The WGF Blog:

Dispatches from the far reaches of the WGF.

“The reason I’m in show business is because I’m a 42 long.” An Oral History of Allan Burns

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Allan Burns discovered that he was a pretty good writer early in life – his grades in English class were great, and he got no shortage of accolades from his teachers.

But he didn’t know he’d make a living from it, or co-create one of the most enduring and trailblazing TV shows in American history.

“My college advisor in high school – the guy who was helping me get into university – looked at my grades and looked at my art ability, and said ‘You’re gonna be an architect.’ He’d made up his mind,” Burns tells us in this two-part, two hour interview.

We don’t doubt that Allan – a longtime member of our board of directors – would have designed some killer structures. In a parallel universe somewhere, we’re all surely admiring some cityscape that includes an iconic Burns tower in its skyline. But that universe might not have THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, which Allan co-created with James L. Brooks. We’re willing to bet our universe got the better deal.

It’s all part of THE WRITER SPEAKS, our ongoing series recording the life stories of film and television writers who made profound contributions to our cultural landscape. In these two videos, Allan chats with Seth Freeman about how he broke into the industry, how he wound up creating Cap’n Crunch when he was 23 years old (“‘Stays crunchy even in milk?’ Stays crunchy even in acid.”), how he and Brooks crafted MARY TYLER MOORE.

Part One:

Part Two: