After a two month mini-break, I’m thrilled to announce that Always1895.net is back! I want to thank everyone that wrote inquiring about the status of this site as well as checking to see if I was doing alright. I apologize for appearing to fall off the face of the Earth. I also want to take a moment to particularly thank the following Sherlockians whose kindness and concern meant the world to me when I was in Sigerson mode: Susan Rice, Mickey Fromkin, John Baesch, Evelyn Herzog, Bob Katz, Jacquelynn Morris and Mattias Bostrom. So without further ado, let’s get back to business…
Sherlock DC posted one of the first reviews of an event that took place last weekend outside of Baltimore, MD called Scintillation of Scions VI - an event that all Sherlockians should be at least vaguely familiar and which many of you surely attended. Jacquelynn Morris is without a doubt the woman of the hour, having put together a wildly successful sixth SOS event with a sold out attendance of over 100 Sherlockians from all over the US and around the world. More reviews and pictures from SOS VI can be found at the Facebook page of Watson’s Tin Box (Maryland).
[Jacquelynn Morris - the undisputed Sherlockian of the hour - speaking at Scintillation of Scions VI.]
Dan Andriacco in the appropriately titled “What Could Be More Fun?” wrote a short review of his experience of Scintillation of Scions VI where he both attended and gave a fascinating sounding talk titled: “A Most Valuable Institution: How Sherlock Holmes Used the Press.” Even if you weren’t in attendance (like myself, who sadly had to sit out this year’s SOS), one can form a pretty accurate idea of what the weekend was like based on Mr Andriacco’s question and answer review: “What could be more fun than doing what you like and talking about what you like with people you like? Nothing!” My experience of last year’s SOS V was one of the highlights of my Sherlockian career. I don’t care if it kills me, I will not miss out on Scintillation of Scions VII in 2014.
[Mr Dan Andriacco appearing to have what one can only deduce as “a good time” selling/signing (and presumably discussing) his various books in the Dealer’s Room at SOSVI.]
I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere Episode 53 ‘For the Sake of the Trust’ interviewed Tom Francis, BSI (“The Imperial Opera at Warsaw”), who among other things is the Chair of the BSI Trust, an organization within the BSI whose “purpose is to assemble, preserve, and make available for study materials related to the history of The Baker Street Irregulars and individuals and organizations that have devoted themselves to such studies.” Mr Wolder and Mr Monty discuss the Trust and it’s Aladdin’s cave of BSI documents and memorabilia housed at Harvard’s Houghton Library and Mr Francis makes a strong case for the need and importance of the BSI Trust as well as a plea for BSI-related documents. I strongly recommend perusing For the Sake of the Trust, the organization’s edifying and interesting newsletter; in particular, see Andy Solberg’s “Tell Us a Story: The BSI Trust’s Oral History Project” (click for PDF) for a glimpse of a project I feel may be one of the most important which the BSI Trust is involved. And for those unfamiliar with the Baker Street Irregulars in general, this is also an excellent opportunity to reference Ms Lyndsay Faye’s classic “Inside the Baker Street Irregulars”, a shocking expose detailing the depths of depravity achieved during the annual BSI Weekend in NYC.
[Holmes contemplating all the important and essential work of the men and women of the BSI Trust.]
The John H. Watson Society is a (very) recently founded society which “seeks a level of equality in scholarship and enthusiasm for the life and work of John H. Watson, M. D. The Founding Members are committed to recognition of Dr. Watson’s contributions, albeit often masked and misunderstood, to the cases, adventures and memoirs he wrote as the first biographer of Sherlock Holmes. The Society believes that Watson has an equality of stature with Holmes and that his accomplishments and talents deserve further scholarship and research.” You can read more about the purposes and goals of the John H. Watson Society here. For updated information and society news as well as fascinating and informative biographies of those Sherlockians…or should we say Watsonians, who have most recently become members, make sure to check out The Watsonian Blog. It should come as no surprise that the Society’s motto is derived from one of Holmes’ final reflections on his stalwart friend and biographer, found at the very end of “His Last Bow”: “Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age.” It strikes me that even though the society is a new one, the seeds of the group were planted long ago in the minds of those involved giving The John H. Watson society an air of established, long standing permanence. I also look forward to subscribing to and reading The Watsonian, journal of the society.
[Front and back cover for the Fall 2013 issue of The Watsonian.]
