Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Overlooked TV: Sherlock Holmes

The first Sherlock Holmes TV series appeared in 1954.  Ronald (son of Leslie) Howard played Holmes, and H. Marion (grandson of F. Marion) Crawford was Watson.  The show was recommended to me by a couple of people, so I picked up the DVD set.  I think most of the episodes are available for free on YouTube if you want to watch them, and I've embedded the first episode below.

Ronald Howard looks a great deal like his father, and he's an excellent Holmes, whom he portrays as a young, almost lighthearted, man, excited about science and acutely observant of little details, as you'd expect.  Crawford is a favorite of mine as Watson, who's no dope here.  He's a bit serious, amazed at Holmes' methods (as who isn't?), and able to provide a bit of muscle when needed.  Archie Duncan is Inspector Lestrade, and he's the comedy relief.  He's good at it, too.

The show was filmed on a sound stage in France with a budget of about a buck-fifty per episode, but it does a good bit with what it has.  Most episodes aren't based on Doyle's stories, though some are.  Most of them use pretty simple crimes, but they're still fun.  If you watch the embedded episode, you'll see that the first half is the meeting of Holmes and Watson from A Study in Scarlet, while the second half is the crime and solution (such as it is).  I'm enjoying these shows, and I recommend them whether you're a Holmes fan or not. 


Toby O'B said...

I enjoyed the series as well; I have it as part of my DVD library in the Holmes section. I think the only episode that gets any exposure on TV anymore is the Christmas episode which will pop up one retro-classic TV channel or another.

Not many bold type celebrities as guest stars, but they were able to get Paulette Goddard and Natalie Schaeffer (from 'Gilligan's Island). Plus a couple of character actors I know from other fave shows - Basil Dignam whom I first saw in 'The Prisoner' and Peter Copley who was the old Abbott in 'Cadfael'.

Mike Doran said...

Mention should also be made of Nicole Milinaire, a French actress who talked her husband, the Duke of Bedford, into putting up the money to make this series.
The Duke and Duchess were partners with Sheldon Reynolds, the American producer-director of this series.

In later years, the Duke and Duchess of Bedford were among the first British titleists to open their estates to the tourist trade; they occasionally appeared on TV shows like Merv Griffin's to promote this enterprise.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Mike. Great stuff. I wish they'd put up the dough for a second season.