Adaptations of Sherlock Holmes

Adaptations Of Sherlock Holmes

Adaptations of Sherlock Holmes

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The stories of Sherlock Holmes were very popular as adaptations for the stage, and later film, and still later television. Continuing in Pop culture references to Sherlock Holmes. The Universal Sherlock Holmes (1995) by Ronald B. DeWaal lists over 25,000 Holmes-related productions and products.


The actor most associated with Holmes on stage was William Gillette, who wrote, directed, and starred in a popular play about Holmes in seven different productions on Broadway from 1899 (filmed in 1916), while the stories were still being published, to 1930. His version of Holmes, dressed in deerstalker hat and Inverness cape and smoking a large curved calabash pipe, contributed much to the popular image of the character. There are occasional hints of the deerstalker hat in Paget's original illustrations for The Strand, but it is by no means a regular accoutrement. Doyle's text is even vaguer, referring only to a travelling cap with earflaps in the passages with the relevant illustrations. He is also described as smoking several different types of pipes, varying them with his mood.

The calabash pipe is associated with Sherlock Holmes because early portrayers, particularly William Gillette and Basil Rathbone, made an artistic decision to use something large and easily recognized as a pipe. A calabash pipe has a large air chamber beneath the bowl that provides a cooling and mellowing effect. Holmes preferred harsh and strong tobaccos and therefore would eschew such a pipe. In...
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