Larry Harvey has always insisted that he didn’t get the idea for “The Burning Man” from the classic movie “The Wicker Man”. Perhaps the name they adopted for their Ancient Druidic ritual of an effigy burn may have been inspired by this episode of The Twilight Zone. The show was the X-Files of its day when it debuted in the 1960’s, and was re-introduced again twice. “The Burning Man” aired on November 15, 1985…
Or maybe it came from Storm Thorgeson’s legendary photo from the cover of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here album.
My guess is that the burn was inspired by the 80s classic film, “The Legend of Billie Jean”, released in 1985 (1 year before the first burn on Baker Beach). You be the judge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGd1qFSvnP8
I really hope it was something as cheesy as this, and not Mr. Harvey burning the man to help get over his girlfriend (as has been rumored)… only because the later is such a pussy thing to do. And I hate to think I spent 10 years devoting my life to something with such beta origins.