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  New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 1 - 5 hours [Audio CDs] #RA201



 
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5 hours - Audio CD Set


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The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Volume 1

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and WatsonCreated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887, the character of Sherlock Holmes was a fixture of American broadcasting almost from the beginning of network radio. First heard over NBC in the fall of 1930, the adventures of the brilliant London-based "consulting detective" would eventually appear on all three networks over the next twenty years, portrayed by a wide range of performers - including, in Holmes' on-air debut, William Gillette, who had appeared on stage as the master detective for the previous two decades.

Though Holmes and Dr. John Watson - his friend, right-hand man, and chronicler (his "Boswell" as Holmes called him) - were portrayed by a number of actors on screen and on radio throughout the 1930s, the appearance of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in the 1939 20th Century Fox film "The Hound of the Baskervilles" created, for many, the perfect embodiment of the characters. Rathbone, with his aquiline features, fitted the Inverness cape and deerstalker cap perfectly and bore more than a slight resemblance to the Sidney Paget drawings which had illustrated the original stories in the Strand Magazine. Bruce, though little resembling the character created by Conan Doyle, brought a warmth and somewhat bumbling charm to Watson, which balanced nicely with the sometimes arrogant Holmes. So, for the next six years, Rathbone and Bruce would come to be seen as Holmes and Watson in the flesh - both on radio, in series for NBC and Mutual, and in a lengthy series of second features made for both Fox and Universal through 1945.

By the middle of 1946, however, Basil Rathbone had grown weary of playing Holmes - so much so, in fact, that he refused to sign a lucrative seven-year radio contract. A classically trained actor who had previously played a multitude of varying roles on stage and in motion pictures, Rathbone was understandably concerned that his six-year tenure as the Baker Street detective might well have type cast him against the possibility of being offered other roles. And so, at the end of the 1945-46 season, the producers of "The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" faced the necessity of finding another actor to play the leading part - and, after considering a number of talented members of Hollywood's British colony, happened upon the name of Tom Conway.

Tom ConwayBorn in Russia and educated in England, Tom Conway was certainly no stranger to the detective genre, having taken over the movie role of The Falcon from his brother George Sanders in 1942. Suave, well-spoken, and handsome, Conway continued to play The Falcon in ten series entries for RKO thru 1946, and also appeared in such classic "B" pictures as Val Lewton's "Cat People" (1942) and "I Walked with a Zombie" (1943). In addition, his seasoned acting abilities had given him the ability to adopt a voice and delivery very similar to that of Basil Rathbone, performing his lines in much the same clipped and precise way that his predecessor had done. He quickly acquainted himself with the role and, in the company of Nigel Bruce - who opted to stay with the series in exchange for being assigned star billing in the weekly adventures - was introduced as Sherlock Holmes in October of 1946.

However, by this time, audiences had come to think of Rathbone and Bruce as literally being Holmes and Watson - not surprising, given their lengthy run as the characters on both radio and in 14 motion pictures. And, even though Conway made a very credible and believable Holmes - particularly performing the excellent series scripts by Dennis Green and Anthony Boucher, the same team who had written for Rathbone and Bruce throughout the war years - a combination of Rathbone's departure and the inevitable loss of interest in a series that had been on the air for over six years led to both Conway and Bruce leaving the roles at the end of the 1946/47 season. ("The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" would return the following season, moving from Hollywood to New York and recast with John Stanley and Alfred Shirley in the leading roles.)

Heard today, "The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes", with Tom Conway and Nigel Bruce, not only retain their entertainment value but compare quite favorably with the earlier series with Rathbone. Conway is indeed quite good as Holmes and Nigel Bruce, though often disdained by the "Baker Street Irregulars" who prefer their Conan Doyle adventures straight, is always charming as the sometimes baffled but always loyal Dr. Watson. In 1946, in addition to the newly cast Tom Conway, the series also moved from the Mutual network to ABC - the former Blue Network - and was given a few more production values to boost interest, as well as a new sponsor - the Semler Company, promoting their Kreml Hair Tonic and Shampoo. Wisely, the producers retained the framing device of Watson introducing each story from the cozy scene of his fireside, retired (as radio would have it) comfortably in California - though, unlike the earlier series with a different sponsor, the good doctor now refrained from enjoying a glass of Petri Wine as he recounted his earlier adventure with Sherlock Holmes.

This collection offers ten full length broadcasts of "The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" starring Tom Conway and Nigel Bruce, all taken from the original reference recordings and beautifully restored for outstanding audio fidelity. If you're a long-time fan of "the world's greatest consulting detective", or if you just love a good mystery, you'll definitely enjoy these delightful and rare programs.

The Adventure of the Stuttering Ghost
Based on "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor"
Saturday, October 12, 1946 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Adventure of the Black Angus
Based on "The Sussex Vampire"
Saturday, October 19, 1946 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Clue of the Hungry Cat
Based on "The Bascomb Valley Mystery"
Saturday, October 26, 1946 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Adventure of the Original Hamlet
Based on "The Final Problem"
Saturday, November 2, 1946 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Singular Affair of the Dying Schoolboys
Based on "The Speckled Band"
Saturday, November 9, 1946 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Adventure of the Genuine Guarnarius
Based on "The Illustrious Client"
Saturday, November 16, 1946 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Adventure of the Sally Martin
Based on "The Reigate Puzzle"
Saturday, November 23, 1946 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Strange Death of Mrs. Abernetty
Based on "The Six Napoleons"
Saturday, November 30, 1946 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Adventure of the Half-Eaten Apple, the Coptic Compass and the Unclothed Corpse
Based on "The Final Problem"
Saturday, December 7, 1946 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Adventure of the Elusive Emerald
Based on "The Musgrave Ritual"
Saturday, December 14, 1946 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo



Average Customer Review: 4 of 5 | Total Reviews: 2 Write a review

  2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
 
A Little Dubious February 24, 2013
Reviewer: Alec Wayne  
As a long-time fan of the Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock Holmes films, I was a little dubious that Tom Conway could pull off the role as well as Basil Rathbone. Tom Conway - 'The Falcon' - as the World's Greatest Consulting Detective? Tturns out, he's actually pretty good -- not as good as his predecessor, of course, but very credible. Thank you, Radio Archives, for introducing me to these rare and unknown shows! Let's have more Sherlock Holmes soon, OK?

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  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
 
Entertaining September 14, 2011
Reviewer: Book Purring from CO  

The dramatization is spot on and comes alive in pretty much every story or setting the main characters are placed in. I personally liked how I could listen to the "boat" in The Adventure of the Original Hamlet. The narrators are easy to understand and have a good pace. Unfortunately, the commercials for hair tonic are still part of the audio. But if they really bother you, it is easy to FF.

There is an interesting mix of stories in this audiobook. In some stories I was bothered that Dr. Watson is mostly the comical relief, but in others  you actually see Dr. Watson contributing to solve the case. As well there are a couple of predictable stories and there are also a couple of stunners like The Adventure of the Half-Eaten Apple, the Coptic Compass and the Unclothed Corpse. What I enjoyed the most about these stories, is that if you pay close attention you can always find allusions to the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and that is always fun for fans of the detective.



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