Monday, September 28, 2015

Maximum Hudson.

Over the years we've seen a lot of characters come along that claimed a bloodline going back to one Canonical figure or another. Somehow they all turn out to be detectives, just like the most famous person in all of their ancestor's lives. But this month I've stumbled across one who went a different route.

His name is Max Hudson and he's the Director of Computer Operations at a cell phone company you probably hadn't heard of, working on an artificial intelligence in his spare time.

Max Hudson figures into a mystery, yes, but more as suspect than detective. I came across him when I was asked to portray him in the particular mystery he was involved in this Saturday night, and as a Sherlockian, when I saw the last name, I just had to look into his ancestry. And, of course, there it was, just as plain as if I'd found it on, his great-great-great-grandparents, the eventually estranged Tut and Martha Hudson.

Sherlock Holmes first encountered Tut Hudson in his college days, recorded in "The Gloria Scott," as the latter came calling on Holmes's host, Victor Trevor senior.

"Why dear me, it is surely Hudson," Trevor said upon seeing his surprise visitor.

"Hudson it is, sir," the old acquaintance replied.

"Tut, you will find I have not forgotten old times," Trevor then said warmly, showing he truly remembered Tut Hudson by calling him by his first name.

While it's true that Trevor and Hudson didn't exactly part on such friendly terms, Tut Hudson was not a man without his charms. That much is evidenced in his wooing and wedding of Martha Turner Hudson, whom family legend says Tut charmed with his stories of being cast away on a floating piece of wreckage, much like a better-off Leonardo DiCaprio from the movie Titanic. (Tut, of course, did not reference the Titanic in his wooing of Miss Turner, as both the shipwreck and the motion picture occurred much later. Still, his survival at sea, lost and alone, made for a most romantic tale with the ladies.)

In fact, Hudson family legend also credits Tut, and not the reputed Stamford, with bringing Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson together at 221B Baker Street. Following the events at Donnithorpe, which led to the death of the father of Sherlock's only college friend, the soon-to-be detective actually spent much of his spare time trying to track Tut Hudson, to get a full picture of what happened and help his friend find peace. That trail eventually led to Hudson's estranged wife Martha, who had managed what money Tut had send her during his flush times into ownership of a house on Baker Street -- a house with a flat for rent.

Of course, the family tales I've picked up from my encounter with Max Hudson did not end there.

While Max's great-great-great-grandfather was credited with causing Sherlock Holmes to settle at 221B with Dr. Watson and Max's great-great-great-grandmother as his landlady, Max's great-great-grandfather never had anything good to say about Sherlock Holmes. And not because of anything to do with Tut, even though Watson's publication of a tale seeming to call his father a drunken blackmailer did not help matters any.

No, as many a Sherlockian has surmised, Martha Hudson often thought of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as adopted sons, which was perfectly fine with everyone . . . everyone but her real son, Mr. Morse Hudson of Kennington Road. Watson describes Morse Hudson as red-faced and "peppery" like that was his constant state, and not just that during an encounter with his rival for his mother's attentions. One can almost hear Mrs. Hudson's ongoing talk of her prize tenant:

"Oh, and Mr. Holmes has the best WAX bust of himself he got from Madame Tussaud, not like those plaster busts your Italians make -- a REAL bust . . ."

Morse Hudson is very unhappy during his dealings with Sherlock Holmes, and Holmes himself is quick to get out of Morse's place, telling Watson, "Well, that's all we could reasonably expect to get from Morse Hudson!"

Sherlock Holmes and the male side of the Hudson bloodline just never quite got along. And so it seems to be with their most recent scion, Max Hudson, who is basing his artificial intelligence on the mind of a travel agency owner and not an obvious model like Sherlock Holmes. He also refuses to watch the CBS show, Elementary, but then, I guess that's understandable. (He was watching The 100 when I contacted him, for some odd reason.)

But Max Hudson is a Hudson, through and through, which is why you probably don't want to ever go to brunch with him. He seems to think breakfast haggis is a thing.

Just like his great-great-great-grandma.

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