BONUS MATERIALS: Sherlock's Last Case
Welcome to the Bonus Materials section for the Colony's production of Sherlock's Last Case! To help you enjoy the rich
background of the play, the Colony has compiled some historical
information and trivia. Enjoy!
Some Sherlock Fun Facts
- The first Sherlock Holmes story A Study in Scarlet was published in 1887. Conan Doyle was paid 25 pounds for it.
- The American publishing firm J. B. Lippincott likely saved
Sherlock from a premature end by commissioning Conan Doyle to write The
Sign of the Four, the second Holmes – Watson tale, in 1889.
- In December of 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle finished off Sherlock
Holmes in the Story entitled The Final Problem, the tale that had
Holmes and his nemesis, the evil genius Professor Moriarty, plummeting
together in a death struggle over Switzerland’s Reichenbach falls. In a
diary entry soon after, Conan Doyle wrote, with brutal sympathy:
“Killed Holmes.” He resisted the public’s demands for more Holmes tales
for nearly a decade, but finally relented and brought Holmes back in
1903 in The Adventure of the Empty House. It was explained that he
escaped the death plunge and had hidden out for several years.
- In all, Conan Doyle wrote roughly 60 Sherlock Holmes adventure tales.
- The famous deerstalker cap worn by Holmes does not appear in any
of the stories. It was the invention of artist Sidney Paget, who
illustrated the stories for The Strand magazine.
- The curved meerschaum pipe, intimately identified with Holmes,
was the addition of American stage actor William Gillette, who played
the part some 1,300 times between 1899 and 1935. He used the pipe so
his voice was more audible.
- Dr Watson is neither corpulent or an ineffectual bumbler in any
of the stories. He is described as “a middle-sized, strongly built man
– square jaw, thick neck, a moustache.”
- It is the interpretation of character actor Nigel Bruce in 13
Universal features starring Basil Rathbone that have cemented an
inaccurate portrait of Watson in many people’s minds.
- The stories without Watson, or in which he plays a minor role,
are thought to be more arid, lacking in humanity and untempered by
Holmes’s shameless narcissism.
- Holmes and Watson have survived outside of the fictive context
that had first given them life, they are often referred to and are
recognized as real people, not characters. The world reacted to the
death of Sherlock Holmes in The Final Problem with horror and shock.
Men and women in London wore black armbands and veils, and Conan Doyle
received letters of protest and sorrow from around the world begging
him to return Holmes to life. One devastated reader began her entreaty
with this salutation: “You Brute.”
- Conan Doyle received numerous letters throughout his life
addressed to the great detective seeking help with the solution of a
knotty problem. A press-clipping bureau wrote to Watson in care of
Conan Doyle, asking if Mr. Holmes might wish to subscribe to their
services. When Conan Doyle finally retired Holmes, a number of elderly
women wrote him offering to keep house for Sherlock. The London post
office, to this day, still receives letters addressed to SH to 221b
- Many scholars believe the Holmes – Watson relationship is the most timeless and symbiotic in all of literature.
There is more Bonus Material stuff to come...and will be updated soon!
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