Monday, September 1, 2014

The beer company massing of Sherlocks.

Some years are just more educational than others.

Take this year, for instance. The Guinness Book of World Records has been around since a few years before I was born, and one of those things like Ripley's Believe It Or Not! that every kid finds fascinating for a time at some point in their childhood. But back when I was reading it, American adults were drinking Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon, so I had no inkling that the book had it's origins with the managing director of Guinness breweries, even with the similar names.

And it wasn't until this year, when both the beer and the book came up at the same social gathering, that I realized the two were connected.

So when, this week, the record was broken for largest number of people dressed as Sherlock Holmes by over a hundred, I was also surprised to learn that there was a world record for the number of people dressed as Sherlock Holmes at one time.

Ummm . . . hooray?

Once upon a time, it seemed like great fun and cause to celebrate when some ridiculous little accomplishment based around Sherlock Holmes took place. A hill in Texas is officially named after Sherlock Holmes! Yay! The name "Garrideb" appears in a phone book! Hip-hip-hooray! A site with anything at all to do with the Sherlock Holmes stories gets a plaque! Huzzah most huzzah-y!

But those things were back in a day when dedicated Sherlock Holmes fans were few in number, and such victories seemed momentous, relative to the more popular fads of the day. Now, with Sherlock Holmes surfing a world-wide wave unlike any before?

At this moment, I'm a bit old, a bit jaded, and a bit tired and past my bed-time, so I'd most likely be yawning in any case, but my first question has to be "How long has there even been a world record for the most people dressed up like Sherlock Holmes?" Obviously there was at least one recorded before this latest attempt.

The official Guinness World Records site only lists one Sherlock-related record: First actor to play Sherlock Holmes on television. Surely there are others, but I don't know if you have to stop in at their offices, or buy the book (which must be a multi-volume set by now, if they're including such stuff as the number of people dressed up like Sherlock Holmes) to find such things out. Don't think I'm dedicated enough to my Sherlock blogging to do either of those things, but if you feel so motivated, feel free to pass along the information.

Since Guinness was selling well over a million barrels of beer a year by the time Sherlock Holmes was having a beer in such tales as "A Scandal in Bohemia" and "The Blue Carbuncle," he was undoubtedly acquainted with the Guinness name. (And if he wasn't then, his pose as an Irish-American in "His Last Bow" probably did the trick.) But with the "world records" side of things not coming along until the 1950s, his record for being the World's First Consulting Detective probably never got properly recorded.

Sherlock richly deserved that one, so if it's not in the books, I guess we'll just have to take a record for the number of people dressed like him for now in its place.



  1. Brad, this seems a very silly thing to be sad about, seeing as Sherlock Holmes was grotesquely popular following the Strand shorts, widely mourned, greatly rejoiced, made into stage shows, and slapped on cigarette boxes, all long before someone could say, "when dedicated Sherlock Holmes fans were few in number..." like yourself. Unless you're lamenting the pre-SCAN era, back when STUD and SIGN were for the dedicated, you aren't making much sense. :)

    1. I'm not surprised that I wasn't making much sense, Lyndsay -- I shouldn't try to force thoughts out of my brain when I'm sleepy. I think I was trying to express that in 1970, or 1950, I don't think you could have gotten 400 people to put on deerstalkers and gather in one place. Sure, plenty of people liked Sherlock Holmes back then, but at a fandom level? Of course, that perception could be completely wrong, but we live in very different times these days.