During the recent BSI weekend, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Susan Rice, Scott Monty and Burt Wolder to discuss the life and writings of Vincent Starrett. It was a grand afternoon, spent at The Players, which has so many associations with the BSI, past and present.
In case you have not yet heard the podcast, you can find it at I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere.
As I said, it was a grand afternoon, spent with dear friends talking and trading stories about Starrett, Holmes and the world of the Baker Street Irregulars. In fact, the conversation is very much like those that I have enjoyed the most over the years: a small gathering of friends sharing their unique knowledge with ample doses of good humor, bad puns, and a libation or two.
I hope you've listened to the podcast by now, and heard Burt Wolder's heartfelt recital of Starrett's sonnet, "221B".
I thought you might enjoy a another rendition, this time read by the man whose voice I hear whenever I read the Sherlock Holmes stories.
In a future post, I'll trace the friendship between Basil Rathbone and Vincent Starrett. For now, here's a preview:
In his later years, Rathbone did a one-man stage show, often on college campuses. He would end by reciting Starrett's poetic tribute to Holmes. Rathbone also recorded the bit of verse in the 1960s for Caedmon.
Rathbone loved the poem so much that when he wrote his biography, In and Out of Character (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, inc. 1962) he reprinted the sonnet, under the somewhat expanded title of "221B Baker Street". Here's what Rathbone had to say:
This poem by my good friend Vincent Starrett, poet, novelist, mystery writer and book reviewer on the Chicago Tribune causes me to wonder why some sculptor has not been inspired to carve such thoughts out in stone. London owes itself and many millions more of us all over the world a statue to these two men "who never lived and so can never die," and who have done so much to perpetuate a colorful fragment of history at the turn of the century in dear old Londontown. (pp 182-183.)
Here, courtesy of an old friend, is Rathbone's unique interpretation of "221B".