"'The Simpsons' Coming to Branson"

The show’s producers promise they will be nice to the tourist town.

By Everett Kennell

© The Springfield News-Leader, August 29, 2001.


Break out the funnel cakes and don’t have a cow. The Simpsons are coming.

The dysfunctional animated family from Fox television’s “The Simpsons” will pay a vacation visit to Branson in an episode now in production, sources in Branson said Tuesday. Producers told city spokesman Jerry Adams the episode is expected to air in March, he said.

Antonia Coffman, the show’s publicist and executive consultant, said she could not confirm the timing of the episode and declined further comment Tuesday.

Claudia Vecchio, a spokeswoman for the Branson-Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, said the producers asked her to provide photos of the theater district along Missouri 76.

“They asked for photos so it (the episode) would have authentic images,” she said. “They have not asked for story ideas.”

It won’t be the first time a Simpson has been in Branson. Bart Simpson and three friends showed up in a 1996 episode.

“My dad says it’s like Vegas — if it were run by Ned Flanders,” Bart said then, referring to the cartoon clan’s nerdy neighbor. Bart and his buddies took in the Andy Williams show in the episode after passing up such don’t-miss attractions as “Waylon Jennings and Madam,” “Phantom of the Opry” and “Fent Dixon and the Second Helping Band,” depicted on signs along the highway.

How will Branson fare on the show this time? “They said they were going to be nice to us, but there’s no telling how it will come out,” Vecchio said.

Vecchio said the show is a good vehicle to reach Branson’s newest target market: baby boomers and younger people. “I think it’s a great opportunity.”

Adams, who said he was initially contacted by “Simpsons” producers last week, asked them if Branson would be shown in a positive light. He said he was told it would be.

But he added: “What they consider positive, we may not.”

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Last updated on September 23, 2002 by Jouni Paakkinen (