Emmy-winning TV producer and scriptwriter Allan Burns, creator of a surprising amount of the TV shows from the sixties that now form the early foundations of modern pop culture, has passed away at the age of 85.
Al Burns was born in Baltimore, Maryland May 18, 1935. He grew up in Hawaii, but moved to Oregon in 1953 when he got a partial scholarship to study archetecture at the University of Oregon in 1953. Two years later, though, he dropped out and took a job as a page at NBC in Los Angeles, California. And that’s where it all began. He found his way into screenwriting. He was a creator of memorable teleplays, shows and characters, and did that the rest of his professional life.
While he was perhaps best known his Emmy-winning screenwriting for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, he also also wrote for The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Get Smart, Room 222, and Phyllis. It was Burns who created the character of Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch for Quaker Oats’ Cap’n Crunch cereal, a character still in use today. He created or co-created several TV shows: My Mother, the Car, The Munsters, Lou Grant, Eisenhower & Lutz, FM, and The Duck Factory.
Having started his theatrical career in animation with Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, and George of the Jungle, it’s no surprise that two of his later shows, He & She (1967) and The Duck Factory (1984) focused on animators and their work. He also wrote scripts for a few movies, Just the Way You Are and A Little Romance (for which he was nominated for an Oscar), He even directed one episode of the bizarre TRON-inspired Automan.
Allan Burns is survived by his wife, the former Joan Bailey, and their sons Eric and Matthew. Our condolences to his family, and our eternal thanks for the imaginative spirit that has given us so very, very much.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.