One month to go until BSI Weekend! Along with attending all the awesome usual events, I’m very excited for The Daintiest Thing Under a Bonnet Charity Ball (which is sold out but you can win a ticket here, or if you have a ticket check out some of the swag here) which, along with encouraging various Sherlockian shenanigans, is raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project, a group that aims to “foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history”. A lofty sounding goal that, if we were honest with ourselves, should simply be a baseline goal set for the men and women serving in our armed forces who are returning from conflict regions. Remember, not all returning soldiers will have the good fortune of bumping into Young Stamford who happens to know just the man to share diggings and other amenities. And speaking of BSI Weekend, check out this two-part interview (Eps. 14 & 15) on I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere with the leader of the BSI Michael Whelan aka ‘Wiggins’ aka a direct lineal descendant of Edgar Smith and Julian Wolff.
[Young Stamford introducing a diggings-seeking Watson to a hemoglobin-precipitating Holmes. This representation is by artist George Hutchinson (illustrator of the 2nd Edition of STUD - D. H. Friston created the illustrations for the Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887 ‘first’ edition) and is preserved in the Kent State University Library Special Collections and Archives.]
Archive.org is one of the great promises of the Web realized: an enormous repository of information in a variety of mediums (books, video, audio, etc.) all available for free. One of the many gems contained in the digital vaults of Archive.org is a semi-complete run of The Strand Magazine: issues from 1891 to 1922 are available as scanned PDFs (and ePubs, Kindle, etc.). It is of course nice to read the facsimile editions of stories from the canon with all the original illustrations (Castle in the US and Murray in the UK have both put out fine and affordable editions), but it’s an extra special sensation to locate a favorite Holmes story in it’s original form in The Strand Magazine. Here’s an excellent game for a rainy day: find your favorite story at the Publication Order of Sherlock Holmes Stories by ACD and then head over to The Strand Magazine at Archive.org and locate the issue said story was first published. Download the entire issue to the device or your choosing (or read it as a PDF online) and then explore the rich context (ie. the advertisements, other stories, letters to the editor, etc.) in which your favorite Holmes story first appeared. For more information about The Strand issues containing ACD stories, check out ”The Collected Sherlock Holmes: Beyond Elementary” in Studium Magazine for a well-researched, time-line style essay exploring various aspects of STUD.
Tea at 221B spent the week posting and re-posting a number of classic and unknown photographs of various Holmes actors. My favorite of the bunch is this haunting and majestic image of Jeremy Brett (cf. click below for full-sized image) for Granada’s Sherlock Holmes. Other notable posts: this Swedish movie poster for Faces of Death (1943), Nigel Bruce posing as a dignified Watson in a publicity still from 1945, one of my favorite ‘old timey’ Holmes Clive Brooks from a 1932 version of Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes, the perennially underrated Ian Richardson as Sherlock Holmes and David Healy as Dr Watson from The Sign of Four (1983), a rather exquisite treat in the form of an unpublished photograph of great literary agent himself Arthur Conan Doyle in Chicago c. 1922 and last but certainly never least, that immortal paragon of Holmesian simulacrum, William Gillette in two elegantly designed ‘publicity photo cards’ for an 1899 showing of his play Sherlock Holmes.
[JB doing his best Dark Knight impression? Click on the above image to view in glorious triple magnification.]
Steven Doyle re-posted an interview he participated in way back in 1987 - the year that marked the 100th anniversary of Holmes & Watson meeting in print - when he was but a lad of 27. Today we know Mr Doyle as the publisher for the Baker Street Journal, editor of the Wessex Press and writer of Sherlock Holmes For Dummies (an excellent introduction to the Sherlockian world as well as a useful reference tool for the seasoned pro), but back in the Me-Decade he was editing a journal called The Sherlock Holmes Review and “extolling the virtues of the world’s greatest consulting detective”. Speaking of The Sherlock Holmes Review, I had the chance this week to peruse the entire run (1986 - 1996, sixteen issues total) and was terribly impressed by everything from the intelligence of the essays and interviews to the quality of the layout and design. In my humble opinion, the contemporary Sherlockian world would benefit greatly from the release of a complete digital set of all 16 issues (similar to the BSJ and other electronic Sherlockian journal archives).
[Steven Doyle interviewed in 1987 about Sherlock Holmes for “Duffy’s World,” a regular light news segment of WRTV Channel 6 News in Indianapolis, Indiana.]
