Simpsons Creator Groening Reveals “Springfield” Named After Oregon Town
Nate Gartrell, EDN
The creator of the popular television sitcom “The Simpsons” revealed to Smithsonian Magazine Wednesday that the Simpson family’s hometown of Springfield is named after the city in Lane County.
Matt Groening, 58, said that Springfield, Oregon’s link to another popular television show, “Father Knows Best,” directly inspired him to name the Simpsons’ hometown “Springfield” years later. Groening grew up in Portland, and “Father Knows Best” was filmed in Springfield.
But many in Springfield had already concluded as much, based on pre-existing evidence, and on past indications given by Groening, Community Relations Manager Niel Laudati said.
“It’s kind of old news to us; we’ve gotten calls from all over the world before,” he said. “When people start bringing it up, though, it’s great fun.”
Laudati also pointed out that Springfield’s Facebook page has declared itself to be the “real” Springfield for quite some time.
“I’m shocked that millions of people weren’t already checking our Facebook,” Laudati joked.
The city of Springfield has flaunted its ties to “The Simpsons” in other ways–the Springfield Museum frequently exhibits Springfield memorabilia, for instance. But many other “Springfields” across the nation have pulled similar stunts, which has until now obscured the truth.
“When I grew up, I realized that it was just a fictitious name,” Groening told Smithsonian. “I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names in the U.S.,” and that many people in other “Springfields” would assume the show was about theirs.
Groening has dropped hints in the past. In 2007, around the time of “The Simpsons Movie” premier, he sent an autographed plaque to Oregon’s Springfield, and dedicated it to, “the real Springfield.” The plaque was displayed last year, during an exhibit about the Eugene Emeralds.
Also in 2007, Groening indicated to the Oregonian that Springfield was named after the Oregon town, which was followed by another barrage of calls to his office from national media outlets, Laudati said.
“We’ll still get our work done,” Laudati said.
He added that he thought the fame brought from national media attention could strengthen ties to the local community, similar to how Cottage Grove celebrates the fact that “Animal House” was filmed there.