Tim Johnson - the man with possibly the best job in the entire universe - posted about three new developments at his place of employment: 1) his recent updates to the “ U Media Archive website adding more content. There are now 745 postings for the Sherlock Holmes Collection,” 2) “Lucy Brusic has been working through a lot of the John Bennett Shaw ephemera and has found some remarkable pieces. I plan on highlighting some of these finds in future postings” and 3) “I want to alert you to the next session of our ongoing program “First Fridays in Andersen Library” on December 2nd. I’ll be presenting material from the Sherlock Holmes Collections, focusing on some of our most important collectors/donors.” If you’ve been a reader of Always1895 for a while you are aware that I am fantastically obsessed (or at least super interested) in the University of Minnesota’s Sherlock Holmes Collection. One day I hope I can spend time conducting research there and/or simply perusing the boatloads of material. At the moment, I’m looking forward to just seeing what new items Mr. Johnson has posted to the online portion of the collection!
[Tim Johnson - the man with the greatest job in the Universe!]
Kieran McMullen continues his ‘The Many Watsons’ series, this week focusing on Claude King who played the part of Watson in the 1910 play “The Speckled Band”, a play authored by ACD based on the original “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” (1892). Though little remembered for this minor role, King would go on to great success both in the silent and post-silent era of Hollywood, appearing in 137 films. According to McMullen though, King’s greatest achievement wasn’t acting per se but being “one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild.”
[The cover of the 1912 Samuel French Acting Edition of the playscript, which is “very scarce” according to master Sherlockian Leslie S. Klinger. (Thanks for the correction Mr. Klinger - I had mistakenly called this a “playbill”.]
Tor.com published a rather lengthy review of Horowitz’s The House of Silk which I’m mentioning on here mainly for use as an example of a review that is nothing but sheer unadulterated praise tempered by zero criticism. I review like this makes me wonder what seasoned Holmes pastiche authors must think when reading review after review aimed at making Horowitz look like the (literal) second coming (of ACD presumably). In all seriousness, I’ve started becoming more than a little dubious at the mega-hype surrounding this novel.
Ross K reviews Dan Andriacco’s No Police Like Holmes, on video. I’m not sure how I missed the boat on this one, but Ross K has an entire website called ‘No Place Like Holmes’ (NPLH) which “is a web drama comedy show that is based upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” series.” There’s also a set of video blog-style reviews of various Holmes material (last week he reviewed The Seven Per Cent Solution). I’ve listened/watched the review of Andriacco’s novel twice now and I’m still a little unclear on whether the reviewer is actually criticizing Andriacco’s characterization of Sherlockian’s (“debating silly things”, etc.) or if the reviewer is just kidding. Maybe I just need to spend a little more time getting comfortable with video blogging/reviewing before deciding. Either way, I’ll keep an eye on No Place Like Holmes this set of projects and see how they develop.
[Video blogging reviews from ‘No Place Like Holmes’.]
Sherlock Holmes & the Deadly Necklace (1962) features a very young Christopher Lee as Holmes who has set-out to thwart a very thuggish Professor Moriarty from stealing an ancient necklace once owned by Cleopatra. The film itself is pretty horrible and though Lee attempts to play a decent Holmes, the German director inexplicably had the voices dubbed over (and poorly at that). I took the screenshot below to show that the young Christopher Lee might have cut a worthy Holmes under different circumstances. Later in his career Christopher Lee would reprise the role of Holmes a few times (e.g. Incident at Victoria Falls - 1992) with comparatively better results.
[A young Christopher Lee playing Sherlock Holmes in one of the worst Holmes films I’ve ever seen - Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace.]
I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere released ‘Episode 37: The Lost Conan Doyle Manuscript.’ For those unfamiliar with ACD’s ‘lost’ manuscript: “In 1883, when he was just twenty-three, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote The Narrative of John Smith while he was living in Portsmouth and struggling to establish himself as both a doctor and a writer.” Special guests include Jon Lellenberg (Baker Street Irregular, various BSI histories) and Daniel Stashower (Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle). I’m always thrilled when a new I Hear of Sherlock comes out and this is no exception. Excellent show! For a closer look at The Narrative of John Smith, see Randall Stock’s review on Best of Sherlock.
[The ‘lost’ manuscript in question.]
Barefoot on Baker Street reflects on what her favorite Holmes stories are but you’ll need to check out the post to see what her top 13 stories are. By way of explanation, Charlotte Walters describes her favorite elements of a Holmes story: “…classic Holmes full of energy rushing around with his magnifying glass or breaking into houses to observe the smallest but most crucial of details. I like to see Holmes being brilliant, almost super-human, I like being able to witness that great but complex brain frantically hunting down a solution in the most workman-like fashion.” Excellent criteria.
[The author’s well-read copy of the Canon]
Alistair Duncan’s Sherlockian Blog speculates on what it might have been like being an original reader of Holmes, that is someone who read Holmes before 1927 in places like The Strand. In a similar vein, what was it like to watch Holmes go from being contemporary to being an artifact of the previous age, i.e. in 1927 (around the time of his final, published Holmes story) Holmes’ latest case (chronologically speaking) was 1914 (“His Last Bow”); the world had rocketed out of the Victorian era into what can only really be described as the ‘modern era’ with all it’s virtues and vices. A world radically different from the world of 1895. Also, be on the lookout for Mr. Duncan on Baker Street Babes Ep 13.
Great Sherlock Holmes Debate announced their next event: “The December discussion will take place on 14th December 2011, 8pm-10pm GMT and will be open to fans on [Facebook] page that would like to take part. No presentations, just an open debate. Ideas for topics will be shared on the forum. We plan another discussion in January and hopefully a live event in February.” According to the GSHD Facebook page, there’s no formal presentations, just an open debate. Click on the FB page to submit questions/topics for the discussion.
Monsters & Critics reviews the Titan Books release Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Ubervillesby Kim Newman a book that’s been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for a few months now. It’s a very long review but ultimately it’s forced me to move up Newman’s novel on my ‘too read’ list. Content aside, probably one of the best titles for a Sherlockian book in 2011.
[Moriarty and Moran face-off against Holmes and Watson with Irene Adler hovering near the action at hand.]
Baker Street Beat, in one of the more classy blog posts I’ve seen in a while, counts his (Sherlockian) blessings in 2011 - and he has some excellent ones. From his first novel being published on MX (No Police Like Holmes) to being interviewed by the Baker Street Babes, Dan Andriacco clearly had a good year in 2011. Let’s hope for an even better one in 2012 for Dan and all our fellow Sherlockians, as we look back and count our blessings in 2011.