Samuel Dashiell Hammett was born on this date in 1894. I’ve done little birthday parties for him in the past (the home movie clip from ten years ago perhaps being the best), but for this one I’m going to let Evan Lewis do the heavy lifting with some more newsprint action he’s dug up.
The solo Alec Rush mystery “The Assistant Murderer” turns up in a Pittsburgh paper in 1939 under the title “First Aide to Murder.” Under the new title the yarn had made the rounds previously in 1938 in the newspaper supplement Saturday Home Magazine — who knows how many more times it got reprinted in how many more papers?
As I’ve said before, almost all newsprint was never covered in earlier Hammett bibliographies. With what we’ve seen turning up, man, the record of all those reprints might fill a book on their own.
Plus some random math impulse invaded my math-resistant little gray cells and it dawned on me that Hammett is closing in on being dead for as long as he was alive. He made it to January 10, 1961, aged 66. That’s 60 years ago.
And still the guy hangs in there. Celebratory shots all around, please.