"Ode to Basil"
and other poems


This section of "Potpourri" is devoted to poems written in honor and memory of Basil Rathbone:

  • Ode to Basil (appears below)
  • Encounter (by Lisa Halverson and Sherry Gorse)
  • Erinnerung (in German by Heidi Teetz, English version by Anne Harris)
  • Tribute (by Lisa Halverson)

drawing by Ben Solowey
Used by permission of the
Studio of Ben Solowey



Ode to Basil
(with apologies to Ogden Nash)

With famed Sir Frank you served the Bard
In Molnar and Behrman you worked so hard
From heroes to villains you toiled and toiled
For reels and reels you Conan Doyaled
Along came Sloper, sharp of mind
And other roles of every kind
A stint in Huxley, a duel with Kaye
The Shakespeare tour with Eva and Faye
Now for Gadge without a curtain
You're bound to score in fact it's certain
I know you will never get bored
Appearing nightly as the Lord!


Extra stanza from Ginger:

I hope you have enormous housies
Made up of eager summer mousies


Written by "Keith H.," an unidentified friend of Rathbone's, and given to Rathbone shortly before he left on the summer tour of "J.B.," in which Rathbone played Mr. Zuss (God). "Gadge" refers to Elia Kazan, director of "J.B.," and "Ginger" was Rathbone's dog (red cocker spaniel).



Rathbone through the years:

As Romeo in "Romeo and Juliet" - 1913

In "Judas" - 1929

As Sir Guy of Gisbourne in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" - 1938

As Sherlock Holmes - 1939-1946

As Dr. Sloper in "The Heiress" - 1947

"J.B." - 1959




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All original content is Marcia Jessen, 2011