Tuesday, June 14, 2016

70th Anniversary Dinner Report

The 70th anniversary dinner of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit saw 64 members and fellow travelers gather at Lelli’s of Auburn Hills to celebrate the society’s seven decades of longevity (with, like Sherlock Holmes himself, a hiatus here and there).
In keeping with the observance, the gathering was highlighted by a special program that reproduced the agenda of the society’s first meeting which occurred at a Detroit supper club on April 26, 1946 – coincidentally, the same year that the Baker Street Journal was first published.

Even the cover of the program had special significance, reproducing the artwork from the society’s “resurrection” dinner in 1975, complete with a reproduced autographed copy of Vincent Starrett’s famous poem, “221B”, on the back. In keeping with the afternoon’s historical theme, several people, among them Velda Dykehouse, Dennis and Lucille Petroni and Bev Sobolewski, even came in Victorian-era garb, adding to the celebration.
Gasogene John Kramb cordially welcomed the throng at 1:10 p.m. and introduced the board members, guests and new members, including Frank Bartolo of the Commonwealth Club. 

Underlining the historical significance of the afternoon, Kramb also noted that two former AMS Gasogenes were in attendance: Tom Voss and Dr. Ed Stein along with past Commissionaire Bill Volz and past Tantalus Ray Mandziuk.

With that, the afternoon got underway as members made their selections from Lelli’s fine board of entrees, ranging from a char-broiled filet with zip sauce, veal parmigiana marinara, chicken Marsala, sautéed lake perch or an eggplant parmigiana. Dessert was a special cake made to resemble a giant version of the society’s legendary lapel pin.
The lapel pin was also reprised in a gift bookmark everyone received. Designed by artist and member Martha Thierry, it showed the pin, the anniversary years and a Sidney Paget illustration of an amateur mendicant on one side and a complete list of the Sacred Writings on the obverse.

During the luncheon, the society’s traditional toasts were offered, plus the ones that were made at the First Dinner 70 years ago.

Toasted were The Woman (by Phil Jones), Mrs. Hudson (by Velda Dykehouse), Watson’s Second Wife (excellently done by Regina Stinson as a poem), Mycroft Holmes (by Ed Stein) and the Second Most Dangerous Man in London (by Rob Musial, who pointed out that this personage, Col. Sebastian Moran, caused Holmes to return from his three-year hiatus). Finally, as in 1946, a toast was offered to The Game is Afoot (by Al Calderini, who spelled out what the Sherlockian “game” is all about).

In addition, former Tantalus Jerry “Red” Alvin offered the now-customary toast to Ezekiah Hopkins, the late eccentric millionaire from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who so amply provided for the Red-Headed League. Alvin’s toast was made all the more convivial with a fine red wine, a 1986 French grand cru, supplied by member Phil Jones.

Glasses were also raised to Queen Elizabeth II who had celebrated her 90th birthday a week earlier, having surpassed in 2015 the record reign of her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, the ruler during most of Holmes’ adventures.

Next, Baker Street Irregular member Mark McPherson, who attended his first AMS dinner in 1962, offered his perspectives on “The Adventure of the Literary Agent.”
McPherson, who has investigated the Loch Ness Monster, the final séance of Houdini, the Shroud of Turin and the location of King Arthur’s Camelot, was perfectly suited for delving into this matter, having presented the first commemorative plaque at 221B Baker Street in 1978 and for conferring with Dame Jean Conan Doyle, the daughter of the actual literary agent, on the dramatic work, “An Evening with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,” which he performed for a decade throughout America, Britain and Canada.

In keeping with modern AMS practices, the audience was also involved in the discussion points on the assigned story, “The Adventure of the Second Stain.” Led by Tantalus Rob Musial, the discussion considered the story’s finer points, including how Dr. Watson actually outsmarted Holmes by deeming the theft of the secret letter and the murder “an amazing coincidence,” though Holmes failed” to give the good doctor any credit for his deduction.
Harkening back to the society’s early days, Bev Ellis then read an extract on “The Historicity of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit,” as researched by the late AMS member, Robert Harris (BSI), which traced the society back to an unexplained tale mentioned by Dr. Watson that reportedly took place in 1887.

