The Movie Star Behind the Presidents

By Morice, Dave; Zerger, Monte J. | Word Ways, May 2004 | Go to article overview

The Movie Star Behind the Presidents


Morice, Dave, Zerger, Monte J., Word Ways


Harrison Ford is a movie star of the first magnitude. Whether he knows it or not, he's also a wordplay star. His name, his movies, and his life connect him, in one or more ways, to all the American presidents but one. Perhaps more than any other person in the history of the Republic, he is presidential, so much so that several websites promoted him for president in 2000. If he had gotten elected, he would have been the 43rd president, and the sum of the alphabetic values (A=1 to Z=26) of the letters in FORD is 43. Some of his relationships to the other presidents are minor, some are major, and some are absolutely incredible. Two important, highly contrasting examples are (1) he played President James Marshall in Air Force One, but (2) he turned down the role of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in JFK. Undoubtedly, there are more presidential connections than the ones nominated below. Putting them together is like building a castle of coincidences from the sands of Harrison Ford's time. Let's look at the architecture of that castle (the White House).

His Name

Harrison Ford is not one but two actors. When the HF of this article began acting, he discovered that there was another actor, a silent movie star named Harrison Ford. The Screen Actors Guild told him he couldn't use his own name, so he adopted a middle initial of J. When the other HF died, HJF asked the Guild for permission to drop the middle initial. This duplication is another example of the twinning effect present in HF's name: two HARRISON FORDs, two President HARRISONs (William Henry and his grandson Benjamin), and two President FORDs (counting RutherFORD B. Hayes), President Harry S Truman likewise had a middle initial instead of a middle name, and Harrison means "son of Harry." Harry S Truman (with that initial) and Harrison Ford (without that initial) both contain 12 letters.

His initials, HF, shift 13 letters along the alphabet in either direction to US. The number 13 has long been associated with the United States, beginning with the 13 original states. HF was born on the 13th (of July, 1942), which makes him a Cancer, the same sign as our country. Only one president was born on the 13th, Thomas Jefferson. Only one president died on the 13th, Benjamin Harrison. HF shifts forward in the alphabet 4 steps to LJ (Lyndon Johnson), 12 steps to TR (Theodore Roosevelt), and 21 steps to CA (Chester Arthur, the 21st president). The first 4 letters of Harrison shift 20 alphabetic steps to BULL, and "BULL Moose" was the nickname of Teddy Roosevelt, who said the presidency was a "BULLy pulpit." In his second bid for the White House, Roosevelt ran under the banner of the BULL Moose Party, named in his honor.

HF's first name is 8 letters long, and his last name is 4 letters long. The first letter, H, is the 8th letter of the alphabet, and the last letter, D, is the 4th letter. Four presidents have first names that are 8 letters long--Franklin Pierce, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt. Four have last names that are 4 letters long--George Bush (father and son counted as one), Gerald Ford, William Taft, and James Polk.

HF ends with the commonest three-letter ending of a presidential last name, SON, shared by JefferSON, MadiSON, JackSON, William Henry HarriSON, Andrew JohnSON, Benjamin HarriSON, WilSON, and Lyndon JohnSON. FORD ends the first name of RutherFORD Hayes. HAyes begins the same two letters as HArrison. HAYES ends with YES; HarrisON ends with NO in reverse. FORd has OR in the middle. It's a YES-OR-NO relationship.

Dwight David Eisenhower has the letters (once each) of HARRISON in his last two names, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy has the letters FORD in his first two names. The Ford Motor Company makes Lincolns, and Lincoln was shot in Ford's Theater. The first four letters of Warren Gamaliel HARDing's last name begin with the first three letters and the last letter of HARrison ForD.

His Movies

At the start of his career, HF had a few bit parts in the movies, nothing that even got his name into the credits. …

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