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4988Fwd: Sherlockian Asides

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  • Jay Ganguly
    Dec 3, 2015

      Sent from my iPhone

      Begin forwarded message:

      From: BRENDA <agrrtig@...>
      Date: 4 December 2015 02:04:58 IST
      Subject: Sherlockian Asides

      Sherlockian Asides

      “Hang on to Your Hat” --the Oct. 21 issue of Country Life, countrylife.co.uk, features Britain’s most distinctive headgear. Included is the deerstalker, the 2-flapped hat vital to a Victorian gentleman’s country ensemble and invariably associated with Sherlock Holmes-- thanks to Sidney Paget’s illustrations in the Strand and which first appeared in BOSC in 1891.  Other chapeaux with which Holmes may have been familiar: a smoking hat and an opera hat (collapsible so as to be easily stowed ‘neath a theatre seat).

      Holmes’s long shadow appears The Legendary Detective: the Private Eye in Fact and Fiction by John Walton (reviewed by Michael Dirda in the Wall Street Journal, Sat.-Sun. Nov. 21-22.). It’s a new book about America’s detective agencies, fiction, and short stories wrought from true crime, labor unions, and corruption, thick with dense vocabulary.  It all began with the Pinkerton Private Detective agency, founded by Allan Pinkerton in 1850. Another was the William Burns Detective Agency which took on America’s first war on domestic terror--anarchists and bombings that were incident to labor riots and the Red Scare. Conan Doyle called Burns the American Sherlock Holmes, Burns having won acclaim for his investigative successes. 
      Another Pinkerton detective was James McPartland whose undercover investigation of the Irish miners/Mollie Maguires inspired Conan Doyle’s Valley of Fear.  Years ago, Chicago’s antiquarian book dealer and Sherlockian scholar Tom Joyce, BSI “A Yellow-Backed Novel,” presented an unforgettable presentation of the Mollie Maguires and the Pinkerton infiltration of the Irish miners in Pennsylvania’s coal fields.

      David Acord’s Success Secrets of Sherlock Holmes may be preparatory to presidential campaigning. Donald Trump is described as an exceptional, striving personality, much like Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes:  “Winners always seek tougher challenges and hunger for new opportunities.” Conan Doyle was “an intellectual genius” who gave up a somewhat comfortable medical practice for the chancy promise of a writing career. 

      For serious Sherlockian scriveners:
      The British Crime Historians Symposium, to be held Oct. 7-8, 2016 at the University of Edinburgh, Conan Doyle’s alma mater,  has issued a call for papers.  The Symposium meets as a forum for discussion and debate on all aspects of the history of crime, law, justice, policing, punishment and social regulation. Proposals to BCH5@... by March 31, 2016. At the last symposium, one of the presentations was “Elementary, My Dear Wilton – Will the Real Dr. Watson Please Stand Up? An investigation into the literary origins of Sherlock Holmes’ biographer,” by David Cox.

      The Return of the Beast -- the copyright
      A Santa Fe question: Who Owns Sherlock Holmes?
      In a Nov. 22 article by Howard Houghton, www.santafenewmexican.com, the Santa Fe News took on that festering copyright issue which locus is now centered in Santa Fe. 
      Santa Fe is where Mitch Cullin, author of A Slight Trick of the Mind, was born. He was a neighbor of illustrious, elderly Sherlockian John Bennett Shaw. It is where Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. (note: this is a corporate entity and no longer an “estate” per se) representative Jon Lellenberg, BSI, “Rodger Prescott of Evil Memory,” now resides.  Remarkably, Santa Fe is also about 50 miles from the town of  Moriarty, New Mexico-- founded in the 1870s by an Irish expat farmer and where one Dr. Wiggins practiced medicine. 
      When Cullin began writing his novel about elderly Sherlock Holmes, he did not anticipate the legal battles to be waged over Conan Doyle’s legacy. Like Odysseus, he has faced a remarkable struggle. 15 years after the publication of A Slight Trick of the Mind, it became Hollywood movie, “Mr. Holmes” --whetting the appetite and a copyright infringement suit.  
      CDE representative and shareholder Jon Lellenberg has himself written or edited numerous Sherlockian books, some less stellar and pastiche-purposed and others quality contributions to Sherlockian literature and history. He is currently working on a multi-volume BSI history.  
      Mitch Cullin is writing a book about his experiences with the copyright odyssey. Nonfiction? roman a clef? From the Santa Fe article, it can be presumed that among the iterations will be the control of the Conan Doyle Estate and Jon Lellenberg over the use of the Sherlock Holmes character in writings, films, exhibits and merchandise. Some have cooperated, while others challenged the extent to which Sherlock Holmes belongs to the “Estate.” 
      “Mr. Holmes ended a 16-week run in the U.S. with a reported $17.7 million gross-- merely o.k.for a movie that catered to an older audience. U.K. box office added another $8.4 million. Mind, these are not huge gross figures. Often good or “artistic” movies don’t return a large gross. query:  How much did the movie cost, including advertising and movie-star fees to Laura Linney and Ian McKellen, and what was left for the disciples?