Taking another page from the past (and the First Dinner), AMS members next reenacted a “Meeting in Baker Street,” by the eminent early Sherlock actor William Gillette. It starred Billy the Page (Bev Ellis), Holmes (Michael Ellis), Prof. Moriarty (John Kramb), and a Narrator (Chris Music) and portrayed the fateful first meeting between the two adversaries.

Following that, Commissionaire Chris Music led the audience in another agenda item from April, 1946 – a recitation of the Musgrave Ritual, which was done “for the sake of the trust.”

No AMS meeting would be complete without the awarding of door prizes and the 70th anniversary luncheon was no exception, thanks to prize facilitator Anne Musial.
In the drawing, Terri Roth took home a Sherlock Holmes bag made by Debbie Streck, Natalie Kwatkowsky and Tom Doppke each won limited-edition Sherlock Holmes mugs and Michael Clyne took home the book “At the Dawn of Time,” an Allan Quartermain adventure that features Holmes.

As the meeting neared the end, Anne Musial and Gayle Conway led the crowd in the traditional singing of “God Save the Queen and Michael Ellis read the meeting’s traditional closing, Vincent Starrett’s poem, “221B.”

With that, Gasogene Kramb noted that planning for the fall meeting in late September was already underway. With that, the meeting concluded and the 70th anniversary gathering went into the history books at 4:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial, AMS Tantalus

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

70th Anniversary Meeting Notice

"It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts.”                  
- Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Second Stain.”       

Don’t make your own capital mistake by turning down this invite to share with us the very special 70th ANNIVERSARY DINNER meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 1 p.m.
Lelli’s Italian Restaurant
885 North Opdyke Road, Auburn Hills, MI   
Our assigned story is “The Adventure of the Second Stain” in which a missing diplomatic document could mean war unless Holmes and Watson can untangle this shadowy affair.

The once-every-70-years celebration will also feature a recreation of the very first meeting of the Amateur Mendicants on April 26, 1946 with presentations on the historicity of the AMS and “The Adventure of the Literary Agent,” a live drama (“Meeting in Baker Street”) and general rejoicing ad libitum – plus special toasts, prizes and more. NOTE: Business attire requested for the event.

Please make dinner checks payable to: Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit. Or to pay by PayPal, contact amateurmendicantsociety@gmail.com for instructions.

To join us, please mail your check for $35 per person by FRIDAY, APRIL 22nd to:

c/o Edward F. Stein
25015 Oakbrooke
Southfield, MI  48033

The special 70th Anniversary Dinner includes your choice of beef filet, veal Marsala, chicken or eggplant parmigiana, lake perch plus soup or salad, potatoes, green beans, rolls, beverages and special anniversary cake. As always, there will be a cash bar.

 “Come at once if convenient … if inconvenient, come all the same.”

Sunday, March 06, 2016

70th Anniversary Luncheon - Save the Date

Save the date... the Amateur Mendicant Society's 70th anniversary luncheon will be held on Sunday afternoon May 1st at Lelli's Italian Steakhouse in Auburn Hills.

Stay tuned for more details!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Winter Meeting Report

Report of the February 6, 2016 meeting of 
The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit

The first meeting in the 70th anniversary year of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit was held on the evening of February 6, 2016 at the British Commonwealth Club in the Detroit suburb of Warren. (The original society of course was mentioned briefly in the Canonical tale, “The Five Orange Pips,” where chronicler Dr. John Watson noted that it maintained “a luxurious club in the lower vault of a furniture warehouse.” The Detroit group however has always been above-board.)

