Springfields in US vie for Simpsons premiere

UPDATED: 09:52, June 22, 2007

With a bowling alley, a pub, a prison and a nuclear power plant just down the road, Springfield, Vermont, likes to think itself a real-life version of the home of The Simpsons.

Now, the town is going all out to prove it, joining 13 other Springfields from across the United States in a contest, with the winner hosting the big-screen premiere of The Simpsons Movie on July 26. The public will choose the winner in a USA Today online vote.

The competition is stiff.

Springfield, Illinois, has its own power plant, run by a man who looks a lot like Mr Burns, head of the nuclear plant on The Simpsons, said Tim Farley, executive director of the Illinois' Springfield Convention and Visitors' Bureau.

The school is identical and the city is not far from Shelbyville, the town next to Homer Simpson's Springfield, he said.

"We feel like Springfield has a lot of curious similarities," Farley said.

But folks in Springfield, Oregon, the home state of Simpsons creator Matt Groening, always thought it was their Springfield on the Fox TV show. "It was a shock, that we had to prove it," said Niel Laudati, community relations coordinator.

Every Springfield in the nation was invited to take part, submitting a three-to five-minute video showcasing their towns. Some had a beef with the idea.

Springfield, Minnesota, declined, saying it was nothing like the dysfunctional town on the TV show.

As the June 28 submission deadline approaches, the Springfields aren't giving away many details, just upping the ante.

"We just got Senator Kennedy to be in our Simpsons video," said David Horgan, producer of the effort in Springfield, Massachusetts. "I can't give it away, but he's hilarious."

Last week, more than 300 people showed up to be in the final scene of the Massachusetts entry. "We had a hair salon dyeing hair blue," and piling it up like Marge Simpson's do, said Azell Murphy Cavaan, community relations director.

Illinois and Massachusetts got local input online for how to show their "Simpsons spirit". Oregon held a public meeting with the mayor. Companies have volunteered their video-editing services, food and beverages.

Vermont's Springfield planned to show off buildings with "Springfield" in them - the bank, a movie theater - in a scene in which Homer (Burlington talk show host Tim Kavanaugh) runs through town chasing a big, pink, rolling doughnut.

On Tuesday, 17-year-old volunteer cameraman Alex Campos of Barre filmed Homer charging after the doughnut through a Little League diamond and plowing into his son, Bart.

Voting ends July 9, with the winner announced the next day. The movie hits theaters July 27.

Source: China Daily/agencies


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