Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'm Not Going to Kill You, But When I'm Through You'll Wish I Had

This is a particularly narcissistic post, and I really don't mind if you turn around right now and head back out the door. But there is an autobiographical bias to this image blog anyway, so here goes.

As you may know, my name is Thom Buchanan. I used to spell it the usual way of 'Tom' when I was growing up. But one day when I was in the Army and had picked up my starched laundry at the base laundromat, I was shocked to see how much my fatigues had shrunk. I'm not a huge guy, but tall enough at 6'3 to know that these fatigues were not going to fit me. Well, yeah, even with my name sewn right on the pockets, I knew they weren't mine. Not only did this other soldier share my last name, he had the gall to have my first name as well. I met him once later and he was a scrappy little feller whose ancestors picked the name Buchanan back when President Buchanan was laying ground for the Civil War.

Well, I started running into all sorts of problems, getting my name confused with this guy on duty rosters, and payrolls, and the M.P.s even called on me once thinking I was this guy. So I started spelling my name with an aitch in it so I could go about my own screwed up business.

Anyway, people still refer to me without the aitch, even when they see how I spell it. There are any number of Tom Buchanans in the world, and now I've seen where there's another T-h-o-m Buchanan on the internet. Bless their hearts, but it feels like I've got doppelgängers out there living more interesting lives than mine.

Well, there's one more Tom Buchanan definitely living an exciting existence, even if he is fictional and has writers guiding his life:

There's a whole series of these books, authored by different writers using the same pseudonym of 'Jonas Ward'. Even though I'm not a fan of Westerns, it's awful fun to read adventure stories about a doppelgänger, who is "taller than most men by a head, with a look of wildness in his battered, tough face", who has many times "gone to meet death without pause and with great good nature". He's a pretty good role model, lean and mean and lookin' out for the underdog.

Not that you want to, but if you google Jonas Ward, there are some websites that list all the novels and synopses and stuff like that. The stories read pretty well and are well received by on-line critics. I plan on posting, every once in a while, another cover from the set that I have (I don't have them all), just for the fun of it.

I haven't yet seen the movie that was based on that first book above, but I've read that it's actually a pretty good flick. It was directed by Budd Boetticher, a well-respected director that I met some years ago. When I was introduced to him by name, he gave me an odd stare and then a besmirched smile, and now I know why, cuz he knew Tom Buchanan well. A side note about that meeting: I had drawn a portrait of Boetticher that he told me he liked a lot and would like to own it, but especially he said he liked the portrait I had done of Viveca Lindfors (showing her in her advanced years, long after starring with Ronald Reagan in some film or other). He said that she came across so well in my drawing that he was going to cast her in his next film. I don't know that ever came about, but he offered me a job as an art director at his film company in California. That didn't come about either, but now that I know he directed Randolph Scott as my doppelgänger, well I am just tickled.

In the poster above, Randolph Scott actually looks a lot like my dad when he was that age. Life is funny.


Kid said...

You be as autobiographical as you want, Thom. An extremely entertaining read. Now you've got me thinking who I'd like to play me in a movie if I were ever famous or important enough. Kinda hard to beat Randolph Scott 'though.

M. D. Jackson said...

Life is funny. That is a good story and explains why it's Thom and not Tom.

As for others who share your name, well... try being Michael Jackson for a while. MD is far preferable.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Kid, I'd say Brad Pitt, if only he were younger.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

MD, I get your point. It didn't even occur to me.

MD is good. It worked for Marcus Welby, didn't it?

. . . get it?

M. D. Jackson said...


Anonymous said...

Transatlantic Hun says:
All those second rate understudies, they never progressed to a middle-name (starting with 'H')

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Thanks Hun, what a nice thing to say.

Annie said...

Hi Thom,

Thanks for sharing the autobiography. I wondered about the name, and I've always thought it was a great way to shorten "Thomas." Wow. How would it have been to have become art director for a film company? But wherever that road would have led, you probably would have missed something else essential.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Hi Annie—

The essential thing that I would have missed would have been ever having our daughter. That's another story for some other day.

Bob said...

Been away from your blog for a few days -- sorry I missed this when it was fresh.

I love westerns and can tell you that the Buchanan series is pretty good (and the movie close to terrific!). If I can find some in my library [disordered book pile] I'll pop them over to you.

Be as autobiographical as you want -- I tune in to see what's going on with you just as much as I do to see the pictures....

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Thanks Bob, that's vurry nice of you to say.

Duane Spurlock said...

I'm a western fan, and I've read lots of the entries in the Buchanan series. Haven't read a bad one yet, although quality shifts a bit as one writer takes over from another. But they usually all feature a decent cover painting or at least some interesting design for a 1960s-'70s era paperback.