DaRK PaRTY presents a special three-part series "The Legends of Literature." For today's installment we give you the varsity squad. These are the heavy-hitter of literature -- the all-stars. Next week, we'll present the Junior Varsity Squad and the following week the titans of children's literature.)
Claim to fame: The world’s most brilliant private detective noted for using logic and the power of observation to solve the most difficult cases in London during the Victorian era.
Created by: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
First appearance: “A Study in Scarlet” (novel)
Appearance in a nutshell: Deerstalker cap and pipe
Supporting players: Dr. Watson (loyal sidekick), Mrs. Hudson (landlady), Mycroft Holmes (mysterious brother)
Enemy: James Moriarty (The Napoleon of Crime)
Quote: “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Tidbit: The character of Sherlock Holmes has been the most filmed character in celluloid history with about 200 movie appearance so far.
Tarzan of the Apes
Claim to fame: An English lord stranded on the African coast as an infant and raised by a family of apes.
Created by: Edgar Rice Burroughs
First appearance: “Tarzan the Ape Man” (novel)
Appearance in a nutshell: Loin cloth and knife
Supporting players: Jane Porter (wife), Jack Greystroke (son), Kala (adopted ape mother)
Enemy: Kerchak (King of the Apes)
Tidbit: Sixteen actors from Ron Ely to Christopher Lambert have played the King of the Apes on television and on the movie screen.
Claim to fame: Orphan boy runs away with an escaped slave and together they sail a raft down the Mississippi River
Created by: Mark Twain
First appearance: “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” (novel)
Appearance in a nutshell: Straw hat and overalls
Supporting players: Jim (escaped slave), Tom Sawyer (best friend), Widow Douglas (step-mother), Pap Finn (father)
Enemy: The Duke and the Dauphin (grifters)
Quote: "We said there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft."
Tidbit: “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was the 5th most banned book during the 1990s
Claim to fame: The famed “007” is an elite spy with the British Secret Service who has a license to kill
Created by: Ian Fleming
First appearance: “Casino Royale” (novel)
Appearance in a nutshell: Slim, black hair, blue-gray eyes, cruel mouth
Supporting players: M (boss), Miss Moneypenny (M’s secretary), Q (inventor), Felix Leiter (CIA agent)
Enemy: Ernst Stavro Blofeld (head of SPECTRE)
Quote: “Bond, James Bond.”
Tidbit: Six actors have portrayed 007 on the silver screen, but more interesting might be the two actors who were offered the role but turned it down – Adam West (TV’s Batman) and Burt Reynolds.
Claim to fame: Count Dracula is a vampire who travels to England to wreak havoc on the British Isles.
Created by: Bram Stoker
First appearance: “Dracula” (novel)
Appearance in a nutshell: Fangs and a black cape
Supporting players: Renfield (assistant), The Brides of Dracula (three female vampires)
Enemy: Professor Abraham Van Helsing
Quote: “Children of the night... What a mess they make.” (From the Mel Brooks movie “Dracula: Dead and Loving It”)
Tidbit: Dracula has been so infused into western culture that he’s even embraced by children’s literature and TV. The character Count von Count on “Sesame Street” and Count Chocula of breakfast cereal fame are both based on him.
Claim to fame: A highwayman in medieval England who stole from the rich and gave to the poor
Created by: Folklore
Born: Sometime in the 1200s
First appearance: “Piers Plowman” (poem)
Appearance in a nutshell: Green tights, pointed cap and a bow and arrows
Supporting players: Little John (fellow bandit), Friar Tuck (fellow bandit), Maid Marian (love interest)
Enemy: The Sheriff of Nottingham
Quote: “But I will tell you of Will Scarlock/ Little John and Robin Hood/ Doun a doun a doun a doun/ They were outlaws, as ’tis well known/ And men of a noble blood/ And many a time was their valour shown/ In the forrest of merry Sheerwood.
Tidbit: The University of Nottingham will be offering students a chance to earn a masters degree on “Robin Hood” in 2007.
Claim to fame: A cruel, skinflint moneylender who his haunted by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.
Created by: Charles Dickens
First appearance: A Christmas Carol (novella)
Appearance in a nutshell: A crooked old man in a long under garment
Supporting players: Bob Cratchit (his employee), Tiny Tim (Bob’s crippled son), Jacob Marley (Scrooge’s ghostly business partner)
Quote: “Bah, humbug!”
Tidbit: The role of Scrooge has been played by a diverse range of actors on stage and screen, including Bill Murray and Mr. Magoo.
Romeo & Juliet
Claim to fame: Two young lovers from rival families who accidentally kill themselves.
Created by: William Shakespeare
First appearance: “The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet” (play)
Appearance in a nutshell: Handsome young couple in tights
Supporting players: Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin), Benvolio (Romeo’s cousin), Lord Capulet (Juliet’s father), Montague (Romeo’s father)
Enemy: Their bickering families
Quote: “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”
Tidbit: There have been 11 film adaptations of the play, but the best known movie about the play is probably “West Side Story” (a modern re-telling that features street gangs rather than royalty).
Claim to fame: The infamous white whale
Created by: Herman Melville
First appearance: “Moby-Dick, or the Whale” (novel)
Appearance in a nutshell: An enormous white sperm whale
Supporting players: Ishmael (whaler), Starbuck (first mate)
Enemy: Captain Ahab (Captain of the whaling ship Pequod)
Quote: Umm, he’s a whale.
Tidbit: The electronic rock star Moby is the great-great grand nephew of Herman Melville.
Claim to fame: A creatures assembled from dead bodies and brought to life.
Created by: Mary Shelley
First appearance: “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” (novel)
Appearance in a nutshell: Hulking creatures with neck bolts
Supporting players: Dr. Victor Frankenstein (creator), Igor (the doctor’s assistant)
Enemy: The villagers
Quote: He only grunts
Tidbit: The monster is commonly called “Frankenstein,” but in fact, Shelley did not name the creature in the book.
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