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Radio / The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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"Petri Wine brings you Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes!"

The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was a long-running radio series that spun off from 20th Century Fox's very successful films The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, both of which starred Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson. Fox had planned to do more films but didn't because of a dispute with the Doyle Estate, which didn't hinder this radio drama. When Universal picked up the rights, the radio show still kept going — and was still kept firmly in the Victorian Era. The series, which debuted on the Blue Network and later moved to Mutual, aired from 1939 to 1950.

The show had a standard format: Dr. Watson, now retired and living in California, would regale the host with a story of his past adventures with Holmes. Despite the title, the show was a mixture of Conan Doyle's stories with new pastiches, including a six-part adaption of The Hound of the Baskervilles, of which sadly only one installment survives.


Rathbone, fearing being typecast and wanting to move on to other projects, left the radio and film series in 1946. Tom Conway (George Sanders' brother) was tapped to replace him, and Nigel Bruce was promoted to top billing. Despite his attempts to emulate Rathbone, Conway wasn't very popular with audience and after completing one season he left and so did Bruce, who were replaced by other actors for the rest of the show's run.


This series contains examples of:

  • Alternate Continuity: From the films. For starters this show does included Mary Morstan which neither of the films made by Fox or Universal did.
  • Broadcast Live: As was the custom for all radio shows in those days.
  • Call-Forward: "The Tankerville Club Scandal" gives Holmes and Watson their first brush with Colonel Sebastian Moran.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The version of "The Speckled Band" is essentially Conan Doyle's stage play of the short story minus the first act, and the subsequent action heavily compressed to fit the time thirty-minute slot.
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: In "The Adventure of the Notorious Canary Trainer", a criminal plans to fake his suicide so he can disappear. However, his partner double-crosses him and replaces the blanks in his revolver with real bullets.
  • Obfuscating Disability: In "The Case of the Baconian Cipher", Holmes realises the man pretending to be his wheelchair-bound uncle is a fake when he notices fresh dirt on the soles of his shoes.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Holmes and Watson encounter Moriarty from time to time. He always slips away.


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