Summer 1927

Conan Doyle Filmed Taking Credit For Sherlock Holmes Stories

“Rather Stupid” Watson Finally Catches On

LONDON -- “We think he finally understands now,” a close friend of Dr. John H. Watson told reporters Monday. Speaking from the billiard room at his club, the anonymous associate of Dr. Watson explained that Watson had never really realized that Conan Doyle was putting his own name on the books and short stories all these years.

“We’d try to tell him, but Watson would just say that good old ‘Coney’ would never play him so falsely,” the friend explained. “Watson wouldn’t even go into a bookstore or by a magazine stand, as he didn’t want to insult Conan Doyle by checking the covers to see whose name was actually there. As long as Doyle gave him his ten percent for writing the tales, Watson said he had no problems with the man.”

That, however, all changed when a group of concerned friends, rumored to be led by Sherlock Holmes, convinced Hollywood moviemaker William Fox to get Doyle on film and see if he would admit to the decades-old deception. Doyle, with the innocence of so many celebrated figures ensnared by the soul-grabbing medium, did exactly that. With Doyle’s confession caught on film, friends lured Dr. Watson to the Astoria Theatre on Charing Cross Road with a sneak preview of Al Jolson in “The Jazz Singer.” There they confronted him with the newsreel film of Doyle, inserted between a Gaggy Goose cartoon and silent footage of Charles Lindbergh sticking out his arms and demonstrating how he flew across the Atlantic.

“You can well imagine that I had, as it were, a new idea of the detective, “ Conan Doyle’s film spoke to Watson from the great silver screen. “And then I began to write stories on those lines.”

“I was sitting right next to old Johnny,” Watson’s anonymous friend told the press. “As those words came out of Doyle’s mouth, I could feel him grasp my wrist in shock. I turned to see him staring in gaping horror at the screen.”

The film continued.

“The curious thing is how many people around the world are perfectly convinced that he (Holmes) is a living human being,” Doyle said. “I get letters addressed to his rather stupid friend . . . Watson.”

With that, Watson leaped to his feet crying, “Murderous Ghazi bastard! That was my ass!”
“Those were the very words Watson used during a dark moment at the fatal battle of Maiwand,” another Watson associate reported, “I feared that the horrific impact of hearing Doyle’s admission had driven Watson to his old battle madness.” Brandy was administered from the doctor’s own medical kit, and Watson was eventually calmed enough to enjoy the popular Al Jolson in “The Jazz Singer.”

Although Dr. Watson is currently refusing to speak to Conan Doyle, he has sent agents to request the letters addressed to Dr. Watson that Doyle was having the post office reroute to his own home. Many of the letters are believed to be from a letter-writing campaign started by Jacques Futrelle, who believed his fellow mystery writer Watson should get full credit, and wanted to let Watson know he was being hoodwinked.

Futrelle, it should be noted, died in a mysterious boating accident in 1912 involving a steamship and an iceberg. an accident over which Conan Doyle would attack George Bernard Shaw’s accusations in The Daily News.