Fletcher and a trail of associations

Today’s morning name was the family name Fletcher. Just that, to start with. It looks like an occupational name, like Baker, Brewer, Butcher, Carpenter, Farmer, or Hunter, but referring to an occupation that is now rare (Carter ‘comeone who transports goods by cart or wagon’, Cooper ‘barrel maker’, Cutler ‘knife maker’). And so it is. From NOAD2

a person who makes and sells arrows. ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French flechier, from fleche ‘arrow.’

An enormous number of people have the family name Fletcher; I’ll look at two here, one real (the actress Louise Fletcher) and one fictional (the investigative reporter Irwin M. Fletcher, known as Fletch). But first, the adaptation of the family name to a personal name, as in Fletcher Christian.

Fletcher Christian. From Wikipedia:

Fletcher Christian (25 September 1764 – 20 September 1793) was master’s mate on board HMS Bounty during William Bligh’s voyage to Tahiti for breadfruit plants. In the mutiny on the Bounty, Christian seized command of the ship from William Bligh on 28 April 1789.


Postage stamp, UK issue for Pitcairn Islands (1940) showing King George VI and an artist’s interpretation of Fletcher Christian

The story of the mutiny on the Bounty has provided the basis for a number of literary treatments and film treatments, and even a musical.

Back to the family name Fletcher. Previously on this blog: on 5/20/14, the graphic artist Alan Fletcher. And then

Louise Fletcher. From Wikipedia:

Estelle Louise Fletcher (born July 22, 1934) is an American film and television actress. She initially debuted in television series such as Maverick in 1959 before being cast in Robert Altman’s Thieves Like Us (1974). The following year, Fletcher gained international recognition for her performance as Nurse Ratched in the 1975 film One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress

… Later into her career, Fletcher returned to television, appearing as Kai Winn Adami in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well as receiving Emmy nominations for her guest starring roles in Picket Fences and Joan of Arcadia.

Nurse Ratched dispensing medication:


“Fletch” Fletcher. From Wikipedia:

Fletch is a 1974 mystery novel by Gregory Mcdonald, the first in a series featuring the character Irwin Maurice [“Fletch”] Fletcher [an investigative reporter].

… The novel was loosely adapted into a comedy film starring Chevy Chase as the main character, Fletch (1985), with considerable changes along the way.

The movie:

Fletch is a 1985 comedy film about an investigative newspaper reporter, Irwin M. Fletcher (Chevy Chase). The film was directed by Michael Ritchie and written by Andrew Bergman, loosely based on the popular Gregory Mcdonald novels. Tim Matheson, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Geena Davis and Joe Don Baker appear in supporting roles. (link)

Chevy Chase as Fletch (and shirtless as well):


On the actor:

Cornelius Crane “Chevy” Chase (… born October 8, 1943) is an American comedian, actor, and writer. Born into a prominent New York family, Chase worked a plethora of odd jobs before he moved into comedy and began acting with National Lampoon. He quickly became a key cast member in the inaugural season of Saturday Night Live, where his Weekend Update skit soon became a staple of the show.

Chase is well known for his portrayal of the character Clark Griswold in four National Lampoon’s Vacation films, and for his roles in comedies including Foul Play (1978), Caddyshack (1980), Seems Like Old Times (1980), Fletch (1985), Spies Like Us (1985), and ¡Three Amigos! (1986). (link)

Bonus: Foul Play. While I’m on Chevy Chase investigative comedies. let me mention the earlier Foul Play, which lacks the careful plotting of Fletch — it’s a ramshackle concoction with a lot of silly parodic bits and a preposterous story, involving twin brothers (one good, one evil), a plot to assassinate the Pope (during a performance of The Mikado at the San Francisco Opera House), and much else — but is nevertheless enormously entertainiing. The briefest of summaries:

Foul Play is a 1978 American comic mystery/thriller film written and directed by Colin Higgins, and starring Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, Dudley Moore, Burgess Meredith, Eugene Roche, Rachel Roberts, Brian Dennehy and Billy Barty. In it, a recently divorced librarian [Hawn] is drawn into a mystery when a stranger hides a roll of film in a pack of cigarettes and gives it to her for safekeeping. (link)

And it goes on from there. Chase plays San Francisco police Lt. Tony Carlson, who comes to Hawn’s rescue.

The stars in bed together (more Chasian shirtlessness):


The comic highlight is a crazed chase across San Francisco, up and down the city’s hills.

3 Responses to “Fletcher and a trail of associations”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    How could you have missed Horace Fletcher and “fletcherizing”?

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      I was hoping not to get “How could you have missed?” comments, when there are so very many Fletchers. I committed myself to discussing only two, one real and one fictional, and these are the first that came to mind.

      A more polite way of commenting would have been to just add Horace Fletcher on your own, rather than charging me with a deficiency in my coverage.

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