Monday, August 7, 2017

A fun afternoon.

Like I said in this post, we were going to go see HOUN. at the Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock.

And we did.

The Lyceum is a small 400 seat theatre, so nobody sits to far away from the stage.

I took my ten year old daughter and she just loved it.

The play was pretty true to the story. Probably as much as a small stage production could do.

The show was lots of Doyle, part 'Sherlock' and a little bit of 'Without a Clue', all blended well together. Humor was kept to a minimum and used well.

The actor who played Watson did a fantastic job as did the supporting cast.
 The Sherlock Holmes character being the weakest. (Well Holmes wasn't all that much in HOUN anyway was he?) He was however given a couple more chances to be in disguise and fool Watson which played well with the audience and probably wasn't even noticed except by tru Sherlockians.

They used lighting and slide presentation well for atmosphere and scenes.

Beryl Stapleton's character was changed a bit and had her more involved with the crimes than the Canon did.
But again, it worked well in the small space.

Over-all; a very fun evening, a good production and if you are within a couple of hours you should go see it.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

One of my favorites is gone - Seven Degrees of Sherlock Holmes - Robert Hardy

Robert Hardy 1925 - 2017
RAF Vet., Actor, historian, one of my favorites.

I first watched him in All Creatures Great and Small.

Sherlockians know him as Milverton in the Granada series.

He is also known to have read some Holmes stories for audio books.

Known more recently for his time spent in the Harry Potter movies.

He was also a keen historian on the English Long Bow.

He could make any dialogue sound elegant.

Are we over thinking Sherlock Holmes?

No really, maybe we are over thinking Sherlock Holmes.

As I came up as a Sherlockian most discussions were centered around details in the Canon (or lack of) and not Sherlock's proclivities.

Yea, sure, there were discussions about his sexual orientation (which I never understood) and how many times Watson was married to his moving wound many years ago. But seldom, if ever, did it become the center of the debate.
It, in and of itself, has become the backbone of many 'fans'.

Most of the time we explored history, details and 'things' within the stories; history of the martini, the 'dancing men' alphabet, what kind of dog was the 'Hound'.

So much debate (and sometimes not in a nice way) centers to much around what we desire Sherlock (or Benedict) to be rather than what we can discover just from the readings or research.

Sure, we can spend a lot of time arguing about whether or not Holmes would meet the Queen in just a sheet, or whether or not he could have been an over sexed ex-drug addict.

But in the end we are not really discussing the Canonical Sherlock Holmes.

With much of the recent, over the last several years, debate, we are trying to reshape a puzzle piece to fit into a different puzzle.

Lets all just relax a little and get back to our core.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Summer re-read, HOUND

While I usually like to re-read HOUN once the weather cools down a bit, for atmospheric reasons,
I am starting re-read it now at the height of summer for good reason.

The Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock Mo. is doing a stage presentation Aug. 5th - 13th.
It is a relatively small theatre as theatres in this area goes (450 seats).

Arrow Rock is a small historical town here along the Missouri River with artistic connections that go way back.

This will be my daughters first Sherlock Holmes play and we are going to make a weekend of it in Arrow Rock.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Under "I did not know this. . . "

"(Orson) Welles's first radio performance was on the Todd station, an adaptation of Sherlock Holmes that he also wrote."

Thursday, February 23, 2017

North of the Border, up Canada way. . . . Elementary S5 -E's 13 & 14

These latest two episodes involved our friends to the North, and focused, as it has a habit of doing, on issues that have been in the headlines lately, either on a small scale, black market maple syrup, or a large scale, global warming.

Well, maple syrup at thirteen hundred dollars a barrel, maybe it isn't such a small crime after all.

This is a real photo of Global Strategic Maple Syrup reserves in Quebec.

In 2012 540,000 barrels were stolen, 12.5 percent of the reserve. A street value of 13.4 million dollars. (this heist is currently being planned as a movie).

So, yes, 'Over a Barrel' is a timely topic.

And 'Rekt in Real Life' is also a big money topic; the world of gaming.

I am enjoying this season a lot. Elementary has seemed to find a more comfortable format that is skipping some of the crazy of the first few years.
A couple of fun discussion points of these last couple of weeks could be the mention of cases Holmes was involved in that Watson did not record.
And perhaps collateral damage of cases Holmes did not take.

