It may be increasingly hard to get someone's attention in this zillion-channel universe, but there's nothing like a good old-fashioned human cannonball to get people to put down their forks.
With that in mind, Universal Studios Hollywood heralded the opening of the Simpsons Ride on May 17 with what organizers termed “an explosive welcome.” As a massive crowd of press people and invited guests awaited the critical moment, women in tall blue Marge wigs helped them keep up their strength by serving a brunch spread of “nuclear plant salad” (tomatoes and mozzarella) and “Bart's cowabunga sliders” (chicken-salad sliders). Stiltwalkers paraded around the plaza in front of the ride, while a five-man band played oompah music.
Universal Studios C.E.O. Larry Kurzweil addressed the crowd as record heat pounded the noontime event—a “fitting [weather report for] the hottest property on television”—and Simpsons creator Matt Groening gave it his thumbs up: “This is an attraction that's going to make you squeal, it's going to make you scream, it's going to make you gargle. And hopefully nothing else.”
Finally, a man in a helmet shot out of a cannon emblazoned with the words “The Simpsons Ride,” landing in a large net in front of the ride, whose entrance had been covered in a large yellow cloth. Fireworks shot up from two channels on the ground, a cloud of confetti rained down, and the invited guests trooped toward the entrance of the ride (a giant head of Krusty the Clown). Universal Studios Hollywood vice president of publicity Eliot Sekular orchestrated the festivities.