This issue of "TBE" is jam-packed, so let's get started...
First, I'd like to share two recent "offline" encounters I've had with Brett/Holmes fans. The first encounter happened at work, when I had to pick up some documents at the company's in-house print shop. I noticed that the young man running the printer was wearing a t-shirt with a caricature of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the front. Of course, I had to ask him--"Are you a Sherlock Holmes fan?" He replied, "Yes, the Sherlock Holmes stories are the only fiction I read." I asked him if he had ever seen the Granada Holmes stories and he told me he used to watch the 1950's Holmes series with Ronald Howard (which the local PBS station ran for a while). Then, he said he saw Granada's series and added "Jeremy Brett blows all the other Holmes right out of the water!" (Which your editor answered with a hearty "Amen!") :-)
The second encounter came last weekend when I attended a "writer's forum" sponsored by the local public library system. It featured speakers who are published authors, giving advice to and answering questions from an audience of aspiring writers such as your editor. Anyway, at lunch I got to talking with the young woman sitting next to me. She asked me what kind of stories I wrote, and I told her "mostly unfinished ones" <G> and mentioned that I also do a lot of writing on the Internet. I explained that I've been sending this kind of "fan" newsletter thing out to some friends of mine via e-mail concerning a British actor. "Which British actor?" she inquired. "Jeremy Brett", I answered, bracing myself for the puzzled look I usually get when I mention his name. "Oh, Sherlock Holmes!" she said brightly. "And, he was in My Fair Lady, don't forget My Fair Lady", she quickly added. We ended up having a nice chat about Jeremy, Holmes, and writing. (BTW, this woman was from the British Isles.)
Which just goes to show, Brett/Holmes fans are everywhere!
Here's a writeup from Jeffrey Wolfe, budding Brett/Holmes fan and veteran computer expert:
"My interest in Jeremy Brett sprang from a conversation with our esteemed [Blush!--llo] editor a few months ago. Her enthusiasm for Jeremy Brett, Sherlock Holmes, and Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes was contagious.
"Surprisingly enough, I had never read Sherlock Holmes, despite:
"Sadly, since I don't get cable, I haven't yet seen Jeremy Brett's portrayal of Holmes. [Hopefully, PBS will get in gear and show Granada's Memoirs of SH on broadcast TV soon!--llo]. However, I do have a source for biographic and filmographic information for all of you Brettfans.
"I recently stumbled across the Internet Movie Database on the World Wide Web (WWW). Those of you with Web access should definitely check it out. The full database is listed is at URL 'http://www.imdb.com/'. Jeremy Brett is listed here.
"For those without WWW access, there is also an email interface. To get Mr. Brett's entry, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the text:
ACTOR Brett, Jeremy
"To get help on all the movie database options via email, send a message to the same address with HELP as the subject."
Thanks, Jeff! BTW, those of you of WWW access can also check out Mr. Wolfe's homepage (told you he's a computer expert!) <G>
Here's what Trikywu@aol.com has to say about Jeremy:
"Due to his health [Which thankfully seems to be much improved lately!--llo], and also due to Granada Television's change in structure, Brett may not be playing Holmes any longer...or at least for quite some time. :-<
"If anyone is interested...he is in the documentary which accompanies the large gift box of My Fair Lady. He is a dashing bloke even at the age of 59. He's terribly charming as he reminisces about playing the very handsome Freddie Eynsford-Hill [llo here again--I die everytime I hear him answer Audrey Hepburn's "How do you do?" with "How DO you do!" And the scene where Ms. Hepburn attempts to demonstrate her command of the English language to "Freddie" and other astonished listeners--"They done her in!"--is one of the funniest ever filmed. Oops! Back to Trikywu]...He admits that Warner Brothers did in fact dub his singing voice--rather disappointing for the star singer in Eton's boys choir many years ago.
"If you ever wish to hear Jeremy sing...he did exercise his chops in an old Masterpiece Theatre program called The Good Soldier. If you are lucky enough to have seen it, it was a rather delightful depiction of Ford Madox Ford's novel. He sang a very sad song and did very well. The program was indeed a masterpiece. Brett is a fantastic actor who has portrayed characters very unlike Sherlock Holmes. His performance in this drama can send tears to your eyes, if you understand the story. It's very intricate.
"I also saw him recently in an old episode of Hart to Hart, thanks to the new 'FX' channel on cable. He played a dastardly Russian spy. Lots of fun on that one [Yeah, except when JB got punched out by Robert Wagner. Ouch! <VBG>--llo]...Watch out this spring or summer--Brett will be in a movie called Mad Dogs and Englishmen where he plays a drug supplier to Elizabeth Hurley, who is in reality the girlfriend of [British actor] Hugh Grant.
"Jeremy Brett is the definitive Holmes. Someone once told him that he was 'The Thinking Man's Holmes', which brought tears to his eyes. Since he is taking a year off from acting, I only hope he that he will be healthy enough to fascinate us in whatever role he chooses to play."
Hear, hear! Also, Trikywu sent along the following anecdote about her visit to Granada's famed Baker Street set:
"BTW, when I was in England this past summer, I visited the Granada studios in Manchester on a very chilly and wet afternoon. I came expecting to find Baker Street roofed over and commercialized. I was right. It looks nothing like the Baker Street of the original series. They shut down some of the side streets you see in the Sherlock Holmes Granada book [The Television Sherlock Holmes by Peter Haining--llo] which has all the behind-the-scenes photos. The area of the street that is supposed to be Regents Park (Remember? It's wide open and you can see open sky?) is now a building which is an annex to all the studio tours that take place there. 221B is a cafeteria. [Egads! Have they no shame?--llo] The surrounding address (or next-door neighbour) is a souvenir shop which sells tacky stuff--the same things you can get at mystery book shops anywhere. Jeremy is quite sad about this, as anyone can imagine [No doubt Holmes fans are, too.--llo] I would have loved being there when it was a working set. Now there are obnoxious children running around with college students hired to dress as Eliza Doolittle and sing Wouldn't It Be Loverly to everyone every five minutes to give the place a false Victorian atmosphere. :-( ".
Thank you, Debi (Trikywu). Your contribution is much appreciated. BTW, I understand that Granada started the studio tours even before their Holmes series was finished, so various locations such as Liverpool had to substitute for Baker Street in the last few episodes. Thank goodness we have The Television Sherlock Holmes and the Holmes reruns and tapes to preserve all the hard work which went into making this one of the most authentic period series ever produced.
Whew! I do believe that this is the longest TBE yet! You, too, can become a contributor. Just send in your thoughts, comments, essays, reviews, etc., to my e-mail address. Need suggestions for a write-up? Well, Rebecca seems to be a hot Brettfan topic--if you saw it, what did you think? How about some of JB's other roles? Or, do you know of any other Brett/Holmes-related sites on the 'Net? Has anyone found Chris Redmond's Holmes homepage--Holmespage?--on the WWW yet?
Thanks for reading--and thanks for all the positive comments on "TBE".
See you next time,