Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sherlock Smackdown: Benedict Cumberbatch versus William Gillette

Benedict Cumberbatch rules! in fact, after season three of Sherlock, he rules so hard that it's time to stop pitting him against Robert Downey Jr. or Jonny Lee Miller, or whatever three-part-name person you want to compare to the six-syllabled name of wonder. Yes, it's time to throw our hero in a virtual time machine and start placing him toe-to-toe against giants of the past. And why not start that fight card with the guy who started big-time Sherlock Holmes acting: William Hooker Gillette.

Benedict Cumberbatch . . . currently at ten episodes with his Holmes (and I count the mini).
William Hooker Gillette . . . finished with two episodes of his Holmes (and he had a mini, too).

Benedict Cumberbatch . . . born and raised in London, England.
William Hooker Gillette . . . born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, U.S. A.

Benedict Cumberbatch . . . on several "Sexiest Man Alive" lists in popular press.
William Hooker Gillette . . . had a castle. Castles, very sexy.

Benedict Cumberbatch . . . started playing Sherlock Holmes at age thirty-four.
William Hooker Gillette . . . started playing Sherlock Holmes at age forty-five.

Benedict Cumberbatch . . . Holmes's non-Canonical gal pal: Molly Hooper, gets a kiss on the cheek.
William Hooker Gillette . . . Holmes's non-Canonical gal pal: Alice Faulkner, gets a hug.

Benedict Cumberbatch . . . Holmes finished up with Moriarty where he and Watson first met.
William Hooker Gillette . . . Holmes finished up with Moriarty in Watson's consulting room.

Benedict Cumberbatch . . . actor playing Mycroft wrote many of his own lines.
William Hooker Gillette . . . actor playing Sherlock wrote many of his own lines.

Benedict Cumberbatch . . . played Sherlock Holmes ten times so far.
William Hooker Gillette . . . played Sherlock Holmes about 1300 times so far.

Benedict Cumberbatch . . . has had his Sherlock marry John Watson in fan fics.
William Hooker Gillette . . . actually asked Conan Doyle for Sherlock's hand in marriage. (Oh, you think "May I marry Holmes?" has a different interpretation?)

Benedict Cumberbatch . . . much sought after for a Baker Street Babes podcast, at which time he'd become an honorary B.S.B.
William Hooker Gillette . . . attended the first meeting of the Baker Street Irregulars of New York, which might make him an honorary B.S.I.

Benedict Cumberbatch . . . photographed for November 2013 Vanity Fair.
William Hooker Gillette . . . drawn in 1907 Vanity Fair, even though they had photography at the time.

Benedict Cumberbatch . . . gets along with his fans. Almost of them are still alive.
William Hooker Gillette . . . berated his opening night audience after the show. No known fans from that show still alive.

Is that enough? Do we need more? To quote Epic Rap Battles of History, "Who won? Who's next? You decide!" 


  1. BC started playing Sherlock when he was 31 or so as the never aired pilot was already filmed in 2008/9.

    1. Does it really matter WHEN? Gillette created the Sherlock Holmes we all recognize,,, the deerstalker hat and caped coat, the curved meerschaum pipe (which he deliberately used so that his mouth could be seen and words understood even with the pipe in his mouth. A. Conan Doyle credited Gillette with enhancing Holmes' image and bring the creativity to the stage.

  2. What a fun battle - hope others give us more. How about their names:

    Benedict Cumberbatch.... Has four names William Sherlock Scott Holmes
    William Hooker Gillette.... Has two names Sherlock Holmes

    Benedict Cumberbatch.... Has four names Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch
    William Hooker Gillette.... Has three names William Hooker Gillette

    I love Gillette but this battle goes to Cumberbatch. Rathbone next?

  3. Given the squealing that goes on whenever Cumberbunny's name is mentioned, perhaps it's more appropriate he should be compared to Bieber or someone of that exalted ilk...

  4. The winner? That's easy. The audience.

  5. Both contributed to Sherlockian paraphernalia:
    Benedict Cumberbatch.... Introduced the Belstaff coat
    William Hooker Gillette....Introduced the curved briar pipe

    1. The Belstaff will never replace the deerstalker and caped hunter coat, and the pipe was not briar but meerschaum.

  6. This post made my heart happy, so happy I posted a link to it on my blog: http://bakerstreetbabble.weebly.com/1/post/2014/02/funny-blog-post-from-sherlock-peoria.html. (Incidentally, I'm from Chillicothe, IL, but have lived in Nashville, TN for the past ten years.) Too bad Gillette isn't able to speak up for himself...

    1. Gillette has already spoken for himself. He performed as Holmes on stage and on film over 1300 times, and collaborated with Conan Doyle as well as Rathbone (the archtypical Holmes to two generations after Gillette retired). I enjoy Robert Downey, Jr, but he will never be remembered as Holmes. Gillette is so strongly connected that his home has a carved sign which has his name and the outline of Sherlock Holmes. I believe that he might have performed on film as Sherlock Holmes on his property if the thought had occurred to him. But he saw Seven Sisters as a place of relaxation, not a place for performing.