Ronald Howard is Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock Holmes” (1954-1955) – Episodes 21-26 – reviewed by George

21. The Case of the Reluctant Carpenter
I found this episode a little underdone, like a soft-boiled egg. I don’t like soft-boiled eggs. Incendiary bombs are being set off all over London (well, two so far, in a warehouse in Stepney, and in a block of old houses in Covent Garden). The only real clue is that the only man seen running away from the warehouse fire was stabbed to death. Lestrade is put in charge and is furious that the Yard’s lab is having trouble with the body of the stabbed man: no labels on the clothes, no laundry marks, and no analysis on the mud from the victim’s boots. A furious Lestrade sends Wilkins to the lab for some of the mud, and the two start off for Baker Street to ask Holmes for help.
In the meantime Holmes is spying on an apartment across the street, and when Watson is horrified Holmes reveals that he is spying on himself; his life has been threatened if he uses evidence in a case and he concludes that the threatener will break in and steal the evidence. So he has set up a spynest to watch for the thief and follow him after the theft. Now, there is no evidence and no case, and Sherlock wants badly to know why the man who had the evidence never contacted him to give it to him. Thus the plan to follow the thief. At any rate, when Lestrade and Wilkins arrive, Holmes is spying on them from across the street.This part of the episode I really enjoyed. Lestrade is so impatient that he and Wilkins start going through Holmes’s books to learn how to do the analysis themselves. Watson rails that they’re going to blow up the flat, but Holmes is rather proud of their efforts. Of course now is when the expected thief arrives, and thinking Lestrade is Holmes, he tells him to tell Lestrade that unless the Crown is willing to pay 50,000 pounds into a foreign bank, the fires will continue, and to prove that, there will be a big fire at 6 that evening. With a gun on them (and still dressed in lab aprons) Lestrade and  Wilkins are in no position to follow the man, but Watson can and does, and sees him gunned down as he enters his lodgings.
Futility engulfs Lestrade. They have found a suitcase shaped like a toolbox in the murdered man’s flat, and the obvious conclusion is that a box like it was used to transport the bomb that will explode at 6. Lestrade grouses that they will never find the shopkeeper who sold the man that bag. But Holmes counts up the fires so far, including the one scheduled for 6, and says, “Yes, but someone will remember the man who bought four!”
At this point the lab comes through. The mud contains nitrates and the most likely spot in London is the Army Barracks in Knightsbridge, where the gate guard tells Lestrade that yes, there are carpenters working on site. Our heroes win, of course, but how did they make the leap to carpenters? Why did the bomber kill both of his accomplices? I watched three times and never really saw these questions answered. Perhaps I was having a really tough day? Or maybe I just don’t like soft-boiled eggs.
Original Story by Sydney Morse, Screenplay by Sheldon Reynolds, Directed by Steve Previn.

22.The Case of the Deadly Prophecy
At a boy’s school in northern Belgium one of the students, Antoine, sleepwalks – and writes the name Carolan on the steps of the local church. Henri Carolan, the headmaster, is soon found dead. And Antoine has done this before, and the person named always dies.
Holmes is contacted in London after Carolan’s death, and travels with Watson to Belgium to look into matters. Of course Antoine is an innocent pawn and the deaths are all murders, but Holmes solves things in an interesting way and with speed.
The cast includes Nicole Courcel as Marie Grande, Jacques Francois as Docteur Dimanche,   Yves Brainville as Henri Carolan, Maurice Teynac as Comte de Passevant, Helena Mauson as Mrs. Soule, and Robert Le Beal as Manelli.
Directed by Sheldon Reynolds, Original ScreenPlay by Gertrude and George Fass.

23. The Case of the Christmas Pudding
Holmes is the major witness against John Norton (Eugene Deckers again) in his murder trial, and when he is found guilty and sentenced to hang, he promises to kill Holmes before he dies. In prison his wife Bess (June Rodney) brings him a Christmas pudding which is passed by the Warden (Richard Watson) himself. Norton escapes and shoots “Holmes”. Holmes’s explanation of the escape is the highpoint of the episode.
Directed by Steve Previn, with an Original ScreenPlay by George and Gertrude Fass.

