OF THE HANSOM WHEELS
initial program consisted of (1) the call to order, “The
game is afoot!”, (2) the responsive reading of The
Musgrave Ritual, (3) the playing of an
audiotape of the Rathbone-Bruce A Scandal in Bohemia, and
(4) the presentation of an original scholarly paper, “Moriarty Was a Woman,” by Hub Wall.
have consisted of dinner meetings following this same
general format. At the first such, which was held May 19,
1977, at the now-defunct Mary’s Celebrity
Club (many of the venues at which the society has met over
the years have closed down), Don
Mankowski was appointed Official Quizmaster
and the late Bob Robinson BSI Program Chairman. The
organization then met each month for the next six years.
After that, it met six times a year, generally on the third
Thursday of each even-numbered month, and now meets on the
third Thursdays of February, April, July or August, and
October. A special Christmas meeting/party is held early in
December. Meetings are now held at The Palmetto Club on
Sumter Street in Columbia, which we hope will avoid the
Hansom Wheels curse and remain in business. During the
coronavirus pandemic we met virtually via Zoom but are now
returning to in-person meetings combined with Zoom for guest
speakers and out-of-town viewers.
newsletter, The Pink ’Un,
for the racing form mentioned in “The
Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle,” initially
was written and distributed by The Hub. After a few years, Phil Dematteis took over this job, which he
performs yet today. The late Bill Brown,
who had become Quizmaster when
Prof. Mankowski moved to Florida, retired some years ago and
was replaced by the sister-and-sister team of Marcia
Rowen and Kathy Trice. Kathy
had attended the initial meeting at USC and for many years
had handled the finances of the organization. Charlie
Cook held the position for a while, and it has finally
fallen on the already overburdened shoulders of the
aforementioned Dematteis, aka The Tantalus.
of the original scholarly papers that were presented before
The Hansom Wheels subsequently
appeared in such prestigious Sherlockian publications as The
Baker Street Journal, The Baker Street Miscellany, The
Serpentine Muse, The Sherlock Holmes Journal, and The
Holmes and Watson Report. For many years, the
December meeting has featured the production of one of Dr.
Watson’s accounts as adapted for the stage by Bob
Robinson. In addition, it became a tradition at summer
meetings to feature an original Sherlockian parody written
for the radio by Bill Brown.
published in advance of each meeting,
a circulation of more than one hundred. The meetings are
attended by anywhere from fifteen to forty-five harmless
eccentrics. We believe The Hansom Wheels
to be one of the most successful and active
Sherlock Holmes societies in all the world. But then we
would say that, wouldn’t we?