Seth MacFarlane’s film directing debut, “Ted,” opens on Friday, and while the creator of “Family Guy,” “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad” certainly has his hands full doing the normal film promotional duties, he’s managed to make headlines of a different sort with an act that’s pretty surprising if you only know him from “Family Guy” and filthy teddy bear movies: He’s donated the papers of famed scientist and astronomer Carl Sagan to the Library of Congress.
The library announced the donation of Sagan’s papers on Wednesday and the creation of the Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive.
The archive consists of 800 boxes of material gathered from throughout Sagan’s life, including book drafts, correspondence with other scientists, idea files and even his birth announcement, grade school report cards and various photographs, audio recordings and videocasettes.
Though MacFarlane’s current filmography doesn’t quite reflect his longstanding love and admiration for Sagan’s work, that will change soon as he has embarked on a 13-episode followup to Sagan’s classic 1980 TV series, “Cosmos: A Personal Journey.” The new series, set to air on Fox and the National Geographic Channel in 2014, is titled “Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey” and is being executive produced by MacFarlane and Sagan’s widow, Druyan, a veteran documentarian. The new series will be presented by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Though MacFarlane was never in actual possession of the Sagan papers, he provided the funds that allowed them to be archived and assimilated into the Library of Congress.
In a statement, MacFarlane said, “The work of Carl Sagan has been a profound influence in my life, and the life of every individual who recognizes the importance of humanity’s ongoing commitment to the exploration of our universe .... The continuance of our journey outward into space should always occupy some part of our collective attention, regardless of whatever Snooki did last week.”