USA TODAY - The Newseum in Washington opens "Anchorman: The Exhibit", featuring props, costumes and footage from the comedy classic "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," and exposing the reality rooted in the parody.
When Adam McKay was directing 2004's Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (and co-writing with the film's star, Will Ferrell), he knew history was in the making.
"Honestly, from the very the first day of Anchorman we started each day by saying, 'Everything we're doing here is going to go into a museum,'" says McKay.
OK, he might have been making that up.
Key items from the film -- centered around pompous, sexist 1970s San Diego news anchor Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) -- will be on display. They include Burgundy's wardrobe (including his signature burgundy anchorman suit), his IM #1 vanity plate, his jazz flute and, most importantly, his mustache brush. Items from other news team members -- such as stud reporter Brian Fantana's (Paul Rudd) Sex Panther Cologne in its original box -- will class up the joint.
"This was no surprise at all," says McKay of the exhibit. "I was just wondering, 'What took so long?'"
The sequel probably had a lot to do with the timing. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues opens in theaters in December.
Newseum staffers believe the exhibit will be educational by shining a light on the industry at the time. For example, the movie comically looks at the old-school sexism that ruled 1970s newsrooms, making it difficult for women such as Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) to sit in the anchor's chair.
"There is a reality about the newsroom here and the changes that were going on at the time," says Carrie Christoffersen, Newseum curator. "We like to edu-tain. You can get educated and entertained."
Even Burgundy's mustache brush "demonstrates that there is a level of vanity required by anchors in the 1970s," says Christoffersen.
As for the jazz flute on display, used by Burgundy to impress Applegate in the film, Christoffersen has an educational element for that: "On-air chemistry was important to the anchors at the time. They needed that chemistry. This was the era where there would be 'happy talk' between the anchors," she says. "Of course, Ron Burgundy takes it to a different level."
McKay leans toward the entertainment aspect of the exhibit.
"It's a sugary treat to give people who come to the museum and think about the news, the press and American democracy," he says. "But as silly as the movie is, it does deal with serious issues. There is a little history there definitely."
History lessons at a cost. McKay used to keep the Sex Panther Cologne box in his office on display. And, until the exhibit ends Aug. 31, 2014, Ron Burgundy will have to make do without his jazz flute.
"Ron Burgundy is old school," says McKay. "While his flute's gone, I don't think he has any shame about picking up the recorder and playing a little Hot Cross Buns."
(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)