D’oh! Springfields bid for ‘Simpsons’ premiere

Springfield, Vt., residents shoot a scene with Marge and Lisa Simpson props Tuesday, to prepare their bid to host the Simpsons movie premiere and to answer, once and for all, where the family may reside. Toby Talbot, The Associated Press

AP

Springfield, Vt., residents shoot a scene with Marge and Lisa Simpson props Tuesday, to prepare their bid to host the Simpsons movie premiere and to answer, once and for all, where the family may reside. Toby Talbot, The Associated Press

By Lisa Rathke

SPRINGFIELD, VT – With a bowling alley, a pub, a prison and a nuclear power plant just down the road, Springfield, Vt., 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 nation 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, Ill., 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 Springfield Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. The high 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, Ore., 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 town.

Springfield, Minn., 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, Mass. “I can’t give it away, but he’s hilarious.”

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.

Later they planned to film the final scene, in which Homer is chased by a mob into a movie theater.

“We tried to keep within the spirit of the movie,” said producer Brock Rutter, of the Vermont Film Commission, who also plays Bart. “Homer wrecking things and everything turning out in the end.”

We’re not “looking at it (as) being compared to. I think more for us it’s a promotional piece, just getting our name out there.”

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