|Scott Monty, sans his customary bow tie, and co-host Burt Wolder|
Burt Wolder and Scott Monty are known throughout the Sherlockian world as the genial hosts of “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere,” the first podcast dedicated to Sherlock Holmes and his world. Burt will go solo as a speaker at the Holmes, Doyle, &Friends conference in Dayton, OH, on March 28 with an opening reception on March 27 – just as Scott did last year. Alone or together, they are interesting fellows, as you will see in interview:
I’ll start with the question Scott asks every IHOSE guest: How and when did you first meet Sherlock Holmes?
I first met Sherlock Holmes in the fifth grade, when I checked a volume of Sherlock Holmes stories out of the school library. Like many Sherlockians, I was always a great reader, and even then I was dividing my time between the school library and the public library in town. I remember what seemed to me like a big, thick volume of stories with illustrations. I thought it was a great joke to share with my fifth grade teacher. “Look, Mrs. Ricci: heavy reading!” I thought this was hysterically funny.
How and when did you become a Sherlockian?
I think I became an enthusiast when I discovered there were other enthusiasts. It was certainly after the Baring-Gould annotated was published. I don’t remember any of my grade school friends who were particularly interested. The late Steve Clarkson helped me connect to other, younger Sherlockians.
I’ve heard your talk for Holmes, Doyle – which draws heavily from the writing of Arthur Conan Doyle – and was much moved by it. Tell us a little about it and how you came to produce it.
It’s something I literally talked myself into. I have always read a lot of Conan Doyle beyond the Canon, and I have usually had the experience of finding a paragraph, a little bit of description, a character’s observation or comment, a bit of dialogue – something that stops me, that I read again, and sometimes read out loud, just to get the rhythm of it. That was the basis of it, so when I was asked to speak at a scion society I suggested the general topic of Conan Doyle, which was fine with the organizers. As I prepared, I re-read Dan Stashhower’s biography of Conan Doyle, and I realized that hearing more Conan Doyle and less from me would make the whole thing more successful. I also thought there could be interesting lessons learned from considering the connection between Conan Doyle’s life and the way memories are codified.
What’s the best part about co-hosting IHOSE?
Talking with Scott Monty on a regular basis. Without the rigor of the podcast schedule I would have much less time, hardly any, for Sherlock Holmes during the month. The podcasts are like a vacation for me. I love talking to Scott, and the next best part is our guests. It has been thrilling to talk with and learn from some of the folks who share a deep interest in Sherlock Holmes.
Do you have a favorite episode?
My favorite episode is IHOSE 26 (ihose.co/ihose26) from 2010, when we interviewed the actor Fritz Weaver, who played Holmes on Broadway in the musical Baker Street. I had been greatly impressed by the music and lyrics when I was very young. I admired his work and had been delighted to meet him, and he had some very funny anecdotes about the show and his cast-mates. And it turned out he was also a Conan Doyle fan. Listening to song clips with him and hearing his stories was a great experience.
What Sherlockian groups do you belong to?
The BSI, ASH, the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, The Speckled Band of Boston, the Sons of the Copper Beeches, The Cornish Horrors, the Grillparzer Club of the Hoboken Free State, The Three Hours for Lunch Club, the Clients of Adrian Mulliner, the Pondicherry Lodgers, His Last Bow (ha!), and I am probably leaving some out, for which I apologize.
What’s your favorite Sherlockian event?
Well, the diplomatic answer would have to be “the next one on the calendar.” But the Baker Street Irregulars weekend is my favorite because it includes many other meetings (ASH, the Three Hours for Lunch Club, the Pondicherry Lodgers, the Clients of Adrian Mulliner.) For me, it’s all about the people, and the chance to see so many of the people I have respected and enjoyed for such a long time.
What has it meant to you to be part of the Sherlockian community?
There’s a lot of evidence that suggests communities help us live longer and happier lives. So there’s a good argument to made around the idea that Sherlock Holmes, for example, might be the secret to happiness. I’ve used variations of that conclusion in different ways over the years.
What question haven’t I asked you that I should?
What books have meant the most to you; who has had the greatest influence on your life; how did you get into your line of work; what three ingredients are in your refrigerator right now, from which you could make a healthy and satisfying meal; what inventions do you consider most and least beneficial to society; what are your hopes and fears for mankind; if you could own four homes anywhere in the world, where would they be; what recordings and what luxury would you take to a desert island; what are your thoughts about the meaning of life; what makes you laugh; what are your hobbies; who are your heroes; who put the tribbles in the quadrotriticale, and, of course, the one, glaringly obvious question, “Are you going to finish that donut?”
And yes, I am going to finish that donut, thanks.
You can still register here to take part in Holmes, Doyle, & Friends on March 28, with an opening reception on March 27.