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Bash 2002 - Boffo at the Box Office!

Allan Devitt

Nearly 100 Sherlockians gathered at New York’s Manhattan Club on Friday, January 11, to celebrate the 6th annual Baskerville Bash. After “milling and sluicing” at the bar for over an hour, we adjourned to the dining room to continue the evening’s merriment, which this year featured the “Bash-In,” a reprise of Rowan & Martin’s 70’s comedy hit “Laugh-In.”

The lights came up revealing a stage complete with glittering “shimmy curtain” and Maribeau Briggs in the guise of Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine: “One ringy dingy, two ringy dingys. A gracious good afternoon, is this the person to whom I am speaking? Mr. Holmes, Mr. Sherlock Holmes?” Maribeau’s hilarious impersonation got the evening off to a roaring start. Then “Gary Owens” (Don Kraar) introduced Holmes and Watson (Drew Thomas and Andrew Joffe, respectively), who then announced the traditional toasts.

The clever, informative, humorous, and Canonically correct toasts to Dr. Mortimer (Brad Keefauver) and to Selden, the Notting Hill Murderer (Anita Janda) and Sandy Kozinn’s punfully amusing tribute to the Hound (reprinted at the end of this piece) were offset by this author’s thoroughly befuddled toast to the wrong Barrymores. I was mercifully interrupted by Dr. Watson who tried to explain that it was the Barrymores from HOUN I should be toasting, not the theatrical family. I retreated in confusion on the infamous Emily Lattella (Gilda Radner) line, “Never mind.”

Now that the erudite and scholarly tone of the evening was firmly established, the Sherlettes and Sherhunks (hereafter referred to as the Sherlarks) took the stage for an original medley. Then a sumptuous buffet was served to the appreciative assemblage -- the bar, of course, remaining open for more sluicing.

As dinner ended, Jan Stauber drew the name of the lucky raffle winner, Cynthia “I never win anything” Wein. The prize was a framed poster of Laurie Fraser Manifold’s superb Peter Max style artwork for this year’s Bash.

The “Baskerville Buskers” then presented an episode of “The Odd Couple in 221B.” Just what was in the gift box Helen (Judith Freeman) and Julia (Elyse Locurto) Stoner received? Julia eloped with Selden, the Notting Hill Marrier (Allan Devitt) before Holmes and P.C. Murray (Warren Randall) could solve the mystery. Mrs. Hudson (Catalina Hannan) had the last word though, as she emerged from off-stage, munching on the “speckled band” and saying, “It does taste just like chicken!”

Time for more sustenance -- a selection of delectably decadent desserts -- followed by the Sherlarks complete with sing-along (original lyrics by the one and only Francine Kitts). Then the ever gracious and affable “Colonel” Billy Fields (right) conducted the auction. Bidding was brisk on items generously donated by Joseph Coppola, Catalina Hannan, Chuck Kovacic, and Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves.

Judith Freeman then announced the winner of the coveted Hugo Award -- who else but the “fantabulous” Francine Kitts. More Bash-In humor followed with the cast, appearing through the “joke wall,” delivering some “knock-knock” Sherlockian jokes -- the less said about these the better. Between jokes, Queen “Sock It to Me” Victoria (Maribeau Briggs) caught a whipped cream pie in the kisser, and Tiny Tim (Howard Einbinder) contributed a show-stopping rendition of “Tip-Toe through the Grimpen.”

The official festivities ended with our singing Jane Hinckley’s “Holmes and Watson’s Time,” although for those reluctant to call an end to such an enjoyable evening, the bar remained open to accommodate not only the Bash guests but thirsty folk from other gatherings who dropped in to enjoy our revelry. And so another lustrous Bash concluded.

Kudos to the BBC (Baskerville Bash Committee), the Sherlarks, and everyone else who helped make the evening such a success, including the marvelous Manhattan Club staff and servers!


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