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HerlockSholmes

Sherlock Holmes on radio.

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Holmes has been portrayed many times over the years on radio but it's perhaps surprising that many haven't heard of them. Some may have just decided that they aren't interested. I love the radio shows and have quite a few of them so I thought that I'd give a bit of information for anyone who is interested and who hasn't heard them or isn't aware of their existence.

 

Although William Gillette didn't play Holmes on radio there is an audio recording of him reading the part. It may be on YouTube.

A guy called Richard Gordon then followed as a radio Holmes. I'm unsure how many of these survive? I have one and his voice is a little 'reedy.'

Then came Rathbone and Bruce who did over 80 recordings (all easy to buy and very cheap, or available to hear on YouTube.) Not many are faithful to the original stories but they are great. There's often sponsors messages and advertisements on there but it adds to the atmosphere. They always start with a presenter (originally an actor called Harry Bartell) arriving to meet 'our old friend Dr Watson.' They you hear Bruce's voice saying 'come in Mr Bartell, draw near to the fire.' Then he begins the Holmes story and it goes into radio-play form with himself, Rathbone and other actors.

When Rathbone had enough of Holmes in 1947 they got an actor called Tom Conway to step in with Bruce. The shows were still very good. Conway sounds a lot like Rathbone. These are also easy and cheap to buy and they are on YouTube.

Then you have John Stanley and Alfred Shirley. Again, not faithful to the originals, but worth a listen. And yes, Stanley is another Rathbone soundalike. Easy and cheap to buy and also available on YouTube.

Another excellent series from the '50's was Sir John Gielgud as Holmes and Sir Ralph Richardson as Holmes. They didn't do as many episodes as the above but they are very good and again easy to get, cheap and also available on YouTube.

Then in the '50's and '60's you we have the brilliant Carlton Hobbs as Holmes and Norman Shelley as Watson. I'm not certain but I think that they recorded the entire canon. These are fantastic. Easy to get and cheap and, you've guessed it, available on YouTube.

Next comes probably the gold standard of radio Holmes. Started in the 80's with Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams (late husband of Judi Dench) as Watson. It's hard to see how this series can be topped. It's the radio equivalent of the Brett series. A must have! They completed the entire canon and then after Michael Williams died they decided to do The Further Adventures.....using non-Doyle stories and with the late Andrew Sachs (Manuel from Fawlty Towers) as Watson. And yes these are brilliant too. You can hear most on YouTube but these are more expensive to buy. It's a bit cheaper on eBay but nowhere near as cheap as the other series.

A few other mentions. Barry Foster (who appeared on uk tv as Van Der Valk) played Holmes in a decent series. I think they are still on YouTube but I haven't been able to buy them!! Robert Hardy and Nigel Stock made an apparently very good short series. I've never heard these and you appear to only be able to get some of them on vinyl (I no longer have a record deck!) There was an older series with American actor Kevin McCarthy as Holmes. I've only managed to track down one though. The one problem that I have with this one though is that McCarthy doesn't manage to completely lose the American accent! Nothing wrong with an American accent by the way

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Length is not a problem, as long as you're interesting. Your post was precisely the length it needed to be.

 

I am a spoiled brat, though, having had television available since I was very young. I didn't even know till later on that they were still doing radio dramas and comedies when I was a kid, because Mom was the only one in the family who ever turned the radio on, and she only ever listened to music.

 

So anyhow, if I wasn't already a very visually-oriented person, I have certainly become one. Nevertheless, your descriptions are very tempting. I especially like the format of going to visit Dr. Watson and listen to his stories.

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I think they're very atmospheric. I often listen to Holmes on radio. Especially if I'm drawing or just chilling out.

 

As a collector I've only just stopped moaning about the fact that I can't get the Robert Hardy version. I bet it was great.

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Maybe that's another reason I don't often listen to dramas -- I'm a one-thing-at-a-time person.  The only exception is when I'm doing something fairly mindless such as washing dishes or shelling peas.  Maybe I could give the radio Holmes episodes a try under those conditions.

 

Are you a professional artist, Herlock?  What sorts of things do you like to draw for fun?

