VALPARAISO | The King of Popcorn seems to have made a triumphant return to the city. Not only is his statue in Central Park Plaza a popular feature, Orville Redenbacher has almost 200 followers on his Twitter account.
Visitors to the park love having their picture taken with the statue at the north entryway. Redenbacher's good spirits and natural warmth are a welcome addition, especially during the chilly days ahead. Now, if chatting with his bronze likeness isn't enough, people can carry on a 140-character conversation with the legendary figure.
It might seem a little unusual for someone who's been dead for a decade and a half to be tweeting fans, but that hasn't deterred the many who have become Twitter followers. Abigail Igarta, of the city's Redevelopment Commission staff, said the Twitter account was started to publicize the dedication of the statue in September.
"For some reason, Orville is still very popular," Igarta said. "A lot of Valparaiso University students tweet him. One asked if he would play chess with him. (Redenbacher) tweeted back that they would have to move the pieces."
The identity of the tweeter is a secret, but that doesn't seem to matter. A number of businesses have signed on as followers as has Chicago TV weatherman Jerry Taft. Maybe he's hoping for some inside information on the weather. Redenbacher often tweets about the current weather conditions, but hasn't done any forecasting yet.
"The commission's Art Advisory Committee has more of a presence now, and this is an outreach, like he is an ambassador for the committee," Igarta said.
You can follow him @orvillestatue. His followers now include his daughter Gail Tuminello, who said she thought her father would like the idea.
"He was trying hard to learn to use a computer when he died," Tuminello said. "He would think it was fun and probably would like to do his own tweets."
Who knows? Maybe he's the mystery tweeter.