‘The Speckled Band : An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ - The original Royal Adelphi Theatre program. - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1910 - Adelphi Theatre, London ‘Special Cable to The New York Times. London, June 4. -- Sherlock Holmes came to life ton-night on the stage of the Adelphi Theatre in an adaptation of Conan Doyle’s story called “The Speckled Band.” It will be remembered that the mysterious title refers to a snake trained by its master to do murders. The reptile made three appearances to-night, finally killing its master in a scene so horrible that even Holmes had little chance. Lyn Harding, as a half-mad Anglo Indian villain, with the horrid pet, held the stage in a fashion evidently delightful to the gallery. Doyle responded to frantic calls with a bow.’

Here we present a rare original programme from that show which only ran for two months, with H. A. Saintsbury playing Sherlock Holmes and a very large rock boa which rather stole the show playing the part of the serpent. The play was transferred to the Globe on August 8th of 1910. In near fine condition and enclosed in separate magnificent colour art-nouveau covers.

‘[Doyle] took a six-month lease on the Adelphi Theatre so that
The House of Temperley [based on his novel ‘Rodney Stone’] might be produced. The death of the King and a serious slump in audience attendance, coupled with the subject which was not thought suitable for women, meant that the run was short.

When I saw the course that things were taking I shut myself up and devoted my whole mind to making a sensational Sherlock Holmes drama. I wrote it in a week and called it ‘The Speckled Band’ after the short story of that name. I do not think that I exaggerate if I say that within a fortnight of the one play shutting down I had a company working upon the rehearsals of a second one, which had been written in the interval' (Memories and Adventures, p. 101).

The new play was a great success.’ – Green and Gibson,
A Bibliography of A Conan Doyle.
  Conan Doyle on the actors and the snake - ‘Lyn Harding, as the half epileptic and wholly formidable Doctor Grimesby Rylott, was most masterful, while Saintsbury as Sherlock Holmes was also very good. Before the end of the run I had cleared off all that I had lost upon the other play, and I had created a permanent property of some value. It became a stock piece and is even now touring the country. We had a fine rock boa to play the title-rôle, a snake which was the pride of my heart, so one can imagine my disgust when I saw that one critic ended his disparaging review by the words "The crisis of the play was produced by the appearance of a palpably artificial serpent." I was inclined to offer him a goodly sum if he would undertake to go to bed with it. We had several snakes at different times, but they were none of them born actors and they were all inclined either to hang down from the hole in the wall like inanimate bell-pulls, or else to turn back through the hole and get even with the stage carpenter who pinched their tails in order to make them more lively. Finally we used artificial snakes, and every one, including the stage carpenter, agreed that it was more satisfactory.’

Reference: Green & Gibson,
Bibliography of A Conan Doyle, 163. Conan Doyle, Memories and Adventures: chapter XI. Sidelights on Sherlock Holmes. Online, The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia.

Stapled wrappers (staples removed). Size 26.9 x 20.5 cm. Eight pages including wrappers.
  Condition: Near fine, a little wear to edges and one short crease to lower corner of front cover.   Ref: 109007   Price: HK$ 6,000