Friday Sherlock Links Compendium (February 2 - February 8, 2013)

Adventures With Sherlock Holmes (January 5 to March 10, 2013), an exhibit at the Toronto Reference Library, will “take visitors on their own journey into the mysterious world of the Great Detective, uncovering fascinating details about this truly enduring literary character. Rare and unusual books, manuscripts, artwork and much more will be on view from the exceptional holdings” from the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection. Take a virtual tour of the exhibit and see items such as illustrations from the Canon by Sidney Paget and Frederic Dorr Steele, magazines like Lippincott’s featuring "The Sign of the Four" and the Sherlockian holy grail itself, Beeton’s Christmas Annual from 1887 featuring Holmes and Watson’s very first appearance in “A Study in Scarlet”, an etching of the Reichenbach Falls, letters written by ACD, rare versions of The Hound of the Baskervilles, examples of Sherlockian parodies and pastiches from around the world, and more. If you can’t make the trip up to TO in person, check out the slideshows of all the items from the exhibit (which will make you want to take the trip up to TO from wherever you live). 

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[The product of the legendary 1889 dinner at the Langham Hotel in late Summer 1889 between a literary agent, J.M. Stoddart, representing the editors of Lippincott’s Magazine, and the esteemed authors, Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde.]

Ray Wilcokson posted the following incredible discovery on eBay"A rare 1902 signed photo of Herbert Kelcey as Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, which he played between 1902 and 1907. Kelcey, a star of the American stage since the late 1880s, was only the second star actor, after William Gillette, to play Doyle’s legendary detective on stage.” I found a single reference to “Herbert Kelcey” in Ronald Burt De Waal and George Vanderburgh’s (editors) Universal Sherlock Holmes (USH) Volume 3, Section X K — Actors, Performances, and Recordings: PlaysC19785. — A5214. Gillette, William. Sherlock Holmes. Boston Theatre, May 18-24, 1903. Click for a scan of Kelcey’s New York Times obituary from July 11, 1917. As of posting date, this 7 inches by 4 and a quarter inches (7” x 4.25”) photograph has a ‘buy now’ price of $399. 

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[Click the image above for a larger view of Herbert Kelcey as Sherlock Holmes from his appearance in Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes (1902).]

Radio Times posted some choice material from BBC Sherlock co-creator and Mycroft portrayer Mark Gatiss, the most disconcerting involves Gatiss’ desire to create new villains: “”Doyle got it right first time, he invented the supervillain,” said Gatiss, ”All great heroes have their Moriarty and after that you have to be very clever about trying to come up with someone who’s the equivalent otherwise they just look like a watered down version, so it’s about telling different kinds of stories.”” And if the ex-Professor of Mathematics was the extent of Canonical anti-socialness then Gatiss might have a point, but we know that the Canon’s cup runneth over with skulduggery, depravity and nefarious dealings. Instead of outsourcing their evil, Gatiss need only to glance over the Canon’s exclusive, extensive and highly competitive rogues gallery for inspiration. Ne’er-do-wells Gatiss/Moffatt might consider include: Charles Augustus Milverton (nickname: CAM Devil!), John Clay/Vincent Spaulding, Colonel Sebastian MoranIsadora KleinJames Windibank/Hosmer Angel, Sir George Burnwell, Joseph Harrison, Jonas Oldacre, Jack Ferguson (assuming Master Jacky’s year at sea failed to rehabilitate him), Barney Stockdale and his gang - though I like to imagine that Steve Dixie renounced his life of crime, perhaps in a way similar to that described by Samuel Williams in Anomalous - and the list goes on and on. 

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[For instance…]

3 Chic Geeks speculate on why Sherlock Holmes (BBC) would make a terrible boyfriend: “For one, Sherlock Holmes is a jackass. He has no patience for anyone he deems to be irreparably stupid - which, spoiler alert, is about 99% of the population of the universe. He will forget your anniversary, because it’s dull and it takes up too much space in his mind palace - space which he can use for storing more important things…About the only chance you have of having a fulfilling relationship with Sherlock Holmes is if your name is Doctor John Watson.” (Thanks to @BakerStBabes for tip.)

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[Sherlock Holmes: Worst boyfriend ever?]