Upon calling the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m., Gasogene John Kramb welcomed the 56 members and guests and introduced the AMS board members, planning committee members and guests. Those attending for the first time included Paul Bissa, Josh Boggs and Jill Young.

As a sumptuous buffet of chicken Marsala, roast beef, pasta Alfredo and all the fixings was being readied and served, the traditional toasts were offered to The Woman (by Mike Smith), Mycroft Holmes (by Dennis Petroni), Watson’s Second Wife (by Brad Schwartz) and Mrs. Hudson (by Fritzi Roth).

In addition, longtime Mendicant Jerry “Red” Alvin wove a toast to natural redhead Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacky Colliss Harvey (author of “Red: A History of the Redhead”) and of course to Ezekiah Hopkins, the late millionaire from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who so amply provided for the maintenance of the Red-Headed League.

Society Tantalus Rob Musial also bid the throng to raise their glasses to Mr. Holmes himself on the occasion of his 162nd birthday on the eve of Super Bowl 50 – or “L” for those of you who still count in Latin. The toast succinctly detailed the painstaking and meticulous scholarship that went into setting January 6, 1854 as Holmes’ natal day. As part of the celebration, a special birthday cake in the shape of the front door of 221B Baker Street was sliced and served.

With the completion of dinner, Commissionaire Chris Music briefly went over the discussion points for the evening’s assigned reading, “The Adventure of the Wisteria Lodge,” a tale in which a client comes to Holmes and Watson after a most singular evening involving voodoo – and murder.

Then, in the tradition of the first meeting of the year, Musial presented the society’s highest honor, the Beggar’s Cup award, given annually to the member who made what was deemed to be the best presentation to the club during the preceding year. That cup this year went to John Sherwood, who, as an actor, has portrayed Holmes for more than 30 years.

This was followed by a surprise presentation during this 70th anniversary year of special Beggar’s Cups to both Gasogene Kramb and Commissionaire Music for their efforts for the club over the past decade.

Then came the evening’s main event, the presentation “Will the Real Mrs. Hudson Please Stand Up,” by Michael Jones, who drew on textural criticism to consider the question of just who the most famous landlady in literature was (and if she existed at all). Being a pastor, Jones noted that the first Sherlockian scholarship was crafted in 1928 by Monsignor Ronald Knox. Both men of the cloth were well-suited to divining clues, facts and contradictions from their close readings of ancient texts, be it the Bible or the Holmesian Canon.

When Jones was finished, Gasogene Kramb stood to remind the multitude that a special meeting commemorating the official 70th anniversary of the Mendicants was being planned, likely in April. Details will be forthcoming as they are finalized.

Anne Musial then conducted the drawing for the door prizes. Michael Clyne won the Sherlock Holmes in London book; Brad Schwartz took home the Sherlock Holmes action figure; Thomas Biblewski won the Holmes video game and Fritzi Roth garnered the (assembled) Sherlockian jig-saw puzzle, a gift of Ray and Pat Mandziuk.

With that, Anne Musial and Gayle Conway led the room in the traditional singing of “God Save The Queen, Tidewaiter Ed Stein read the closing poem, “221B,” and Gasogene Kramb gaveled the meeting to a close at 9:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial
AMS Tantalus

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Winter Meeting Notice

 “My dear Watson, is it beyond the limits of human ingenuity to furnish an explanation?”                  
-- Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge.”       

Unlike Holmes, we need no explanation to invite you to join us for an evening of comestibles and conviviality at the annual winter meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit

Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 7 p.m.
Commonwealth Club
30088 Dequindre Road, Warren, MI                                                                                                                                                                          
Our assigned story is “The Adventure of the Wisteria Lodge,” in which a client comes to Holmes and Watson after a most singular and unsettling evening that has led to voodoo -- and murder.

Michael Jones will also present a learned discussion about the most famous landlady in literature, Mrs. Hudson. There will also be toasts, prizes, birthday cake for Holmes and the awarding of the annual Beggar’s Cup. Annual dues ($5 members, $15 non-members) will also be collected.