The Shinwell story line is getting a little tiresome, and I hope it resolves itself before next season.

And yes, I still think 'Elementary' is better than 'Sherlock'.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Want to read a load of crap.

"Sherlock Holmes, after all, is one of a long line of aesthetic, homosexual detectives." 


There so much wrong in the linked source, but you decide for yourself.

Finally a bit of good news.

One of my favorite Scottish actresses will play Mrs. Hudson in 'Holmes and Watson'

Previously in 'Harry Potter', 'Trainspotting' and 'Brave', etc.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Seven Degrees of Sherlock Holmes - I missed this one Bernard Fox

Bernard Fox 1927-2016

He played Watson to Stewart Granger's Sherlock Holmes in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' 1972

He was also in the Sherlock Holmes parody The Privat Eyes (1980) with Don Knotts and Tim Conway.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Art in the Blood

If you have followed this blog for more than a week you well know that I love art work involving Sherlock Holmes and the 'lighter side' of the Canon.
So get this book was a real treat because I have always loved Scott Bonds treatment of the Canon.

This book covers most of the work Bond has done on Sherlock Holmes with captions explaining way the work was relevant when he did.
Glossy and well made, the book is a lot of fun.

Jeremy Brett in St Louis

In 1991 Jeremy Brett made an appearance in St Louis to promote Masterpiece and the new episodes of Sherlock Holmes.
The Harpooners of the Sea Unicorn helped host the event and provide a good display of Sherlock Holmes stuff. For many of us it was a chance to meet Mr. Brett.
Here are some photos we stuck together to show the crowd in attendance.

Jeremy is in the black suit to the right in this photo at the table.
The Harpooners display is on the left in both photos, in front of the Union Jack.

Here is a photo of him with us at the display.
As I have posted before, the young man with Brett correspond with him up until Brett's death.

Monday, February 13, 2017

This just in, especially for Mid-West fans of the Hound

The Lyceum Theatre in historic Arrow Rock will be performing 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' this August, 5 - 13. This is a small regional theatre held in an old church. I have been to several plays here and it is a great venue.

Contact info.

Lyceum Theatre
PO Box 14
Arrow Rock Mo. 65320

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Life is good, life is great.

Just spotted this today at the newsstand. A little pricey but I got one anyway.

Having now had the time to take a look at it;

It is well put together and very glossy.
While not adding any new info for older Sherlockians, it could be considered a good primer for newer Sherlockians just coming on board.
A little pricey, but what the heck.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Harpooners of the Sea Unicorn #328 - FINA

Attended the latest meeting of the Harpooners of the Sea Unicorn (HSU), who have now been at it for 28 years. Most of them good years.
I believe two records were set at this meeting.
The first was the attempt (successful attempt) to live broadcast the meeting on Facebook.

Ten members were present.

While a few technical issues need to be worked out, it seemed to be a success in that a few comments were made during the meeting from other states.

The second record set I believe was in the number of presentations or papers on FINA.
We had four very different presentations made on things to be found in FINA.
The gamut running from gaming matrix to how many times things happened in three's in the story.
BSI member Bill Cochran was present and as usual gave a very good paper.

Discussed was how much Holmes had planned out the trip that concluded the Final Problem and how much was left to chance.
While first reading FINA we are lead to believe that Holmes' death was just the end result of this continental chase. But after further reading, as suggested by Bill, the entire process was well planned out by Holmes to bring about the result that happened.
I will post Bill's (and the others) paper here once it comes out in the newsletter.

When reading these tales over again for each meeting I always try to spot something that I had not noticed before, something I think could make a good topic of discussion.

There probably is not much that has not been covered in FINA, as would also be the case with the other 59 stories.
But I came across something I had not heard discussed before ( which may just mean I had not come across some one's thoughts on the subject ).
Several paragraphs in, when Holmes is telling Watson about Moriarty this information is given;
'. . . where he set up as an army coach."
We have heard a lot about the papers Moriarty contributed to science. And that he had been a professor of Mathematics at some smaller university.

But I have never read or heard any discussion of him being an army coach.
Now I doubt that that meant we would have seen him coaching the football team at an earlier Army/Navy match.

