|Born||May 9, 1898|
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Died||September 26, 1993|
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Edith Meiser (May 9, 1898 – September 26, 1993) was an American author and actress, who wrote mystery novels, stage plays, and numerous radio dramas. She is perhaps best known for bringing adaptations of Sherlock Holmes stories to radio in the 1930s.
Born in Detroit, Meiser studied at the Liggett School, Kox Schule in Dresden, Germany, and the Ecole de la Cour de St. Pierre in Geneva, Switzerland before eventually attending Vassar College.
After graduating college, Meiser began performing with such groups as the American Shakespeare Festival, The Theater Guild, Edward Albee's vaudeville circuit, and Jessie Bonstelle's Summer Stock Company before making her Broadway debut in 1923 in The New Way. She went on to appear in over 20 Broadway shows, including Fata Morgana, The Guardsman, Garrick Gaieties, Sabrina Fair and the 1960 production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
Year later, Meiser and then-husband Tom McKnight made the leap from writing for the stage to writing for radio. After forming a company and finding some success in radio, Mesier decided that Sherlock Holmes would make for a very good radio program but she was unable to interest NBC in a series unless she found herself a sponsor. It took more than a year for Meiser to interest a sponsor in the idea. George Washington, creator of the first instant coffee, and also a Holmesian agreed to sponsor the series which became The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
The premiere episode featured an adaptation of "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" on October 20, 1930 and starred William Gillette as Sherlock Holmes and Leigh Lovell as Dr Watson. Further episodes featured Richard Gordon in the role of Holmes until 1933 and Louis Hector from 1934 to 1935 with Richard Gordon again taking over for the last season in 1936.
All episodes were adapted or devised by Meiser and at the end of the first season a survey of American radio editors found that 94% said The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was the best radio program.
Three years after the end of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the success of the Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock Holmes film series prompted Meiser to begin adapting and authoring stories for The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr Watson. From 1939 until 1943, all episodes were written by Meiser. Meiser left the show after disagreements with a sponsor over the amount of violence in the program.
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- Bunson 1997, p. 5.
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- Boström 2018, p. 259.
- Boström 2018, p. 302.
- Overmier & Harris Taylor 2014, p. 132.
- Boström 2018, p. 429.
- Boström, Mattias (2018). From Holmes to Sherlock. Mysterious Press. ISBN 978-0-8021-2789-1.
- Buck, Gertrude (1920). "The Community Theater's First Season". Vassar Quarterly. Vassar College. 5–6: 197. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- Bunson, Matthew (1997). Encyclopedia Sherlockiana. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-02-861679-0.
- Civitello, Michael (January 1, 1977). "Edith Meiser McKnight". Vassar Quarterly. LXXIII (2). Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- Eyles, Allen (1986). Sherlock Holmes: A Centenary Celebration. Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-015620-1.
- Harrison, Geneva W. (1920). "Second Hall in Retrospect". Vassar Quarterly. Vassar College. 5–6: 199. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- Kitchell, Anna T. (1920). "The First Workshop Plays of 1919-1920". Vassar Quarterly. Vassar College. 5–6: 133=134. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- Overmier, Judith A.; Harris Taylor, Rhonda (2014). Managing the Mystery Collection: From Creation to Consumption. Routledge. ISBN 9781317717805.
- Simanaitis, Dennis (May 26, 2016). "Edith Meiser - Sherlockian Extraordinaire". Simanaitis Says. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- Wien, Gary (March 15, 2018). "Relive The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes With East Lynne Theater's Radio Play". NJ Stage Magazine. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- Edith Meiser at IMDb
- Edith Meiser at the Internet Broadway Database
- Edith Meiser at British Film Institute
- Edith Meiser papers, 1902-1985, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
- The Edith Meiser Collection at the University of Minnesota Libraries
- Sketches of Meiser by Al Hirschfeld