NOTE: Please make dinner checks payable to: Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

To join us, please mail your check for $26 per person by FRIDAY, JANUARY 29th to:

c/o Edward F. Stein
25015 Oakbrooke
Southfield, MI  48033

Our dinner includes chicken Marsala, roast beef, pasta Alfredo, mixed vegetables, potatoes, salad, rolls, dessert and beverages. As always, there will be a cash bar.

                  “Come at once if convenient … if inconvenient, come all the same.”

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fall Meeting Report

To kick off the fall meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit, 54 Mendicants and their guests gathered on the evening of September 26, 2015 amid the familiar surroundings of the British Commonwealth Club in the Detroit suburb of Warren.

Gasogene John Kramb called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. by welcoming the throng and introducing the Society’s board members and the planning committee. He also welcomed new attendees including Velda Dykehouse; Chris Redmond, the noted Sherlockian scholar and editor of the site Sherlockian.net; Sherlockian actor John Sherwood and Sherlockian publisher George Vanderburgh and his friend Carol Wilton.

Then, members and guests raised their glasses in a toast honoring the late Richard Jeryan, a longtime member who served so admirably in recent years as the club’s Lascar. He is missed by all who knew him.

With dinner underway, Chris Music introduced the traditional toasts.  Toasts were offered to The Woman (by George Vanderburgh); Mycroft Holmes (by Al Calderini); Watson’s Second Wife (John Sherwood) and Mrs. Hudson (by Tom Biblewski).

The buffet dinner itself featured chicken Marsala, roast beef, pasta Alfredo, vegetables, potatoes and other delicious accompaniments.

Next, Jerry “Red” Alvin also rose to offer a toast but not, this time, to Ezekiah Hopkins, the late millionaire of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who left his munificence for the benefit of red heads everywhere. Instead, Alvin recalled the early days of the Mendicants and legendary member Bob Harris and his connection to “The Creeping Man.”

With that, Gasogene Kramb again took the podium to offer the discussion points on the evening’s story, “The Adventure of the Creeping Man,” a story that again proves that man should not monkey around.

Then came the real meat of the evening – the presentation. Served up by Gasogene Emeritus Roy Pilot, the talk was billed as “The Collector, the Author, the Sherlockian.”
In it, Pilot discussed his 50 years of collecting materials related to Arthur Conan Doyle, believed by some to be the actual author of The Canon as opposed to one Dr. John Watson. The talk was illustrated by actual items from Pilot’s collection, which he gathered on a shoestring budget over decades by pluck, luck and serendipity.

With the presentation concluded, Gasogene Kramb informed the multitude that the next meeting of the Mendicants would be on February 6th at the Commonwealth Club. He also welcomed suggestions and noted that plans were underway to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Mendicants’ founding in April 2016.

Next, Anne Musial held the drawing for door prizes which included a Sherlock Holmes book donated by Phil Jones, a diabolical two-sided puzzle donated by the Jeryans and three books donated by Vanderburgh. And the winners who added to their personal collections that night were Mitzi Alvin, Brandon Vasos, Jack Hretz, Pat Drzinski and Carrie Mulko.

Then, Anne Musial and Gayle Conway led the group in the traditional singing of “God Save the Queen,” Rob Musial, closed the gathering with the traditional reading of the poem, “221B” and the meeting was adjourned at 9:27 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Rob Musial, AMS Tantalus

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

September Meeting Notice

"It is a tangled skein, you understand, and I am looking for a loose end.”        
- Sherlock Holmes to Dr. John Watson, in “The Adventure of the Creeping Man.”

And we hope that you’ll help us untangle that skein by joining us for a fine evening of comestibles and camaraderie at the annual fall meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.
Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 7 p.m.
30088 Dequindre Rd., Warren, MI 
Our assigned reading is “The Adventure of the Creeping Man,” a September story that involves a young woman, an angry wolfhound and a man who has begun to monkey around with things he shouldn’t.

