Temple's Bryan Burrough, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and a Vanity Fair correspondent, has seven books and an HBO made-for-TV movie to his credit.
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 9, 2021
Author Bryan Burrough now resides in Austin, but he will return to his old hometown of Temple next week to discuss his career with members of the Temple Rotary Club.
Bryan Burrough, a 1979 graduate of Temple High School, is author of seven books, including the controversial Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth.
Former editor of The Rambler makes waves with recent Alamo book
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Bryan Burrough’s direction in life was crystal clear, even in high school — he was going to be a newspaper man.
He was successful in that endeavor, but found even great success as an author.
“I was editor of the Temple High School newspaper for three years,” Burrough said Monday. “My goal back then was to write for the Dallas Morning News. That was my thing.”
Even in his days directing The Rambler’s staff at Temple High, he always looked at the big picture. And, that image involved the University of Missouri and its famed college of journalism.
“It was and still is the best journalism school out there,” he said. “I wanted to learn from the best so that’s where I was going.”
While in Columbia, Mo., he accepted an internship with the Wall Street Journal. That led to a full-time position and he was assigned the coveted “mergers and acquistions” beat.
It was on that beat that Burrough covered the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco, one of the most sensational business stories of all time. After the smoke had cleared, he and Atlanta reporter John Helyar got to talking and decided to write a book about the ordeal.
“Barbarians at the Gate was my first book and it was well received” he said. “It was a best-seller, and it was made into a (HBO) movie.”
Burrough had found a new career, and six more books would follow.
“My writing career has definitely had its ups and downs,” he said. “I have made the New York Times best-seller list three times, and I’ve written a couple books I think were read by 17 people total.”
Burrough now resides in Austin, but he will return to his old hometown of Temple next week to discuss his career with the Temple Rotary Club.
“It’s a big deal to me because my dad is a former president of the club. He’s going to go with me so he can visit with some of his old friends.”
Burrough’s dad, John “Mac” Burrough, is well known in the Temple area. He was president of First National Bank for about 20 years and was active in the community.
Bryan Burrough plans to touch on several highlights of his career, but he expects questions about one book in particular — The Demon Next Door.
The story — a personal project that was released by Audible in February 2019 — focuses on local serial killer Danny Corwin who was executed after being convicted of three murders. Corwin was identified by a Temple High School classmate who he raped and stabbed in the heart. Miraculously, the woman survived.
“The Corwin case received very little attention from Central Texas media,” Burrough said. “Local publishers back then took a Chamber of Commerce approach to reporting the news. They didn’t want to shine a light in Temple’s dark corners, and as a result, very little was reported.”
“I grew up in Temple, and I never knew this story until much later,” he said. “Come to find out, a lot of people weren’t aware of this at all. It was a secret that wasn’t talked about very much.”
Burrough also plans to talk about his newest — and most controversial — book, Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth.
Burrough and co-authors Chris Tomlinson and Jason Stanford, dispel many myths about the Alamo and the Texas revolution in general. Tomlinson was a reporter for the Houston Chronicle who had been in San Antonio for several weeks studying the Alamo.
“We had breakfast at a little cafe on South Congress in Austin,” Burrough said, “and we started talking about the Alamo. A lot of what people know about the Alamo is nothing but legend.”
“So many events surrounding the Alamo aren’t supported by historical records,” he said. “I’m not a lefty trying to ruin Texas history — I’m not a lefty at all. Stories of the Alamo were prized as the truth by most people in Texas, and over the years the stories grew until they became part of history. That’s how you get bullshit like the Disney movie.”
Although Burroughs, Tomlinson and Stanford weren’t the first to write about myths of the Alamo, their story made bigger waves than previous versions.
“I thought the book might piss off a conservative or two, but we didn’t expect it to be so big,” he said.
While it was well received from the start, interest was stirred when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick cancelled a promotional event scheduled for the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin just before it was to begin because of the stance the book took about slavery being a cause of the famous battle.
“People didn’t come to Texas to fight for independence, they came to make money,” Burrough said. “They came to make money off cotton, and they needed slave labor to harvest. Mexico was opposed to slavery.”
Burrough said a week after the event was cancelled, the book became a bestseller.
“When I write a book, I want three things — some favorable reviews, a little notice and solid book reviews,” he said. “Our Alamo book generated great publicity. I got my first ‘brilliant’ in a review.”
Even though the book has ruffled more than a few feathers, Burrough said he is proud of the book.
“I thought we did a good job,” he said. “Not bad for a little side job.”
