Tonight some local Sherlockian friends and I did a little viewing of a couple of old black and white Holmes productions (via Zoom) of course, the most fascinating of which was a little number from the 1949 TV series Your Show Time. It was the first TV series ever to win an Emmy, and it adapted many a short story by many a famous author. The host, called simply "the Bookman," was supposedly a little bookshop owner who not only introduced the tale, but would also occasionally jump in during the story to build suspense, a bit like Professor Everett Von Scott in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Since the show was sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes, he smoked like a chimney, and his teeth were definitely from a time before bright, well-ordered smiles were de rigueur for television.
The story presented was "The Speckled Band," and the first thing one notices is the star -- Alan Napier, the Alfred from 1960s Batman as Sherlock Holmes. But did you ever notice the other appearance from that same future Batman series? It's Shakespeare!
The horny monkey of Stoke Moran sees Einstein Watson as their true love, and if you think that's not enough inspiration for me to write another "Ho Ho Holmes!" tale to send to Paul Thomas Miller, you don't know how easily I'm story-triggered this month.
Old adaptations are probably most delightful in the weird little choices mad in changing the story, and there's a whole subplot with Helen's fiance John Armitage that gets ridiculously out of hand, and why he doesn't have Holmes and Watson arrested when it's all over, I'll never know.
But it made for a pleasant evening. (Somehow we squeeze two twenty-something minute films into two and a half hours of conversation.)