24. The Case of the Night Train Riddle
At last Watson has gotten Holmes to take some time off, and they are on a 4-day train trip through the Scottish Highlands. Just as Watson is rejoicing over a little calmness the emergency brake is pulled, the train is stopped in the middle of nowhere, and the conductor brings Holmes a young lady, Lydia Kindle? Kimble? (Roberta Haynes) who was traveling with a boy of about ten years, Paul Ryan (James Deran), who has disappeared. The boy is the son of Ryan the Canadian Timber King, so kidnapping is at least possible. Paul is being sent away to school and Lydia, his governess, is to accompany him and turn him over to the headmaster. Ryan is a widower and a particularly overbearing father, who discovers Paul is taking two white mice with him to school and demands that Paul leave the mice behind. Paul very reasonably says, “I can’t leave them here – you won’t care for them.” So the father changes the argument to demand that the boy give the mice back to whomever he got them from. Paul’s uncle Cecil Ryan (Duncan Elliott) says it’s his fault – the mice were a gift to Paul from an acquaintance of his, Coco the Clown (Billy Beck). Having introduced his nephew to a circus clown doesn’t automatically make Uncle Cecil a possible kidnapper, but it definitely raises some questions.
With the testimony of various train personnel and Holmes’s deductions, Holmes and Watson and Lydia and the conductor find where the boy, definitely accompanied, left the train, and the testimony of one more witness identifies the boy’s helper as Coco. Now the conductor has to leave them, but the threesome hares off to the circus. In the process of this last rush Holmes and Watson lose their luggage, which has stayed on the train, much to Watson’s dismay.
At the circus Uncle Cecil pays Coco to push Paul off a catwalk to his death. But Watson saves the day, and then explains to Paul, who thinks school is unnecessary, that without Mathematics and Physics he never could have pulled off the stunt he did to save Paul’s life and catch the bad guys. And then we conclude with some good news about the lost luggage, and Watson’s funny response.
This is a very good episode, and I enjoyed it very much.
Directed by Steve Previn from an Original ScreenPlay by Lou Morheim.

25. The Case of the Violent Suitor
This is one of my favorite episodes. A young man with a bad back and a black eye gets out of a cab at 221B Baker Street and goes upstairs to see Sherlock. He starts by saying that while Alex Doogle (Brookes Kyle) is his name, he is generally known by another: Aunt Lottie. He is, in fact, the author of a newspaper agony or love-lorn column. He was a sportswriter until the first “Aunt Lottie” quit, and he got stuck by his editor with the assignment.
A young woman has written to ask about the advisability of marrying her fiancee, a man of violent proclivities, and Alex as Lottie has responded with a resounding “No”. However, the violent fiancee, one Jack Murdock (E. Micklewood), has beaten Doogle in his office and told him to apologize to Miss Susan Dearing (Marie Sinclair) and to advise her to reset the wedding date. When Doogle gets to see her, he realizes that she is the daughter of Oliver Dearing, an extremely wealthy man who died of a heart attack while bicycling some time ago.
Now back at the “Lottie” office Alex accuses Jack, “You’re not Jack Murdock with gold mines in Africa; you’re Freddie Brill, the racetrack fixer. You got thrown in jail for nearly killing a jockey who double-crossed you.” Murdock makes even more serious threats against Alex’s life, and now Alex is at Holmes’s.
After Alex leaves, Watson asks Holmes what he proposes to do, and Holmes says he proposes to remove Murdock from the picture – by proving he murdered Oliver Dearing!
Holmes also maintains that Murdock has a female accomplice, and as the only other woman in the cast is Tilda (Rolly Bester), the Dearing maid, it must be her.Very exciting, very well-made, a great pleasure all the way. And the final blow which captures Murdock is struck by Alex – so hard he practically has to carry Murdock to his arrest.
Directed by Steve Previn, Original ScreenPlay by Lou Morheim.

26. The Case of the Baker Street Nursemaids
A package is delivered to Holmes, and Watson accepts it and sets it down. He goes back to the newspaper, and when Holmes comes in from the kitchen, where he has finally caught the queen bee he was chasing, they discover that the package contains a baby – and a note asking Holmes to care for the child until the mother comes to collect it.
Then Lestrade arrives and tells them of the kidnapping of Dr. Durand, a French scientist who has invented a ship that moves underwater. The French government sent him to London to negotiate a treaty between France and England to share the plans for the ship and build a small navy together, basically because there are so many foreign nationals after the plans that the French need a partner to keep the ship from all the (other?) war-minded European nations. They quickly conclude that the baby is his son.
Holmes and Lestrade leave to get information from the doctor’s office, but realize while they are interviewing his attache that the danger is to the baby. The arrive back in Baker Street to find Watson unconscious and the baby gone. The bad guys are played by Yves Brainville and Roger Treville, and Mme. Durand is played by Dominique Chautemps.
Directed by Sheldon Reynolds, Original Story by Joseph Victor, ScreenPlay by Sheldon Reynolds.

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