Frisco Beat: A Tale of Dashiell Hammett Street

Last Friday I did a tour for a couple from Australia — I was coming into the burg anyway, and cut them a deal.

When we got to Dashiell Hammett Street, they remembered a previous visit, where they noticed the street sign as they went past in a cab.

At their hotel they asked the concierge — a young woman, maybe 22 — about the sign, hoping to learn more about it.

They explained who Hammett was

The Maltese Falcon

Made into a movie starring Humphrey Bogart

The Thin Man

Spelled out the name D-a-s-h-i-e-l-l

H-a-m-m-e-t-t

Got a very blank look in return. Someone who didn’t watch b&w movies. Didn’t know the city’s literary history.

The concierge tapped the computer keys at her station. In answer to the query about Dashiell Hammett Street, she said:

“I’m sorry. There’s no one named Dashiell Hammett staying here.”

Which I guess is why someone flying in from Australia might want to take the good old Dashiell Hammett Tour. . . .

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