With the passing of Sir Roger Moore, the longtime Sherlockian can't help but think back to the year 1976 and sitting in front of the TV watching the Saturday night premiere of the movie Sherlock Holmes in New York. Fresh off his first two James Bond movies, Moore was well into becoming the James Bond to the post-Beatles generation, and seeing the suave and handsome actor on the small screen as Sherlock Holmes, many a Sherlockian had exactly the same thought:
That guy is just too good looking to be Sherlock Holmes.
Basil Rathbone. Peter Cushing. Those were the sort of guys who played Sherlock Holmes. Not that they weren't handsome in their own right, but they had that certain professorial look of intellect that one looked for in a Sherlock Holmes back then.
Roger Moore even seemed a bit young for Sherlock Holmes and he was all of forty-nine years old at the time. Those were such different times.
One could even argue that Roger Moore's Holmes was the most virile Sherlock ever, because how many other Sherlocks had a son appearing in the very mystery they were solving? There was actual evidence that this Sherlock Holmes had engaged in sex! If ever Watson had cause to be astounded in 1976, there was a fact to gawk in amazement at!
Irene Adler was, of course, involved. It was still, like I said, 1976 after all. And oh, how we liked our Irene back then. No Mary Russell. No Johnlock. And I hadn't even started championing Maud Bellamy as the greatest target of Holmes's affections. Irene was the Sherlockian "it" girl of 1976.
Roger Moore probably also had the greatest sideburns of any non-disguise Sherlock Holmes in history.
There's probably no Sherlockian who will include Roger Moore in their top ten portrayals of Sherlock Holmes without a heavy dose of nostalgia or having seen Sherlock Holmes in New York just as their adolescent hormones kicked in hard, but in 1976, seeing Holmes, Watson, Irene Adler, and Professor Moriarty all in a movie where Sherlock Holmes wasn't a wimpy drug addict? (Yes, I'm looking right at you, Seven-Per-Cent Solution. And what's with hyphenating "per-cent," anyway?)
Well, watching Roger Moore as Sherlock Holmes was a fine way to spend a Saturday night.
Even if he was way too pretty.