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Hi Carol,

I'm sort-of a professional artist though I don't make a living at it unfortunately. I sell a few, mainly by word of mouth, friends of friends etc. I have an unsuccessful online store on Etsy called TheArtBankGB. I do drawn portraits in various styles. In actual fact I tried to use one for my avatar but it just said 'file too large.' Arcadia offered to help so i sent a picture to an email address that she gave me (not her own of course) but it didn't work. I emailed a pic to a friend who said that he'd reduced the size but it still wouldn't load. I'm utterly useless with technology. I suppose that I need some kind of editing programme which I'll have to look into at some point. Until then I'll have a blank avatar.

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How about that! I just copied this drawing from my avatar on the Jack the Ripper Forum and it worked! The administrator put it up for me and so it was the correct size.

 

This is a portrait that I did of Brett as Holmes. I have one of Rathbone and one of Cushing too. Too large to post here though.

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Cool!  My avatar isn't even a photo that I took, I just copied it off the internet and cropped it to size.  I guess that's one advantage to using something off the net -- you can look for one that's already about the right size.  But if I ever draw a duck of my own that turns out any good, you can bet it'll be my new avatar!

 

Found your Etsy page -- interesting portraits.  I'm always amazed by people who can do so many different styles.  Have you ever done a Cumberbatch as Holmes, or anyone else from the show?  (And by the way, weren't you in Mary Poppins?)

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I can't remember being in Mary Poppins but my memory isn't what it used to be

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Yes, he was a cute child, wasn't he Carol? :p

 

I love the John Lydon portrait, that is nutz!

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Thanks Arcadia

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I’m a nerdy Holmes heaven as far as radio shows go

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Kevin McCarthy, the guy from Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Good heavens.

 

I just listened to a bit of Scandal in Bohemia. Who plays Watson, do you know? These could actually be fun to listen to on a cold winter night.

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Which series was that "Scandal" from, Arcadia, the McCarthy one?  (Several of them have probably done that story, since it's a famous one.)

 

Are you wondering who played Watson on general principles, or for some specific reason?

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Hey, Herlock, are you familiar with CBS Radio Mystery Theater?  While looking for Arcadia's Watson, I came across it.  Dunno if they've got anything that's not also on YouTube.

 

Arcadia, it looks like Watson may have been played by one Court Benson.  They don't say which part he played, but he's listed second, just after Kevin McCarthy.  I believe that many radio programs give the cast at the end, but I don't recall whether they say which part(s) they played.

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Hi all,

 

Watson was played by Court Benson as Carol said. I hadn’t listened to any of the McCarthy series for ages but I remember that my biggest complaint was his accent. Sorry guys, nothing against an American accent of course

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Hey, Herlock, are you familiar with CBS Radio Mystery Theater? While looking for Arcadia's Watson, I came across it. Dunno if they've got anything that's not also on YouTube.

 

Arcadia, it looks like Watson may have been played by one Court Benson. They don't say which part he played, but he's listed second, just after Kevin McCarthy. I believe that many radio programs give the cast at the end, but I don't recall whether they say which part(s) they played.

Hi Carol,

 

I just followed the link. There’s so much there! I didn’t listen to anything though (I’m assuming that you ‘click’ to listen?) but I saw some interesting titles (I only looked up to around 150!)

A few Poe stories. Wilde’s Canterville Ghost and, most interesting to me, a version of The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes which is based on the ripper story. It’s been filmed a few times too (first by Hitchcock starring Ivor Novello.) The best version starred Laird Cregar though. Also in The Man In The Attic Jack Pallance starred.

 

Thanks for the link Carol. It’s been bookmarked

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Which series was that "Scandal" from, Arcadia, the McCarthy one?  (Several of them have probably done that story, since it's a famous one.)

Yep, that one, sorry, I was half asleep when I typed that post. My general excuse for most of my lack of clarity these days. :P

 

Are you wondering who played Watson on general principles, or for some specific reason?

 

Mostly because his voice sounds so dang familiar to me. But I've never heard of Court Benson, so I suspect it's just a "generic" (to my ears) Watson voice.

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I’d never heard of Court Benson either.

 

I found out that he was born on November 4th 1914 in Vancouver and died on February 5th 1995 at Mount Kisko, New York.

 

This is a photograph of him.

 

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=court+benson&rlz=1C9BKJA_enGB704GB704&hl=en-GB&prmd=minv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjxu8qJ8M3XAhUEcBoKHSmFBaQQ_AUIEygC&biw=1024&bih=1251#imgrc=8EJ__c2zWnsZdM:

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Court was short for Courtenay E Benson

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Nope, he's still not familiar to me; just his voice rang a bell.

