected by his foster father, traumatized by the loss of the women who loved him, Edgar Allan Poe nonetheless rose above his personal torments to become a visionary author responsible for creating three distinct literary genres: the tale of horror, of detection and of science fiction.

 

Poe’s imagination and originality have been a source of inspiration for countless authors, poets, musicians, artists and filmmakers for decades. There is something in Poe that touches all of us. Homer Simpson has given life to his words; a football team is named after his poem, The Raven; musicians from Debussy to Lou Reed to The Alan Parsons Project have found inspiration in his work and director Tim Burton admits to being heavily influenced by the now classic Vincent Price films. In short, his effect on pop culture is pervasive and enduring. Thoroughly modern, Poe anticipated the psyche of 21st century man by over a century.

 

As W. H. Auden wrote, "His portraits of abnormal and self-destructive states contributed much to Dostoyevsky, the tales of the future lead to H. G. Wells, his adventure stories to Jules Verne and Stevenson." Without Poe and his detective, Monsieur Dupin, there would be no Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

 

Indeed, Poe's place in American culture is staggering, for he appeals to the imagination as no other author does. His works express the full range of emotions common to all people and in all languages: love, loss, revenge, murder, disease, death and, of course, fear. That his work is too often conflated with his own biography is unfortunate, but in part has to be attributed to his own enormous skill in tapping the vein of popular imagination.