Keith McConnell (1923 - 1987) began playing Holmes in a series of commercials, mainly Schlitz Beer, with Laurie Main (1929 - 2012) as Dr. Watson.
In 1974 he supposedly made a film "Murder In Northumberland" for West End Productions with Anthony Searl as his Dr Watson (Also known as Searle or Seerl ) .
Although where the film was ever broadcast or shown is lost to the sands of time and certainly no commercial copy appears to exist today although production stills evidently exist.
His luck appeared to change though as in 1975 McConnell was asked by Gene Wilder to be Holmes in "Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother" with Laurie Main playing Watson but a last minute change in filming dates created a conflict with another film he was in and he ending up losing out on the part to Douglas Wilmer.
But another chance to gain a legacy as Holmes would rear its head shortly after for in 1976 McConnell was picked by Neil Simon to play Holmes in his detective satire "Murder by Death" with Richard Peel as Watson. While the small scene at the end of the movie was included in the ABC-TV showing, it tragically was deleted from the DVD due to the demands of some of the larger named actors, who felt the scene without big name actors detracted from their own worth.
Click here to watch the deleted scene on youtube.
But McConnell had a further chance presented to ensure his name would be remembered as a Holmes actor as in 1976 writer/producer/director Frank Saletri, formed PRSCO Productions and began pre production work on "Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Golden Vampire" ( The autographed script for it which you can see within the photo) . The first of 10 comedy-horror films they had on their schedule with McConnell as Holmes and Alice Cooper reportedly in line to play the Vampire .
The film was supposed to have a $700,000 budget and further titles planned for the series were,"The Werewolf of the Baskervilles", "The Black Creature", and "Tor-Men-Tor".
Sadly the films did not reach a production stage and swiftly there after nothing more was heard on them ever again.
However this was not the end of McConnells deer stalking days for In 1980, McConnell once again teamed up with Laurie Main, in an intro to CBS-TV Children's Mystery Theater's "The Treasure of Alpheus T. Winterborn" though when released on VHS was called "The Clue According to Sherlock Holmes". The renaming being a bit misleading as it was a bit part, in which Holmes only finds the first clue and is not seen again.
So it seems Keith McConnell played Sherlock Holmes many times with very little
legacy. Beer commercials, films not released, films not made, scenes deleted.
Sadly it seems Keith McConnell will never be remembered as the great Sherlock Holmes actor he almost was, or was, depending on how you view the facts.
But at least through this article and inducting into "The Howard Ostrom Collection"
we can hopefully finally give him his recognition among the Holmes world.
Article by Howard Ostrom and Ross K Foad
Foot note: - If you have any further details on McConnell's Holmes career or background , The "Murder In Northumberland" film or how we might be able to source his 3 Watson's autographs then please get in touch with Howard Ostrom on firstname.lastname@example.org or myself via contact form.