AWM visited Henderson, Nevada, to see first-hand the home of The Simpsons. View our Quicktime movies for a full tour of the house and coverage of an entire day of Fox festivities.
Since 1987, viewers of The Simpsons have wondered about the true location of Springfield, the fictional town where the Simpson family resides. But now, at long last, the mystery has been unveiled through the latest project from the Fox promotional turbine. While Henderson, Nevada may not have a nuclear power plant or a Moe's Tavern, it does have the only life-size replica of the Simpson family home.
A Big Idea
The idea to build the house occurred to the designers at Fox Interactive, while they were working on the 3-D visualization for the game, Virtual Springfield, which is reviewed in this issue of Animation World Magazine. Fox then teamed-up with Kaufman and Broad, an architecture firm which specializes in building planned home communities, and Pepsi-Cola, who provided the distribution mechanism to promote the contest, offering the public a chance to own the home.
On August 1, 1997, the four-bedroom, 2,200 square foot home was unveiled, just 49 days after the concrete foundation was poured. During the September 21 premiere of the ninth season of The Simpsons, a winning number was announced. Game pieces, available inside specially marked packages of Pepsi soft drinks, can be mailed in to claim the grand prize of the house, or secondary prizes, which include one-year supplies of Mandarin Orange Slice, Bart Simpson skateboards, and Virtual Springfield CD-ROMS. No claim to the grand prize has been made yet, but stay tuned to Animation World Magazine's Weekly Animation Flash Email Newsletter for details.
Matt Groening paints his signature character, Bart, and his name, on the side of the garage, proclaiming, "I'll be the first one to vandalize the Simpsons' house!" © 1997 Animation World Network. The completed masterpiece. © 1997 Animation World Network.
Since the house was opened on August 1, it has become quite the object of attention in the neo-suburban neighborhood, appropriately named Springfield. More than 30,000 people have toured its colorful interior, and thousands more have driven past for a quick peek. AWM just couldn't pass up the invitation to visit the Las Vegas-adjacent locale for an exclusive Matt Groening house-signing event, press tour and lunch visited by the unofficial mayor of Las Vegas, Wayne Newton himself!
Matt Groening receives a plaque from the Mayor's office, commemorating " The Simpsons Day" in Henderson, Nevada © Animation World Network Though the outside of the house will eventually be painted a light brown, this cement walkway engraved by Matt Groening will remain as a permanent monument. © 1997 Animation World Network.
After a brief flight on Western Pacific's specialty Simpsons aircraft, some 120 select media representatives, publicists, show writers and producers, and, oh, yeah, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, arrived in Las Vegas. We were then bussed to the site of the Simpsons' home: Henderson, Nevada, a new development some 15 minutes from the fabulous Las Vegas Strip. When approaching the location, the brightly-colored house visually stood-out in the neighborhood of brand-new, homogeneous homes.
We were greeted by a life-size Simpson family: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, who must have been sweltering inside their costumes in the 90 + degree desert heat. Nonetheless, they were joined by Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson, who presented Matt Groening with a plaque, and declared it "The Simpsons Day" in Henderson. After touring the 2,200 square-foot home with his two sons, Groening proceeded to "autograph" the side of the garage with spray paint, and put his name and hand prints in cement on the walkway, making for a great photo opportunity for the horde of photographers and video crews covering the event.
All of the guests were then escorted in small groups on a tour of the house. The tour guides were well-versed in Simpsons' trivia, pointing out details such as "the mystery door" next to the stairs and mouse holes in the wall. It was a strange experience, kind-of like a cross between Disneyland's "Toon Town" and an eclectic grandmother's house. Covering every interior surface are 25 different colors of paint including Power Orange, Pink Flamingo, and Generator Green. We even had to wear special fabric booties over our shoes to protect the painted floors from scratches. We documented the tour on tape to bring you these exclusive photos and Quicktime movies. While it may not be quite the same as actually being there, these clips are a fun alternative. Besides, the spectacle will only be around for a little bit longer. As it turns out, the outside of the house will soon be painted a light brown to match the 151 other homes residing within the "planned community." The red fence, painted car, Bart's tree house and other props will also be removed from the yard, but, whoever the future owner may be, the inside of the home will remain intact ... corn-cob curtains and all.
All movies © 1997 Animation World Network.
1. The Simpsons airplane from the ground. 800K Quicktime movie clip
2. Matt Groening spray-painting the side of the garage, and wise-cracking all the while. 1.6Meg Quicktime movie clip
3. The grand tour, narrated by Editor-in-Chief Heather Kenyon. It's a big file, but well worth the wait! 4.1Meg Quicktime movie clip
4. Wayne Newton meets Matt Groening. This one's a collector's item! 1.4Meg Quicktime movie clip
To Purchase The Simpsonsvideos, visit the AWN Store.
Wendy Jackson is Associate Editor of Animation World Magazine.