Doyelockian in “We Profit From His Mistakes” - “his” of course being ACD - considered the prima facia paradoxical notion that “Much of the Sherlockian world we enjoy today exists because of Conan Doyle’s mistakes and the attempts of generations of Sherlockians to account for them. It is not often that we are thankful for errors but without these errors it is doubtful that the Sherlock Holmes stories would be quite so enjoyed as they are (and will continue to be).” An intriguing argument: if ACD (and by extension Watson, the chronicler of the majority of Holmes’ adventures) had been completely consistent (eg. in chronology) and error free, Sherlockian scholarship would look radically different today, if it could exist at all. Who knows, we might all be Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusenians or Max Carradosians? Along with this intriguing theory, Alistair Duncan - proprietor of Doyleockian - has recently written about the difference between Sherlockian pastiches versus homages and a follow up to his ‘saturation’ post (ie. overuse of canonical villains in pastiches) positing that the reason pastiche authors often break with formula is based on “a desire to be different and thus stand out”. You can find Mr Duncan on Twitter as @alistaird221b.
[‘The Thinking Machine’ aka Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen from the mind of author - and RMS Titanic passenger/casualty - Jacques Futrelle. The above photo shows Van Dusen portrayed by former Sherlock Holmes actor Douglas Wilmer from the series The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (Thames TV) which adapted two Futrelle stories “Cell 13” and “The Superfluous Finger”.]
The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes announced that it will make it’s world premier at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) on October 10, 2013: “A collaborative effort between Conan Doyle Estate Ltd….[and others]…, this unique and interactive experience showcases areas of forensic science that enabled Sherlock Holmes to solve crimes, as well as the historic underpinnings of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s rich and vibrant stories.” The main exhibits include: ACD’s letters and manuscripts relating to the creation and development of his most famous creation Sherlock Holmes; an exhibit developed by E.J. Wagner (author of The Science of Sherlock Holmes) on the science and technology of the 1890s; and sure to be the centerpiece of the entire show, visitors can enter a recreation of Holmes and Watson’s sitting room at 221B; visitors can attempt to solve a murder developed/written specifically for the exhibit by noted Sherlockian and novelist Daniel Stashower; and the final exhibit bills itself as “the most comprehensive display anywhere” of Sherlockiana from the last 126 years (eg. vintage Sherlock Holmes-themed card games, comics, magazines, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law’s Holmes and Watson costumes). After debuting at the OMSI, the exhibit will tour ten North American cities before moving on to international locales (check their Facebook for updated info). You can download a comprehensive press release for the exhibit here. This seems like the supreme testament to the latest Sherlock Holmes resurgence, unleashed in part by BBC’s Sherlock and the Guy Ritchie films, nurtured by longtime, hardcore Sherlockians who were here before the Holmesplosion and will be here after it inevitably dies down, and sustained by legions of new fans wielding powers unthinkable before the existence of the web. Check out The Baker Street Blog to view a set of ‘under construction’ images from the OMSI. I look forward to eventually visiting the exhibit myself as well as seeing if it joins the ranks of great Holmes exhibits such as The 1951 Sherlock Holmes Exhibit at Abbey House, Baker Street, London NW1.
[I have to admit I am extremely excited to attend the exhibit at the first chance I get - especially the 221B sitting room recreation.]
Quick Sherlock Links:
The Game’s Afoot’s Molly Carr described a recent tour she took of The ‘Englisher Hof’ while visiting Meiringen, Switzerland - the location where much of the action in “The Final Problem” took place leading up to Holmes and Moriarty’s infamous confrontation on the Reichenbach Falls.
Sherlock Peoria in “The Moriarty Cliff” - speaking of the dreaded falls - takes note of the “three major Sherlock-related franchises right now, all facing the Moriarty cliff. Not the Reichenbach fall, which “kills” Sherlock, time after time, but the drop that must inevitably follow when Sherlock Holmes has faced his greatest foe … and is done.” In a post from earlier this week titled “The Grocery Store Threshold” Mr Brad Keefauver further reflects on the undeniable popularity of Sherlock Holmes, but speculates that “there are…many mountains left for Sherlock, even in his Sigerson persona, left to climb”; whether this state of affairs is a positive or a negative, only time can tell.
Inspector Lestrade’s Blotter Page described a recent adventure from Dallas to Houston (this being in the Lone Star state) undertaken by Don Hobbs and friends to see a showing of an original play called Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club at Houston’s Alley Theater. Mr Hobbs had high praise for the play and added, much to my delight, “Happily, Moriarty and Irene Adler made no surprise appearances.” (Just say NO to saturation!)
[Poster for Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club.]
