It was lovely to chat with Dashiel Hammett’s daughter Jo Hammett Marshall last week at the legendary literary haunt Musso &Frank’s in Hollywood. Hammett Marshall was one of about 100 people on hand for a Los Angeles Visionaries Association event. The theme of the evening was vintage antiquarian Hollywood bookstores of the 1930s and 40s, long since gone but cherished as symbols of the golden age of bookselling in Los Angeles. She was joined by her daughter, Julie Rivett.
Various speakers, including Howard Prouty, acquisitions archivist for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences library, discussed the historical significance of bookstores owned by Jake Zeitlin, Stanley Rose, and Ernest Dawson.
“My father hated Hollywood,” Hammett Marshall said, “because it showed little respect for hard-working intellectuals and literary writers like him and his friends. He and F. Scott Fitzgerald were drinking buddies, and often came here to Musso’s to have cocktails. Dorothy Parker and Lillian Hellman were regulars, too.”
LAVA, founded by Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, exists to bring together some of the most intriguing artists, writers, and thinkers in Los Angeles to provide cultural programming that speaks to the urban experience. The Musso & Frank Salon series meets quarterly at the famed restaurant, and the previous program featured an L.A. Noir theme. Dashiell Hammett, of course, was one of the writers discussed.