Saturday, March 23, 2024

Holmes, Doyle, & Friends: Nine

Outside of the BSI weekend in New York, I don’t think any. place has hosted many Sherlockian weekends as Dayton, Ohio. Decades and decades of weekends, organized by different generations of hosts and hostesses, have brought Sherlockians to Ohio for both scholarship and fun in about any way you can imagine.

My day began very early, as I wanted to join the latest gathering of the Southern Waffleers

After an hour or so of dealer’s table browsing and socializing, David Harnois began the program with “Setting Up Camp: How I Build A Scene.” Using the classic tent joke for his example, David showed us the layers of building an audio scene in Audacity. I learned a few things for my podcast work, which may or may not be a good thing, depending upon your view of the proliferation of podcasting at this point.

Kira Settingsgard came up next, starting with a disclaimer that her talk titled “We Love Sherlock ... but Would Sherlock Love Us?” would not involve diagnosing anyone in the Canon or not. Would Shelrock Holmes come to Sherlockian events? What were his attachments based on? What were his attachment styles? We soon learn it’s “dismissive or avoidant” . . . and suddenly I’m feeling very called out as we get into what that means. Her analysis of Holmes’s friends is fascinating and shows us just how real Sherlock Holmes was as a character.

I like a talk where I get details of the Canon I had never thought about before, and Kira’s point that both Watson and Victor Trevor bonded with Holmes at a time when they had a dog is very interesting.

A break follows, and time to dash around and see what the other vendors have to offer, which is tricky when you have a dealer’s table to man, which I did this year.

After the break, Texas Sherlockian Tim Kline starts his talk singing, and quickly gets into talking about games and Sherlock Holmes’s appearances in them. Did you know the very first Clue game had Sherlock Holmes’s name on the box? Yes, Doyle’s kids didn’t like that very much and made Parker Brothers take it off. There are more games with Sherlock Holmes on them than you ever imagined, and Tim rolls through more weird and wacky bits about Holmes and games than I can easily mention here. Another great talk -- the variety this year is far-ranging and enjoyable so far.

Madeline Quinones follows time with a history of Sherlockian podcasts -- can you believe we’ve had enough podcasts and time with them passed to have history? Starting with “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere,” the grandpappy of Sherlockian podcasts” (which is a weird thing for me to say for such young show), Madeline walks us through more podcasts than any of us knew existed, and makes me realize that these weekends are going to be more and more a source of learning just all that exists.

That brings us to lunch, and I have to say -- Madeline did a good job of holding my interest and winding up before hunger started distracting me!

After a quick sandwich lunch, more dealing and shopping in the dealer’s room, David Harnois and Mike McSwiggin portrayed Holmes and Watson in a little “playlet” reminiscent of a certain Abbot and Costello routine. A recent Dayton staple, Ira Matetsky, educates and entertains us on Liberty magazine and its time running later Sherlock Holmes stories. A memorable key fact toward Doyle’s motivations for his last run of stories for Liberty -- adjusted for time and inflation, etc., Ira estimates Conan Doyle was making about $85,000 per story.

Ira winds up answering questions and gets in a good ad lib about not getting a spirit connection from Doyle in the next world, which leads well into longtime BSI George Skornickel speaking on Conan Doyle spiritualism.

A break celebrates Bob Sharman’s birthday, which happened to be today, with a cake with his face on it. My particular dealer’s table went into “going out of business” mode, slashing prices to nil, which tends to move some merch. And then it was time for Max Magee to explain to us one path to becoming a Sherlockian. Where do we fit on his Sherlockian version of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? He then illustrates what each step entails, complete with hats. Was Max’s talk so enjoyable for us because he was talking about us? I would not say that was NOT the case.

After Max has explained the levels of Sherlockiana to us, it is only fitting that the last speaker of the day is a top level Sherlockian like Burt Wolder. In lieu of a slide show, Burt gave us all a souvenir card reproducing Conan Doyle’s 1929 drawing “The Old Horse.” Burt’s talk then goes through the various boxes loading the wagon of Doyle’s life in his drawing with well-thought expertise. It’s a novel way to look at Conan Doyle’s time. He brings it back to our own lives in the end. And with that, the program begins to wind to a close.

On to happy hour and banquet time!


  1. It was a fabulous conference. Thanks to all the terrific speakers.

  2. It was a fabulous weekend. Thank you to all who graced us with your presence!