Sinister Cinema: Publicity Shots

Lyle Talbot Nancy Hult Don Herron Stephen Talbot

How about we kick off a new month with some publicity shots from the Archives of Stephen Talbot?

Steve popped these to me recently. Pic at top, left to right, Lyle Talbot, Nancy Hult, Don Herron (me!) and Steve from 1982, doing a group shot during the release party for the KQED documentary The Case of Dashiell Hammett, said party tossed in the third floor of John’s Grill.

Steve noted that “my father, Lyle Talbot,” served as “the voice of Hammett in the documentary.” He says that “Nancy Hult, the KQED publicist (best publicist I ever had!)organized the party and went on to marry Hollywood producer Sid Ganis, who for many years was president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.” And he describes us as “the one and only Mr. Don Herron, wearing your Maltese Falcon tie; and yours truly, as happy as I can be, celebrating the release of this Hammett TV biography.”

Yep. The Good Old Days. I should mention that the ties with a Maltese Falcon image threaded into them were worn by the bartenders and head waiters in John’s in that era, but I was given my tie by none other than Fritz Leiber. Fritz went into John’s to have dinner one night and discovered that they had used his article “Stalking Sam Spade” in the new menu. They picked up his tab as a gesture of thanks, gave him a tie — but by 1981 or 1982 he figured the tie would be better used by me as I gumshoed the mean streets leading the tour. I wore it for quite awhile, until it became obvious the threads were becoming bare, and then I retired it. Smithsonian material — or at least another item for the Hammett Tour collection in Bancroft Library.

Steve also sent me the pic at bottom, “an old publicity still of Mae West and my Dad in a nightclub scene in a 1936 movie called Go West, Young Man.” If you’ve read the blog for awhile you know I enjoy the whole Degrees of Separation idea — and here in one post is evidence for your eyes that I am merely One Degree of Separation from Mae West:

Mae West and Lyle Talbot in nightclub

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