The Red Circle of Washington met for the first time at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda on September 9. The assemblage heard a number of reports of Sherlockian doings, including news from the recent conference at the University of Minnesota entitled "Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place," which was attended by a half-dozen itinerant Red Circle members.
The guest speaker was Dana Richards who gave a remarkable talk on The Babes of The Lost World. Conan Doyle said--to the dismay of some Sherlockians--that the larger-than-life explorer of The Lost World, the cantankerous Professor Edward Challenger, "is a character who has always amused me more than any other which I have created." The Lost World is the first and probably best-known of the Challenger tales, and Dana emphasized that both the book and the films that followed broke considerable new ground,
It was the first to combine a the very new genres of science fiction and adventure/exploration novels. You would think that would be enough to entice filmgoers. However, in every one of the nine Lost World onscreen productions, women have been introduced who joined the explorers on the "plateau that time forgot." On the other hand, in the Conan Doyle story there are no women at all on the expedition. Dana explored the various and inventive excuses scriptwriters have used to involve the distaff adventurer.
The reasons have not always been the obvious pandering to sex appeal. While some of the women have been mere fixtures, there to twist their ankles and scream, almost all have been strong characters who come off better than the men. Two of them were scripted as the daughters of the original explorer, Maple White. Four had experience in jungle life.
Several were true researchers, including one in which Professor Summerlee himself was a woman! Dana's talk featured film clips introducing us to each woman, illustrating her true character.
The next meeting of The Red Circle will be on the evening of December 6, 2013.