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The Simpsons Folder : Production : Simpsons Letter

I received this letter after writing them three times in Novemeber 1997. Envelope has “The Simpsons” -logo. Their are also large code 5F99 on top of the right. Postage information: Beverly Hills, CA. NOV 19′ 97. PB METER 6136955 U.S. POSTAGE 1.00. Circle: Marinadelereyca 9028A 19 NOV 1997. ANASTASIA. Coming Thanksgiving. AIR MAIL. Note: My address on the envelope is old.

Fall 1997

Thanks for writing with all of your questions about Matt Groening and “The Simpsons.” Even though we receive hundreds of letters each mont here at “The Simpsons”, there is no official fan club in operation at the present time. While it is impossible to answer each of your letters individually, we have tried to answer the most commonly asked questions in the list below.

Please refer to your local library to get more specific information from the many articles and interviews written about both Matt Groening an “The Simpsons.” It may be easiest to use an on-line system called “Nexus” in order to get a print-out of these references.

You can also access “The Simpsons” World Wide Web Site at: Thanks for writing!

Matt Groening – personal questions

How do you pronounce your last name?
Rhymes with “complaining”.

Where do you live?
Los Angeles, California.

Where were you born?
Portland, Oregon.

How old are you/When is your birthday?
Born February 15, 1954.

Are you married?

Do you have children?
Yes, two sons.

Do you have any pets?
Matt has three pet cats.

Education and on becoming a cartoonist

How long have you wanted to be a cartoonist?
Ever since he was a kid, Matt has fantasized about having his own cartoon show.

Who was your greatest inspiration / influence?
Matt was influenced to go into the animation business by his biggest role model–his father (who was also a cartoonist).

When did you get interested in art?
Matt started drawing at the age of five.

How did you create the ‘Simpsons’ characters?
Matt has been drawing characters with bulgy eyes and overbites since he was ten years old, and ‘The Simpsons’ are just variations of that style.

Did you attend art school?
Matt attended Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He studied philosphy and continued his interest in cartoons, comics and music.

How and when did you get your first work published?
“My breakthrough came when I realized that it was funnier to tell jokes that I thought were funny than try to make other people laugh. I just gave up on other people and tried to amuse myself. When I started doing that, that’s when the cartoons started getting published.”

How did your cartoons get noticed and put on the air?
After seeing Matt’s ‘Life In Hell’ comic strip, Producer James L. Brooks approached Matt to do short animated segments for the Tracey Ullman show. ‘The Simpsons’ became their own television show two years later.

Why do you like cartooning?
“Ever since I was a kid, I knew that I wanted to play for the rest of my life. My friends and I used to put on puppet shows and draw comic strips, and we used to write poetry, and I thought, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

What gave you the idea for the Simpsons?
“They’re named after members of my own family. I have a father named Homer; my mother’s name is Margaret–Marge for short; and I have two younger sisters, Lisa and Maggie. I’m sort of Bart.” Note: Bart’s name is an anagram for “brat.”

Do you draw anything besides “The Simpsons?”
Matt also draws a comic strip called “Life In Hell,” which has been published weekly since 1980.

Advice, personal philosophy and other

What is your philosophy on success?
“Ever since I was a kid, I fantasized abouth having my own cartoon show. But I didn’t see how to get from point a to z. So if I could communicate with myself back then, the message would be: try to do what you really want to do.”

What kinds of music do you like?
Matt likes all kinds of music! He especially likes Igor Stravinsky, Balinese Gamelan music, and Jazz from the 1920’s.

About “The Simpsons” General

Who is the creator of “The Simpsons?”
Matt Groening.

Has Matt groening ever made an appearance on the show?
Yes, catch a brief climpse of Matt in the episode entitled “the Boy Who Knew Too Much” (1F19), where Homer serves jury duty, and Bart is called as a witness on the stand.

Does Matt come up with the show ideas himself?
No, there are currently 14 other writers on staff who all work together to come up with the show ideas.

How many episodes have been made?
A total of 178 (at moment when I received letter) episodes were produced for the first eight seasons. Additional episodes are currently in production.

How many episodes are made per year?
An average of 20 per season.

How long does it take to make one episode?
Between 6 and 8 months.

What year did “The Simpsons” start?
A half-hour animated Christmas special firts aired on December 17, 1989. The series itself was launched on January 14, 1990. As of February 9, 1997, “The Simpsons” is currently the longest-running animated program in television history, surprassing even “The Flintsones.”

Is “The Simpsons” shown world wide?
“The Simpsons” is shown in over 70 countries around the world.

When will “The Simpsons” be shown daily (be syndicated)? “The Simpsons” went into national syndication on september 19, 1994.

What three things change each time in full opening credits?
1. What Bart writes on the chalkboard.
2. What Lisa plays on her saxophone.
3. The “Couch Gag.”

Certain gags are sometimes cut out during the opening credits, why is this?
Because the length of each show varies, there are five alternate openings that may be used.