Temple High School theater students rehearse a scene from Our Town.
Our Town production is Nov 11-13
Performances of Our Town will be Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 11-13, at 8 p.m. with a Sunday matinee on Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. The Pulitzer Prize winning play, written by Thornton Wilder, will be performed with the audience seated on the Temple High stage with the actors.
Seating is limited because of the intimate seating. General admission tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door (if still available). Advance tickets are available from www.CentralTexasTickets.com.
The backdrop for the play features antique photos of Temple that were taken from the Jim Roeder collection (supplied by his daughter, Susan Roeder Groveunder) and from the Fred M. & Dale M. Springer Archives at the Railroad & Heritage Museum, supplied by Archivist Craig A. Ordner. The railroad is mentioned several times in the play, and with Temple being founded by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe railroad — it is the perfect tie-in between Temple and the play.
Live music is supplied by a string quartet from the Temple High Orchestra, and Live Sound Effects (created by students at a Foley table) include door openings, newspapers being thrown, a horse-drawn milkman cart, baseball hitting glove, train and factory whistles, ladies cooking and washing dishes, liquid being poured, and, of course, crickets.
Through the everyday lives of its citizens, this play tells the story of a fictional American small town (Grover's Corners, NH) between 1901 and 1913. A landmark in American drama and one of the most beloved American plays ever written, Our Town follows the Webb and Gibbs families as their children fall in love, marry and eventually — in one of the most famous scenes in American theatre — die.
According to the script, the play is to be performed with little scenery, no set and minimal props. The characters mime the objects with which they interact.
NOTE: If you have Our Town tickets for Friday night, Temple is hosting a football playoff game and the parking in front of the main high school building will become paid parking. Free parking is available at the Career & Technical Education building. Turn onto the street behind the main building — West Houston Avenue — and part at the CTE building. Students will be there to guide you.
Turkey Trot returns to live event
Our Town Temple
The annual Turkey Trot 5K race is back, and event organizers recommend registering early.
The race will be held at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Day at Pepper Creek Trail near the Baylor Scott & White Continuing Care Hospital. Raceday registration is available from 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. on personal devices such as cell phones and tablets.
“Before the pandemic, this race was drawing about 1,000 participants,” said Alexis Arguelles of Temple Parks & Recreation. “But last year, we held a virtual race because of the pandemic. Now we’re back, but we only ordered about 350 t-shirts so I recommend registering online early.”
Online registration at www.raceday.com ends Nov. 14. Early registrations include a free shirt while supplies last.
Registration before Nov. 14 are $20 per runner. That price climbs to $30 after that day.
Arguelles said the top three finishers in each age group will be recognized.
Turkey Trot is sponsored by the Carlson Law Firm.
Temple police officers man a donation location during last year’s Blue Santa toy drive.
Blue Santa seeks toys for Temple kids
Our Town Temple
The deadline for submitting a Christmas assistance application through the Temple Police Department’s Blue Santa program is Nov. 19.
The Blue Santa program provides Christmas gifts for Temple children age 14 and under. The program partners with Temple residents and businesses by collecting gift donations in the forms of new toys and books.
One of these businesses, Fire Base Brewing Company, is hosting Sammy G’s 4th annual Christmas Toy Drive Block Party on Friday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. Fire Base patrons will be donating new, unwrapped toys to benefit the program.
Additional drop-off locations are Temple’s downtown police station, Orange Theory Fitness and Bella Blue Cafe.
Blue Santa began in 2012 and has helped more than 850 families and 2,400 children receive gifts for the holidays.
In 2020, the program helped 226 Temple families and 649 children. TPD wrapped 3,245 gifts last year, a 56 percent increase for families and a 67 percent increase for kids compared to 2019.
Applications for the program can be picked up in the downtown Police Station lobby. Parents must be able to verify the child’s age and address.
Tour of Homes features Express option
Our Town Temple
The third annual Yuletide Tour of Homes is coming, and this year guests have the opportunity to tour in style.
For those who want to be chauffeured to the five tour homes — and perhaps have a mixed beverage or two — there is an option for you.
The Yuletide express includes admission to all five homes on this year’s tour, a volunteer driver and a Poinsettia, which is like a Mimosa but with cranberry juice instead of orange juice. The cost is $125 per person.
For those who want to drive themselves, the price of this year’s Tour of Homes is $30.
This year’s tour is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19-21. The five homes include the Atkinson House, the Macey House, the Lange 1920’s apartment, the Allen House and Seleese Thompson’s downtown apartment.
All proceeds will benefit the Temple Children’s Museum.
