Some locals are nervous about the prospective purchaser. "She wants to put a movie studio here," says one area resident. "But if they're like her movies, it'll be pornography." Mayor Henry Braselton, 62, the latest of an unbroken line of Braselton's who have held that office during Braselton's 102-year history, says Basinger is "a sweet, caring person" who fell in love with his town. Brother Kit holds a similar view, even after seeing Basinger's nude photo in a 1983 Playboy. "I could feel myself turning red, I was so shocked," Kit says. "I was kinda thinking she might have on a bikini. I'm a church-going conservative, and I don't usually appreciate that kind of picture. But as far as I am concerned, she's a fine lady."
The tiny Georgia town of Braselton (pop. 500) is little more than a one-horse commercial center and industrial park 50 miles northeast of Atlanta. With very little there there, Braselton has no fire hall. But it is about to be acquired by a siren. Owned by a single family since its founding in 1887, the town has sold itself lock, stock and name to an investment group headed by sultry Hollywood star Kim Basinger, 35, a native of nearby Athens. The $20 million cash sale was engineered by her brother-in-law, Gary Guyer, an Athens developer who knew the Braselton's were looking for a buyer for their family businesses, including Braselton's (a department store), Braselton Furniture and Appliances, Braselton Super Market and Braselton Banking. "We have no young Braselton's who want to carry on this operation," says hardware store owner Kit Braselton, 69. Basinger assured town stockholders by letter that she intends to revitalize Braselton and turn it into "a major tourist attraction."