David Ruffle interviewed Amy Thomas Sherlockian novelist and Baker Street Babe about her latest offering from MX Publishing: The Detective and the Woman and the Winking Tree (2013), the sequel to The Detective and the Woman (2012). When asked about what the future has in store, Ms Thomas responded “Writing about Sherlock Holmes is addictive!” Here here!

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[Cover of The Detective and the Woman and the Winking Tree (2013) on MX.]

Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit's Tantalus Rob Musial published the annual Winter Meeting Report (January 19, 2013), in which an impressive 67 Sherlockians attended. AMS Commissionaire Chris Music gave the quiz on “The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place” and standard toasts were offered to The Woman (by Fritzi Roth), Watson’s Second Wife (by Rob Musial), Mrs. Hudson (by Chris Jeryan) and Mycroft Holmes (by AMS Tidewaiter Eddie Stein). Longtime member (1970s) Elaine Roberts was recognized as such and given a framed certificate, duly signed and authorized, and emblazoned with an actual old English tuppence. Phil Jones explained that nuggets found in SHOS had given birth to at least 12 pastiches, one poem, 2 short stories, one novella, a play, five radio scripts and at least two TV scripts. The main lecture of the night "The Enigma of Sherlock Holmes" was delivered by Dennis Ward who “examined how such a rational and calculating character as Holmes could have been invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a man who spent the last years of his life believing in fairies and spirits and lecturing on same.” AMS Lascar Richard Jeryan concluded the meeting with a reading of Vincent Starrett’s 221B (a move after my own heart). Make sure to read the entire post for an example of what a well run scion event is all about. I have yet to attend an AMS event but I hope to one day in the future. Finally be on the lookout (one day) for a history of the AMS which is being put together by Chris Music.

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[The AMS of Detroit kicks off their 67th year with 67 Sherlockians in attendance.]

Worth Point interviewed Canonical collector extraordinaire Don Hobbs, BSI ("Inspector Lestrade") whose appetite for acquiring translations of the Canon knows no bounds having acquired some 11,000 foreign-language editions. When asked how ‘close’ he was to completing his collection, Mr Hobbs responded as only a bona fide collector can: "…the collection will never be complete.There are always new translations being published and new discoveries of previously unknown translations to acquire.I am still missing Fijian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Sindhi, Tarter and Telugu. I am also looking for an original Yiddish translation…” An inspiration to Sherlockian collectors everywhere!

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[A slice of Mr Hobbs’ collection of 11,000 translations. Click the above image for a larger view.]

JoystiqPC Gamer and a slue of other sites announced the imminent release of Crimes & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes the seventh release in their Sherlock Holmes game series from Frogwares Studio. Their last release The Testament of Sherlock Holmes (2012) received quite a bit of press and positive reviews and looked pretty sharp in all the screenshots I saw. (I’m personally not much of a video game player but I’m told it’s a great game.) Crimes & Punishments is apparently built in an entirely new and significantly more powerful ’game engine’, which means better graphics (eg. dynamic lighting and shadows) as well as an entirely new approach to how the game is played where by (ethical) decisions made by the player will affect the path the player takes through each of the eight main cases. 

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[Even though I don’t really play video games this one looks pretty fantastic.]

Quick Sherlock Links:

British Pathe is hosting a short video scene titled "A Rapid "Make-up" study of Mr Eille Norwood in The Return of Sherlock Holmes at the Princes Theatre London.” Apparently, make-up and disguise was Norwood’s forte: “Norwood had a reputation as a very professional actor with an incredible ability with make-up and disguise. There is a story that when [Maurice] Elvey asked Norwood to do an impromptu screen test, Norwood excused himself to the dressing room and appeared a few minutes later an entirely new person.” 

Taunton Daily Gazette announces a Sherlock Holmes musical in the works at the Actor’s Studio based on The Sign of Four. Why a musical? According to the article, SIGN “unexpectedly lends itself to [being a musical], with its strange, psychological twists, which are lost in film and straight theater productions, and the dark emotional landscape of the story.” Let’s hope that there’s a duet planned for the Sholto bros.

A Requiem For Sherlock Holmes at The WorkShop Theater Company (312 West 36th Street, 4th Floor East). Click here for more information about the reading. Watch a short video teaser here.

No Place Like Holmes posted a video review of Dan Andriacco's latest e-book “The Peculiar Persecution of John Vincent Harden”, a pastiche I’m very much looking forward to reading.

