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Tom Cruise to swoop in
Seattle Times staff reporter
A decade ago, it was Metallica that caused throngs of fans to line the quiet streets of Aberdeen.
Tuesday, it will be Tom Cruise.
Fresh from big-city junkets promoting his new action-thriller "Mission Impossible III," the actor will spend the evening with Aberdeen Wal-Mart employee and contest winner Kevin McCoy, who'll get a private screening.
Though Cruise will jet into town for just under two hours, everyone from the mayor pro tem to the police chief to a shopping-mall manager are in the grips of planning a Hollywood-style event — complete with red carpet.
When Cruise lands at Hoquiam's Bowerman Field around 5 p.m., Mayor Pro Tem Bill Simpson will greet him at the airport and present him with a book detailing famous Aberdeen residents, a history lesson and a city pin. Simpson said police will have their lights flashing and sirens blaring as they escort Cruise's entourage six miles to the SouthShore Mall.
"This is the biggest thing since Nirvana," said Simpson, temporary mayor of the town of 16,000. Kurt Cobain, the late lead singer of the famed Seattle grunge band, grew up in the Western Washington logging town.
Nina Morean, general manager of SouthShore Mall, said the red carpet will guide Cruise from the parking lot into the mall movie theater. She said she's expecting "thousands" of fans.
"For any shopping center anywhere this is a huge event," Morean said. "I'm not aware of anything comparable to having Tom Cruise come to your party."
Morean, who admits "Top Gun" remains her favorite of all Cruise films, said she hopes she's asked to sit in one of the 207 seats reserved for McCoy's private screening.
McCoy, 27, who works in the one-hour photo department, said he answered five trivia questions about Cruise for the contest. When he received an e-mail Friday notifying him he'd won, he didn't believe it.
McCoy, who says he's seen all of Cruise's films and considers "The Last Samurai" the best, is nervous about meeting the celebrity.
"He's in such a different world, I don't even know how to talk to him," he said. "I know he's a normal guy, but I don't know what to say to him."
Simpson said Cruise will sign autographs. He said the movie star's plane will take off at 7 p.m., the same time McCoy's screening is to begin.
McCoy was one of thousands across the country who entered the "People's Premiere Sweepstakes" sponsored last month by Yahoo! and Paramount Pictures.
In June 1996, the heavy-metal band Metallica surprised an Aberdeen man outside his apartment as part of an MTV contest.
The crowd that gathered outside the local tavern where the band played was so large that extra police officers had to be called in from Hoquiam, Simpson said.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company