The evening’s presenter will be Gasogene Emeritus Roy Pilot, BSI on “The Collector, the Author, the Sherlockian,” which draws on 50 years of scholarship, study and searches into arcane and amusing mysteries of the Sacred Writings.

We’ll also offer the usual toasts, prizes and more as part of this autumnal gathering of like-minded Holmesians – at one of our favorite haunts. We hope to see you on September 26th!

To join us, please mail your check for $26 per person payable to "AMATEUR MENDICANT SOCIETY" by Monday September 21st to:

Edward F. Stein, A.M.S.
25015 Oakbrooke
Southfield, MI  48033

The meal includes a buffet featuring chicken Marsala, roast beef, pasta Alfredo, mixed vegetables, salad, potatoes, rolls, dessert and beverages. As always, there will be a cash bar.

 “Come at once if convenient … if inconvenient, come all the same.”

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Spring Meeting Report

(Please note: This report was unfortunately delayed when it was mistakenly sent by way of The Orient Express and held up for some time by postal authorities in Istanbul. We regret any inconvenience.)

Some 48 members and guests of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit gathered on May 30th at a new venue, the 5th Tavern in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. for an evening of bonhomie and Sherlockian scholarship.

The society’s Gasogene, John Kramb, gaveled the session to order at 7:15 p.m., and introduced the planning committee and the board members in attendance. Also welcomed were honored guests including Spencer Jones, Brandon Vosas and Mary Miller; Ms. Miller made the trip representing the Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis, another venerable Sherlockian scion.

With a fine buffet dinner underway that included chicken Marsala, baby back ribs, mostaccioli and assorted side dishes, the Traditional Toasts were offered.  Margaret Wittmer offered a well-researched toast to The Woman that threatened to pre-empt the presentation, followed by John Calderini (to Mycroft Holmes), Dr. Edward Stein (to Watson’s Second Wife) and Christine Del Greco raising a glass to Mrs. Hudson.

Then, in a distinct bit of AMS tradition, Jerry “Red” Alvin also stood to salute Ezekiah Hopkins, noting that since the Canon is red (or rather read), it was incumbent upon us to toast the late millionaire of Lebanon, who so amply provided for the propagation of red heads everywhere.

(It should be noted here that throughout the evening, the Gasogene and most of the other speakers had to battle the tavern’s recalcitrant sound system. Also, the establishment did not seem to be prepared for the presentation that was to come, finally draping a tablecloth on a wall to serve as the screen. Fortunately, AMS technicians in the audience were able to fix things so that the highlights of the evening weren’t reduced to being a display of silent shadow puppets made with a flashlight.)

After the toasts, Commissionaire Chris Music presented a fiendishly difficult 18-question quiz on the meeting’s assigned story (“The Adventure of the Norwood Builder”).

Vying for top honors with high scores were Patience Nauta, Chris Jeryan and Regina Stinson, which Stinson won after a tie-breaker. Her prize, direct from the BBC catalog itself, was “The Case Files of Sherlock Holmes,” a boxed hardcover collection containing 18 telegrams, letters, notes, photographs and other ephemera collected by Dr. John Watson during six of Holmes’ most celebrated cases, all carefully retained in official evidence bags. (A retail value of more than $29.94.)

Next was the evening’s PowerPoint presentation, titled “Solved! The Riddles of Reichenbach.” It was proffered by Mendicants Rob and Anne Musial who toured France and Switzerland last fall, making sure to investigate the afore-mentioned falls high above the charming Swiss village of Meiringen.

Far more than a travelogue, the presentation managed to add Maria Von trap, Inspector Clouseau and a mysterious plaque erected by early Mendicant Bill Rabe into a tasty stew of conjecture, hyperbole and factual observation. Chief among them were why the site of Prof. Moriarty’s demise and the falls look different than they did in Watson’s day. And part of that answer lies within the machinations of a Swiss hydro-electric company.

