Sherlock Holmes (1954 TV Series)
The first and only American television series of Sherlock Holmes adventures aired in syndication in the fall of 1954. The 39 half-hour mostly original stories were produced by Sheldon Reynolds and filmed in France by Guild Films, starring Ronald Howard
Ronald Howard (British actor)
Ronald Howard was an English actor and writer best known in the U.S. for starring in a weekly Sherlock Holmes television series in 1954. He was the son of actor Leslie Howard.- Life and work :...

 (son of Leslie Howard) as Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...

 and Howard Marion Crawford as Watson. Archie Duncan
Archie Duncan (actor)
Archie Duncan was a Scottish actor born in Glasgow.Duncan's father was a Regimental Sergeant Major in the army and his mother a postmistress...

 appeared in many episodes as Inspector Lestrade
Inspector Lestrade
Inspector G. Lestrade is a fictional character, a Scotland Yard detective appearing in several of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle used the name of a friend from his days at the University of Edinburgh, a Saint Lucian medical student by the name of Joseph Alexandre Lestrade....

 (and in a few as other characters). Richard Larke, billed as Kenneth Richards, played Sgt. Wilkins in about fifteen episodes. The series' associate producer, Nicole Milinaire
Nicole Milinaire
Nicole Milinaire-Russell, Duchess of Bedford was a French television producer in the 1950s. She was the associate producer of Sheldon Reynolds television series Sherlock Holmes and of the 1951-1954 series, Foreign Intrigue. She produced the 1957 CBS series Dick and the Duchess, starring Patrick...

, was one of the first women to attain a senior production role in a television series.

Most of the show's 39 episodes are non-Canonical
Canon of Sherlock Holmes
Traditionally, the canon of Sherlock Holmes consists of the fifty-six short stories and four novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In this context, the term "canon" is an attempt to distinguish between Doyle's original works and subsequent works by other authors using the same...

 original adventures, but a few are based on Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

's stories: "The Case of the French Interpreter" (based on "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter
The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter
"The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The story was originally serialised in Strand Magazine in 1893. This story...

"), "The Case of the Pennsylvania Gun" (based on The Valley of Fear
The Valley of Fear
The Valley of Fear is the fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine between September 1914 and May 1915, and the first book edition was published in New York on 27 February 1915.- Part I: The Tragedy of Birlstone...

), "The Case of the Shoeless Engineer" (based on "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb
The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb
"The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the ninth of the twelve stories collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in March 1892.-Synopsis:In his...

"), and "The Case of the Red-Headed League" (based on the "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League"). The first episode, "The Case of the Cunningham Heritage," adapts the first section of A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, introducing his new character of Sherlock Holmes, who later became one of the most famous literary detective characters. He wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year...

, in which Holmes and Watson's relationship is established, and develops an original story from there.


Sheldon Reynolds had been successful with his 1951 European-made series Foreign Intrigue
Foreign Intrigue
Foreign Intrigue is a 1951 television series produced in Europe by Sheldon Reynolds The 30-minute series ran for 156 episodes over four seasons...

(in 1956 he directed a movie with the same title starring Robert Mitchum
Robert Mitchum
Robert Charles Durman Mitchum was an American film actor, author, composer and singer and is #23 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest male American screen legends of all time...

) and decided a Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...

 series made in France for the American syndication market might also be successful. Several sets were built in Paris for the street outside 221B Baker Street and the flat itself. There were a number of other sets build for a variety of locations and then re-dressed as necessary (homes, Scotland Yard, shops, parks, offices, etc.). Besides the three principals (Howard, Crawford and Duncan), a number of actors appeared regularly in the series including French-born Eugene Deckers
Eugene Deckers
Eugene Deckers was a Belgian stage actor who relocated to England when his Nazi-held homeland was liberated by the Allies. Re-establishing himself on the British stage, Deckers made his first English language film appearance in 1946. Formerly a romantic lead, he specialized in "continental"...

 who played no fewer than seven different characters, including both victims and villains. The most famous actor to appear as a guest was Paulette Goddard
Paulette Goddard
Paulette Goddard was an American film and theatre actress. A former child fashion model and in several Broadway productions as Ziegfeld Girl, she was a major star of the Paramount Studio in the 1940s. She was married to several notable men, including Charlie Chaplin, Burgess Meredith, and Erich...

 but others who would gain fame or near-fame in the future included Delphine Seyrig
Delphine Seyrig
Delphine Claire Beltiane Seyrig was a stage and film actress and a film director.-Early life:...

, Michael Gough
Michael Gough
Michael Gough was an English character actor who appeared in over 150 films. He is perhaps best known to international audiences for his roles in the Hammer Horror films from 1958, and for his recurring role as Alfred Pennyworth in all four movies of the Burton/Schumacher Batman franchise,...

