Pop culture references to Sherlock Holmes

Pop culture references to Sherlock Holmes

Many writers make references to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous literary creation, the detective Sherlock Holmes, and these often become embedded within popular culture. While Holmes exists predominately in the context of Victorian-era London, he has been mentioned in such outre contexts as the 22nd Century ["Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century", a children's cartoon show, homepage [http://www.dicentertainment.com/shows/index.php?show=101 here] ] or hunting aliens or supernatural enemies. [The "Predator:Nemesis" comic book series ] In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic book series it is revealed the alternate universe British Empire is falling apart without his skills, leaving only his brother Mycroft and the league to carry on his work. The versions of Holmes usually wear the deer-stalker hat shown in the original Strand pictures and frequently they say 'Elementary my dear ' to another character.

Books

One of the first attempts was made in response to the 'Great Hiatus' (when Arthur Conan-Doyle decided not to write anymore stories, to the dismay of his fans). Stepping into the breach, in 1897, John Kendrick Bangs wrote a book called "Pursuit of the House-Boat" (a sequel to his A House-Boat on the Styx, in which the souls of famous dead people start up a club in Hades). In it, the house-boat is tracked down by the members of the club with the aid of none other than Sherlock Holmes — who is indeed dead. However in 1894 Conan Doyle decided to return to writing, bringing Holmes back from the dead by claiming he had faked his death in "The Empty House". While Bangs' attempt was reverential, Maurice Leblanc decided to write the short story "Sherlock Holmes arrive trop tard" [Published in "Je Sais Tout" No. 17, 15 June 1906] (Sherlock Holmes arrives Too Late). In it, Holmes meets the young thief Lupin for a brief time, unaware that he is, in fact, Lupin. After legal objections from Conan Doyle, the name was changed to "Herlock Sholmès" when the story was collected in bookform in Volume 1. Holmes returned in two more stories collected in Volume 2, "Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmès", having opened the floodgates to less flattering versions of Holmes as we shall see. One of the more recent parodies in print is "The Lord Mike Saga". where 'Mycroft Miles' (née Mills) is the Holmes figure, with the titles reflecting the styles "A Study in Varlets", "The Strange Case of the Moth-Eater of Clapham Common", "Happy Times and Places" and "A Cameo Broached". Miles refuses to talk of Holmes, referring to him only as 'the other chap'.

Frequent speculation as the 'real' Holmes has existed since publication, and Mark Frost's novels "The List of Seven" and its sequel "The Six Messiahs" are merely the latest to put a spin on this. He has Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as its main character and tells the (fictional) story of how Doyle's Holmes was inspired by Johnathon Sparks, a mysterious man who saves Doyle's life from a mad occultist. The Wold Newton family series connects multiple famous fictional characters together to a mail coach that passed a radioactive asteroid in the eighteenth century - Holmes is a descendant of one of the travelers in that coach

TV

Television was invented later than Conan Doyle's original writing, but the strength of Holmes has ensured that he has been referenced, or appeared in on TV in new forms. Naturally the original books have also been dramatised, notably the Granada Television adaptation.

Cartoons were quick to pick up on the potential, so Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty appear in both the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" cartoon series, in the 1987 episode "Elementary, My Dear Turtle" and in the "The Real Ghostbusters" episode entitled "Elementary, My Dear Winston", in which Holmes, Watson, and Moriarty are literally brought to life by a strong belief held in them by the world's population. Though not ghosts, they do not have physical bodies. The timing of both this episode and the above "Ninja Turtles" example may have been a factor in the brand war in which the two series were engaged, and alludes to the cultural power of Holmes as a character.

Even "" got in the act, with a story entitled "Who Shot Sherlock?", where the crime scene investigators solve the murder case of a man who plays Holmes in a re-enactment club devoted to the character. Such references are not so overt however, and the medical drama "House" makes much of the fact that the protagonist, a brilliant doctor solving medical mysteries of his patients, has a similar name to Holmes and that he lives at apartment 221B.

Cinema

Some of the earliest films use Holmes as a character, notably the early films of William Gillette, the American actor who played Holmes in various plays, and an early 'talkie' was produced in 1929 called "The Return of Sherlock Holmes". During the Second World War American producers linked Holmes with the Allied war effort, defeating Nazi villains and Moriarty who sells his skills to the Germans, e.g. Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942) [See also Rathbone-Bruce Sherlock Holmes Films] . Later films would blur the lines between canon and non-canon however. In the sci-fi film 'Time After Time', H.G. Wells uses a time machine to go to 1979 America; he tries to use Sherlock Holmes as a false name, thinking that the literary character would be forgotten by then. From 1984 to 1985, Japan's Tokyo Movie Shinsha and the Italian TV station RAI released 26 episodes of Sherlock Hound, a show featuring anthropomorphic dogs in various roles in the Sherlock Holmes world. On July 2, 1986, Walt Disney Pictures released "The Great Mouse Detective". where the character of Holmes is borrowed by a...mouse. The name "Basil" is no mere coincidence: the actor Basil Rathbone was one of the first to portray Holmes on film. Continuing the print tradition of good natured irreverence the 1988 comedy "Without a Clue" presents the premise that Holmes was a fictional creation of John Watson's, who was the true deductive genius. Once the character becomes popular, Watson is forced to hire an out-of-work actor to play Holmes.

