You see but you do not observe

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We just returned from McCarter Theatre’s production of Ken Ludwig’s “Baskerville: a Sherlock Holmes mystery.” It was better than expected, based on an Inquirer review. Yesterday I brought up from the basement, a 20 + year old Josef Seibel shoe box. Stored inside were a deer stalker hat, a Calabash pipe (purchased at the Yardley Friends Flea market and last smoked with Jim McCullough), a large magnifying glass, Sherlock Holmes-Basil Rathbone audio tapes, and index cards and print outs filled with quotes from the Holmes canon. The props and quotes were the basis of a lesson plan comparing detectives and historians that I did for decades in both high school and college classes. If I was in a charged mood, my Holmes impersonation was decent. Tonight I think I will watch a Sherlock Holmes movie. Haven’t decided if it will be Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, Jeremy Brett, Robert Downey, or Benedict Cumberbatch.

I enjoy what I call thematic living. When travel, reading, movies and other experiences converge, overlap and connect. As a librarian I totally enjoyed setting up a thematic display. In fact I frequently did Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. Down from my closet came several boxes of books related to Doyle, Holmes, London, crime and detection. I’ve already mentioned the props I used for class which could become part of the display.

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I guess I read the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels in high school but I think fmy obsession began in the 1970s. At that time I kept on my bed stand a facsimile copy of the Strand magazine Holmes stories. Each was illustrated with the iconic Sidney Paget illustrations — smoking some shag or riding in a train from Charing Cross with Watson. For a decade I was a member of a Baker Street Irregulars group (magazine) and bought any book related to Holmes.

In 1976, Diane and I took my parents to production of “Sherlock Holmes” at the Broadhurst Theatre. A poster from the performce hangs in our laundry room. On the back side of the poster is a NYC Times add for the movie “the Seven Percent Solutionc” Amazing.

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