Frisco Beat: Up in Spade’s Room

Thomas Burchfield just put up an article on the late great Bill Arney — especially useful because it first appeared in 2009 and contains lots of info on Bill’s movements in San Francisco. I’d almost forgotten the breakup with a girlfriend that spurred him to rent the Sam Spade apartment in 891 Post.

Also, some of the background enabled me to fact-check the outline of my hanging out drinking with Bill. I first met him in 1982 when he came out on the Hammett Tour, and I’m pretty sure he got in on a few meetings of The Maltese Falcon Society, which ended in 1986. However many he checked in on, and it wasn’t many, that period wasn’t the time that we really tied in.

No, we became the Hammett Cult in San Francisco a little over eleven years later, when Bill rented the Spade apartment in 1993. It took him another year or so to look out his windows and see a Hammett Tour group assembled in front of The House of Fans across Post Street. And the rest is history.

(In theory, Bill ought to have been able to track me down sooner, but in one of my classic lines delivered in the Twenty-Two-Eleven Club — when someone asked if Bill was also a detective because he lived in the Spade apartment: “Bill a detective? He doesn’t even understand what he’s been told.” The context for the remark is gone, but it ranked as one of Bill’s favorites. He quoted it for years.)

Drop over to the Burchfield piece and put some puzzle pieces together.

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