To purchase tickets, visit www.templechildrensmuseum.org.
Community enhancement grants available
Our Town Temple
Community Enhancement Grants are now available for non-profit agencies that provide programs or services within the city of Temple.
“Temple’s public service organizations play a key role in improving the quality of life for our residents,” said Director of Housing and Community Development Nancy Glover. “By providing a source of funding for these agencies, we are furthering the city’s overall vision of making Temple a great place to call home."
Grant funds must support programs that achieve specific outcomes in alignment with Temple’s Consolidated Plan.
The city will host a grant workshop where applicants can learn about the grant funds and eligibility requirements. This event will be held at 9 a.m., Nov. 12, at the Historic Post Office, 101 N. Main Street. The workshop can also be attended virtually on templetx.gov/grants.
Applications are available online and must be submitted by 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.
For more information, call the Housing and Community Development office at (254) 298-5456.
POSTCARD FROM THE PAST
Got fifty cents? That’s enough for a cheeseburger and a Wildcat soda from Drobena’s Drive-In on North 3rd Street, not far from the old Temple High School. Declining sales after THS moved to its present location and the increased popularity of Interstate 35 resulted in its closing. There’s no date on the postcard.
WHAT’S HAPPENING, CENTRAL TEXAS?
Central Texas largest and most complete calendar of event:
November 7, Sunday - Temple Symphony Piano Trio featuring Suzanne Jacobson on violin, Cory Blaise on cello and Kiyoshi Tamagawa on piano. Cultural Activities Center. 3 p.m.
November 7, Sunday - Downtown Drag! A drag show at Corkys Wine & Beer. 7 p.m.
November 9, Tuesday - Baby Bookworms for ages 0-12 months at Temple Public Library. 11 a.m.
November 9, Tuesday - Czech Film Night & Matinee at The Beltonian. Free admission. 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
November 10, Wednesday - School-Age Story Time for K-3rd Grade at Temple Public Library. Features short film, stories and constructive play. 4:15 to 4:45 p.m.
November 11, Thursday - Veterans Day Celebration and Patriot Way Brick Walk sign dedication. 8:30 a.m.
November 11, Friday - The College of Visual & Performing Arts presents One Voice in concert. Sue & Frank Mayborn Performing Arts Center, Baugh Performance Hall. 7:30 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - 2nd annual Blue Santa Toy Run at Fire Base Brewing. 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - Preschool Story Time at Temple Public Library. 10:30 a.m.
November 11-14 - "Our Town," a Pulitzer Prize winning play by Thornton Wilder, Temple High School, Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. More information at: http://www.ThespiansR.Us
November 11-14 - The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Beltonian Theatre, 6 p.m.
November 12, Friday - Bike Night at Horny Toad Harley. Live music by Scratch 3, beer, giveaways. 6-8 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - "Tea with the Princesses" with the Belton High School Magic Belles; 10am and 1pm at North Belton Middle School. Visit beltonmagicbelles.com for info.
November 13, Saturday - Market in the Vines. Take a walk through the vines and shop with over 50 vendors! Free to the public. 3 Texans Winery. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - Downtown Temple November Market. his will be our second to last market of the year and just in time to start your holiday shopping for all your friends and family. From soaps to jewelry, baked goods & jams, even custom wood working items, our market has something for everyone. 2 N. Main, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
November 13, Saturday - A Night in Vegas…St. Mary’s Catholic School Casino Night. Live auction, silent auction, games, drawings. Benefits the school’s educational programs. Cultural Activities Center. 6 p.m.
November 14, Sunday - St. Mary’s Traditional Turkey Dinner, KC Hall at 2218 W. Ave D, limited seating or to go plates, $12 plate includes Turkey, dressing, roll, gravy, coleslaw, green beans, cranberry sauce and dessert. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
November 16, Tuesday - Tarok Card Party & Lessons. Czech Heritage Museum. 7-9 p.m.
November 18, Thursday - Turkey Day Table Art. Need some centerpieces for your big Thanksgiving dinner? What’s better than an adorable handmade craft made by your little turkey? Kids will make different types of table art for you to display. Register at templeparks.com. Open to ages 2-6. $7 per child.
November 19, Friday - Yuletide Tour of Homes. To purchase tickets, visit www.TempleChildrensMuseum.org/events.
November 19, Friday - Book Cellar Investigation. $20 per person. 8 p.m. to 11:55 p.m.
November 19, Friday - Justin Hewitt at O’Briens. 9 p.m.
November 19 through January 15 - Facing the Inferno wildfire photo exhibit opens at Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum.
