The dinner celebrating Sherlock Holmes’s 154th birthday was an evening replete with tradition, yet sprinkled with surprises. This year also marked the 75th anniversary of the publication of Vincent Starrett’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, and honoring Starrett was a theme of the evening.
Andrew Fusco read the Constitution and Buy-Laws. Warren Randall toasted Mrs. Hudson. John Bergquist toasted Mycroft Holmes. Marilyn MacGregor had us raise our glasses to Watson's second wife, and Marina Stajic toasted to Sherlock Holmes, featuring the ditty "Sherlock Holmes in Manhattan" accompanied on the piano by Henry Boote. Sherry Rose-Bond led us in the responsive reading of the Musgrave Ritual.
From Michael Dirda, we learned that his Investiture namesake, Langdale Pike, was actually Vincent Starrett. Betsy Rosenblatt ripped Naked Is the Best Disguise to bits. This year’s Morley-Montgomery Award winner, Ray Betzner, made a tribute toast to the Old Irregular, Vincent Starrett.
Seven deserving Irregulars received their Shilling. Sherry Rose-Bond was honored with The Two-Shilling Award "for extraordinary devotion to the cause beyond the call of duty.” Roy Pilot, Al Rosenblatt, and Christopher and Barbara Roden received the Editor’s Medal. George McCormack was recognized for attending his 50th consecutive BSI Dinner.
Priscilla Juvelis was toasted as The Woman. Unfortunately, weather prevented her from being present to receive said honor. This did not, however, lead to any interruptions in the presentation of impressive women at the Birthday festivities, as Wiggins seamlessly introduced a surprise guest, Heloise Rathbone, the granddaughter of Basil Rathbone from his first marriage. Ms. Rathbone spoke about her grandfather and what it was like to be part of the Rathbone family.
The festivities were neatly wrapped up by Bob Thomalen, who read "A Long Evening with Holmes" by the late Bill Schweickert.
At the next day’s Sherlockian Cocktail Reception at the New York City Bar Association, attendees saw the New York premiere of The Other Side, a one-act play by Jerome Coopersmith who, more than 40 years before, wrote the book for the musical Baker Street. The Other Side dealt with the differing approaches to Spiritualism of two prominent couples: Harry and Bess Houdini (portrayed by Paul Singleton and Elyse Locurto) and Jean and Arthur Conan Doyle (played by Mary Ellen Rich and Bob Thomalen). Michael Pollak introduced the piece, which also featured Kate Karlson as a medium and Dana Richards on sound. In addition, Judge Albert Rosenblatt and his daughter, Betsy Rosenblatt, once again performed their remarkable rhyming summation of the previous year and of the Festivities.
Dinner Details: January 11, 2008
Union League Club, New York
Dinner Photo InformationClick on the above photo to see a larger version of it, and maximize your browser window to see the most detail.
Key to People in the 2008 BSI Dinner photo (not available at this time)
BSI Honours List
John Genova as Harry Pinner
Guy C. Marriott as The Grand Hôtel du Louvre
David F. Morrill as Count Von Kramm
Dana S. Richards as The Priory School
Cooper Barbara Roisman as Mary Maberley
Betsy Rosenblatt as Lucy Ferrier
Randall Stock as South African Securities
* received Investiture at another event during the year
What is an Investiture?
What is a Two-Shilling Award?
Priscilla Juvelis (Mrs. Daniel Posnansky)
What is The Woman honour?
"Stand with me here upon the terrace..."
(as named at this Dinner, not their year of passing)
Not named in the 2008 BSJ report of the Dinner.
What is the origin of “standing on the terrace?”
Raymond Betzner, "The Wicked Beginnings of a Baker Street Classic!"
The Baker Street Journal v57 n3 (Autumn 2007) pp. 6-12 (available in the eBSJ).
What is the Morley-Montgomery Award?
The BSI Distinguished Speaker Lecture:
Sir Christopher Frayling, “The Writing of The Hound of the Baskervilles”
The Baker Street Journal v58 n1 (Spring 2008): 18-32 (available in the eBSJ).
What is the BSI Distinguished Speaker Lecture?
Reports on the DinnerThe Baker Street Journal v58 n1 (Spring 2008): 6-14 (available in the eBSJ).
Blau, Peter, Scuttlebutt from the Spermaceti Press, (January 2008): 1-2.
List of 2008 BSI Dinner Attendees (not available at this time)
A recording of portions of the 2008 BSI Dinner is available at Harvard as part of the BSI Archive.
Related MaterialRosenblatt, Albert M., and Betsy Rosenblatt, “The Sherlockian Year In Verse: 2008,” The Baker Street Journal v58 n1 (Spring 2008): 14-17 (available in the eBSJ). The Rosenblatts’ rhyming retrospective, delivered at the January 12, 2008 Sherlockian Cocktail Reception.
Previous dinner: the 2007 BSI Dinner
Next dinner: the 2009 BSI Dinner
For an index to all BSI Dinners and photos, see our BSI Dinner Summary list.
The BSI Archive is located at the Houghton Library at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Archival material may be used by any qualified scholar, subject to the normal rules and regulations of the Library. For links to a detailed finding aid and related information, see our BSI Archive at Harvard page.
Page composed on 12/5/2016 by Tamar Zeffren
This page last updated 12/25/2016 by Andrew Solberg.