Read of the Day: An Excerpt From Ron Burgundy’s Memoir, Let Me Off at the Top!
5:30 pm, November 7th | by Colette McIntyre
In a candid moment as we were walking home that night I asked my old man why he didn’t talk about the eleven men who had died or the culpability of the oil company or the environmental impact of this new deadly fire or the emotional damage many deaths could have on a small community like ours or even the plain fact that without tunnel 8 most of the town would be out of work. “Ron, sometimes people don’t want the truth. They just want the news.” I’ll never forget these sage words from my father. Up until that point I made no distinction between “truth” and “news.” I had thought they were one and the same! I was a boy of course and the world was just a kaleidoscope of butterscotch candies and rum cookies. I didn’t understand the reason for news until that day.
I knew from a very early age that I would be a News Anchorman. I had great hair, for one, which is 70 percent of the job. I also had the pipes. I was blessed with my father’s golden tones and melodious speaking voice. By the time I left Our Lady Queen of Chewbacca High I could read a document out loud from forty feet away without ever stumbling over a word. A photograph from shortly after my graduation shows me looking much the same way I do now. In fact at age eighteen I looked exactly as I do today. Women found me irresistible. They still do find me irresistible. It’s worth mentioning but not so important to the narrative at this moment. I mention stuff like that not for vanity’s sake but because it simply needs to be said.
It was all lining up perfectly. Every year the National News Association of Anchormen, NNAA, sends out over a thousand representatives to find fresh new anchorman talent across the land. Prospects are invited to a brutal six-day camp to test their mettle through grueling challenges and photo shoots. It’s a make-or-break week for young anchormen. An anchorman scout traveling through Haggleworth noticed me in the eighth grade but was not allowed to talk to me until I graduated. (After it was discovered that Edward R. Murrow was paid illegally by CBS as a four-year-old without his parents’ consent, new guidelines were put into place to protect children from getting money.) By the time I graduated several scouts were interested in me. I was invited to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to the anchorman camp—the “Gauntlet,” as it’s known in news circles. The field that year was tough—my class alone had News Hall of Famers Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel and Jim Lehrer. Vance Bucksnot, who became the number one anchor for the Quad Cities, was there, as was Punch Wilcox, the legendary anchor for Salt Lake City’s KPAL. There was also Snack Reynolds (Austin), Brunt Harrisly (Columbus), Tink Stewart (Butte), Race Bannon (Minneapolis), Hit Johnson (Albany), Kick Fronby (Charlotte), Ass Perkins (Mobile) and Lunk Brickman (Boston). All of these men distinguished themselves with long careers for their respective stations, so yeah, it was very competitive.
For the full excerpt, click here.