Awesome Sherlock Holmes Facts You Probably Didn't Know!
Sherlock Holmes was based on an actual person named Herlock Sholmes. Eventually, author Arthur Conan Doyle disguised this fact by slyly moving the "S" in his last name to his first name, thus avoiding libel. Before he made this clever switch, Doyle was going to call Holmes and Watson by the possibly catchier names Tango and Cash.
The character of Dr. Watson was not originally a doctor. In the first draft of the first story, his occupation is given as the cruel headmaster at a large orphanage. The idea was that Watson would put the orphans at Holmes' disposal when he needed footwork done. Eventually Doyle used this idea as the Baker Street Irregulars, but in this first iteration were first called the Baker Street Bastards. Also, in the earlier version, Watson was never seen without a cane he could use to beat any orphan that came within his reach.
When the Sherlock Holmes stories were published in the US, editors tried to Americanize them by turning Holmes into a cowboy detective and Watson into his Native American assistant "Twanto." They also replaced his morphine addiction with a "strong hankerin' for salt water taffy", and the phrase "Elementary my dear Watson" became "Duh, Twanto, seriously duh."
Discarded story titles Arthur Conan Doyle listed but never used include, "The Tale of the Titillating Turnip", "The Mystery of the Scarlet Rash" and "Are You There, God? It's Me, Watson".
In none of the 56 stories or four novels does Sherlock Holmes mention bathing. This is because he did not believe in it! The logic behind this is explained in an excised section from "A Scandal in Bohemia" where Holmes says that bathing is not a logical pursuit after Irene Adler refers to him as a "stinky genius".
"SHERLOCK! the musical" was one of the biggest flops ever on Broadway. The 1962 adaptation included a singing and dancing Sherlock Holmes wearing his traditional deerstalker hat and matching herringbone leotard. The plot revolved around Moriarty stealing the tap shoes from a children's dance troupe and ended with 50 ten-year-olds tapping to the show's theme song while Holmes danced victoriously around a fallen Moriarty. Sample lyrics included, "Moriarty needed some tap shoes and now he's gotsum/it was all quite elementary, my dear Watson" and "Oh my Watson, I used to wonder how it is/that I might be in love with you/but when you've eliminated all the possibilities/whatever remains simply must be true!" Some songs from this show were recycled in other show with slightly revised lyrics, the most famous being "Dance: Ten, Looks: Three" from "A Chorus Line."
The slang term "getting sherlocked" was used during the late 1890s to refer to being intellectually bested. It is best illustrated in this quote from a Globe story from 1895, "Mr. Brown reported that he first got sherlocked by Mr. Lockhorn in an alley behind the building and then was sherlocked repeatedly after sharing a quiet supper at a dinner club."
Doyle's relatives were initially against Holmes being played by Robert Downey Jr. in the latest film incarnation because they didn't want Holmes to be associated with an admitted drug addict.
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Copyright 2010 David Wahl