Who isn’t familiar with the name Sherlock Holmes?
Thanks to numerous stories, as well as movie and TV adaptations, Sherlock Holmes has the distinction of still being the most famous fictional detective in history.
On May 22, we celebrate the detective, which is appropriate because that date also marks the birthday of the man who created him, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Although we’ve seen an influx of movies and TV shows based on Sherlock, there are still a few facts that are little known about him.
Here are 10 interesting tidbits about the greatest detective who never lived.
Sherlock Wasn’t Always Sherlock
When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dreamed up his detective, his name was originally “Sherrinford.” Eventually, though, Doyle changed the name to “Sherlock,” which was also the name of a famous cricket player (Doyle was a huge fan of cricket and even played himself).
Dr. Watson Wasn’t Always Dr. Watson
When Doyle came up with the idea of Sherlock’s assistant, Watson, his name was actually Ormond Sacker, which appears in early drafts of the stories.
In The Novels, Sherlock Never Wore That Famous Cap
The cap we most associate with Sherlock is the deerstalker, but in Doyle’s works, he never wears it. The image of the detective in the famous cap actually came from illustrations that appeared with the short stories in Strand magazine in the late 1800s. Artist Sidney Paget drew Sherlock in the cap and those illustrations stayed in the minds of readers: to this day, that’s how fans envision the character.
Sherlock Never Said, “Elementary, My Dear Watson” In Doyle’s Stories
Although it’s the most quoted line attributed to the detective, Sherlock never actually said it. He did say, “Elementary” several times and “My dear Watson” at other times, but the full phrase never actually appeared until 1915 when P.G. Wodehouse wrote Psmith, Journalist.
The First Sherlock Holmes Movie Premiered In 1900
The first movie adaptation of the character happened at the turn of the century with a film that only lasted 30 seconds, Sherlock Holmes Baffled.
Not much else is known about this movie, not even the name of the actor who portrayed the detective.
The First Sherlock Holmes Novel Flopped
Doyle’s first novel about Sherlock was A Study in Scarlet, written in 1887. That novel got rejected by many publishers, although it eventually appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual, which still didn’t sell well.
Oscar Wilde Is The Reason There Was A Second Novel
A Study in Scarlet, though, did have one fan: editor Joseph Stoddart from Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. At a dinner party hosted by Wilde, Stoddart pushed Doyle to write a second novel about the detective for his magazine, which became The Sign of the Four.
Sherlock Holmes Is Not The Most-Filmed Fictional Character
Although Sherlock is the most-filmed human character of all time and has appeared in more than 226 movies, the most-filmed fictional character award goes to the non-human Dracula for 239 appearances on film.
Mycroft Only Appeared In Two Sherlock Holmes Stories
Fans of the BBC’s Sherlock series are very familiar with Mycroft, the famous detective’s brother. But in the original tales, Mycroft was really not that important: he only appeared in two storie, The Greek Interpreter and The Bruce-Partington Plans. He does briefly get mentioned in two others, though.
Dr. Watson Doesn’t Narrate All Of Sherlock’s Stories
Although many readers assume that Watson narrates all the Holmes stories, there are four that Doyle told from a different point of view. Two stories occur in the third person, while Doyle wrote the other two from Holmes’ own perspective.