Gothamist is hosting a Copper-inspired ‘Crime Contest’ where you’re asked to solve a real 1865 murder in order to win a real 2013 iPad plus the book Gotham at War: New York City, 1860-1865; five runners-up win Copper Season One on DVD. The crime itself happened back on July 25, 1865 in Jones’ Wood (you know those woods on the Upper East Side) during a Fenian Picnic: “Our Celtic friends are warmhearted and impulsive. They are fond of whisky, and are apt to indulge in a little ground and lofty tumbling at these festive gatherings… The young Irish girls who danced and flirted, and talked, and romped, and sat in the swings, and played pretty little games on the greensward, were mainly shop girls, work girls of various degree.” A reveler was “attacked by a knife-wielding man. Slashed in the throat and repeatedly stabbed in his back and other areas” when he proceeded to walk “150 feet until he collapsed and died.” The contest is open until June 27, 2013. Season 2 of Copper starts Sunday, June 23 on BBC America. If you’re a fan of Sherlockian Lyndsay Faye’s The Gods of Gotham, Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York and/or New World abject Victorian poverty, misery and semi-lawlessness, give this a shot.
[“New York, 1865. There are no city limits.” Clever!]
Slashing Through (thanks to @ScarletSherlock for the twitter tip!) honored ‘The Gentleman of Horror’, legendary actor Peter Cushing with a short profile of his most famous roles: 5) Grand Moff Tarkin (Star Wars IV), 4) Gustav Weil (Twins of Evil), 3) Sherlock Holmes (Hammer’s 1959 Hound of the Baskervilles), 2) Dr Van Helsing (Hammer’s Dracula series) alongside fellow gentleman of horror Christopher Lee) and 1) Baron Victor von Frankenstein (The Curse of Frankenstein). If you’ve never done so, check out Peter Cushing’s IMDB page and let your eyes just drift down the list of film titles for a sense of the versatility Cushing must have needed even though many considered him as typecast most of his career.
[One of my favorite Cushing images from his 1959 Hound of the Baskervilles.]
Markings, in a slight departure from his usual Sherlockian musings, dedicated space to that other giant of English literature, the Bard in “Brush Up Your Shakespeare - Set Text 2013 - for Department for Education Study”.
David Ruffle’s blog reviewed Kieran McMullen’s latest release Holmes & Watson: The War Years, a handsome hardcover collection of three of McMullen’s previously released Sherlockian pastiches: Watson’s Afghan Adventure, Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Boer Wagon and Sherlock Holmes and the Irish Rebels.
The Nashville Scholars (thanks for the tip Sherlockian E-Times) shares the story of Shannon Carlisle and her 4th Grade Accelerated Learning Language Arts Class who recently investigated the safe in “The Adventure of the Six Napoleons”. “Ms Carlisle was awarded the Beacon Award for 2013. Mrs. Carlisle is known as the “Chief Sherlockian” in her school where she introduces 4th graders to the stories about Sherlock Holmes and his use of deductive reasoning.” Using deductive reasoning skills learned in class as well as corresponding with various Sherlockians from the U.S. and London as well as safe company experts, it was concluded that “Dr. John H. Watson owned a Chubbs safe No. 33 (1882)” (a complete report of their findings can be read in a Word Doc found in this article).
Big Finish - the audio book company known on here primarily for their myriad of Sherlock Holmes audio books featuring English actor Nicholas Briggs as the Great Detective - announced this week that “From today right through the weekend, we give you an opportunity to own some of Big Finish’s finest non-audio works (that’s books to the layman) - for only £2.99 each! And as a special treat, we’ll be giving one lucky bookworm the chance to own some non-BF books, chosen - and signed - by members of the Big Finish family!” Follow them at @BigFinish for future releases and offers.
Sherlock Holmes for Dummies, brainchild of Steven Doyle, recently came across this autographed postcard of actress Maude Fealy, who was the first actress to play Alice Faulkner (from 1901 to 1902) opposite William Gillette in the early 20th Century smash hit play Sherlock Holmes. If you’re not a Sherlockian, you would have probably noted first that Ms Fealy “appeared in nearly every film made by Cecil B. DeMille in the post silent film era.”
[Actress Maude Fealy - favorite of legendary director Cecil B. DeMille.]
Sherlockian Scion Links:
The Priory Scholars of NYC are hosting their first event of the year on July 28, 2013 in Manhattan, and though all interested Sherlockians are welcome, there will be limited seating so please register early to ensure a place. For updates and further information you can follow them on Twitter @PrioryNYC, on Facebook and at their website. Headmistress Judith Freeman will host the meeting, Nick Martorelli reprises his role as quizmaster testing your knowledge of “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League” while Matt Laffey (that’s me!) leads the participation-heavy discussion.
The Montague Street Lodgers of Brooklyn, hosted by the indomitable Peter Crupe, will meet next on June 30, 2013 at 3 PM. The quiz will be an examination of “The Problem of Thor Bridge”. The guest speaker is Francine Kitts who will discuss The Strand magazine with the able assistance of her spouse, Richard Kitts.
Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes has their next monthly ASH Wednesday dinner on July 3, 2013 starting at 6:30 pm. Please contact Susan Rice to RSVP and/or for more information: susan221B@gmail.com.