News and information about Sherlock Holmes in popular culture in one convenient site and podcast.
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Here's What the Ideal Sherlock Holmes Looks Like
"Sherlock Holmes was transformed" [BOSC]
We all have an idealized image of Sherlock Holmes in our minds. Whether we were first introduced to the physical appearance of Sherlock Holmes as portrayed by Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, William Gillette, Jeremy Brett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Frederic Dorr Steele or Sidney Paget - or perhaps a version of our own imagination if we first read the Canon in a text-only format - each of us pictures Holmes in our own unique way when we read.
It was a surprise to us then, when we happened upon the image above that's the result of MorphThing.com - a site that combines two images into one. We thought the face looked oddly familiar - we could see some definite features of certain actors that have played Sherlock Holmes - but not quite on the mark of any single one.
In this case, we discovered the process must have been performed twice, as we were told that the image is the result of combining Robert Downey, Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone. It certainly makes for a pretty Sherlock Holmes.
Now all we need is another tool that takes the best part of each of their characterization of Holmes and combines that into one actor...
UPDATE (March 1, 2014):
Dean Brown created an even better one, sourced from eight actors (Vasily Livanov, Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Brett, Ronald Howard, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jonny Lee Miller, Basil Rathbone, Douglas Wilmer) and has shown the metamorphosis.
Image credit: Doug Palmer (Sherlock Holmes Community on Google+)
Diogenes Club Rules
"the strict rules of your order" [VALL]
We all know that Mycroft was a member of the Diogenes Club. Watson is exposed to it in "The Greek Interpreter."
"The Diogenes Club is the queerest club in London, and Mycroft, one of the queerest men. He's always there from a quarter to five till twenty to eight. It's six now, so if you care for a stroll this beautiful evening I shall be very happy to introduce you to two curiosities."As you can see, the institution has some fairly strict guidelines. When we stopped to think about it one day, it seemed reminiscent of the rules laid out in the movie Fight Club. We then set out to write up the official rules of the Diogenes Club, in accordance with Fight Club.
"I cannot recall the name."
"Very likely not. There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and the latest periodicals. It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubbable men in town. No member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Strangers' Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, permitted, and three offences, if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable to expulsion. My brother was one of the founders, and I have myself found it a very soothing atmosphere."
1st RULE: You do not talk in the Diogenes Club.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk in the Diogenes Club.
3rd RULE: If someone speaks outside of the Strangers' Room, three times, he will be expelled.
4th RULE: Only one guy to a nook.
5th RULE: One paper at a time.
6th RULE: Shirts and shoes.
7th RULE: Unclubbability will go on as long as it has to.
8th RULE: If this is your first night at the Diogenes Club, you have to be unclubbable.
Remembering Joe Moran, BSI
"this good gentleman" [NOBL]
Joseph W. Moran, BSI ("Sir Augustus Moran, C.B.") died on February 18, 2014 at the age of 86. He was born in Cleveland, graduated from Yale in 1949 and worked for 43 years for NY Life Insurance Company as an actuary. Joe had 3 children, and one became an active Sherlockian -- Kathy, who is a member of The Norwegian Explorers.
At about 10 years old when Joe was supposed to be getting ready for bed, he was instead listening from the top of the stairs to the Holmes radio broadcasts that his dad had on the radio. The first Holmes story he read was "The Empty House" since it featured a Moran and he remembered that in junior high he did a book report on "Silver Blaze" -- and got a good grade.
Reading the Canon then took a long hiatus, but Joe got back into it when he booked a tour to London in the 1970s and stayed at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel. He decided to buy the complete works to read on the plane. A few years later he visited his college roommate, who was a member of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London, and Joe was encouraged to join.
His Sherlockian involvement became serious in the early 1980s when he attended the first Autumn in Baker Street weekend. He never missed another one. Joe joined and actively participated in all the local scions -- The Three Garridebs, the Montague Street Lodgers, Mrs. Hudson's Cliffdwellers, The Epilogues of Sherlock Holmes, The Priory Scholars, etc.. At these meetings, Joe was always ready to discuss the rehabilitation and reputation of the much defamed Col. Sebastian Moran, who he believed was an "honorable soldier." He worked for 30 years on an unpublished treatise on the subject.
He ran The Priory Scholars jointly for some years and was also their quizmaster. One of the highlights of Joe's early involvement was meeting Jeremy Brett at a Priory Scholars meeting. Brett was on tour promoting the Granada TV series and was invested in the scion at that meeting.
Joe attended his first BSI weekend in the early 1980s and wandered into the Algonquin Hotel where he was greeted by Tom Stix, who asked him to join him for breakfast the next morning. John Bennett Shaw was also at the breakfast table and Joe was delighted that he got to listen to CBS news interviewing Shaw right then and there.
One of Joe's favorite Sherlockian adventures -- and there were many -- was the Reichenbach Centennial in 1991 in Switzerland with 120 people dressing in costume for 9 days. He tells the story of the reenactment at Reichenbach Falls. The dummies were on bungee cords and the first time they went over the Falls they landed upright, so they had to be hauled back up to try again.
Joe was a member of The Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes and took the name "An Honourable Soldier." He has been published in many Sherlockian periodicals, including The Baker Street Journal, The Sherlock Holmes Journal, The Serpentine Muse, and Prescott's Press.
