I did a quick Dashiell Hammett Tour by appointment on Saturday the 18th. Initially the guy had Monday the 13th in mind — you know, the day one of those atmospheric rivers unloaded the agua on the mean streets all day and night.
I told him he probably didn’t want to drown his parents on the walk, and we lucked out on a different day they were still in town on a visit.
The easy backstory is that his parents named him Dashiell, and he figured they might enjoy the tour. He’d been on the walk before himself, back in 2013, so it wasn’t just a shot in the dark.
I got to ask them about how they came to pull the name Dashiell out of all the names in all the cultures in all the world, and much of it was what I consider the usual. They like the stories — but they also respect Hammett standing up to McCarthy back in the blacklist days.
An even more specific detail helped nail down the name selection for them.
The mom noticed that Harry “The Hat” Anderson was naming his newborn Dashiell Anderson — born January 26, 1986 in the midst of Harry’s run as Judge Stone on Night Court, 1984-1992.
Dashiell — yeah, why not?
And so one new Dashiell quickly followed up another in that mid-80s boom.
Incidentally, on Wikipedia it notes that in 2002, Anderson and his second wife, Elizabeth, whom he met in New Orleans, opened a small shop in the French Quarter named “Spade & Archer Curiosities by Appointment” selling various “magic, curiosities, and apocrypha.”
Spade & Archer. Also catchy.