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'Simpsons' Come to Life in Online Video

The viral video burning up the Internet right now is a real-life version of the opening credits of "The Simpsons" — filmed using live actors.

The 50-second clip is a perfect re-creation of the famous opening titles, with humans playing cartoon characters Bart, Homer, Marge, Lisa and Maggie.

The video was created by British TV's Sky satellite television network to promote the upcoming season of the hit comedy series.

[London's Sun newspaper said "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening had approved of the video.]

One report said the short tape took 18 months to produce.

While tape has not yet aired on TV, it was cleverly leaked over the weekend in digital form. Copies of it were quickly whizzing around the Internet, popping up as e-mails between friends and on sites such as Youtube.com.

[Dedicated-media-player versions were also posted on a British public-relations Web site. Click on the links to see the video in Quicktime low-, medium- and high-resolution; RealPlayer low, medium and high; and Windows Media Player low, medium and high. Heavy traffic may impede loading.]

The clip begins with a zooming shot of a blond Bart in a classroom scribbling a punishment assignment on the blackboard ("I will not eat things for money").

It ends, as usual, with the whole family squeezed onto a sofa, watching the first moments of "The Simpsons."

"We used regular actors, not so much for their resemblance — you can't copy a bunch of yellow characters — but because you can easily identify with them," one Sky official said.

"The Simpsons" is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and broadcast in the United States by the FOX network, which, like Sky TV, The Sun newspaper of London and FOXNews.com, is owned and operated by News Corporation.