      No Infringement nor challenge to Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury). In the 1984 season 1 opener of Murder She Wrote, Jessica attends a costume party in “The Murder of Sherlock Holmes” and finds herself involved in a real-life Holmesian mystery. Some great bygone costars:  Arthur Hill, Brian Keith, Ned Beatty, Bert Convy, Herb Edelman, Raymond St. Jacques and Peter Boyle.

      Standing on the Terrace:  
      Keith Michell has died, age 88.  He was an unforgettable Henry VIII and also played Sherlock Holmes in the 1979 “Crucifer of Blood” (a version of SIGN) at London’s Haymarket Theater, minus the avoirdupois of le roi Tudor. The 70s was a period during which Sherlock Holmes was in flower upon the British stage. read: The Villainous Stage by Marvin Lachman. The movies and BBC have conformed Sherlock Holmes’s legacy into the 21st century. 

      Death and another Sherlockian dose of estate poison--
      No copyright issues and no divvying-up issues with estates other than her own, Grace Aidiniantz, founder of the Sherlock Holmes Museum, died Dec. 1 “of a broken heart” amid a long-running, poisonous feud--involving her children over millions in sales. In 1990, Mrs Aidiniantz, then 88, sold her home to buy 221B Baker Street--how about that for a grey-haired entrepreneur?  Result of the estate battles?  “The wheel that squeaks the loudest gets the most oil.”

      Fare thee well:
      In their Sherlockian e-times, www.sherlock-holmes.com, Joel and Carolyn Senter mark the retirement of legendary Sherlockian/Torist International Steward Don Izban. Dec. 27 will be his final meeting. Don leaves this lyrical message:
      It was just one of those things,
      Just one of the Canon's flings,
      One of the TORIST ring-a-ding dings,
      Just one of those things.
      It's been a pers'nal delight,
      Quite a Sherlockian flight,
      A worthwhile soar on the Master's wings,
      Just one of those things.
      If I thought of it,
      'Bout my end to it,
      When I began Sherlocking around,
      I'd have been aware,
      My TORIST affair,
      Would someday surely shut down.
      So goodbye, folks and amen -
      I'll not run our meetings again,
      It was great fun,
      But it was just one of those things.

      Donald B. Izban, BSI, “Market Street”
      with thanx (and, perhaps, apologies) to Cole Porter
      (Meanwhile, along with Don’s Cole Porter refrain, your Faithful Correspondent is listening to Robert Goulet’s glorious “If Ever I Could Leave You.”                                                                      Recall if you will, in Saturday Night Live, Will Farrell playing Robert Goulet playing Sherlock Holmes.)

      Calendar of Sherlockian Jaunts

      From Oct. 23, The traveling exhibition of Sherlock Holmes has moved to Denver CO.  Highly recommended:  sherlockholmesexhibition.com.
      Dec 9 - Jan 3, 2016-- “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose” in return engagement at Chicago’s Raven Theatre. An hour-long comedy-mystery follows the Holmes and Watson as they track down a mystery in Yuletide London. 
      Jan 7 - Feb 25, 2016--”The Improvised Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson” at Chicago’s Under The Gun Theater, www.undertheguntheater.co. Improvisation, my dear Watson!  The world's most brilliant detective solves cryptic puzzles and villainous crimes proposed by the audience.  
      Jan. 20-March 20, 2016. “The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes” at Chicago’s Mercury Theater, mercurytheaterchicago.com/sherlock.html. A musical by John Reeger and the late Julie Shannon about Holmes post-Reichenbach.

