Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mystery Trivia Tuesday: Basil Rathbone as Holmes

Once a Holmes, Always a Holmes 
Basil Rathbone became one of the most recognized Sherlock Holmes actors of all time, starring in more than a dozen Holmes films and radio programs. However, after a few years he became impatient with fans asking him for Sherlock Holmes' autograph rather than his own. In 1946 when his radio and film contracts had expired, he chose not to re-sign, hoping to remove the typecast image of Sherlock Holmes. But the Holmes image was difficult to shake, and later he yielded to requests to appear in character on "The Bob Hope Show" and "The Milton Berle Show." Then, in 1950, he donned the familiar cap and cape and starred in the play Sherlock Holmes written by his wife Ouida. 
My updated The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book soon to be reissued.  


  1. I'm among those who thought the last 12 Rathbone-Holmes movies (the ones set in contemporary times) were terrible. Rathbone, on the other hand, was never less than terrific. When I re-read the Canon recently, I thought of Rathbone at Holmes's most energetic moments -- even though Jeremy Brett is my favorite Holmes.

  2. Rathbone was indeed a masterly Holmes. Despite the non-canonical stories and quite possibly the worst Watson ever on-screen, Rathbone left his imprint on the role.


  3. True about Watson. Many of the early films painted Holmes' chronicler as a less-than intelligent sidekick whose purpose was to make Holmes look good. Watson was so much more, and Holmes, well, Holmes was Holmes.