Film International announced a conference being organized on June 21-22, 2013 in London entitled: Sherlock Holmes: Past & Present. The organizers ask that those interested should “submit proposals of 350 words and biographies of 150 words by email to both Jonathan at J.L.Cranfield@ljmu.ac.uk AND Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 January 2013.” So what’s it all about? “This conference offers a serious opportunity to bring together academics, enthusiasts, creative practitioners and popular writers in a shared discussion about the cultural legacy of Sherlock Holmes. The Strand Magazine and the Sherlock Holmes stories contribute one of the most enduring paradigms for the production and consumption of popular culture in the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries….Our aims are to celebrate Conan Doyle’s achievement, to explore the reasons behind Holmes’ enduring popularity across different cultures and geographical spaces, and to investigate new directions in Holmes’ afterlife.” I have enormous respect for any attempt to bring together academics, enthusiasts, Sherlockians, etc, all under one roof in order to foster a multi-disciplinary dialogue that would ideally co-educate as well as push the boundaries of what it means to take the Canon and Sherlockian culture, in it’s many forms, seriously. I’ll be looking forward to watching this develop.
[Sherlock Holmes: Past & Present - June 21 - 22, 2013 in London.]
Epic Rap Battles of History - bear with me here - features an epic rap battle between Batman and Sherlock Holmes (ignore the annoying 5 second intro). This video is probably one of the most hilarious, well thought out parodies involving the Great Detective (Holmes not the Dark Knight) I’ve seen/heard in a while. The ‘rapping’ might move a little fast for those of you that didn’t grow up in the 80s and 90s, but thankfully the lyrics are captioned and well worth reading - whoever composed the Holmes rap lyrics is more than just passingly familiar with the Canon. Irene Adler gets dissed; Mary Watson, Mycroft, Scotland Yard, the needle, “Holy Conan Doyle”, are all referenced; in case you were unaware Watson’s “flows are so ill”; as well as the single best use of “Elementary my dear Watson” of all time. Brad Keefauver of Sherlock Peoria posted an in-depth analysis in “Make That a Bat-Stalker Cap!“
[Just one of the amazing scenes from Batman vs. Sherlock Holmes’ Epic Rap Battle.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
Lyndsay Faye deserves a BOOMING nod of recognition in regards to The Gods of Gotham being named, by the esteemed Kirkus Review, one of the Top 10 crime novels of 2012!! If you’re looking to fill a stocking or two this holiday season, think about dropping in this fascinating tale of one man’s struggle to inject a modicum of compassion and humanity into the lawless NYC of the 1840s.
[On of my favorite books of 2012.]
Doyleockian asks: Is parallel Sherlocks a good or bad thing? “Right now we are living through a period where we have three parallel Sherlocks. We have the RDJ incarnation, that of Mr Cumberbatch and, most recently, that of Mr Miller. The question I want to ask is what influence do they have on each other and is it good or bad?” Read on to find out exactly where/what Mr Duncan feels Elementary’s place is in the grand scheme of contemporary Sherlock Holmes adaptations.
Dan Andriacco, on his recent trip to London, visited the most famous “third pillar from the left” in the history of all Corinthian columns. For Sherlockians familiar with The Sign of Four, the third pillar from the left at the Lyceum Theatre is where Thaddeus Sholto asked Mary Morstan to meet his coachman so that she could be escorted to Upper Norwood where they could discuss the sad fate of her father Captain Morstan as well as a certain Agora Treasure. I wonder if Mr Andriacco was accosted by this man:
[“At the Lyceum Theatre the crowds were already thick at the side-entrances….We had hardly reached the third pillar, which was our rendezvous, before a small, dark, brisk man in the dress of a coachman accosted us.” (SIGN, Chapter 3)]
Bartitsu Club of NYC is holding their next training session on Sunday, December 9 at 11:30 am at The Society for Martial Arts Instruction (SFMAI), 4 West 18th St. (3rd Floor) NYC. Learn to defeat slogging ruffians and survive fights on dangerous precipices today!
Tea at 221B posted the following illustration by Danish artist V Setoft from Chapter 1 of A Study in Scarlet showing the legendary chemistry laboratory of St Barts where we see Holmes and Watson meeting for the first time (Holmes: “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”) with Young Stamford looking on at what he’d wrought. The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit commissioned a plaque commemorating this most fortuitous of meetings where it hung on the chemistry lab wall up until six years ago when it was moved to a museum at St Barts where visitors are able to more easily view it.
