While rewriting Conan Doyle's script, the American actor William Gillette famously asked, "May I marry Holmes?" The author replied, "You may marry or murder, or do what you like with him!" The resulting play was first staged in 1899 and has lasted for more than a century. Gillette himself recorded an abridged version in 1935, for the Lux Radio Theater. Three years later Orson Welles adapted the play as an hour-long drama for the Mercury Theater on the Air, in which he took the leading role, giving a remarkable impersonation of Gillette. The play wasn't heard on British radio until 1953, when the classic partnership of Carleton Hobbs and Norman Shelley took the roles of Holmes and Watson in an adaptation by Raymond Raikes, with Frederick Valk as Professor Moriarty. Although two good audio productions were made in California in recent years, each with a distinguished British actor in the lead Ð Martin Jarvis and David Warner - the play hasn't been heard on British radio since the 1950s.