Doyleockian in “Rathbone - The Time Travelling Sherlock Holmes” considers the forty year jump in time experienced by Rathbone and Bruce after their first two films The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Londonist posted a fascinating and detailed map of London’s execution sites. While not specifically canonical, ‘hanging’ is mentioned a few times in the Canon - though Col Sebastian Moran inexplicably avoided it (“If your man is more dangerous than the late Professor Moriarty, or than the living Colonel Sebastian Moran, then he is indeed worth meeting.” ILLU) - and I imagine that many of the murderers Holmes caught may have met their end at one of these locations.

McMurdo’s Camp gives a short online toast to “a man who traveled down to Chicago looking for better opportunities, and from there went on to achieve fame as someone who almost fooled Sherlock Holmes, but not quite. Sadly, he didn’t fool Moriarty either…” Click on the link to see who exactly they’re referring. 

Better Holmes & Gardens posted a lengthy and loving review of Granada’s The Six Napoleons analyzing all those magical little moments that make this episode one of the best episodes of the best Sherlock Holmes adaptations ever. 

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[Holmes]

Scuttlebutt From the Spermaceti Press (January 2013) is a list of anything and everything happening in the Sherlockian world, written and maintained by the venerable Peter Blau. One of my primary inspirations for starting Always1895.net, Mr Blau has been publishing Scuttlebutt since 1971.

Lyndsay Faye announced the March 1st paperback release of The Gods of Gotham, so if you haven’t read it, now is the time.

The Well-Read Sherlockian in “Observations: Using Canon in Your Fiction” created a useful primer for aspiring Sherlockian pastiche writers inspired by ”common ways Sherlockian authors writing for the commercial market either succeed or fail”. The first part of Ms Leah Guinn’s primer explores fiction born out of a love for the Canon, opposed to a love of Research which is the focus of Part 2. 

Bartitsu Club of NYC will convene for a 2 hour training session on Sunday, February 24 at 11:30 am at The Society for Martial Arts Instruction (4 West 18th Street, NYC). Also the next Bartitsu seminars with Professor Mark P Donnelly will be on Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14, 2013. 

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[“The next few minutes were delicious. It was a straight left against a slogging ruffian. I emerged as you see me. Mr. Woodley went home in a cart.” (“The Solitary Cyclist”)]

Empire Online posted a rare series of behind the scenes photographs from the filming of Star Wars IV (1977), leading off with a fabulous shot of Grand Moff Tarkin played by Holmes adaptor Peter Cushing. Donning the role of the Great Detective first in the Hammer Films’ adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), then the BBC Sherlock Holmes (1968) series where he again appeared in a version of The Hound and finally The Masks of Death (1984) a pastiche pitting an older Holmes against an unseen conspiracy. According to The Television Sherlock Holmes by Peter Haining: “Peter Cushing considered Sherlock Holmes to be his favorite role”. Sadly, according to Alan BarnesSherlock Holmes on Screen, there “were plans for a followup entitled The Abbot’s Cry but the film never materialized due to Cushing’s declining health.” What could have been…     

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[Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope An off-duty Mark Hamill shares a laugh with Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin). Although they never share a scene together in the film, Hamill watched all of Cushing’s scenes being shot, nabbing an autograph in between takes. “Cushing is the ultimate English gentleman,” recalled Hamill. “So distinguished.”]

Meiringens posted this fine publicity still of Robert Stephens in the part of the Great Detective prompting Ms Lyndsay Faye to exclaim “if you’ve not seen The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), fix that” - a sentiment I could not agree with more. I would argue that Billy Wilder's film is not only a fine Sherlockian pastiche but is perhaps the single best Holmes movie made in the last 50 years. This past August at Sherlock Holmes: Behind the Canonical Screen, the Canonical Academy Awards (voted on by Sherlockian luminaries the world over) voted Wilder’s The Private Life of SH as ‘Best Pastiche’ along with voting Christopher Lee (who played Mycroft in Private Life) as ‘Best Supporting Actor’. 

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[Robert Stephens as Sherlock Holmes with his Strad.]

Tea at 221B uncovers another gem from the University of Minnesota Sherlock Holmes Special Collection. Here’s a Frederic Dorr Steele piece I’ve never seen: an initial sketch for “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”.

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[Depiction of an early scene from CARD.]

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