[“Why, man, it is the most practical medico-legal discovery for years. Don’t you see that it gives us an infallible test for blood stains. Come over here now!” He seized me by the coat-sleeve in his eagerness, and drew me over to the table at which he had been working. “Let us have some fresh blood,” he said, digging a long bodkin into his finger, and drawing off the resulting drop of blood in a chemical pipette.” - A Study in Scarlet, by ACD, illustrated by V. Setoft (from a 1944 edition)]
Pondicherry Lodge a Sherlock Holmes group based out of Springfield and the west central Illinois area, will meet on Saturday morning, Jan. 19, 2013 at 9 am in the Cafe at Barnes & Noble Bookstore. There will be a discussion of Chapters VIIII - XII of The Sign of Four. Support your local scion!
Well-Read Sherlockian reviewed the David Stuart Davies pastiche The Veiled Detective (2004), which was recently re-released by Titan Books. Unlike the majority of pastiches (good and bad) that simply describe events of an unknown ‘tin box’ case, Davies’ book is an irreverent reinterpretation of key events in the Canon based on cleverly inserted, ‘hitherto unknown’ motivations and agendas forcing the reader to see familiar characters, relationships and happenings in an entirely new light.
Sherlock Peoria drops the proverbial gauntlet and announces: “Elementary fans, I dare you. Show me, real time, what I’m missing about the most awful Sherlock Holmes of the modern era. (And yes, I’m including that guy that fought robots and dinosaurs. Don’t know if even I believe Miller is worse than that, but I’m taunting here!)” Whether or not you agree with Mr Keefauver and his opinions (and his quixotic quest to bring down the CBS Sherlockian-Industrial complex), you should at least respect his sincerity and Inspector Peter Jones quality (from REDH): “as tenacious as a lobster if he gets his claws upon anyone” - and in this case that “anyone” is of course Elementary.
[One minor quibble with Keefauver: there aren’t any actual living dinosaurs (or sea monsters) in Asylum’s Sherlock Holmes (2010), they are robotic dinosaurs (or robotic sea monsters); which somehow makes it better because, heh, living dinosaurs are so ridiculous compared to steam punk robotic dinosaurs.]
Entertainment Weekly announced (AKA attempted to ruin the lives of millions of BBC Sherlock fans) much to the pain and agony of fans that “the start of production on the third cycle of [BBC Sherlock] has been moved from January to March . Sources say the shift was necessary to accommodate the busy schedules of the show’s breakout stars, Benedict Cumberbatch (who’s filming Star Trek 2) and Martin Freeman (starring in The Hobbit)” - which means that BBC Sherlock may not air until 2014. Not surprisingly, a collective cry of pain emanated from the Internet (localized on Tumblr) in a variety of forms. Mr Joe Riggs gives us “Sherlock Season 3 summary in one tweet” and perhaps the best reaction to the news that Season 3 has been pushed back was from Mycroft, though this ‘teaser’ poster from Reichenbatch may hold the secret to season three (with over 12,000 Tumblr notes identifying with the pain this news has caused). OMG UPDATE: Sue Vertue (executive producer of BBC Sherlock and better-half of Steven Moffat), in a valiant attempt to stave-off the inevitable wave of mass suicides due to the “No BBC Sherlock unti 2014” rumor, announced via Twitter that: “To stop further speculation, #sherlock filming has pushed to Mrch for availability reasons. It’s not expected to affect any likely tx dates.” Phew! I feel like Ben Affleck (AJ) and Liv Tyler (Grace) must have felt at the end of Armageddon - which means Sue Vertue is sort of like Bruce Willis. *Sigh.*
Better Holmes & Gardens posted this “rare photo of a kilted Basil Rathbone in World War I. He joined the London Scottish Regiment, eventually reaching the rank of captain in the Liverpool Scottish, 2nd Battalion. He was an intelligence officer and was very good with disguises. Rathbone won the Military Cross in 1918.” I didn’t realize that 1) Mr Rathbone was so similar to the Great Detective he would one day adapt to the screen and 2) one could look so manly in a kilt!
[Shared by a member of Watson’s Tin Box.]
Finnemores wins the animated GIF of the week with one of my favorite scenes from Granada’s The Red Headed League: Watson’s attempt at translating “Omne ignotum pro magnifico” only to be met with scorn and derision from the short tempered Holmes.
