It’s common for actors to have side jobs while fulfilling their dreams. Sometimes the side gig relates to their current industry, and other times it’s completely different. Edgar Buchanan, who portrayed Uncle Joe Carson on Petticoat Junction, was nothing like his character, who constantly thought of get-rich-quick schemes.
In an interview with The Boston Globe, the actor talked about how acting was just a hobby for him at first.
Buchanan’s career journey started with wanting to be in the medical field. He grew up in the Oregon mountains and, after being convinced by his father, a dentist, decided to focus on dentistry instead. While in school, he became interested in theatre work, starring in a few plays here and there.
He eventually established a dental practice and was credited in 11 Pasadena Playhouse productions. His performances were so good that Buchanan received several offers from film scouts. The raving performance reviews and increased demand made the Petticoat Junction star choose acting as his primary profession.
Even with the decision, he always stayed updated on dentistry. The actor had a valid license to practice in California and Oregon and even met his wife in dental college.
The then 69-year-old, in 1972, said, “Believe it or not, I still go back to dental school occasionally to keep abreast of the latest developments.”
The article also refers to a previous quote by Buchanan that explained how being himself while acting contributed to his success. “I’m not the kind of actor who portrays a different character in each film by changing his speech and manner,” the quote reads. I’ve always played myself, whether doing a dramatic or comedy role.”
His past performances and ability to be himself while in character are one of the reasons why the role of Uncle Joe Carson was made for him.
Yet no matter what, whether performing in a show or conducting a dental procedure, it’s safe to say that Buchanan was a man of many talents.
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