, Dawn Addams
Dawn Addams
Dawn Addams was an English actress in motion pictures of the 1950s.-Life and career:She was born Victoria Dawn Addams in Felixstowe, Suffolk, England, the daughter of Ethel Mary and Captain James Ramage Addams. Her mother died when she was young, and she spent her early life in Calcutta, India...

, Mary Sinclair
Mary Sinclair
Mary Sinclair was an American television, film and stage actress and “a familiar face to television viewers in the 1950s” as a performer in numerous plays produced and broadcast live during the early days of television. Sinclair was also a painter and had in her youth been a Conover model...

, and Natalie Schafer
Natalie Schafer
Natalie Schafer was an American actress, best known as Eunice "Lovey" Wentworth Howell on CBS's sitcom Gilligan's Island .-Early life and career:...

. Barry Mackay
Barry MacKay (actor)
Barry MacKay was a British actor.He was most prominently seen in light comedic roles in the British cinema of the 1930s and is perhaps best known as Jessie Matthews' leading man in Evergreen , Gangway and Sailing Along .Other notable roles include Lieutenant Somerville in Brown on Resolution and...

, whose career was nearing its end, also appeared in one episode: "The Case of the Laughing Mummy".

There was very little location work and most of the series was filmed in the studio with many stock shots of carriages on London Bridge and near Big Ben giving the impression of London. However, on a few occasions like "The Case of the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is a puddle iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. Built in 1889, it has become both a global icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world...

" the French filming locations were used. French actors were extensively used in small parts and several affected English accents with varying levels of success.

Although only 39 episodes were syndicated, a second season of 39 episodes was scheduled to begin production in June 1955.

Many of the episodes were directed by Steve Previn
Steve Previn
Stephen Wolf Previn was a German-born American director of television episodes and feature films and film production executive. Previn began his film career in 1943 as an editor for MGM and later Universal Studios. In 1950, he moved to Europe...

, the brother of composer André Previn
André Previn
André George Previn, KBE is an American pianist, conductor, and composer. He is considered one of the most versatile musicians in the world, and is the winner of four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings. -Early Life:Previn was born in...


In 1980, Reynolds produced a second Sherlock Holmes TV series, entitled Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Many of the 1954 TV episodes were remade in the second series.


Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date

DVD release

In 2005, Mill Creek Entertainment
Mill Creek Entertainment
Mill Creek Entertainment is a home entertainment company that manufactures movie and television DVD compilation box sets at "value" prices. Nashville's Amity Entertainment is an affiliate to Mill Creek...

 released Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Series, a three-disc DVD set featuring all 39 episodes of the series. In 2010, Mill Creek released Sherlock Holmes: Greatest Mysteries, a five-disc DVD set featuring all 39 episodes plus eight unrelated Holmes films: The Sign of Four
The Sign of Four (1932 film)
The Sign of Four is a 1932 British crime film directed by Graham Cutts and starring Arthur Wontner, Ian Hunter and Graham Soutten. The film is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's second Sherlock Holmes story The Sign of the Four and was made at Ealing Studios.The film is also known as The Sign of Four:...

(1932), A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet (1933 film)
A Study in Scarlet is a drama film directed by Edwin L. Marin and starring Reginald Owen as Sherlock Holmes and Anna May Wong as Mrs. Pyke. The title comes from Arthur Conan Doyle's novel of the same name, the first in the Holmes series, but the screenplay by Robert Florey was original.Despite her...

(1933), The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes
The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes
The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes is a 1935 British mystery film directed by Leslie S. Hiscott and based on The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle.- Plot summary :...

(1935), Murder at the Baskervilles
Silver Blaze (film)
Silver Blaze is a 1937 British, black-and-white, crime and mystery, directed by Thomas Bentley, starring Arthur Wontner as Sherlock Holmes, Ian Fleming as Dr. Watson and Ronald Shiner as Simpson the Stable Boy / Jockey...

(1937), Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon
Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon is the fourth in the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce series of Sherlock Holmes films.- Plot :Sherlock Holmes pretends to be a Nazi spy to aid scientist Dr. Franz Tobel and his new invention, a bombsight, in escaping a Gestapo trap in Switzerland...

(1943), The Woman in Green
The Woman in Green
The Woman in Green is a 1945 Sherlock Holmes film starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson, with Hillary Brooke as the woman of the title and Henry Daniell as Professor Moriarty. It is mostly an original story, but scenes from Arthur Conan Doyle's The Final Problem and The...

(1945), Terror by Night
Terror by Night
Terror by Night is a 1946 Sherlock Holmes mystery film inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, loosely based on The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax and The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle. It was directed by Roy William Neill, and stars Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson...

(1946), and Dressed to Kill
Dressed to Kill (1946 film)
Dressed to Kill , is the last of fourteen films starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson....


External links

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