[Click on the above image to see the two-part animated GIF sequence.]
Posts tagged Steven Doyle.
Sherlockian scholars have debated events in the Holmes canon for decades. But how many have actually put their theories to the test? At Sherlockian Myth Busters, we do! In this episode we put the disappearing gun trick from “The Adventure of Thor Bridge” to the test. Will this work the way Sir Arthur Conan Doyle assumed it would? Here we’ll find out.
One of our sponsors is the amazing Steven Doyle, who wrote Sherlock Holmes For Dummies. I saw this posted on his wall and promptly died. Watch it!
Sherlock Holmes vs. The Wolfman.
This is what Steve has to say about it:
My Sherlockian Reel-Life
I was a teenaged movie mogul. One Blaine Avenue, in South Bend, Indiana, from the years 1972–1977, I had cornered the no-budget Super 8 filmmaking industry. I was the preeminent auture on my block. With my small company of actors (my brother Patrick and my pal Larry Bilinski), we cranked out a series of “epics” which perfectly reflected not only our adolescent interests, but our lack of movie making expertise as well. These included, but were not limited to, our critically acclaimed remake of “King Kong,” the bizarre Professional Wrestling/Game Show amalgam, “Sadist Theater”; our homage to “Night of the Living Dead,” entitled “Dead of the Living Night”; and our science fiction epics “Star Monster,” and “Rocketship Zero-G.”
My entire movie making career was, however, a mere tune-up for what stands today as the pinnacle of my entire filmography, “Sherlock Holmes vs. The Wolfman.” Our most ambitious film, “Wolfman” (as it has come to be known to us insiders) was the third and final installment in what we called our “black and white trilogy” (the first two being the above mentioned Dead of the Living Night; and Star Monster ).Wolfman actually had a budget. We special-ordered black and white film stock, made or rented costumes, scouted locations, and bought a decent Wolfman mask. All in all, I believe we spent about $45 (mid-1970’s dollars, however!) And we even had a script, an element that up until this film had seemed a constraint on our otherwise free-flowing artistry.
My friend and fellow filmmaker Larry was Sherlock Holmes. I, in addition to my many behind-the-scenes roles, stood in as Dr. Watson. My saint of a mother made a cameo as Mrs. Hudson (wearing a shawl and a grey “old-woman” wig, which came with an authentic bun!), thus providing me with infinite proof of her love for us. She was a real sport. And the Wolfman…ah, he was played rather enthusiastically by my brother Patrick.
Briefly, the plot is as follows. A Wolfman is on the loose in London. After a grisly murder in an alley, Holmes begins to monitor the situation. Following a second similar murder of an old man (another rubber mask!) in a cemetary, Holmes and Watson decide to take up the case. After finding a scrap of cloth from the Wolfman at the scene of the crime, they use Toby the bloodhound to track the Wolfman to his lair, where he attacks Holmes and Watson and escapes. As scripted, the Wolfman escapes, only to be dispatched later by Watson, when Holmes uses himself in disguise as a decoy to lure the Wolfman into a trap.
Unfortunately, following the shooting of this thrilling climax, everything following the discovering of the Wolfman’s lair was lost by the film processor, and so the movie’s ending was reworked. Now, following the climactic encounter in the den of the Wolfman, the film ends with the following words on the screen: “Sherlock Holmes never did catch the Wolfman. He still stalks the streets of London to this very day.”
Ah well, it always gets a laugh.
Many of you reading this were present for its public debut a few years ago at a film meeting of the Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis, as I had transferred it to videotape. It pleased me very much to hear, as an adult, the kind words of appreciation. I particularly relished the comments of Pat Ward, our own Sherlockian film expert, who said, “That wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be!”
Some of the behind-the-screen tales of the film’s shooting (getting kicked out of a cemetery for improper “horseplay,” tweed coats and inverness capes in 90-degree heat, etc), will have to wait for another time.
I did go on, in my adult life, to have a professional career in film and video production, and have produced countless shows and commercials using equipment and resources unimaginable to the 14 year-old behind the Super 8 movie camera. But to be honest, no production I have been involved with is as dear to me as “Sherlock Holmes vs. The Wolfman.”
As both a lover of books and a lover of Sherlock Holmes, I am extremely fortunate to occasionally receive Sherlock Holmes-themed books in the mail to review/mention - thanks mostly to this blog’s encouragingly growing readership. An intriguing little book called The Autobiography of Sherlock…
Linky goodness is up!