Other Media

* "Searchin'", a song recorded in 1957 by the R&B group the Coasters, makes reference to Holmes and other fictional detectives.

*In the anime Shaman King, the Character Lyserg Diethel's design is heavily influenced by Sherlock Holmes. In his debut, he is seen reading a book titled "The Adventures of Warlock Holmes." A spoofed name of the book. He is also seen in his regular attire wearing a Sherlock Holmes Green-Plaid cape and desires to become the world's greatest detective. His father Liem Diethel is also seen to have the same look.

* In the Dark Horse Comics two-issue mini series "Predator: Nemesis", Sherlock Holmes is mentioned by his older brother, Mycroft Holmes in a cameo appearance. The Diogenes Club also makes an appearance, a fictional investigative agency that is a fixture in the Sherlock Holmes mythos. It is hinted at that the Diogenes Club and, (most likely) that Sherlock Holmes himself is aware of the existence of the Predator (Yautja) race, as Mycroft says "Besides, who else in the Empire has more experience of such creatures as the gallant Captain Soames?". Also, as the Predator's butchery is mistaken in the papers as Jack the Ripper's work, Mycroft states that " [the Ripper returning to his old haunts] is pure journalistic fancy", hinting that the Diogenes Club had dealt with the Ripper but did not elaborate on his identity.

*In a 2006 comic book story featuring Lee Falk's "The Phantom", the 19th Phantom has to fight professor Moriarty. The climax of the story features the Phantom and Moriarty falling down a waterfall in the Bangalla jungles. At the end of the story, Moriarty is shown to be alive, as he returns to London to find "a detective named Sherlock Holmes".

Characters modelled on Holmes

* The long running Japanese manga and anime "Detective Conan" (released as "Case Closed" in English due to copyright issues) was also heavily influenced by Sherlock Holmes, with the main character himself taking after Holmes and giving himself a nickname based on Sir Arthur's middle name.

*On "", the character of Detective Robert Goren is based on Sherlock Holmes. He notices tiny — yet important — details ignored by others, and has broad encyclopedic knowledge. Frequently, Goren obtains crucial information and then sustains that theory based on evidence. He also gets confessions by psychologically manipulating and provoking suspects and suspects' associates. Also Goren's antagonist Nicole Wallace is a direct attempt to play on Holmes' antagonist Professor Moriarty. However, Goren displays more compassion and empathy than Holmes. Goren even displays sorrow regarding how Wallace's past damaged her and destroyed "that sparkling little girl" she once was.

*The main character in "House M.D", Gregory House, is based on Sherlock Holmes, particularly with regard to drug use and his desire (and capacity) to solve the insoluble. House uses Holmesian deductive techniques to diagnose his patients' problems. References to the sleuth range from the obvious (House's apartment number being 221B) to the subtle (his friendship with Dr. James Wilson and the similarities between the names House and Holmes, and Wilson and Watson). In the very first (pilot) episode the patient's last name is Adler, and in the last episode of season two, a character named Moriarty appears and nearly kills House.

*The characters and basic structure of the TV series "Monk" were inspired by the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. [cite book | last =Erdmann | first = Terry J.| coauthors =Paula M. Block | title =Monk: The Official Episode Guide | publisher =St. Martin's Griffin | year =2006 |pages=pp 2 | id = ISBN 0312354614] The character name "Adrian Monk" was intended to be unusual like that of Sherlock Holmes. Other characters correspond to Holmes characters: Sharona Fleming/Natalie Teeger and Dr. Watson; SFPD Captain Leland Stottlemeyer and Inspector Lestrade; and Monk's brother Ambrose Monk and Mycroft Holmes (Sherlock's brother). It was even revealed in one episode that Adrian's detective skills were brought about from when his father read him Sherlock Holmes stories every night before bed when he was little. He was apparently able to solve the crime early on in the story.

*The comic book character Batman was partially inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Over time the characters of the Batman family have started to assimilate certain characteristics of Doyle's characters. Batman resembles Holmes himself, making use of his wide knowledge of peculiar things in order to solve cases, as seen most prominently in Detective Comics. Also like Holmes Batman has an immense knowledge in different hand to hand combat techniques that range from boxing to Asian martial arts. Alfred Pennyworth was retconned and now is a former British Army Medic who serves as Batman's confidant in moments of doubt and in head-scratching cases, and in "Superman/Batman" it is revealed that he writes about Batman and his cases. Alfred also often shows concern for Batman's health. The character thus parallels Dr Watson in many ways. Dick Grayson, the former Robin, was first conceived as Batman's "Watson" as then Batman writer and co-creator of Robin, Jerry Robinson, thought Batman "needed someone to talk to". The current Robin Tim Drake was introduced as an amateur detective who emulates Batman's methods and wants to learn from him. In this Tim resembles Inspector Stanley Hopkins. However, Batman is his own character, and most of these similarities have come naturally rather than forced. Indeed the similarities between Batman and Holmes could be compared to the similarities between C. Auguste Dupin and Holmes.

*The Star Wars character Thrawn is modeled after him.

References

General references

*"Adventure, mystery, and romance : formula stories as art and popular culture" by John G Cawelti. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1976. ISBN 0226098664

*Clap if you believe in Sherlock Holmes. Mass Culture and the re-enchantment of modernity c. 1890–c. 1940. Michael Saler, "The Historical Journal" (2003), 46: 599-622 [http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=176773 abstract] .


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