The Simpsons Episode 1 (1987)
On Monday the 23rd of March, 1987, a little-known animator named David Silverman walked into a meeting in Los Angeles. He walked out with a job from a guy named Matt Groening. The job? To animate a 30-second short for The Tracy Ullman Show. Between Silverman and fellow animators Wes Archer and Bill Kopp, they created the first short in record time and The Simpsons Episode 1 aired on April 19, 1987. The rest, as they say, is history. Groening’s weird yellow family went on to become one the biggest comedy icons of all time, and the series the longest-running animated program ever.
519 seasons make The Simpsons longest running animated series ever
Watching early Simpsons episodes of Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart and Maggie, the striking thing is how much they’ve changed over the years. Early sketches such the one above and below, (which are owned by David Silverman) and the episodes themselves reveal them to be prototypes of the characters the world has come to know so well. Facial features, hair and general body shape have yet to achieve the standardisation which later versions conform to. Another interesting aspect is the voice-overs - though many of the same voice actors such as Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Hank Azaria and Julie Kavner have been the voices throughout, these are significantly different in their early form.
The Simpsons - 20th Century’s Best Television Series?
They won the world over with their kooky sense of humour and the cast of weird and wonderful archetypes that make up the town of Springfield. So, it’s no surprise that The Simpsons have won 27 Primetime Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards and a Peabody Award. Time Magazine has named them the 20th century’s best television series. The Simpson family have also been awarded their own star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Which is why watching the very first ever Simpsons episode is made all the more wonderful. To see their beginnings is hysterical, if only because the family are so different to what we know nowadays. So - on with the show! Here it is, The Simpsons Episode 1, titled ‘Good Night’. Apologies for the low-quality version of The Simpsons Episode 1 folks, but then this was 1987, after all. Enjoy! If you enjoyed this, you’ll love our other featured Video Friday shorts - go here for more.