Oct 15, 2016
"now bright, now faint, as the burning poison waxed or waned" [TWIS]
After nearly 130 years in print, it seems like the phenomenon of Sherlock Holmes may have peaked. And yet, it's likely that every generation may have thought that - including the one in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was still writing the original stories.
We've often said that every generation has its Sherlock Holmes, and when we move beyond the printed page, it's quite true. From William Gillette to Eille Norwood, Arthur Wontner to Basil Rathbone, Ronald Howard to Douglas Wilmer and Peter Cushing, not to mention Robert Stephenson, Nicol Williamson, Jeremy Brett, Robert Downey, Jr., Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch. These are just a handful of names from two forms of media.
Sherlock Holmes fades but manages to come back, with no sign of abatement. Each time, the fandom receives a shot in the arm and there's a high-water mark left when the tide recedes. Then, it happens again, perhaps increasing slightly. But the interest in the character remains.
In this episode, we look at the cultural phenomena behind Sherlock Holmes and the impact that the character and his portrayers have had on us. We can't forget the news, the Editor's Gas-Lamp (from Autumn 2000, Vol. 50, No. 3 of the Baker Street Journal), and more.
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