Sherlock Holmes (the never-ending story)
During the war when I used to go to Saturday morning pictures – three pence to get in and no refund if it was bombed while you were inside. Incidentally threepence in say 1944 becomes around £4.50 today – so it was considerably more expensive to go to the Saturday cinema in 1944.
There was also a sort of ‘segregation’ being practised. Kids from the same street all had to sit in the same row – I think that this was to prevent outbreaks of violence – not West Side Story, more the ‘Bash street kids‘. I don’t think that children whose socks stayed up, had clean knees and who lived in homes that had an inside toilet and perhaps even a bathroom, used to go to the Saturday morning pictures. Unless of course they could go upstairs for six pence and were allowed to sit where they liked. At the Saturday morning cinema they always showed a serial, Zorro Rides Again, Flash Gordon, Hopalong Cassidy, Superman, sometimes the serial would include a singing cowboy, which caused us all to groan – the boys anyway – singing cowboy films always had girls in them and were full of ‘soppy love stuff’.
However I digress; this was intended to be a lead-in to the death (if you believe it) of Sherlock Holmes. The link between these being that each Saturday morning serial would finish at a climactic moment. In those days climactic involved the hero – it was always a hero – being in mortal danger. We of course believed these events in their climactic context (circa 1944 Hollywood wasn’t ready for When Harry Met Sally). Anyway, each week the serial episode would end with a voice-over saying things like:
“Is this the end of Gene Autry”? ( “Hooray” we would all cry!)
“Will Flash Gordon escape from the evil Emperor Ming”? (Threepence to find out)
“Is that really kryptonite in Superman’s pocket”? (We never thought that he had a pocket)
If you watched the Sherlock Holmes episode on television – ‘The Reichenbach Fall’ – it seems that everyone is asking the questions is; “Is Sherlock still alive”? Becoming ‘fed-up’ with the Sherlock Holmes character, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle invented Moriarty to bring about Holmes’ demise. This originally occurred at the ‘Reichenbach Falls. However, as with the television series, there was a public outcry – people wanted more and so Conan Doyle brought Sherlock Holmes ‘back to life’. Having revived Holmes, Conan Doyle continuing writing about his eponymous detective for another 24 years.
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