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Maybe he just sounded like a Watson?  He does look plausibly like one, I think (probably more than a lot of radio Watsons.)

 

There's a British Google?  :huh:  I've always assumed there was only one, but maybe it's helpful to have servers all over the world, and that's more easily done by local companies?

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Hi Carol,

I'm sort-of a professional artist though I don't make a living at it unfortunately. I sell a few, mainly by word of mouth, friends of friends etc. I have an unsuccessful online store on Etsy called TheArtBankGB. I do drawn portraits in various styles. In actual fact I tried to use one for my avatar but it just said 'file too large.' Arcadia offered to help so i sent a picture to an email address that she gave me (not her own of course) but it didn't work. I emailed a pic to a friend who said that he'd reduced the size but it still wouldn't load. I'm utterly useless with technology. I suppose that I need some kind of editing programme which I'll have to look into at some point. Until then I'll have a blank avatar.

 

Hidden Depths!

 

I am off to visit your Etsy store . . .

 

I admire artistic talent in the way that only one with none can.  I'm a word-artist, but hopeless with my hands.  I did not inherit any of my dad's facility for drawing, but he could have made a decent living as a commercial artist, I think.  He sold insurance, so he never did anything with his talent other than help us with school projects.

 

I am a very appreciative audience, though.  If only I had any money, I could be your patron.  As it is, my patronage is limited to buying tickets to our local arts scene, such as it is (minimal).  But I seriously would consider buying some of your art.  If it's not all grisly Ripper sketches . . lol

 

P.S. Update:

 

I found you!  You, sir, are very talented.  A real variety of media and subjects.  No Jack, I see.  :)

 

I hope you find some buyers.  Though I would find it hard to part with any of my artistic 'children', I fear.  I have a hard time even giving away used books that I've read, never mind something I've invested hours of blood, sweat, tears and time in creating.  Are these currently displayed in your house?  Do you have a studio?

 

Alas these are a bit rich for my wallet, though I think they are worth every penny of the price.  Keep the faith--somebody interested in pop culture figures with the disposable income will come along.  Have you tried working with a gallery?  Because these are very good.  I just don't see any of them hanging in my living room at present.  But some funky hipster space?  Yeah.  I am not a funky hipster.  I aspired to be one once but I gave up.

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Thanks Hikari,

 

My Brett avatar is one of my own too. I don’t really do much artwork these days as being a carer tends to take up so much time and effort. I sell occasionally through friends and family etc which is nice bonus now and again. I might pursue it a little more at a later date. I might do a Cumberbatch portrait and put it on Etsy.

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Thanks Hikari,

 

My Brett avatar is one of my own too. I don’t really do much artwork these days as being a carer tends to take up so much time and effort. I sell occasionally through friends and family etc which is nice bonus now and again. I might pursue it a little more at a later date. I might do a Cumberbatch portrait and put it on Etsy.

 

I thought the Brett avatar looked . . not quite like a photograph.  Excellent!  I suppose Mr. Brett is NFS.  Nor should you.

 

Earlier this year I purchased a copy of Mystery magazine (the Sherlock double issue) with a portrait of Jeremy Brett as SH playing the violin on the cover.  Mr. Brett was more handsome in real life, but I'd say your rendering is every bit as good as that one.  Perhaps you could market to magazines?  You've got David Bowie . . how about doing Alan Rickman?  Any characters from Harry Potter would likely sell, too.

 

I was going to suggest you do a Cumberbatch.  In fact, if you could find a way to do a series of prints, I think that would be a big seller for you, even with the show defunct.  You might also consider doing Watson and M. Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.  Anything LOTR I think would sell well. 

 

If you could see your way clear to doing smaller works in pencil that you could sell for more budget-friendly prices, you might get more bites.  It might be easier to work in pencil in fits and starts while you have caring shifts.

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I was thinking of trying some smaller stuff. The prices just reflect the time taken unfortunately. The pointillist ones take forever and make my hand ache. And the black and white line drawings with the smaller images within take even longer! I’m a bit of a nitpicker with portraits. I’m not quick and find it hard to ‘finish’. I keep changing bits. I annoy myself actually.

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