Ex-anchorman enjoys comparison to Ron Burgundy
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A former 1970s anchorman is enjoying a little more time in the limelight, thanks to the return of his fictional counterpart, Ron Burgundy.
Comedian Will Ferrell has said the inspiration for his character in the “Anchorman” movies was Mort Crim, who moved to northeast Florida in 1998 after retiring as a TV news anchor in Detroit.
Crim told The Florida Times-Union that the film is a satire and he doesn’t take offense to Ferrell’s performance. He says he always took his work seriously but tried not to take himself too seriously.
“I think the first movie was a parody of anchor people,” Crim said. “The second is a parody of the whole 24-hour news cycle. The key moment is when Burgundy says, ‘Why do we have to give them what they need? Let’s give them what they want.’”
Crim and his wife were invited to the Dec. 15 premiere of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” at the Beacon Theatre in New York, where he got to meet Ferrell for the first time.
“I walked up to him, put out my hand and said, ‘Will, it’s such an honor for you to meet me,’” Crim said. “He said he appreciated the good nature I had displayed in the interviews I’d done.”
Crim’s smooth baritone voice caught Ferrell’s attention in a documentary on Jessica Savitch, Crim’s co-anchor at a Philadelphia TV station in the mid-1970s. Crim has said he wasn’t always nice to Savitch in the early days of their partnership, but he came to admire her and delivered the eulogy at her memorial service in 1983.
Now 78, Crim has written seven books and is starting to write his eighth, which is about working in television news in the 1970s and 1980s.
o o o
LOS ANGELES — Nearly six decades after it first aired, an “I Love Lucy” Christmas special was last week’s most-watched holiday program, according to ratings released Tuesday.
There was a gimmick involved: The episode of the 1950s Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz sitcom was colorized, as was a companion episode that featured Lucy as a grape-stomper in Italy.
The “I Love Lucy” special on CBS drew 8.7 million viewers to rank as last Friday night’s most-watched program and No. 16 for the week overall, according to Nielsen figures.
Holiday runner-up “A Charlie Brown Christmas” — a relative newcomer that debuted in 1965 — settled for 6.4 million the previous night on ABC.
NBC could sing a happy tune, emerging as the most popular network among advertiser-favored young adults on the strength of the season finale episodes of “The Voice” and the NFL Bears-Eagles game on “Sunday Night Football.”
CBS was the No. 1 network among total viewers, buoyed by its reliable crime dramas, including “NCIS” and the series’ Los Angeles-based spinoff.
o o o
NEWARK, N.J. — Members of the Ramapough Native American tribe have filed a $50 million lawsuit against the makers of a recent Hollywood movie they say depicts their people in a negative light.
The federal suit was filed Monday in New Jersey against the writers and producers of “Out of the Furnace.” The suit claims the film makes false representations about the people who live in the Ramapo Mountains along the New York-New Jersey border about 25 miles west of New York City.
It claims that unsavory characters in the film have last names that are common among the Ramapough and that it perpetuates negative and unfounded stereotypes.
Relativity Media, which released the film this month, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press. But a representative told other news outlets that the company couldn’t comment because it hadn’t seen or had time to review the suit.
The movie stars Christian Bale as a man trying to find his missing brother, who has gotten involved with a bare-knuckle fighting ring in the mountains of New Jersey.
The movie’s villain, played by Woody Harrelson, has the last name DeGroat, which is common among the Ramapough. Tribal members identify as descendants of the Lenape or Lunaape Nation, with some Dutch and other European ancestry in their heritage. Most of the 17 plaintiffs in the suit have the DeGroat last name.
Harrelson’s character is the leader of a gang of “inbreds,” according to the suit, who are depicted as lawless, drug-addicted, poor and violent, and live in the “mountains of New Jersey.”
The film also uses the term “Jackson Whites,” a historically derogatory term for the Ramapough, and refers to “the inbred mountain folk of Jersey,” according to the suit.
The plaintiffs, who are mostly from New Jersey and New York, with one from Tennessee, seek punitive and compensatory damages and allege defamation, mental anguish and emotional distress. They say the use of the names along with the geographic location “make for a ready association between these plaintiffs and the movie.”
Ramapough Chief Dwaine Perry, who is not party to the suit, held a news conference when the movie was released to denounce it as a “hate crime.”
The Ramapough do not have federal recognition but identify themselves as an American ethnic group recognized as a tribe by New York and New Jersey.