Following that, John and Ann LaFond recapped their own visit to Meiringen and the Falls a few years ago and showed a video reenactment of Holmes fateful visit to said falls. John also related how he got inside the 221B sitting room display at the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Meiringen by using his vast engineering skills (and height) to turn on the museum’s dehumidifier.

Gasogene Kramb then informed members and guests that the next meeting of the Mendicants would be Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Commonwealth Club, featuring a presentation by Roy Pilot, the society’s Gasogene Emeritus. So make sure to circle that date in your Funk & Wagnalls.

With the evening’s festivities winding down, Anne Musial held the traditional drawing for door prizes. Roy Pilot took home the Sherlock Holmes billfold donated by Indy’s own Mary Miller and Abigail Hollingsworth won the book of “Ineffable Twaddle” donated by member Phil Jones. The Holmesian jigsaw puzzle donated by Ray and Pat Mandziuk is being held over until the September meeting.

Then Christine Del Greco led the assemblage in the customary singing of “God Save the Queen and Chris Music closed out the evening with the reading of “221B,” written in 1942 by Sherlockian scholar Vincent Starrett.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial
Tantalus, AMS

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring Meeting - May 30

“The case has certainly some points of interest.” 
-- Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Norwood Builder       

And we hope that you’ll be able to share those points of interest – and an evening of comestibles and conviviality – at the annual spring meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 7 p.m.
5th Tavern
2262 S. Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills (just north of Square Lake Rd)           
Restaurant phone: (248) 481-9607
Our assigned story is “The Adventure of The Norwood Builder,” in which Holmes and Watson save a man from a charge of murder – while smoking out the evil mastermind behind the plot.

Our presentation will be “A Return to Reichenbach,” detailing the latest mysteries uncovered in Switzerland by intrepid adventurers and fellow Mendicants Anne and Robert Musial.

There will also be a quiz on our assigned story, prizes and the usual toasts. 

NOTE: Please make dinner checks payable to: Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

To join us, please mail your check for $26 per person by FRIDAY, MAY 22nd to: 

c/o Edward F. Stein
 25015 Oakbrooke
Southfield, MI  48033

Our buffet dinner includes chicken Marsala, baby back ribs, chicken mostaccioli, mixed vegetables, potatoes, salad, rolls, dessert and beverages. As always, there’ll be a cash bar.

                  “Come at once if convenient … if inconvenient, come all the same.”

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Winter Meeting Report

The largest crowd ever assembled for a Mendicant meeting – comprising 78 stalwart Sherlockians – gathered on January 31, 2015 at the British Commonwealth Club in the frozen suburb of Warren, Michigan for their annual celebration of the Master’s birthday. For those keeping score at home, Mr. Holmes had turned 161 a few weeks before, according to the generally-accepted theory advanced by several prominent scholars of The Canon.

To commemorate the Master’s longevity, a special birthday cake was unveiled. Created by the Chocolate Bar Café of Grosse Pointe Woods, the cake was shaped like a book, opened to the first sentence of the evening’s story, “The Adventure of the Empty House,” complete with a munchable meerschaum and magnifying glass (with lens).

To get the festivities underway, the Society’s honored Gasogene, John Kramb, gaveled the session to order at 7:09 p.m., welcoming the attendees and introducing the board members and meeting planners. An even Baker’s (Street) Dozen guests were also in attendance and introduced.

Besides the Master’s birthday, one reason for the post-holiday festivities was to celebrate the publication of “From the Lower Vault: Treasures from the Archives of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit,” compiled and edited by our own Commissionaire Chris Music, BSI. This engaging tome captures the creation of the Society in 1946 and follows it into the 1960s – a Golden Age in the history of both Detroit and the organization.

As part of the book’s release, members and guests at the meeting were able to purchase these tales from the lower vault for only $20, which was $5 off the regular newsstand price. The book’s publisher, George Vanderburgh, was also on hand to offer several other titles he had printed.

