About Christmas TV History

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sherlock Holmes (1955)

Last Tuesday, I began a discussion of Sherlock Holmes TV Christmas entertainments.  Click HERE to see the first post again.  I'm continuing now with another installment, this one from the 1950s TV series simply entitled Sherlock Holmes.  Each mystery unfolds in an efficient half hour length episode.

Holmes is played by actor Ronald Howard--no, as you can see not Opie Taylor/Richie Cunningham Ron Howard!

In the 1955 episode "The Case of the Christmas Pudding," a convicted murderer, scheduled to be hanged, promises to kill Holmes before his execution date.  Though John Henry Norton is safely imprisoned, Holmes takes the threat seriously and anticipates every possibility of an escape.

After he's convicted, Norton threatens Sherlock's life in open court!

Sherlock takes the threat seriously and goes to the jail to examine its sturdiness for himself.

When Norton does indeed escape on Christmas, the clever detective is ready and waiting.

Sherlock shows off the mannequin seated at his desk that Norton plugged with bullets!

After Norton is captured at Holmes' apartment, Holmes returns to the prison to explain how the killer escaped.

I don't want to give away too many details because that would spoil the mystery and charm of the story.  However, the story's brevity is also its weakness, in that, viewers are denied most of the particulars about Sherlock and his cleverness in solving the daring escape.  When he solves it in the end, it seems to come to Holmes a little too easily.  Character vs. plot--it's a common TV storytelling dilemma.

This Christmas episode is still interesting and includes a few of those British traditions, such as a Christmas pudding, that we find so endearing.  It's also interesting to compare it to more sophisticated, longer Sherlock Holmes adaptations--if you're a devoted fan of the nineteenth-century detective.  Tell me what you think of it.

The warden examines the Christmas pudding baked by Norton's wife.

This episode is available for viewing below.  It is also currently streaming on Netflix and it's in the 1950s Christmas category of my Youtube channel TistheSeasonTV.

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