Burl Burlingame’s awesome second career

Actually, it’s not so much a second career as it is a continuation and expansion of one that he had always pursued.

Even in high school, Burl Burlingame was a Renaissance Man. He was a photographer, a musician, an actor, a cartoonist, a writer, an editor and a publisher, putting out his own underground newspaper at Radford High School, from which he and I graduated in 1971.

He was also really into airplanes and their history.

So while he was spending 35 years working for newspapers, he had a parallel career as a military historian specializing in the Pacific. He published on the subject, and became the leading expert on Japanese midget submarines. While working at the paper, he was a volunteer at a local aviation museum there in Honolulu.

Who could have predicted, in 1971, that among his many enthusiasms, the one that would be employing him in 2014 was his passion for building model airplanes?

But that’s the way it worked out, as Burl is now curator of the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island in the middle of Pearl Harbor.

(By contrast, I was spending my 35 years in newspapers working 12-hour days so I had no time or energy for a outside pursuits, becoming expert in every aspect of the trade, innovating at every opportunity, leading the way on new technology, pioneering in blogging, leading other journalists, climbing the ladder to senior management — which led to nothing in the end. So let that be an object lesson to you, children.)

Anyway, since Burl is a regular here, I thought y’all might be interested in these video features about what he does, which seems to me like too much fun to get paid for. Above is an overall feature about his job and how he does it, while the clip below is Burl’s bio.

Watch, and envy him…

6 thoughts on “Burl Burlingame’s awesome second career

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, Burl will be here in SC about this time next year. Or is it the year after, Burl?

    Burl sent me a note saying the 2016 convention of the International Plastic Modeler’s Society will be in Columbia — but the dates he gave were Aug 3-6, 2015.

    So when will you be here, Burl — 2015 or 2016?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, I was averaging. There were slow times when I worked 10 hours, others when it was more like 16-20. A few times, I worked 30-hour days, when I was on a p.m. Cover things all day, write all night, work through deadlines the next morning…

      1. Burl Burlingame

        Those were the days! An interesting feature of the new job is the ability to have a home life.

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