Hammett: vs. Thurber

Inspired by the trip to PulpFest and the side visit to the James Thurber house in Columbus, our occasional Guest Blogger Brian Leno pops in some info he uncovered which ought to amuse any and all surfers and lurkers in Up and Down These Mean Streets.

Here’s Brian:

Was digging around in some books in my basement and discovered an old Thurber biography that I must have purchased years ago — forgot I had it. Anyway, I skimmed through a few pages and read that Thurber’s second wife did indeed edit for the pulps — that’s about all that Burton Bernstein (author of the bio) says on the subject that I’ve come across so far.

He also has a bit about Thurber and Hammett:

Other Tony’s regulars were less enchanted by Thurber. Lillian Hellman described a night in the speakeasy when Thurber threw a glass of whiskey at her. Dashiell Hammett, her boy friend and an old Pinkerton man, rose to her defense and pushed Thurber against the wall, but Thurber heaved another glass at Hammett, missing his target and hitting a waiter, who happened to be Tony’s cousin. Tony decided he had had his fill of Thurber and called the police, an extreme action for a speakeasy proprietor. As Lillian Hellman put it, almost everyone agreed with Tony about Thurber but nobody squealed when the police arrived, “and while I don’t think Thurber liked me afterwards, I don’t think he had liked me before. In any case, none of us ever mentioned it again.”

Bernstein has a footnote:

There is something about Lillian Hellman that makes men, and some women, want to throw whiskey at her. Thurber simply and inexcusably did what everybody else thought better of doing.

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