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Traumafessions :: Reader Alexandra W. on The Return of Sherlock Holmes ep. “Devil’s Foot”

August 3rd, 2010 by aunt john · 3 Comments

Hi Kindertrauma!

Searching through your archives it seems that no one has brought up PBS’s famous MYSTERY! program. My parents were huge fans and every Sunday night at 8 I distinctly remember running into my room and slamming the door shut as soon as I heard the strains of the opening theme and the EDWARD GOREY illustrated opening credits flashing across the television screen.

I adore MYSTERY! now, but when I was little there was nothing more terrifying than Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, or Poirot solving brutal murders. One episode in particular of THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES starring the fabulous JEREMY BRETT remains seared into my mind after all these years. The episode is entitled “Devil’s Foot” and the mystery involves three people, a sister, who had apparently been literally scared to death, and her two brothers who had been driven mad by whatever had killed the sister.

When Holmes is notified of the deaths it flashes to a shot of the siblings sitting around a table in the living room, just as they had been the night before, but this time the women is slumped over to one side, clearly dead, her hands frozen into place around her neck and her eyes almost completely rolled back into her head. One of the brothers is rocking back and forth in a chair muttering to himself and the other is grabbing his head while white foam comes pouring out of his mouth.

This episode aired the one night I chose to watch with my parents after they had been raving about how good the series was and how much I would like it. Needless to say that when I saw this little tableau on the screen I calmly got up, walked to my room, and didn’t watch MYSTERY! again until I was at least 17 or 18. To this day that scene still creeps me out.


Sadly, I am unable to find any images of the scenes I’ve described from this particular episode. It is on YouTube though! The scene takes place right at the beginning of this segment:


Alexandra W.

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Tags: Traumafessions

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Aug 3, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I’ve always loved the Edward Gorey opening of Mystery. Actually, I love anything by Gorey.

    Thanks for introducing me to Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock, Alexandra. I dig Holmes but I’ve yet to see his take on him till now. I’m going to have to watch a couple episodes on Youtube…

    I know nobody wants to hear “poker face” ever again in their life but this kind of cracks me up…

  • 2 Amanda By NightNo Gravatar // Aug 4, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    OMG! That video is hilarious!

    I am a BIG TIME Jeremy Brett as Sherlock fan. I have so many fond memories of watching him with my father. He was so much fun in the part. I had read his long time lover was Paul Shenar who played Orson Wells in the Night that Panicked American and for whatever reason, I just love knowing that… Brett was SO good in Deceptions with Stefanie Powers. Gawd, how I adore him!

  • 3 Amanda By NightNo Gravatar // Aug 4, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Oh yeah, and the Mystery main title sequence was WONDERFUL. It bugged me out as a kid too. It was such dark imagry parading as something whimsical. My pre-teen brain could not digest. THEN Vincent Price would show up and I’d be so scared!

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