Every now and then, someone has to adapt a classic. And since 1954, one of those classics that's continually being adapted is that Japanese classic, Seven Samurai. The Magnificent Seven, Battle Beyond the Stars, A Bug's Life . . . you see it across all genres. And now, the classic base plot comes to Sherlockiana.
A village of farmers, just trying to stay alive, recruits the services of seven masterless samurai to combine their skills and make one last stand.
The village: A Sherlockian society called "The Parallel Case of St. Louis." (St. Louis itself is a little large to be called a "village," so we're going with the scion.) The last stand: Well, actually it's a first stand, Saturday, August 11, with activities the Friday before and the Sunday after. And the samurai . . . or should we call them masterless Sherlockurai? Who did the villagers find to play out their plan?
From the wilds of Minnesota, they found Tim Johnson, master curator from what is probably the world's greatest Sherlockian library collection at University of Minnesota.
From Nashville, Tennesse, the Midwest center of civilization and culture, they called out Bill Mason, Sherlockian author and political savant, known to both collaborate and debate with their next pull:
Brad Keefauver. Yeah, the blog guy. Wrote a few books on Sherlock once. Might be a tad 'tetched in the head by now, judging by his surreptitious attempts at podcasting. Also, me.
Their one local Canon-slinger, Mary Schroeder, has been seen much of St. Louis Sherlockiana, and built the St. Louis Sherlockian Research Collection to defend the town against Holmes ignorance.
Ask an old-timer about the man named Bill Cochran, and they'll probably have a story to tell. He's probably delivered as many papers on Sherlock Holmes to his regular gang of Sherlockian masters as anyone alive. Served a tour of duty as the editor of The Baker Street Journal. Travelled across the land bringing Sherlock to the hearts of "221B" listeners with a partner until a while back, but has been a loyal friend to St. Louis for a long, long time.
And, as with any Seven Samurai type of gathering, you have to get one guy from Texas and one young gun. The young gun is Tassy Hayden, doctor, writer, podcaster, and very clever Sherlockian from the up-and-coming. The man from Texas?
That would be Don Hobbs, who was surely only able to pass the world's greatest collection of different language translations of the Sherlock Holmes stories to a university, only because he has an equally great collection of Sherlockian friends and acquaintances around the world. He filmed what was probably the first Sherlockian reality show ever during a 1,895 tour that included Holmes Peak, Watson, Oklahoma, and a remote Sherlockian members-only bar in South Texas. You don't get more interesting, Sherlockianly, than Don.
So that's the seven Sherlockurai. Think the metaphor is a little too violent?
Well, the little village of St. Louis Sherlockians also called in a team called "Black Knights Fighting Group," to put on a display of Baritsu and other Victorian fighting skills.
All of this gathering will result in an event that shall be called "Holmes in the Heartland," St. Louis's latest weekend of Sherlockian wonder, which doesn't have the same name issues as its predecessors "Holmes Under The Arch" (It didn't really take place under the St. Louis Arch.) or "The Game's Afloat" (which was on a floating riverboat for two iterations, but in a non-floating hotel for the third in 1998). This time, Holmes is in the Heartland, and so will be the Seven Sherockurai.
More to come!