12 Images

A ‘Simpsons’ primer

By Deborah Netburn and Patrick Day

1. The Simpsons five are named after Matt Groening’s own family.

2. Many of the side characters take their names from streets around Groening’s native Portland, Ore. – i.e., Ned Flanders, after N.E. Flanders Street.

3. Milhouse is named after former President Richard Milhous Nixon.

4. The Simpsons had a couple of addresses over the years, but the writers finally settled on 742 Evergreen Terrace, which is the name of the Portland street that creator Matt Groening grew up on.

5. In the episode “Kamp Krusty,” the Simpsons lived at 430 Spalding Way (a reference to the late humorist Spalding Gray). (Associated Press)
6. That creepy guy with the mustache who goes “yessssssssssss” is a caricature of the late character actor Frank Nelson, who used the inflected “yesssssssss” as his catchphrase on “I Love Lucy,” “The Jack Benny Program” and “Sanford and Son.”

7. Matt Groening’s last name is pronounced “Gray-ning,” not “Grow-ning.”

8. Dustin Hoffman guest-starred on the show as the inspirational substitute teacher Mr. Bergstorm in “Lisa’s Substitute” in Season 2, but because of contractual obligations he could not use his real name and was instead credited as Sam Etic (a play on “Semitic”).

9. Also because of contractual obligations, Michael Jackson, who supplied the voice of mental patient Leon Kompowski in “Stark Raving Dad,” was credited as “John Jay Smith.” ()
10. Homer J. Simpson is 38 years old.

11. Elizabeth Taylor is responsible for usually silent child Maggie’s first word: “Dad-dee.”

12. In the classic episode “22 Short Films About Springfield” there are arguably only 20 short films (22 if you count the intro and the end credits).

13. Comic Book Guy does, in fact, have a name: It’s Jeff Albertson, as revealed in the 15th season’s episode “Homer and Ned’s Hail Mary Pass.”

14. It takes about nine months to complete each episode of the show.

15. In the opening credits, the register says $847.63 when Maggie gets scanned through. That number was once reputed to be the cost of raising a baby for a month. (Fox)
16. Some people have speculated that Bart’s teacher Edna Krabappel was a reference to the teacher Miss Crabtree in the 1930s series “The Little Rascals.” But Groening said that it was meant to be a joke that nobody pronounced her name “crabapple.”

17. Dr. Marvin Monroe, a prominent character in the first two seasons of “The Simpsons,” stopped showing up in later seasons because Harry Shearer said doing the raspy-voiced character hurt his throat.

18. Bleeding Gums Murphy, the blind saxophone man, is loosely based on blues singer Blind Lemon Jefferson and was voiced by Ron Taylor, who originated the part of Audrey II in the original off-Broadway production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” (Twentieth Century Fox)
19. Artie Ziff, Marge’s prom date with “busy hands” who becomes a business tycoon, is loosely based on financier Robert David Ziff (R.D. Ziff), who attended Harvard with several writers for the show.

20. Hank Azaria voices more than 200 characters in “The Simpsons” pantheon.

21. The only “Simpsons” character to be drawn with five fingers on each hand (and not the usual four) is God.

22. The Italian restaurateur Luigi Risotto was copied directly from a pizza box, which is why he looks slightly different from most “Simpsons” characters. (Fox)
23. Matt Groening has said that the shriveled Moleman was inspired by Tex Avery’s Droopy Dog (both have sad demeanors and make deadpan comments). His real name is Ralph Melish, which is in reference to the Monty Python skit “The Adventures of Ralph Melish: Hot Dog and Kickers.”

24. Jebediah Obadiah Zachariah Jedediah Springfield, the purported historical founder of the town of Springfield, may be based on Jedediah Smith, an American hunter who explored the Old West in the 1820s and ‘30s.

25. The aliens Kang and Kodos are named after characters from the original “Star Trek” series. Kodos the Executioner was featured in the episode “Conscience of the King”; Kang was a Klingon warrior in the episode “Days of the Dove.” (Fox)
26. “The Simpsons” writers have based several characters on each other, including Professor Frink (named after writer and producer John Frink) and Herman (the one-armed owner of Herman’s Military Antiques, who is based on reclusive “Simpsons” writer John Swartzwelder).

27. Although similar to the fictional Charles Foster Kane and the real-life William Randolph Hearst, the actual inspiration for C. Montgomery Burns came from Fred Olsen, a Norwegian shipping tycoon and the owner of Timex.

28. The nasal-voiced, blue-haired attorney who appears in nearly every “Simpsons” courtroom scene was based on Roy Cohn, the aggressive lawyer in the Rosenberg espionage trial and the McCarthy anti-Communist investigations. (AP)
29. The Simpsons’ hometown of Springfield was inspired by the 1950s sitcom “Father Knows Best,” which was also set in Springfield.

30. Jovial Dr. Hibbert was designed to be a parody of Bill Cosby’s Dr. Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” which aired opposite “The Simpsons” in the series’ early years.

31. Hibbert’s less-scrupulous counterpart Dr. Nick Riviera is inspired in part by George C. “Dr. Nick” Nichopoulos, Elvis Presley’s personal physician, who kept the singer pumped full of barbiturates, tranquilizers, amphetamines, laxatives and hormones.

32. The median salary for Homer’s job as nuclear safety inspector is $67,422. (Fox)
33. The inspiration for Krusty the Klown came from Rusty Nails, sometimes known as Rusty the Clown, the local Portland children’s TV show host that “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening watched as a child.

34. Maude Flanders was killed off because Maggie Roswell, the actress who voiced her demanded more money.

35. “The Simpsons” became the longest-running prime-time animated American series in 1997 and the longest-running American comedy in 2004.

36. The knocker on the Simpsons’ front door is an elephant.

37. There is a real-life 742 Evergreen Terrace in Port Saint Lucie, Fla. (Matt Groening / AP)
38. Homer’s catchphrase “D’oh!” was inspired by the more drawn-out “Doooooh!” uttered by actor Jimmy Finlayson in the early Laurel and Hardy shorts.

39. “D’oh!” was eventually added to both Webster’s and the Oxford English Dictionary, which lists its first usage in a 1945 BBC radio script.

40. KBBL-TV’s news anchorman Kent Brockman is inspired in part by longtime Los Angeles newsman Jerry Dunphy and CTV National News anchor Lloyd Robertson.

41. Harry Shearer is the only “Simpsons” cast member without an Emmy for his voice-over work.

42. Mr. Burns’ telephone greeting of “Ahoy, hoy?” is the same one Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, reportedly used. (Fox)
43. Waylon Smithers was colored as an African American in his first appearance, which was a mistake by the animating studio.

44. Conan O’Brien, who was a “Simpsons” writer from 1991 to 1994, created the recurring character of the Sea Captain, who begins each line with a grizzled “Arrrr.”

45. The band Fall Out Boy is named after the “Simpsons” universe comic book character who was a sidekick to Radioactive Man. Band members have claimed they had no idea their name was a “Simpsons” reference when they picked it.

46. Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is named for the lead character of director Satyajit Ray’s “Apu Trilogy.” (Fox)
47. Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer, made the character sound more like Walter Matthau in early episodes before finding a more original voice.

48. Duffman was inspired by the real-life Bud Man, who appeared at events in conjunction with Budweiser.

49. Bart’s middle name is Jo-Jo.

FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this gallery incorrectly stated that Homer’s middle name was Jo-Jo. Homer’s middle name is Jay.

50. Lisa Simpson’s music teacher, seen in the beginning of nearly every episode but rarely seen in the series, is named Dewey Largo. (Fox)