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Ken Burns on Jackie Robinson, the Rose Parade, and Race in America

Ken Burns

By Charlie Schmidlin (original source The Creators Project) 

“The wildly prolific documentarian Ken Burns often uses the 19th-century phrase “With the bark on” to define a plain-spoken approach or character, and it’s fitting that the description might mirror the producer/director’s nearly 40-year career as well. Having begun with the Oscar-nominated Brooklyn Bridge, Burns consistenly offers iconic, expansive documentaries with bark intact, starting with titles (Baseball, The Civil War, The Dust Bowl) and then into his forthright, intimate investigations of American history.

A year that saw Burns in production on ten films, includingJackie Robinson, Vietnam, and Country Music will renew with a bit of gaiety. On January 1st he will serve as the Grand Marshal of Pasadena’s classic Rose Parade, following in the footsteps of previous GMs like George Lucas, Carol Burnett, and Kermit the Frog. With a “Find Your Adventure” theme celebrating the centennial anniversary of the US National Park Service, it makes sense that Burns, an honorary park ranger who directed The National Parks in 2009, would head up this year’s proceedings. In advance of his duties, The Creators Project recently spoke to Burns over the phone.”

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