But I can imagine several teaching positions in the army that would require mathematics skills;
artillery, codes/intelligence, weather, etc.
While the military at this time was not as advanced technically as we are now, mathematics would still have played a large role.
Are connections while teaching for the army how Moriarty and Moran came together?

It was a very good meeting and made me want to go back and read once again FINA.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

'There's something about Mary'- Sherlock, the end.

Well, here we are. After all this waiting and anticipating we have what appears to be the end of 'Sherlock'.
Not Sherlock Holmes, just Sherlock.

For better or worse, there it is.

And over the last week our so we have had a bunch of "Sherlockians" telling us if it was good or bad. Most just stating their own opinion, others telling us we are wrong if we don't agree with them. And if not telling us we are wrong, they at least try to but us in that 'old school' 'closed mind' category of Sherlockian.

We have been told that the key people involved are "Artists". And that 'Sherlock' was art.

Well, like with all art, and many artists (whether other people claim them as such, or it is a self given title) there is good art and bad art and using the often used quote, "Art is in the eye of the beholder."

While not being 'bad' art, it is not museum worthy.

For me 'Sherlock' is a show that did not meet up to its potential, nor do I think it achieved what it set out to do or could possibly have done. (It is not good when before you see they final episode they have to have a piece telling you why it was made the way it was.)

The first year suggested hope and potential, and while there were a few bright spots along the way it never dazzled as it should have. All the makings were there, but the light never came on all the way.
Wonderful actors playing the key roles. Wonderful sets and locations. The budget to go along with it.
Source material with infinite possibilities, and what at first appeared to be writers who loved the source.

As I said way back in 2010 when it all started, Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch are two of the best things to happen to Sherlock Holmes in a very long time. Their talents and skills can not be over looked as very good choices to play Holmes and Watson whether in a modern era of 1895.
They had the theatrical flare to pull off the larger than life characters they were asked to play.
And time after time they did that. But they were never allowed to complete that portrayal throughout the series run, at least not for me.
These remain two of my favorite actors in this day and age and I look forward to seeing their other works.

But when it really comes right down to it we have to decide if these portrayals of Holmes and Watson come close to matching the images we have created in our, using a much over used phrase of late, 'brain attic'.
If we take a still photo of these two actors as Holmes and Watson it is easy to imagine both as those to Canonical individuals.
But once Cumberbatch's Holmes goes into his 'highly functional sociopath' portrayal the bubble bursts for me.

The enjoyment of the Canon for me is the individual cases that Holmes is asked to solve, with just little pieces of back story thrown in to create a bigger image for us over time.

While many of the Canon based cases are mentioned in 'Sherlock' most it seems,  just like 'Elementary' is accused of doing, are thrown in as Canonical bait to keep us biting.

I don't want my Sherlock Holmes to be a murderer or a high functioning sociopath.
I don't want my Mrs. Hudson to be the ex-wife of a drug dealer.
I don't want my Mary Morstan dying in this show just so she can compete with Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible Six or what ever.
I don't want my Mycroft to be as dumb as he turned out to be.
I don't want my Holmes to be related to James Bond.
I don't want my Sherlock Holmes to come from a family more dysfunctional than the Adam's family.

Unfortunately for all that was great, yes I said great, about 'Sherlock', there was just as much that wasn't.

We hardly ever witnessed Sherlock doing good. And, again for me, Canonically Holmes in the end was about doing good.

While we are all left to decide for ourselves what is good art we must also realize that we get to chose who we think good artists are.
And please artist's either use brushes or finger paints, not both.

Why did I title this essay 'There's something about Mary."? Well because I thought she delivered the best line of the whole series, all four years.

I will do my best to quote the whole thing here at the end.

She said;

"A junky who gets high on solving crime.
A doctor who never came home from the war.

Well you listen to me.
Who you are doesn't really matter.
It's all about the legend, the stories, the adventures.
The last refuge for the desperate, the unloved, the persecuted.
There is a final court of appeal for everyone.

When life gets to strange, to impossible, to frightening there is always one last hope.

When all else fails, there are two men sitting arguing in a scruffy flat, like they have always been there and they always will be the best and wisest men I have ever known.

My Baker St. Boys.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson."

This should have been the guide lines for 'Sherlock' all along.
This is the path they should have gone down modern era or not. Using cell phones, the patch and texting.