      Criterion Bar Association dinner meetings: 
      Sat. Jan. 9, 2016, 6 pm, Dr. Franklin Saksena will speak at the Criterion Bar dinner meeting on “Victorian Medicine--Not all Brandy.”  As had his predecessor doctors, Freud, Conan Doyle, and Watson, Dr. Saksena will invoke the medical discipline of 1895--where even though disease could not always be directly observed, it could be interpreted on the basis of medical clues. 
      reading recommendations on Victorian medicine:
      An Illustrated Treatise on the Principles and Practice of Nineteenth-Century Surgery, by medical historian Dr. Richard Barnett, titillating with gruesome yet fascinating illustrations and paintings of surgical techniques and instruments from rare,19th-century textbooks.
      Medical London: City of Diseases, City of Cures, Barnett’s first book (2008) on the role of disease and treatment in London.
      The Sick Rose, Dr. Barnett’s 2014 book: medicine in London from its beginnings and its roles in contagion, sanitation, homeopaths, naval surgeons, chemists, druggists, wealth and poverty, empire and immigration. 
      A Doctor Enjoys Sherlock Holmes by Dr. Edward J. Van Liere (1959). Essays on medical topics: " 'Brain fever' and Sherlock Holmes." "Doctor Watson, Cardiologist." "Sherlock Holmes, The Chemist," "Genetics and Sherlock Holmes," and "The Therapeutic Doctor Watson." One of the essays is “Doctor Watson’s Universal Specific”-- the Therapeutic Brandy Flask! “ "... with the aid of ammonia and brandy, I had the satisfaction of seeing him open his eyes." Greek Interpreter. Also these essays: "Dogs and Sherlock Holmes" and "Doctor Watson and the Weather." available for reading online or download at: hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015046792662.

      ---March 19, 2016, “Sherlock Holmes and his Music” presented by Your Faithful Correspondent; musical moments will include a version of Benedict Cumberbatch playing the Stradivarius in the manner and habit of Sherlock Holmes in the Cardboard Box. One of Benedict’s violins is actually Chinese and on loan from Cardiff Violins. cardiffviolins.co.uk. (The shop’s website contains a testimonial from Mr. John H. Watson thanking the staff for its patience with his friend: “He would thank you himself; only, well Sherlock doesn’t really do that sort of thing ...” www.johnwatsonblog.co.uk). 
      Violinist Barry Stohl will play selections from August’s BBC Proms in London, with themes from 1942’s “Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror,” 1985’s “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, “The Mycroft Suite,” two Lassus motets (upon which Holmes wrote a monograph) and a movement of Paganini’s second violin concerto. This will be Barry’s second venture-- the first being Dr. Watson’s wedding music for Monica Schmidt’s wedding.

      ---May 14, 2016,  Monica “Younger Stamford” Schmidt presents the “DSM-5 and a Canonical Analysis of Sherlock Holmes's Cocaine Use.” The DSM is a diagnostic manual used in the U.S. by criminal defense lawyers, inter alia, in preparation for a defense of mental illness. 

      Until April 16, 2016, Museum of London Exhibition: “Crime Museum Uncovered:  Inside Scotland Yard’s Special Collection”; includes weapons, forgery implements, books and lectures. museumoflondon.org.uk.  

      The Norwegian Explorers 2016 Tri-Annual Conference: “The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes.” June 17 - June 19, 2016; The Commons Hotel, Minneapolis, MN.  www.norwegianexplorers.org.

      The BeeSpeckled Band, Tues. Jan. 5, 7:15 p.m., “The Final Problem,” at the Highwood (IL) Library, discussion leader Ernest Giarelli.
      Devon Street Beggars, Wed. Jan. 6. 6 p.m., “The Final Problem,” at the Edgebrook Library, Chicago. ancillary query for the group:  Why do you think the actors who portray Holmes come from wealthy backgrounds? 

      Your Faithful Sherlockian Correspondent,

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