RARA-AVIS: RE: Hammett's Ferris-wheel caper

From: Dick Lochte ( dlochte@adelphia.net)
Date: 27 Dec 2004

  Jim Beaver wrote:

"At the end of the show, Welles relates a story about Hammett in his P.I. days tackling the task of finding a stolen Ferris wheel. It sounded apocryphal, but I'm not up on Hammett enough to know if there's anything to it."

Around the time he was starting to appear in Black Mask, Hammett wrote a short article for the Mencken-Nathan Smart Set magazine, "From the Memoirs of a Private Detective." One of his memories was: "I know a man who once stole a Ferris-wheel." Welles made it a touch more dramatic, I guess, by having Hammett find the wheel, though that may be the implication in the article. The terse little notes are very funny. "I was once falsely accused of perjury and had to perjure myself to escape arrest." "A man whom I was shadowing went out into the country for a walk one Sunday afternoon and lost his bearings completely. I had to direct him back to the city."

I suspect that the article, in what was considered to be a prestigious magazine of the day, was meant to establish Hammett's credibility as the real deal. Nice to know self-promotion was alive and well back in the Twenties.

Dick Lochte

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 27 Dec 2004 EST