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  New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 2 - 5 hours [Audio CDs] #RA202
The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Volume 2


 
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5 hours - Audio CD Set


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The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Volume 2

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 Grand Old Man
Saturday, December 21, 1946 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Singular Affair of the White Cockerel
Saturday, December 28, 1946 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Darlington Substitution Case
Saturday, January 4, 1947 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Singular Affair of the Babbling Butler
Monday, January 27, 1947 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Strange Case of the Persecuted Millionaire
Monday, February 10, 1947 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Adventure of Maltree Abbey
Monday, March 31, 1947 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Tolling Bell
Monday, April 7, 1947 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

Death in the North Sea
Monday, June 16, 1947 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Adventure Of the Speckled Band
Monday, June 23, 1947 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo

The Adventure of the Innocent Murderess
Monday, June 30, 1947 - 30:00 - ABC, sponsored by Kreml Hair Tonic and Kreml Shampoo


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