……..at the age of six, via an old black and white movie on Channel 5, starring Basil Rathbone as the famous detective and Nigel Bruce as his foil and confidant. I don’t recall the movie itself, just that it was black and white and the literary dynamic duo were off on a mystery to solve, but I was hooked. I mean, seriously hooked.
By the age of ten, I had read The Hound of the Baskervilles at least twice. I don’t know what happened to that copy – I probably read it to pieces. I had so many different copies of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books and short stories by various publishers that they were contained in one box. This includes the YA books that are similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure, but it’s basically Solve Your Own Mystery with Sherlock Holmes.
I’d seen Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Frank Langella, Nicholas Rowe and Jeremy Brett play the iconic detective. I loved each interpretation, unique to the actor bringing their vision of Holmes to life.
How big of a fan am I of Sherlock Holmes? Well, there’s this picture of myself and friends from high school on Halloween:
I still own the deerstalker hat:
And I’m fulfilling a childhood dream of learning how to play the violin:
Watching Elementary (ABC) and Sherlock (BBC) with their modern interpretations of Holmes is both fun and interesting. Elementary, with Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, allow the stories to develop over a 22 episode season, while Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, have three ninety minute movies that are packed with detail and nuance. Both shows are worth watching over again, as there is always some detail one misses on the initial viewing, such as a bit of dialogue here or a visual there.
Robert Downey, Jr. brings Sherlock Holmes to life in the 19th century, haunting the foggy streets of London by hansom cab. Sir Ian McKellen, meantime, brings him into the 20th century as an older version of himself, fighting against memory loss and seeking to retain his own dignity.
I’m always intrigued by the various interpretations of this Victorian detective and how he has transcended that era to influence generations of readers, writers and more with his ability to deduce from the barest details the solution to any case presented to him.
I suspect there’s more to mull over on the subject of Sherlock Holmes, but deduce that it will take more than just one blog post to cover it.
Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Stories & Novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Mr. Holmes (2015) starring Ian McKellen
Teller of Tales: a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle