- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
‘Simpsons’ creator: Real Springfield is in Oregon
Question of the Day
SPRINGFIELD, ORE. (AP) - The Springfield that exists in the mind of Matt Groening is a kind of American everything _ hick pit stop, rosy-cheeked Rockwellian font of family values, cesspool of corruption, ethnic melting pot, boomtown gone to rust.
It’s what the creator of “The Simpsons,” the nation’s longest-running sitcom, used as a backdrop for 22-minute allegories about the American experience, beginning as earnest tales about a lower-middle class nuclear family and expanding to encompass spoofs of presidential elections, the obesity epidemic and “Citizen Kane.”
It’s also, according to an interview posted online Tuesday, a real place. Groening told Smithsonian magazine that he was inspired by the television show “Father Knows Best,” which was set in a town called Springfield. Springfield, Ore., is 100 miles south of Groening’s hometown of Portland.
“When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name,” Groening said. “I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S.
“In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, `This will be cool; everyone will think it’s their Springfield,’” he said. “And they do.”
The acknowledgement ends one of the longest-running mysteries in popular culture. But people in town on Tuesday weren’t quite sure what to do with the information.
“He did?” asked convenience store manager Denise Pohrman. “I think that’s a good thing. I think.”
But how should the town react? On the surface, it’s not a flattering portrait. Groening’s Springfield is polluted and sad, run by corrupt officials and beset by the simpleminded populace that keeps voting for them.
Embrace it, Pohrman said.
“There’s the stuffy part of history, and then there’s the trivia,” Pohrman said. “Everybody needs some fun.”
The series has been on the air for 22 years, becoming the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program and a cultural phenomenon with colleges devoting courses to studying it.
The real Springfield is a western Oregon town of about 60,000 people. Its’ quiet Main Street is struggling in the face of a recession while the highway-based chain stores and restaurants survive or thrive. Its median income is just under $40,000 and nearly 20 percent of people of all ages live under the poverty line.
“It took a lot of tenacious people to found Springfield,” Springfield Museum executive director Debra Gruell said. “When the railroad went away, they persevered. The town wouldn’t be here without that.”
Some comparisons do hold true. Just as the fictional Springfield endures the hate hoots of rival Shelbyville, the real Springfield, Ore., must contend with larger _ and wealthier _ Eugene, Ore., home to the University of Oregon and the recipient of much of Nike founder Phil Knight’s largesse.
Maybe we should have known all along, said Wayne Jones, a 28-year-old clerk at the Bright Oak Meats in downtown Springfield. Jones has long argued that Oregon’s Springfield is the true inspiration for Groening’s invention.
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Kerry's credibility questioned as fighting in Gaza rages
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world