Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
“There was a time, a time before cable, when the local anchorman reigned supreme…. This was an age when only men were allowed to read the news. And in San Diego, one anchorman was more man than the rest. His name was Ron Burgundy.” - Narrator Bill Kurtis at the start of “Anchorman”
Now, that era of 1970s news is being recalled in all its glory – or more precisely, goofiness – as “Anchorman: The Exhibit” opens Thursday at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
What’s more, legendary members of a real Channel 4 news team – New Orleans legends Garland Robinette and Angela Hill – will share a bit of the spotlight with the fake, but enormously popular members of Burgundy’s Channel 4 news team, when the exhibit opens.
Photos of Garland and Angela, known to this day on a first-name basis by thousands of WWL-TV viewers and WWL Radio listeners, are part of the exhibit which is opening to coincide with the Dec. 20 Paramount Pictures release of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” the sequel to the popular 2004 Will Ferrell comedy.
The photos of Garland and Angela will be a part of a section of the exhibit featuring local TV news promotional ads from the 1970s, along with photos of popular news teams of the day.
In the movie, the addition of female co-anchor Veronica Corningstone (played by Christina Applegate) to Burgundy’s Channel 4 team provides a plotline and many of the punchlines (many unprintable here). But in a facility like the Newseum, dedicated to the history of broadcasting, journalism and the First Amendment, curators do acknowledge the real-life societal and industry changes that were underway during the time period in which the movie is set.
“Before today’s 24/7 news cycle, local TV anchors ruled the airwaves, and the anchor chair was for men only. But dramatic changes hit local TV news in the 1970s when women stepped up to the anchor desk, and news teams took over,” reads a press release about the exhibit.
Garland and Angela, who were married for a decade in addition to spending 15 years on the anchor desk, led WWL-TV’s news team to ratings success from 1975 until 1990, as co-anchors of the station's 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.
Aside from their photos, which will be must-see for New Orleanians who travel to D.C. over the next 10 months, the “Anchorman” exhibit delivers on all the comedy that fans of the movie will expect.
It will feature costumes worn by cast members, along with field reporter Brian Fantana’s Sex Panther Cologne, a stuffed prop version of Ron Burgundy’s dog Baxter in Channel 4 pajamas, weatherman Brick Tamland’s eyeglasses and more.
Entering the exhibit, visitors will be greeted by a giant display case featuring the iconic burgundy business suit worn by Burgundy, played by Ferrell.
“Towering more than eight feet tall, the revolving display will provide a fitting entry point for this one-of-a-kind exhibit,” according to the museum’s press materials.
“Throughout the exhibit, visitors will see other reminders of Ron’s reporting prowess and personal style, including his license plate, which reads “IM #1,” three local Emmy awards for excellence in news reporting, his mustache brush, jazz flute and other classic props used in the hit movie.”
The Newseum promises that props from the sequel will be added to the exhibit as well.
"Anchorman: The Exhibit" opens Nov. 14 at the Newseum and will be on display through August 2014.