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Sherlock Holmes:

Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who first appeared in publication in 1887. He is the creation of Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A brilliant London-based detective, Holmes is famous for his intellectual prowess, and is renowned for his skillful use of 'deductive reasoning' while using abductive reasoning (inference to the best explanation) and astute observation to solve difficult cases.

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Conan Doyle wrote four novels and fifty-six short stories that featured Holmes. All but four stories are narrated by Holmes' friend and biographer, Dr. John H. Watson; two are narrated by Holmes himself, and two others are written in the third person.

The word Sherlock has since entered the English language as to mean someone who is both highly intelligent and observant. It is also used sarcastically to mean someone who states the obvious.

Sherlock Holmes is the single most frequently filmed fictional character with almost 200 film appearances to date. Only Dracula comes close to matching his record.

The most popular 'Sherlock Holmes' movies were those with Basil Rathbone playing the lead and Nigel Bruce as the ever-faithful Doctor Watson.

Rathbone's career as Holmes began with The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, both made by 20th Century Fox and released in 1939 – the first Holmes films to be set in Victorian, rather than contemporary, times. These were followed by a series of 12 films (and a cameo appearance in the 1943 comedy Crazy House) produced by Universal from 1942 to 1946, set in the present and frequently pitting Holmes against Nazi agents. Although only the first of Rathbone's films was based directly on material by Conan Doyle, e.g The Spider Woman (1944) was an amalgam of two stories; many fans feel that his portrayal most faithfully captures the Holmes of the original stories, due in part to his resemblance to Sidney Paget's original Strand illustrations. 'The Adventures' also gives Rathbone a chance to show his range — in one scene he plays a disguised music hall actor, doing a very creditable version of 'I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside'!

As well as his film performances, Rathbone has played Holmes in 219 radio performances, on television and on the stage.

Nigel Bruce played Watson to Rathbone's Holmes, playing the man as a bumbler and somewhat foolish, and in some films as retired, which is contrary to Doyle's depiction (although, as supposed chronicler, it is unlikely Watson would have dwelt over-much on his own deficiencies).

Throughout the early 1940s on American Radio, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce performed as Holmes and Watson, respectively, in several series of canonical and original Sherlock Holmes stories on the The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes radio show. These broadcasts were loosely based on Doyle's cases. When Rathbone finally departed the role before the 1947 season, Tom Conway played Sherlock Holmes opposite Nigel Bruce for one season. After a change of networks, there were two more pairings: John Stanley as Holmes and Alfred Shirley as Watson in 1947-1948 and John Stanley and Ian Martin in 1948-1949.

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