Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Entertainment

October 22, 2012

You betcha: Fargo awaits TV version of hit movie

(Continued)

"Those of us who were laughing were a little lonely," she said.

But locals later warmed up as the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and Fargo started to see the benefits from all the publicity. The theater hosted a free Oscar party with a polka band and Jell-O treats that Entertainment Weekly billed as one of the top soirees of the evening.

That event was publicized in several countries, and Fargo cashed in. Donations flowed for the theater's restoration, which dovetailed with plans to revitalize the city's downtown.

Sixteen years later, travelers looking to see the real Fargo still swing through, with many flocking to take a picture next to the iconic wood chipper, autographed on the chute by the Coen brothers and displayed at the city's main tourism center. Tourism staff hand out ear-flap hats to tourists and take pictures of them stuffing the leg of a mannequin into the Yard Shark.

"A good majority of people come in here just looking for the wood chipper," said Jayne Rieth, who works at the tourism center. She didn't like the movie on the big screen, but watched it at home recently so she could be better informed at work. And the tourism center and shops around town sell plenty of wood chipper T-shirts, shot glasses, koozies, mugs and — of course — ice scrapers.

City boosters hope the TV show produced by Joel and Ethan Coen, the Minnesota-born brothers behind the popular film, will add to the notoriety. No timeline has been announced by the FX Network, and John Solberg, FX's senior vice president of public relations, did not return messages left by The Associated Press.

"I don't know how it can be a bad thing for us," said Charley Johnson, president and CEO of the city's convention and visitor's bureau. "People still talk about the movie all the time."

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