Ronald Howard Sherlock Holmes series

Ronald Howard Sherlock Holmes series

I’m listening to this series in the background while building models in the basement, so I can’t say it has my full attention, but it is fun, especially when they do a Canon episode. This 1954 American television series (but filmed in France, according to Wikipedia), actually holds up pretty well, despite some rather bizarre omissions, chiefly Mrs. Hudson. What’s 221-B without the long-suffering housekeeper? Holmes is even forced to make his own tea.

Ronald Howard plays what today would be considered a somewhat subdued Holmes: he’s not a sociopathic drug addict at all, but instead seems likable enough that you can understand Watson, played by Howard Marion-Crawford, putting up with him as a roommate. (One can’t understand why Martin Freeman’s Watson puts up with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes.) Watson, in this production, also seems straightforward enough, not comic relief and not too much the ladies’ man.

I was familiar with this series—it was available on Hulu for a while—but never watched enough to get a sense of it. My friend Ron loaned me his complete series collection and now I have to say the quick episodes are just the background noise for model making. Most of the episodes are original, but the first episode has much from A Study in Scarlet. The Red-headed League is pretty straightforward, but the Greek Interpreter has become French and Mycroft is missing. Instead it’s Holmes who’s a member of a very Diogenes-like club.

Again, I’ve mostly listened to the episodes, but from glances at the screen, I’d have to say the video and audio quality are acceptable. Of course, the “wah-wah-wah” humorous trumpet whenever something silly happens is strange. I also like the running joke that Watson is not fond of Holmes’ violin playing or that Holmes sometimes keeps his tea in the poison container, or is it the other way round.

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