This little essay is here to solve the "mystery" of where the word used in the title and in the movie comes from. I think I figured it out when it hit me that it's from an old classic. Enjoy!

Where the Name Comes From

Steven C. Scheer

The Baxter is a fun movie, released in 2005. It's the story of a "Baxter," the man who is a nice guy, but who doesn't get the girl. The hero claims that this is what his grandmother called these guys. I have looked at various reviews of the movie, and none of them - at least none of the ones I have seen - seems to know where the word comes from. Even the great Roger Ebert is silent on the subject.

At first I thought that I was up against a "new" word here I wasn't familiar with. So I looked in a number of dictionaries. No luck. But by then I was harboring a suspicion. So here it goes. I have no proof of this, but I am still sure that I am right.

If you are old enough to have seen The Apartment (1960) when it first came out, you may have forgotten the name of the character played by Jack Lemmon. This movie by Billy Wilder is a classic by now. And it has been shown on TV a number of times since its original release. In fact, I myself have had the pleasure of catching it on one of the premium channels in recent years.

Well, to make a long story short, the character played by Jack Lemmon is C.C. "Bud" Baxter. He is the poor guy who has to let some of his "superiors" in the company he works for use his apartment for illicit love affairs. Or just for fun and games with various and sundry girlfriends.

Mr. Baxter does get the girl - played by Shirley MacLain - in the end. And so does the "Baxter" in The Baxter. I'll say no more - though perhaps I have already "spoiled" the story. I don't really think so, as the ending is not a big mystery. That's not what either movie is about. Each is really about the old cliché that the course of true love doesn't always run smoothly. Or that we don't always know just who it is that we have actually fallen in love with.

I think it would be fun to rent the two movies and watch them back to back. In any case, I hope that this brief little essay of mine has solved the mystery as to where the word "Baxter" comes from. Yes, it's always capitalized. But you can only be sure of this if you activate the Closed Captioned feature for the hearing impaired.

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