The movie “Anchorman 2” comes out this week. Star Will Ferrell says one of the lead characters was modeled on a former fixture of Philadelphia TV. But was he?
“I believe diversity was an old, old wooden ship that was used in the Civil War era” is the kind of clueless pronouncements you hear from fictional anchor Ron Burgundy.
In a “Rolling Stone” magazine interview, Ferrell says he modeled Burgundy after former Channel 3 anchor Mort Crim and the time Crim worked with the late Jessica Savitch.
Retired reporter Robin Mackintosh worked with Crim and Savitch in the ’70s when the 11 p.m. newscast was tops in the ratings.
“I think Crim and Burgundy have absolutely nothing in common other than the fact that they were both anchors,” Mackintosh said. “Mort was a professional journalist, Burgundy was, well, he’s funny.”
Paul Gluck handed Crim his script every night in the ’70s before he went on to be news director at several stations. He even had a stint at WHYY. He says he remembers Crim having only one Ron Burgundy moment.
“By reading mail and walking and not looking where he was going, while he had his glasses on, he walked into a door and had about four or five stitches in his head and was off the air for a week,” Gluck said. “That’s as close to Ron Burgundy, and that was a sad accident.”
Gluck says Crim wrote most of his newscast, and also syndicated shows to other stations.