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Airport Limo To Sam Spade's San Francisco

Mar 2, 2008
Trade shows got you down. Looking for something different before you take a San Francisco Airport Limo back to the airport. Why not have your Quicksilver TownCar driver drop you off at John's Grill for a martini and look at Sam Spade's San Francisco.

Author Dashiell Hammett created detective Sam Spade. Hammett was the founder of the "hard-boiled" school of detective fiction during the '20s and '30s, with crime stories featuring the Continental Op and detective Sam Spade. Spade's crime exploits covered all of San Francisco in search of clues. Today tourists are lucky because Hammett recorded the routes with surprising accuracy.

San Francisco itself became a main character in the Continental Op stories as well as an inspiration for Hammett's best fiction, The Maltese Falcon. The 1941 noir movie based on the novel, stared Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, with classic performances by Peter Lorre, Mary Astor and Sydney Greenstreet. The film was the directorial debut of John Huston.

Though John's Grill, 63 Ellis Street, does not appear in the 1941 film version of The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett wrote in the 1930 novel, "[Sam Spade] went to John's Grill, asked the waiter to hurry his order of chops, baked potato, and sliced tomatoes, ate hurriedly, and was smoking a cigarette with his coffee when a thick-set youngish man with a plaid cap set aside above pale eyes and a tough cheery face came into the Grill and to his table."

The restaurant is still serving chops, potatoes and sliced tomatoes; you can stop and have a Martini too.

The Thin Man, Black Mask, and Maltese Falcon author lived in at Tenderloin apartment building, 891 Post Street #401, one of his many San Francisco addresses in the 1920s. The Tenderloin was a favorite neighborhood for Hammett. This downtown neighborhood located in the flatlands on the southern slope of Nob Hill, nestled between Union Square shopping district to the northeast and San Francisco's ornate Civic Center to the southwest. It encompasses about fifty square blocks.

Hammet filled his work with Tenderloin locations. Today the Tenderloin is repeatedly described in most tourist guides as "the worst neighborhood in San Francisco," - good reasons to have Quicksilver TownCar, 800.486.9622, drive you.

San Francisco's foggy streets and mysterious atmosphere were a perfect match for Hammett's dame-and-gumshoe imagination. "Grant Avenue, the main street and spine of this strip, is for most of its length a street of gaudy shops and flashy chop-suey houses, catering to the tourist trade, where the racket of American jazz orchestras drowns the occasional squeak of a Chinese flute." From Dead Yellow Women

In the Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade's partner, Miles Archer, is shot to death on Bush Street over the Stockton Tunnel where you can walk safely today. Information on the Dashiell Hammett's San Francisco walking tours are available at www.donherron.com/tour.html.

For those who want their TownCar, www.qstc.net, driver to navigate after martinis at Johns and whiskey at a Grant Street "chop-suey house" there is well documented Dashiell Hammett's San Francisco book. The book is edited by Ed Sams with photographs edited by Ric Botelh. Using the book as a guide, you can find what remains of Hammett's San Francisco, and Hammett's immortal crime stories.

The doll's eyes were like the cold fog rolling off the hill ...
About the Author
SF Bay Area Transportation Expert As President of Quicksilver TownCar Service http://www.qstc.net, Phil Macafee knows all of the freeways and most of the byways from Carmel to Sacramento to the wine country and many of the high-cultures aviaries and sailor's dives in between.
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