CCC:ITS LAST BOW!

CCC Logo

 

We received the sad news on September 26, 1998. The legendary Canonical Convocation and Caper (known affectionately as CCC) is to be no more! Each September for the past ten years Sherlockians from all across the country have been treated to an unparalleled gathering in the little town of Ephraim in Wisconsin's idyllic Door County (known as "the Cape Cod of the Midwest"). CCC was an organization created in 1989 for the purpose of providing occasions for Sherlockians of the Chicago area, and environs, to gather and share their common interest in Sherlock Holmes. CCC was the brainchild of Chicago Sherlockians Don Izban, Thomas Willshire, and Bernadette Donze. For most of CCC's ten years of existence, Don Izban has served as the manager (Regulare) of the annual meetings. In 1992 and 1993 the managerial duties were assumed by Mary Erickson & Jane Richardson & Bernadette & Robert Donze, respectively. In 1997 the duties of the "CCC Regularaes" were assumed by Tom and Jan Biblewski of Toledo. CCC had no actual membership; however, the gathering has attracted as many as 70 participants from across the country to some of its occasions. It was a splendid, perhaps even peerless, Sherlockian gathering and we will miss it

It is difficult for us to resolve the feelings we have about the demise of CCC. Our sorrow over its "passing" is certainly tempered by our joy at having been able to experience the fun and fellowship which it brought to us, and to all those lucky enough to attend for its all-too-short ten-year life. In addition to meeting many good Sherlockian friends ("some of the most interesting people in the world") at CCC we were privileged to have enjoyed many outstanding theatrical presentations, scholarly (and some tongue-in-cheek) lectures, fine food and drinks, plus many innovative and entertaining Sherlockian contests.

By way of both a delightful remembrance and a fond commemoration to its passing, please share with us here a few of the CCC moments of the past few years.

 

Jan at beach
Even before one reached the traditional CCC site, one could be distracted by the matchless scenery of Door County including the shores of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Here Janet Biblewski, who, with her husband Tom, served as CCC conference manager (Regulara) for 1997 and 1998, pauses to pose at one of Ephraim's more scenic spots

 

CCC Audience
Continuing on just to the north of the town of Ephraim, one reached the entrance to the Waterbury Inn, the historical home of the Canonical Convocation and Caper, here appropriately decorated with the Union Jack to welcome those arriving for this sterling Sherlockian conference.
Waterbury with flag

 

Now a collection of characters that could have come from a rouge's gallery of southern aristocrats. On the left is Jim Hawkins, the sparkplug of that dynamic new Nashville scion, The Scholars of the Three Pipe Problem and the "net master" of the Three Pipe Problem bulletin board. Jim can be reached at JimHawkins@thehawk.net. Jim would be pleased to hear from you and to give you information about the Sherlockian bulletin board and internet community which he manages (Jim is a professional web designer). In the center is Joel Senter (one of the vice-Regulare of the 1997 event). Although Joel has lived in Ohio for many years, he originally grew up in the southern US near Memphis. And speaking of Memphis, on the right is our Memphis friend, Sherlockian Ken Gordon. As an example of the "small world phenomenon," Ken's wife, Nina, has her charming needle art shop in Memphis on the same street as, and just a few blocks from, the Cemetery in which Joel's father and mother are buried. The Senters and the Gordon's, however, never met outside of their mutual association with Sherlock Holmes

 

Although CCC was originally designed to attract attendees from the Chicago, before its end, CCC attracted participants from much more distant places. Bill and Lynda Conway made the trip for the '98 CCC all the way from their home in Pittsburgh to participate in the festivities and to display their wares. The Conways are very talented artists and their line of hand-painted miniature figurines contains some truly remarkable Sherlockian characters. As you might know, the Conways are also authors of the most intrusting series of books called "Canonical Crimes Scenes and Investigations;" three volumes in this series have already been published. Ross and June Kinnee all the way from California were also frequently in attendance at CCC.
Throughout the tenure of CCC there have been many very faithful participants. Among these are the folks pictured here. Standing is Doris France (L) and Gayle Simnick, both of whom did magnificent jobs acting in the 1998 presentation or "This is your Life, Sherlock Holmes." We should not continue without mentioning Doris' husband, Dennis, who also played the starring role of "Fabersham" in that same sterling production. Seated we have Lucy Zahray (foreground) who was one of the featured speakers at CCC '98 (her most interesting topic was "Victorian poisons") and Sue Dahlinger who has been a perpetual run-away champion in the world famous "Sherlockathon" competition Of the stellar presentations during the 1997 CCC was a Canonical version of the old TV show "What's My Line." Don Izban, Jane Richardson, and Doris France comprised "The Panel." Each "guest" was an intrepid actor impersonating a Canonical character. As in the original TV game, the panel was charged with the task of identifying the "lines" (occupations) of the mystery Canonical guests.

Here we see Allan Devitt (L) as the moderator of "What's My Line" with Ken Gordon portraying (guess who?!) Jabez Wilson of "The Red-headed League" fame. Needless to say, Ken's performance was a real "show stopper!" Standing at the mike is Joel Senter who served as announcer for the production (and who, also, wrote and directed the production).

Carolyn Senter has acted as the sound technician handling the microphones, amplifiers, and mixers for the performers. She is shown here in control of the audio mixer console. We hasten to mention that she was also in charge of sound effects and played the award winning role of "Mrs. Ferguson" (The Sussex Vampire) in the 1997 production of "The Adventure of the House-Hunting Blokes." Carolyn is clearly a person of many and varied talents!

Don Izban, CCC Founder and Regulare Emeritus takes the mike in front of the great stone fireplace in the lobby of the Waterbury. In addition to making routine announcements (including the winners of various CCC contests and competitions), Don also dropped the "bombshell" proclaiming that CCC 10 would be the conference's "swan song." He cited the Mary Tyler Moore and the Seinfeld shows as precedent for his decision to terminate the successful "run" of CCC, as Don put it, "while it was still ahead!" Although the audience's consternation and disappointment were manifest, everyone seemed to understand Don's motivation and intention. CCC can now take its place among historical Sherlockian events and, like Mr. Holmes himself, become a enduring legend which will never die as long as there is anyone left to remember it.
At the end of the formal program for CCC '98 Carolyn Senter expressed the feelings of everyone, i.e., THANK YOU, DON IZBAN, FOR 10 WONDERFUL, GLORIOUS YEARS OF CCC FUN. If an event can "stand upon the terrace" we would think that The Canonical Convocation and Caper would have earned that preeminent right and, then, to step through Reichenbach with those gone before.