Phil Jones then informed the multitude about a new interactive game facility called the Great Escape Room in Royal Oak. Once inside, participants in teams try to deduce clues and solve puzzles that pit the Great Detective against The Professor in an attempt to escape from a locked room within 60 minutes – all in good fun, of course.

Then, with a fine repast of chicken Marsala, roast beef, pasta Alfredo and accompaniments underway, the obligatory toasts began, just as first offered by the Society in its inaugural year of 1946. After briefly considering Lola Montez, Lillie Langtry, bordello operator Polly Adler, Chris Music saluted the correct Ms. Adler (Irene) as The Woman; Fritzi Roth toasted Mycroft Holmes; Jim O’Keefe honored Watson’s Second Wife and Patience Nauta toasted the person who provided Holmes and Watson with a comfortable home, dear old Mrs. Hudson.

In keeping with another long-standing tradition, Jerry “Red” Alvin rose to recall one improbable myth about the movie “On The Waterfront,” which almost was made in color with carrot-topped Danny Kaye as “the contenda.” But in fact it wasn’t which brought us around to raising our glasses to salute the founder of the Red-Headed League, that much-maligned millionaire from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, one Ezekiah Hopkins.

Next, your Tantalus took the podium to inform the crowd that the National Football League, in need of some pre-Super Bowl hype, had asked the Mendicants to schedule their own Major Award on the night before the big game. With that, the envelope was delivered (courtesy of Price Waterhouse) and the 2014 engraved Beggar’s Cup for the best presentation of 2014 was awarded to Al Calderini, who enlightened the throng at the October meeting about the “Memorable Moriartys of the Media,” complete with video clips and background on those who had played the great nemesis.

With the special Sherlockian birthday cake a memory, Michael Ellis then offered the talking points and a brief overview on the evening’s story, which captured the surprising return of the man who wasn’t dead -- Sherlock Holmes -- after his three-year globe-spanning hiatus to confront the deadly air-gun-wielding Col. Sebastian Moran back in London, in spite of the questionable physics of shooting the shadow of a wax bust through a shaded window.

With the Colonel safely in the hands of Scotland Yard, it was time for the evening’s presentation, “My Life As Sherlock Holmes,” by actor John Sherwood, who has performed his Holmes for almost 30 years in 10 states, Washington, D.C. and London but primarily during mystery weekends at the Victorian Villa Inn in Union City, Michigan, about 20 miles southwest of Marshall.

Much research on Holmes, the stories and the Victorian period was needed as Sherwood developed his portrayal of Holmes which became so realistic that one of the inn’s guests actually phoned 9-1-1 to report a dastardly crime supposedly taking place. Sherwood also opined that “Sherlock Holmes is like Santa Claus for adults – they both have famous addresses (221-B and the North Pole), they both call on small assistants for help (the Baker Street Irregulars and the elves), they both dispense justice and rewards and both have long-suffering ladies at home (Mrs. Hudson and Mrs. Claus).”

In response to questions, he said his favorite story in The Canon was “The Hound of the Baskervilles” while his favorite portrayals of Holmes were by Jeremy Brett and Douglas Wilmer, though he felt that Daniel Day-Lewis would have also been perfect in the part.

At the end of Sherwood’s talk, the Gasogene announced that the next meeting would likely be in May, with the date announced later.

The evening’s drawings were also held with Eddie Stein winning the “Baker Street Irregular” book by Jon Lellenberg, Nancy Pilot winning the “Elementary Puzzles” and Bobbi Gorevitz and Roy Pilot receiving refunds of their $5 annual membership dues.

Then, Anne Musial and Jim Conway led the congregation in the traditional singing of “God Save the Queen, Chris Music intoned the traditional closing poem, “221B” and the meeting was adjourned at 10:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial
Tantalus, AMS