Ronald Howard as Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock Holmes” (1954-1955) – Episodes 16-20 – reviewed by George

16. The Case of the Greystone Inscription
A very cleverly written episode about King Richard, in the late 1300’s, hiding some of his royal wealth at Greystone Castle, and Sir Richard Greystone sending the King a receipt in rhyme that basically promised to return to the crown all that the crown had entrusted for safekeeping. Today’s Greystones, Sir Thomas and his son Walter, are not exactly eating high on the hog, so when a young man, John Cartwright (Tony Wright), three years from a professorship, solves the riddle, he naturally sees himself as a full professor in just a month or two and the Greystones supremely happy at being able to find the jewels and return them to Queen Victoria. Well, Hah! Sir Thomas (Archie Duncan, in a real villainous turn) and his son Walter (E. Micklewood) promptly lock him up and try to force him to tell them the secret.
Back in London his worried fiancee, Millicent Channing (Martina Mayne), goes to Holmes, after receiving a reply to her query about John’s whereabouts. The Greystones claim they never saw him. Holmes solves the riddle, sends the Greystones to prison, and sees Cartwright off to his full professorship, married to Millicent.
Directed by Steve Previn from an Original ScreenPlay by Gertrude and George Fass, this episode is in the worst shape and is in need of more restoration than any of the other episodes so far.

17. The Case of the Laughing Mummy
In a lighter turn Holmes and Watson meet one of Watson’s old chums on a train. This is Reggie Taunton (Barry MacKay), who calls Watson “Blinko”. Reggie has recently come into possession of a 13th Dynasty mummy, Amonhotep. The only negative thing is that the mummy laughs at rather inopportune moments, and Reggie’s fiancee Rowena (June Crawford) doesn’t like it. As a present from an Important Egyptologist, Dr. Gaulkins (Paul Bonifas), Reggie really feels that he can’t donate it to a museum or something, so Watson suggests burning the thing.
Of course Holmes solves the mystery of the laughter before Watson can raise any more inappropriate ideas, and greatly relieves Dr. Gaulkins’s mind.
Directed by Sheldon Reynolds from a Screenplay by Charles Early.

18. The Case of the Thistle Killer
This serial killer story has a beginning that just doesn’t belong on this series. It’s overdone and almost cornball. The fifth victim is shown walking down the street in full length, but when joined by the man who is obviously the killer, they are shot from the knees down. So it’s obvious from the get-go that the killer is dressed as a constable. Further, they sound more like Peoria than London. AND the real copper who finds the body and whistles up the alarm whistles first to our left, then to our right, and then the two final whistles are delivered right into the camera, with a big eye-pop on the last. This is just unworthy of the basic climate of the series, created by the elegant performances of Howard and Crawford in every episode. Okay, it’s sort of like the light-hearted approach we’ve come to expect, but don’t let’s be ridiculous!
The rest of the episode is fine. The Superintendent of Scotland Yard (William Smith) wants Holmes on the case, which makes Lestrade sweat bullets, Holmes solves the clue of the killing locations with one quick look at a map, and everyone is off to Xerxes Park for a cold night of stakeout. The killer, whose motive is good, is played by Richard Watson, who was in a couple of the Godfather movies. And Archie Duncan is his usual insecure and blustery Lestrade.
Directed by Steve Previn, from an Original ScreenPlay by Charles and Joseph Early.

19. The Case of the Vanished Detective
Watson bursts into Lestrade’s office at Scotland Yard proclaiming that Holmes has vanished, probably kidnapped, and they have to get to work NOW to find him. Lestrade gets the idea of using Holmes’s own deductive reasoning on the case, and they hare off back to 221 to look for clues. They find a letter from Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe asking Holmes to help on an urgent matter and dated only three days ago. Onward! When they arrive, the shoppe is empty except for a young woman browsing and the proprietor, John Smithson, a white-haired man with a soup-bowl haircut, glasses, a thin mustache over thinner lips, and obviously Holmes himself, though neither Watson nor Lestrade catches on. Watson wants to look around, and Smithson says, “Of course! I like to think of my shoppe as an oasis of tranquility.” Meanwhile the young woman hides some papers in a book for sale, and before Holmes can get around Watson and Lestrade, a young man has copped the papers and run out. Holmes, however, has recognized the young man as a felon who promised to kill the judge at his trial if he ever got out of prison. So now we switch to the home of the judge and his wife, and their “children” – very elaborate marionettes, used by the couple to converse with any visitors. Surprising, but fun.
Directed by Steve Previn from an Original ScreenPly by Charles and Joseph Early.

20.The Case of the Careless Suffragette
Dawn Addams is the guest star as Doreen Meredith, a suffragette, one of many in her organization, but careless in what way? She seems very careful and deliberate in her decisions, as do all the ladies of the suffragist movement. They all seem alike, not just in their desire for the vote, but in their social attitudes, their sense of propriety, etc.
Perhaps because of the theme of fighting for suffrage and that the writers are men, this is one of the funnier episodes. The ladies in their innocence are quite appealing. Someone suggests blowing up one of the lions in Trafalgar Square, and another asks how in the world are they to blow up a lion? Doreen looks toward the leader of the group and says, “Don’t bombs blow up things?” And the leader replies, “I think they do. (takes breath) Let’s buy a bomb!”
Then of course they have to have bomb bags to carry them around in. And Doreen finds a disaffected Russian bomb-maker, Boris Turgoff (O’Brady), who makes as many bombs as the women want. Boris wants the bombs to look like croquet balls (pronounced “crokey” balls), and the first thing you know Lord Pimpleton, who led the fight to defeat the most recent suffrage bill (“We only lost 347 to 1.”) has been blown up playing croquet in his garden, much to the dismay of Doreen’s boyfriend Henry Travers (David Gideon Thomson). However, complicating that simple statement is the fact that Travers is not only Pimpleton’s secretary, but also his potential heir.
Charming and funny, and certainly helped greatly by Miss Addams, the episode was directed by Steve Previn from an Original ScreenPlay by Charles and Joseph Early.

NOTE: The Biography of Miss Addams on imdb.com is very unkind, speculating that “Maybe because her beauty was too smooth or because her acting talents were limited or both, she had an undistinguished movie career.”
Then why did I recognized her instantly with delight? Okay, a misspent childhood in front of afternoon movie channels (then called “independent” channels because they were unaffiliated with a network and showed movies all day) definitely had a lot to do with it. Still she was one of the relatively few actresses I knew in those days, and appearing in horror flicks was not a negative to me. And anyway, she made “The Moon is Blue” for Otto Preminger, “The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse” for Fritz Lang, the first Cinemascope picture, “The Robe” for Henry Koster, and “A King in New York” for Charles Chaplin. Not too shabby no matter how you look at it. And she always entertained ME, and what else matters?

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