November 20, Saturday - Casey Donahew at Bell County Expo Center’s Assembly Hall.
November 20, Saturday - Facing the Inferno wildfire exhibit opens at Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum.
November 20, Saturday - Game Show Night by Texas Red at Fire Base Brewing. 7-9 p.m.
November 20, Saturday - Belton Market Days. Downtown Belton. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
November 20, Saturday - The Gathering. Native American music, dancing, food. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for picnicking and fun. Yetti Polk Park in Belton. 11 a.m.
November 21, Sunday – Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), free movie at Cultural Activities Center. King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table embark on a surreal, low-budget search for the Holy Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles. Shrubberies not required. The event will include a pre and post-movie discussion with Professor Dr. Joseph Taberlet. 2 p.m.
November 25, Thursday - Thanksgiving Outdoor Movie Night at Barrow Brewing in Salado. “A Christmas Story.” 6 p.m.
November 27-28 - Kris Kringle Mart presented by KC Council 3444, 2218 W. Avenue D, Temple. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
December 2 — Die Hard at The Beltonian. It IS. a Christmas movie!. 6 p.m.
December 3, Friday - Sammy G’s Toy Drive Block Party at Fire Base Brewing. 7 p.m.
December 3-5 — Disney’s Aladdin Jr. at Temple Civic Theatre.
December 4, Saturday - Barrow Brewing Christmas Market, Salado. Noon.
December 4, Saturday - Santa at the Depot, Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum, 5-8 p.m.
December 4, Saturday - Lance Wade Thomas rocks O’Briens. 9 p.m.
December 4, Saturday - Temple Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert featuring soprano Priscilla Santana and tenor Brian Joyce. Temple High School. 7:30 p.m.
December 4, Saturday - Chisholm Trail Christmas Ball featuring Rick Trevino. Bell County Expo Center. 6 p.m.
December 4-5 - Kris Kringle Mart presented by KC Council 3444, 2218 W. Avenue D, Temple. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
December 6, Monday - The 75th Annual Christmas Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. This year's theme is “The Magic of a Traditional Christmas." Details will be made available on templeparks.com.
December 10, Friday - TISD Jazz Band – Merry Christmas and All That Jazz at Meridith-Dunbar Early Childhood Academy Auditorium, 5:30 p.m.
December 10, Friday - Bone at O’Briens. 9 p.m.
December 10-12 — Disney’s Aladdin Jr. at Temple Civic Theatre.
December 11, Saturday — Downtown Temple Holiday Market & Food Truck Frenzy. We are excited to partner our market with a Food Truck Event! Come join us and support local businesses in our area! 2 N. Main Street. 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
December 11, Saturday - 5th annual Holiday Extravaganza at the Troy Community Center. Shop with local small businesses. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
December 11, Saturday - Tucka Texas Takeover with LJ Echols, Fat Daddy and Mr. Smoke. VFW Post 1820, Temple. 7 p.m.
December 12, Sunday - Temple High School Band Winter Concert in the THS Auditorium, 2:00 p.m.
December 13, Monday - Temple High School Orchestra Christmas Concert at THS Auditorium, 7 p.m.
December 14, Tuesday - Temple High School Choir Holiday Gift at THS Auditorium. 7:30 p.m.
December 17, Friday - Matt Cearley & The Rowdy Few, O’Briens. 9 p.m.
December 19, Sunday – When Harry Met Sally… (1989), free movie at Cultural Activities Center. Boy meets girl, boy sees other girls, and girl sees other boys. Maybe boy and girl should have seen each other. “I’ll have what she’s having.” The event will include a pre and post-movie discussion with Dr. Joseph Taberlet. 2 p.m.
December 23, Thursday - Santa & Elvis at Fire Street Pizza. 6-9 p.m.
December 31 - January 1 - Texas Elite Pole Vaulting. The Expo Explosion, the second largest indoor pole vaulting event in the country. Bell County Expo Center’s Garth Arena.
December 31, Friday - New Year’s Eve at O’Briens with the Jason Custer Band. 10 p.m.
December 31, Friday - New Year’s Eve at Bo’s Barn with the Craig Howell Band. 9 p.m.
January 29, Saturday - Parker McCollum Red Dirt Mardi Gras at Bell County Expo. 8 p.m.
LIST YOUR EVENT! Email info to OurTownTemple@gmail.com with “What’s Happening” in the subject line. Keep it short and sweet — what, when and where. You may include a short description. You must include a phone number for verification purposes. The phone number will not be published unless requested by submitter.