In 2000, he won the Marlene Aig-Patricia Moran Award for Sherlockian Scholarship and Good Comradeship given by The Montague Street Lodgers. The Three Garridebs awarded him the Georgia Amick Award for best scholarly presentation in both 1994 and 1997, the Two Shilling Award in 1998, the Prescott Prize in 2004, and the William P. Schweickert Award in 2007.
Joe may be the only Sherlockian who, on the night he received his investiture, had his suitcase stolen from the car with his new investiture in it. Joe was invested into the Baker Street Irregulars in 1991 as "Sir Augustus Moran, C.B."
Joe and his trademark deerstalker cap will be missed at all Sherlockian events, but especially those in the New York metropolitan area.
Joe's memorial service has been set for Saturday, March 1st at 11:00 a.m. at the Larchmont Avenue Church, 60 Forest Park Road, corner of Larchmont and Forest Park
A reception at the church will follow.
If you would like to send a letter of condolence there are two addresses:
The Moran Family
636 Ethan Allen Hwy.
Ridgefield, CT 06877
2200 Bryant Ave. S., Apt. 101
Minneapolis, MN 55405
If you would like to make a donation as a memorial to Joe, his family suggests The Beacon Society to bring Sherlock Holmes to young people. Donations may be made online (at the website) via PayPal, or checks in any amount made payable to The Beacon Society and sent to:
The Beacon Society
6409 Terese Terrace
Jamesville NY 13093
What Would a Sherlock Holmes Theme Park Look Like?
"Holmes clapped his hands with amusement" [MAZA]
We were as shocked as you when the news broke that there are plans afoot to create a 25m Sherlock Holmes theme park. That it is planned for Portsmouth, not London, makes sense to those who are aware of the connection between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the town, as well as that the considerable collection of noted Holmesian and Doylean scholar Richard Lancelyn Green resides at the Portsmouth Library.
Evidently, the new theme park will house the collection and will also contain a world-class multimedia experience as part of it. You'll also be able to see recreations of Baker Street scenes, Holmes's life and even holograms of characters.
As fascinating as this sounds, we wondered what would happen if we put a more Disney-like approach together, where we could envision rides, attractions and other thematic creations that brought the Canon to life. What might they look like?
Inspired by fellow Sherlockians on Facebook, we began to put together some initial thoughts:
- The Mycroft Holmes All-You-Can-Eat Buffet
- The Diogenes Club, where you can escape from the screaming children
- Flume ride that takes you down the Reichenbach Falls
- Race hansom cabs against other guests
- Goose (turkey?) legs with embedded carbuncles
But we think this would be much more enjoyable if we got your input. What kids of rides and attractions could you imagine at such a theme park? Tell us in a comment below.
Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein's Daughter
"I guess you are the daughter" [STUD]
Do you ever read a book that makes you want to read more? I don't mean like the way you can only eat just one potato chip, or the way a book leaves you with a cliffhanger so you can't wait for the next in the series to come out. When I finished reading Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery ofEinstein's Daughter
, by Tim Symond, I found that it had sparked a desire to read more about Einstein and to go back and reread the cannon.
I mentioned before
that I have this (questionably) bad habit of buying more books than I can read. One such book was the biography of Albert Einstein by Walter Isaacson
. It has sat on my book self staring at me in accusation for well over five years. (I don't guilt easily.) I had an increased urge to finally read Einstein
after reading this latest pastiche because, as the title suggests, Einstein's real life (and a rather mysterious part of it) is a key plot point in the story.
Einstein and his first wife, who was a brilliant mathematician in her own right, had a child out of wedlock. Nothing is known about that child and what ever became of her. It's a mystery that (apparently) still baffles many modern day historians. But would it baffle the great Sherlock Holmes?
Additionally I wanted to go back and reread the Canon because I realized I've read so many pastiches that the Canonical facts were starting to get blurry from the pastiche versions. Doyle often made references to previous stories by having Watson mention old cases in his writing. This is a very popular practice among pastiche writers. It's a way for writers to contextually place their stories in the Sherlock world, but it's also a way (and I think it's the real reason most writers do it) to wink knowingly at the Sherlockian scholars among the readers. Symonds also does this but he also puts a reference guide in the back for the stories that he references (seven, in case you were wondering), and I found this very helpful.
Tim Symond has written several Sherlock Holmes pastiches, but I wasn't aware of them until he reached out to us late last year. The fist thing that struck me about his work was how well researched it is. The details of both the regions they travel, and the political climate are very vivid.
In this story, a much older Holmes and Watson decide to travel back to Reichenbach Falls (why and how Watson gets Holmes to go is pretty entertaining). In order to travel safely, they are forced to contrive an elaborate scheme to avoid the pursuits and vengeance of Professor Moriarty's henchman, Colonel Sebastian Moran. Upon their arrival, they are asked to investigate the past of Albert Einstein, by the Dean of a Swiss university, as a kind of background check before they admit the promising physicist into their school. The investigation takes them all across Eastern Europe and into some very interesting settings and situations.
This pastiche is told from a stronger Watson viewpoint than most Sherlock Holmes stories are. I liked the strong portrayal of Watson but personally felt like Holmes was almost a supporting cast member instead of a lead or co-lead. Also, without giving anything away, there are several character conflicts you expect to encounter in the book, based on the setup, that don't happen. They seem to be setup to happen in later books (?) or maybe this is a theme carried over from Symond's previous books, I'm not sure, but I found this just a little frustrating. (BTW I don't think being frustrated by a book's ending is necessarily a bad thing, the author should finish the story the way he intended to tell it, not the way the reader expects it to happen.)