Holmes on Radio, Stage and Screen
Anthony Boucher, the pseudonym of William Anthony Parker White, is noted as both a writer and a critic in the fields of both science fiction and mystery fiction. A founding member of the Mystery Writers of America organization, Boucher included among his interests the writing of radio plays. He wrote a series of these in the mid to late 1940s for the Canadian Broadcasting Service, including (with Denis Green) a number of Sherlock Holmes radio plays.
The actor William Gillette first performed The Painful Predicament of Sherlock Holmes in London in the year 1905. His subsequent portrayals of Sherlock Holmes made him a part of the early Holmes iconography. Perhaps of equal importance, he served as the model for the artist Frederic Dorr Steele's printed illustrations of the detective.
Michael and Mollie Hardwick, both writing separately and in collaboration, have been prolific in a number of fields, he as a journalist, free-lance author and playwright, and (jointly) a writer on Sherlock Holmes, she as a writer for the BBC, playwright, and author of historical and detective fiction. Among their better known joint efforts are the novelizations of the BBC series Upstairs, Downstairs and The Duchess of Duke Street. These four plays are dramatizations from Conan Doyle's "The Blue Carbuncle," "The Mazarin Stone," "Charles Augustus Milverton," and "The Speckled Band." They were derived from the author's radio adaptations.
The filmography of Sherlock Holmes is extensive, beginning with American one-reel films in 1903, and includes continental, British and American work. Both William Gillette and John Barrymore contributed to this era. Gillette performed on film, and his stage play Sherlock Holmes was adapted for film starring John Barrymore and Roland Young.
The now famous pair of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce first appeared as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in this 1939 film version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. The film added another important element to the growing iconography of Holmes and Watson. The two had now been continously before the public for over half a century and had achieved the type of instant recognition in popular culture which few fictional characters ever obtain.
After the success of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Twentieth Century-Fox rapidly released The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, again starring Rathbone and Bruce. Director Alfred Werker made full use of the now nostalgic Victorian period setting for the film.
In an effort to make the Granada Television series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes as authentic as possible, the compilers of this guide used the original fifty-six stories and four novels to compile character traits, descriptions of persons and places, and other details which might be of use to both the actors and production team. While eminently useful in the production of a television series which will be watched by millions of Holmes aficionados, it also serves to provide almost a full century of continuity from late nineteenth-century fiction, through various media, to late twentieth-century television.
Bloomington by Gaslight: