Springfield shoots “Simpsons” premiere entry

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(Host) Fans of the TV comedy, The Simpsons have long debated which, of all the many Springfields, is the hometown of Bart and his dysfunctional family.

It turns out Springfield, Vermont is in the running. The town is shooting a video in a competition with other Springfields. The winner gets to host the premiere of a new Simpsons movie.

VPR’s Susan Keese has more.

(Campos) “Cameras rolling . Three two one” (Crowd) “Two four six eight, you stink, we’re great .goooo Springfield .”

(Keese)The hundred or so extras that gathered at Riverside park for the baseball scene were supposed to portray the Simpson’s Home town spirit’. But they had plenty of spirit of their own – like this group of friends who don’t even watch the show..

(Women) “This is just fun, something different, something cool happening in town. A lot of attention for Springfield …”

(Keese) Patty Chaffee directs the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. It was that attention that was on her mind when she heard that 20th Century Fox had invited 16 Springfields to submit a three to five minute video. Springfield, Vermont was not among them.

(Chaffee) “So I sent a letter off to twentieth century fox pretty much describing how we were disappointed how a small town of Springfield hadn’t been chosen, cause most of them were really large Springfields.”

(Keese) Fox responded by inviting Vermont’s Springfield to join the competition. The video clip is being produced by the Vermont Film Commission and Video Vision of Barre.

Patty Chaffee of the chamber put the word out that extras were wanted for June 19th.

(Crowd sounds)

(Tim Kavenaugh) “I think it’s just wonderful that they’ve gotten so many people out here for this.”

(Keese) Burlington TV personality Tim Kavanaugh plays the role of Homer. Throughout the video he chases a pink doughnut around town. Actually it’s a painted inner tube.

(Campos) “Okay this is going to be an action shot. This is the setup “

(Keese) In this scene, Homer chases the doughnut through the middle of the ball field and collides with Bart just as he’s about to make the winning catch. Tony Campos directs the extras sitting on the bleachers.

(Campos) “And I want a look of horror on your face .All right let’s practice .
It’s a hit, it’s going straight up . Simpson’s underneath the ball but wait it’s his father!….”
(Crowd) “Ohhhh!”
(Campos) “Great. Give yourself some applause.”

(Keese) Among the extras is local resident Dave Lehatsh. He’s a die-hard Simpson’s fan. He says Vermont’s Springfield could be the Simpson’s.

(Lihatsh) “We have a prison. They have a prison. We have a nuclear power plant which isn’t far from here, which both play a major part in a lot of episodes of The Simpsons.””

(Keese) Lihatsh says he’s even noticed certain similarities to Simpsons characters among people in town.

(Lihatsh and friends, laughing) “But you can’t say that . Not without getting in trouble “

(Keese) The Springfield Vermont video will appear, along with its competitors, on the USA Today Website starting June 29.

For VPR News, I’m Susan Keese.

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