Our members, Ariana Maher and Ron Lies and our observer, Barbara Piper, in recent posts bring to the discussion thoughts on the contemporaneity of John Watson and Sherlock Holmes as a result of several immensely popular cable TV portrayals. Indeed, interest in Sherlock Holmes and John Watson has never been so great in the long history of the Sherlockian milieu.
Without focusing on “elitism” of the “Traditionalists” or “expansionism” of the “Fandom” devotees, what are your thoughts on this massive revival of the Canon in contemporary time and settings?
As background, many of us can recall how the Jeremy Brett series on TV created both excitement and reservations, yet the series was relatively true to the text and the times and now seems almost “traditional.”
Of recent interest in the international news are reports of the huge interest in Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson that is sweeping China. Imagine a new cadre of Sherlockians and Watsonians numbering in the potentially millions and all under the age of twenty-five!
The question becomes: How does the Canon gain or lose by its progression in time and contemporaneity?
Ron Lies, our always thoughtful and interesting member from Denver, sent this observation along. It has components pertinent to recent discussions in the Sherlockian/Watsonian world and, therefore, deserves as wide an audience as possible. Feel free to comment, and thank you “Chips”.
Recently, there have been exchanges online about who is a Sherlockian. We have always had a healthy exchange of different ideas. This discussion question has brought out responses that have caused hard feelings among some Sherlockians. This concerns me and I would like to share some thoughts I have about the Grand Game we play.
I was fortunate to meet and know John Bennett Shaw, who had the largest individual Sherlockian collection in the United States and was one of the kindest, most decent human beings I ever had the pleasure to know. In my too few visits by letter and in person, we discussed all things Sherlockian. The following points are concepts I took away from my conversations with John Bennett Shaw. I try to base my Sherlockian actions on these points:
1. If you have one of a Sherlockian collectible, you gloat. If you have two, you share.
2. A Sherlockian is anyone who has read a Sherlock Holmes story (preferably a story from the Canon) and tries to find more.
3. A Sherlockian is someone who has watched a Sherlock Holmes movie, television program or play and who tries to find more.
4. A Sherlockian is one who has listened to a Sherlockian radio show, tape or cassette and tries to find more.
5. We should treat a Sherlockian’s opinion with respect even if that opinion is wrong or disagrees with yours.
6. The most important rule is: if you are having fun, do it; if you are not having fun, don’t do it.
I wish you all could have met John Bennett Shaw. He was a Sherlockian and human being of the finest kind.
These then are my thoughts: I am afraid we are losing some of the fun in and respect for each other’s point of view that John mentioned we should have. We each have our own favourite Sherlock Holmes and his world. I am a traditionalist. My Sherlock Holmes is that of the Canon and of the world of 1887. The actor who portrayed my quintessential Holmes is Peter Cushing in his portrayal of Holmes in the 1968 BBC television series.
I am sure there are others who will disagree with me. I look forward to discussing my beliefs with you whether you are Brett supporters or the new wave of Cumberbatch supporters from the BBC Series “Sherlock” which updates Holmes to modern times. All I ask is that you treat my beliefs with the same respect and courtesy I will treat yours.
Greetings to all my Sherlockian friends and those friends I have not yet met.
Ron Lies “Chips” in Denver