It’s been 12 years since Ron Burgundy wowed us all with his machismo and his mustache, but besides his glorious mustache, his mad flute skills, and his affinity for scotchy scotch, what do we really know about the man, and by extension, his film, Anchorman? With that in mind, we decided to go back and remind you of some surprising details about the film. So read up and stay classy.
1. Ron Burgundy is a Jethro Tull super fan. Burgundy loves the Tull and his nightclub performance scene has several tributes to Jethro Tull flutist, Ian Anderson. Besides blurting out “Hey Aqualung,” and playing a delicious riff from the title track of Jethro Tull’s 1971 album, Burgundy finishes his performance by turning to the side and lifting up his leg, imitating the band’s logo.
2. The restaurant that Veronica and her female coworkers visit, is a health inspector’s nightmare. The restaurant is called “Escupimos en su Alimento” which translates to, “We spit in your food.” If only Yelp had been around in the 1970s.
3. The first draft of the script contained a fantastic story of monkeys and cannibalism. Adam McKay’s first script wasn’t even set in San Diego, but instead, involved two planes colliding and crashing on a remote mountain. One plane contains the Channel 4 News Team and the other is filled with monkeys and martial arts equipment. Naturally, the news team turns cannibalistic while battling their ninja monkey foes. I have to admit, I now really want to see Brick Tamland fight some sword-wielding monkeys.
4. DreamWorks was initially resistant to join Team Burgundy. Adam McKay and Will Ferrell had to pitch the idea to DreamWorks execs 20 times before the suits finally gave it the okay. The studio was doubtful that McKay and Ferrell could make a solid comedy based on reporters in the 1970s. It wasn’t until after the success of Elf and Old School that the studio finally realized the film was “kind of a big deal.”
5. Champ Kind is likely a fan of British sci-fi comics. Champ’s line, “I will take your mother, Dorothy Mantooth, out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again” sounds like an incredibly polite insult, but is a reference to a 1950’s British comic book character, Dan Dare. Dan’s nemesis in the series makes the same threat against Dan’s mother, Dorthy Dare.
6. The Anchorman cast went through several incarnations to find the right talent. As iconic as the San Diego Channel 4 News Team is with David Koechner and Paul Rudd, several other actors were considered for the roles. John C. Reilly was to play Champ Kind, Ben Stiller and Ron Livingston were both considered for Brian Fantana, Chris Parnell was considered to play Brick Tamland, and Maggie Gyllenhaal auditioned for the role of Veronica.
7. The movie has several references to another famous broadcasting legend, Mary Richards. Anchorman gives a few nods to the newsroom sitcom classic, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, naming Ron’s dog Baxter after Tex Baxter and newsroom boss, Ed, after the newsroom head on Mary Tyler Moore, Lou Grant, played by actor Ed Asner.
8. Jon Hamm and Adam Scott sorta have cameos. Despite not being in the movie and being relatively unknown actors at the time, both Jon Hamm and Adam Scott are listed in the movie as writers during the newscast credits on the in-studio monitor. This is likely thanks to Paul Rudd, who was roommates with Jon Hamm at the time and had known Adam Scott since the early 1990s.
9. The movie’s title was inspired by a porn documentary. As infamous a ladies man as Ron Burgundy is, his legend was actually inspired by another famous womanizer, Ron Jeremy. Anchorman gets its title from the documentary on Jeremy, Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy. It actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Both sport the mustache. Both wore polyester suits in the 1970s. And both did wondrous things in front of a camera.
10. Brick Tamland was nearly cut from the script. On film, it’s clear that Brick Tamland is an essential — and yes, incredibly strange — piece to what makes Anchorman funny, but on paper he just comes off “insane.” The studio wasn’t sure about the character of Brick Tamland at first, as explained by Adam McKay:
“The studio initially asked if we needed this Brick character? They wanted us to cut him. Because if you read it on the page, it reads insane. He has no relation to any scene or storyline. I told Steve, “You have no rules. You can literally walk out of the scene if you want.”
11. Ron Burgundy is the most satisfying character Will Ferrell has ever done. Out of all the characters Will Ferrell has ever played, Ron Burgundy remains his favorite. “Ron Burgundy is probably the one that sticks out the most, because it was so hard for us to get that movie made.”
12. Anchorman 2 is actually part of a trilogy. The movie will be the the third installment in McKay and Ferrell’s “Mediocre American Man Trilogy,” with Anchorman being the first and Talladega Nights being the second. All three were written by McKay and Ferrell, with each movie focusing on an arrogant central character that has become somewhat of a local legend.
*Bonus* That’s producer Judd Apatow who remarks that the Sex Panther cologne, “Smells like a turd with burnt hair.”
This article originally ran on December 16, 2013