In pondering Sherlock Holmes's birthday this week, I went back and looked to what I'd read previously on Sherlock's theater birthday: a play named "Sherlock Holmes," not by William Gillette, but by a man named Charles Rogers, many years before Gillette got to it.
It is well remembered that Gillette asked Doyle's permission and got the response, "You can marry him, or murder him, or do what you like with him!" But Charles Rogers didn't ask for Doyle's permission, and just went ahead and did what he liked with both Sherlock and John.
Watson has been kidnapped by a maniacal killer, and John's wife Amy comes to Sherlock Holmes, who was once in love with Amy and was rejected in favor of the good doctor. Amy and John have a daughter named Lily. Sherlock gets put in prison for murdering Watson at one point. (Spoiler: Watson isn't really dead.) The killer then goes after Amy Watson, as one review advised, "Nervous people should not go to see Sherlock Holmes."
With five acts of melodramatic cliff-hanging, Rogers's play might seem a bit cheesey if we were able to get our hands on a script (which I now dearly want to do), but the descriptions seem to make it look like something that could be adapted easily into a modern pot-boiler of a script for a movie. (Take one hard look at the Downey movies and tell me that they couldn't be easily retro-fitted for the melodrama stage of 1893.)
The play gets largely ignored in favor of Doyle's own attempts to bring Sherlock to the stage and Conan Doyle's, and probably also in part due to the copyright holders on Sherlock wanting nothing to do with it once Holmes was alive again post-Reichenbach, but at this point, I'd think it would definitely be of interest, and maybe a lot of fun.
And it gives us one more birthday to celebrate for Sherlock Holmes: December 15, 1893 . . . the day he might have been born to a theater stage for the first time.