Trivia / Sherlock Holmes

The Doyle Canon

  • Adaptation Overdosed: Holmes might very well take the ultimate crown here. The Other Wiki says he is the most frequently-portrayed character in the history of cinema, having been played (by some counts) by over 75 different actors in 211 films. In a book on the subject, Holmes scholar Ronald B. DeWaal lists an astonishing 25,000 Holmes-related productions and products. Or just look at the Franchise page for our list.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!:
    • In the original novels, Holmes never actually uttered the exact phrase "Elementary, my dear Watson". He uses the phrase 'elementary' on occasion, and often refers to Watson as 'my dear Watson' but never combines the two. The phrase actually comes from a P. G. Wodehouse novel.
    • Nor did he ever cry, "Quick, Watson, the needle!" That phrase probably comes from parodies of Gillette's 1899 stage play.
    • Likewise, the deerstalker cap and Inverness coat are never mentioned in the stories proper, and while Sidney Paget did at times draw him wearing one or the othernote , he never put them both together. Nor would Holmes, despite his recurrent flakiness, have worn such a countrified outfit in the middle of London.
    • Lampshaded in the recent Sherlock Holmes Versus Jack the Ripper game, in which at one point Sherlock asks Watson to "bring [him] that old deerstalker [he] never wear[s], but everyone seems convinced [he] wear[s] all the time".
    • And played with in the second season of Sherlock BBC, where Sherlock pulls on a deerstalker cap in an attempt to avoid paparazzi, and merely ends up with the press considering him the "man with the funny little hat" with pictures to back it up.
    • Parodies of Sherlock Holmes stories often have titles in the form "The Case Of...", but the titles of (most of) the actual stories are in the form "The Adventure Of...". Only one story title ("A Case of Identity") even uses the word "case".
  • Fandom: Before Star Trek: The Original Series, before Doctor Who, before even Tolkien, there were people who would write letters, fan-fics, pastiches and overanalytical articles pertaining to Holmes and "The Game" using the Literary Agent Hypothesis.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: Conan Doyle respected Holmes enough to avert dropping a bridge on him in "The Final Problem", feeling the character deserved to go out with a bang. He did, however, resent that the character was so large that nothing he, Doyle, ever wrote would ever be able to crawl out from under Holmes's shadow.
  • Money, Dear Boy: One of the reasons Doyle eventually brought Holmes back was because of the enormous sums of money editors were offering him.
    • It didn't help that even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's mother complained about Holmes being killed.
    • Also, Holmes' primary motivation for becoming the King of Bohemia's henchman, in 'A Scandal In Bohemia.' God knows there wasn't a shred of honor in it.
  • Recycled Script: "The Crooked Man" is essentially a rehash of The Sign of the Four, albeit with a sympathetic suspect and a mongoose's footprint instead of a cannibal's.
  • US President Franklin D. Roosevelt once made a WMG that Sherlock Holmes was born an American.
  • Science Marches On:
    • In "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle", Sherlock determines that a man is intelligent by his hat size, reasoning that a man with a big head has a large brain, and therefore is smarter than average. While there is some dispute among modern scientists as to whether there's any correlation brain size and intelligence, any correlation would be subtler and less pronounced than the one Holmes claims.
    • Brain Fever, which is not real, appears in several stories.
    • In several stories Holmes attributes things like personality and interests to genetics.
    • The science in "The Creeping Man" is flawed, to say the least, unless you consider the effects of the "potion" to be psychosomatic, and Professor Presbury a highly suggestible lunatic. The idea of using serums taken from animals for rejuvenation and invigoration was taken quite seriously by many scientists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
    • The biology in "The Speckled Band" is also flawed. Snakes do not work that way.
  • Word of Dante: Holmesian fanon (known amongst fans as The Game, since long before the existance of the internet) is varied and has many varied sources from many mediums. The three main sources, however, are William Stuart Baring-Gould's The annotated Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street, and Leslie Klinger's The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes.
    • Irene Adler is now frequently considered to be Holmes' Love Interest thanks to this trope and Promoted to Love Interest.
    • Similarly, Mycroft Holmes and the Diogenes Club have been expanded by later pastiches (notably The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes) into the Head of the Secret Service and one of its fronts respectively, when in the original canon they're little more than what Doyle presents them as (a Brilliant, but Lazy civil servant and a club for reclusive eccentrics).

Other films:

  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes:
    • #65, "Elementary, my dear Watson"
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Basil Rathbone on playing Sherlock Holmes:
    "Ever since I was a boy and first got acquainted with the great detective I wanted to be like him ... To play such a character means as much to me as ten 'Hamlets'!"
  • I Am Not Spock: Basil Rathbone became perhaps the most famous actor for his portrayal of Holmes, usually with Nigel Bruce as Watson.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Basil Rathbone was a big fan of Holmes.

The Granada TV series

  • Actor Allusion: Charles Gray also appeared as Mycroft in The Seven Percent Solution.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Subverted quite nicely - you really have to hand it to Granada for their cleverness.
    • Holmes never once says "Elementary, my dear Watson." Instead, Watson says "Elementary, my dear Holmes" teasingly at the end of "The Crooked Man".
    • Jeremy Brett smokes the non-canonical calabash pipe only on the trek through the Swiss Alps. Remember that the duo left their luggage on the boat train in England, so Holmes was probably happy to take whatever pipe he could get.
    • The deerstalker cap is only semi-canonical, as Sidney Paget was taking a bit of artistic liberty with Doyle's description of a country-bound Holmes. For the first time in the history of Sherlockian film and television, Sherlock Holmes did not wear a deerstalker in London - only a topper or homburg. Brett's Holmes wore the deerstalker in the country ONLY, but, even then, the solid grey cap looks more stylish than practical (considering the original use for the design).
    • Entirely averted with the Inverness - Jeremy Brett never wore it on-screen. He wore frock coats and greatcoats, and, when he was in the country, he wore a light grey longcoat.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: David Burke's hair was actually grey.
    • While Edward Hardwicke was bald and wore a wig for the role of Watson.
    • Plus, Jeremy lost several pounds to acquire Holmes's slender look.
  • The Other Darrin: Between the first and second series, Edward Hardwicke replaces David Burke as Watson. (Burke actually suggested Hardwicke to the producers.) The distinction is quite sharp - The Final Problem uses Burke, but Holmes returns to Hardwicke in The Empty House (they even reshot a few scenes with Hardwicke for flashback purposes). Overall, David Burke came across as much younger, more naive Watson, albeit one who resembled the original illustrations. Edward Hardwicke, however, was older, more distinguished, and more ex-military. Most fans agree Hardwicke was the more memorable Watson.
  • Real-Life Relative: After a fashion. In the adaptation of The Problem of Thor Bridge, the role of Neil Gibson is played by Daniel Massey, whose sister actress Anna Massey had been married to Holmes actor Jeremy Brett from 1958 to 1962. Although the couple had divorced, due to Brett's bisexuality, the split had been amicable, and the two had remained friends.
    • In the adaption of The Eligible Bachelor, the role of Lady Helene is played by Anna Calder-Marshall, the wife of David Burke. Unfortanly, the episode is filmed after Burke left the role of Watson.
  • Wag the Director: Holmes kicks his cocaine habit in "The Devil's Foot" because Jeremy Brett became concerned about the example the character was setting for younger viewers.note  Though it should be noted that Holmes did eventually give up cocaine in the original stories, in The Missing Three-Quarter, which this series did not adapt.

Other television adaptations:


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