It was kind of a big deal when Kareem Abdul Jabbar co-wrote a book featuring Mycroft Holmes, revealed a love of Sherlock Holmes, and appeared at the annual Sherlock Holmes Birthday Weekend in New York. Bigger to some than others, of course, as some of us could give a flying fig about basketball. What was a much bigger deal to me, personally, was when I first saw Curtis Armstrong in the lobby of the host hotel for a Sherlock Holmes conference in Minneapolis, and Don Hobbs said, "Let's go say 'hi' to Curtis."
Over the course of that weekend, I quickly came to realize that an actor I'd been mentally tracking in movies and TV shows since he first went from Revenge of the Nerds to Moonlighting was an honest-to-God lifelong Sherlockian as much as you or I. The kind of person who thought of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes as a favorite Holmes movie. The kind of person to whom acquiring a copy of the Baring-Gould Annotated Sherlock Holmes was a life-changing event.
Those touch-stones may not be the Sherlockian keys to everyone, as every generation has their own. But when you hear certain experiences being shared, you always know one of your own.
Soon after I had the chance to talk with Curtis this past weekend at 221B Con, I had to admit to him that I was mentally separating the actor from the Sherlockian just to keep my cool. I'm from Peoria -- we don't get many folks from the big or small screen walking into our world, so it's a little too exciting sometimes. Sherlockians, however, are people I get somewhat excited about every single day, rare and special folk that they are, and am quite accustomed to dealing with through that little thrill. So Curtis Armstrong, the Sherlockian who'd been in Susan Rice's Michigan scion society in his youth, was not just in my wheelhouse, he's a guy you'd hang out with at a con even if he was an accountant. (Even one named Herbert Viola.)
If you'd like to get a feel for the guy you'd meet at a Sherlockian weekend like 221B Con, take a listen to Geek Versus Week 's episode #127 -- an interview with Curtis at 221B Con. Late in the interview he addresses the difference between Sherlockians of our generation and older who enjoy the new fan-ways, and those who find the newer, more nerd-culture ways of doing Sherlockiana too much change to tolerate. Curtis expresses it much better than I can, being, quite naturally, a talented speaker and not having picked up that bit of bitterness that assails me on occasion.
So, in celebration of that particular Sherlockian of note -- one of many I got to see this weekend -- I decided to watch his favorite episode of Supernatural tonight, as I'd only made it through the earlier part of that season. The parts Curtis is in could stand alone, most of the episode, really, as a great little two-man show about God writing his memoirs as Metatron critiques. (Season 11, episode 20, "Don't Call Me Shurley" -- on Netflix as we speak). Very good stuff.
Plainly, I'm still winding down from this weekend, even on Thursday night after a day back at the salt mines of system configuration. And not minding those after-effects at all.