Why are there so may reruns?
Only and average of 20 new episodes are produces each season.

Will there be a “Simpsons” movie?
There is no time to focus on a movie because everyone works so hard on the series. But we hope to make one…one of these days!

How do the writers come up with the plots?
Twice a yaer the writers have an all-day meeting in a hotel, where they lock themselves up in a conference room and spend the day coming up with ideas for the upcoming season.

How many people draw The Simpsons?
In Los Angeles about 100 animators work on the show. There are also about 100 animators who work on the show in South Korea.

What age group is the cartoon made for?
All ages.

Is there any way to find out when episodes will air/be repeated?
No, as the air date schedule is subject to last minute changes by the the FOX network.

How do they get the characters’ lips to move in perfect time with the speech?
The animation is done to match the voices of the actors, unlike other animated series in which the animation is done first.

Who does the animation?
Film Roman in Los Angeles and Akom in South Korea.

Are new episodes still being written?
Yes. “The Simpsons” is currently in production for its ninth season. (read note in the end)

About “The Simpsons” – Characters

How old are “The Simpsons?”
Homer and marge are both in their mid-30’s. Bart is 10 years old, Lisa is 8 years old, and Maggie’s age is undetermined.’

How much does Homer weigh?
Homer weighs 230 lbs.

What color are their eyes?

What is Bart’s full name?
Bartholomew J. Simpson.

What does the “J” in Barthomolew J. Simpson stand for?

When is Maggie going to speak?
Maggie spoke for the first time during our fourth season in the episode entitled “Lisa’s First World” (9F08). Elizabeth Taylor provided her voice.

What is the cat’s name?
There have been two cats: Snowball and Sbowball II.

What is the Dog’s name?
Santa’s Little Helper.

How long have Homer and Marge been married?
11 years.

Why is Marge’s hair so high?
“Marge’s hairdo reminded me of what my mother’s hairdo seemed like then (as a child). From the angle that I was looking at it, it seemed much bigger, like the bride of Frankesnstein’s!”

Why is Bart’s hair so pointy?
“I had a haircut a little like Bart’s when I was a kid, sort of spikey.”

Who does the characters voices?
The cast provides these regular characters, and many, many more: Dan Catellaneta: Homer, Krusty the Klown, Granpa Abraham Simpson, Mayor Quimby, Groundskeeper Willie, Sideshow Mel, Barney Gumble. Julie Kavner: Marge, Patty Bouvier, Selma Bouvier Terwilliger McClure and the rest of Marge’s family. Yeardley Smith: Lisa, Mrs. Glick. Nancy Cartwright: Bart, Nelson Muntz, Rod and Todd Flanders, Ralph Wiggum and Kearny. Hank Azaria: Moe Szyzlak, Apu Nahasapeemapetilan, Police Chief Wiggum, Dr. Nick Riviera and Cletus (the Slack-Jawed Yokel). Harry Shearer: C. Montgomery Burns, Waylon Smithers, Principal Seymour Skinner, Ned Flanders and Jasper. Phil Hartman: Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz. Pamela Hayden: Milhouse, Jimbo, Wendell and Janey. Tress MacNeille: Agness Skinner and Dolph. Maggie Roswell: Maude Flanders, Helen Lovejoy and Miss Hoover. Russi Taylor: Martin Prince Marica Wallace: Mrs. Krabapple. Maggie’s sucking noises: done originally by Matt Groening and lots of guest stars.

About “The Simpsons” – Comics

The success of the magazine “Simpsons Illustrated” (no longer in production) led to the launching of Bongo Comics in 1993. Now you can read about “The Simpsons” adventures in the Bongo comics series entitled: “Simpsons Comics” For further information, please contact your local comic book store or Bongo Comics at: 1999 Avenue of the Stars, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067. (Jukka’s note: I posted on that address 7/2000 a letter and it returned because addresss was incorrect)

About “The Simpsons” – Merchandise

Are any of “The Simpsons” episodes out on home video?
Yes! Now available are six episodes from the first season; two episodes per tape, plus each tape includes one of the original “Simpson” shorths form the “The Tracey Ullman Show.” ($9.98 each, or $24.98 for three-pack) Previously, the episode entitled “Simpsons Roasting on and Open Fire” (7G08) was the only episode released for sale.

Is there any way to obtain copies for the show?
Unfortunately, this is a request that we are not able to accommodate. It is not our policy to provide copies of any “Simpsons” episodes without express written permission of Fox. We hope that you will keep waitching and will be able to catch the episode you requested a copy of the next time it airs.

Were any “Simpsons” record albumns or music videos ever made?
The Simpsons Sing the Blues — released 1991, on th Geffen label. the albumn went platinium and spawned two hit videos: “Deep, Deep Trouble” and “Do The Bartman.”
Songs In The Key of Springfield — released 1997, on the Rhino label. Features the musical mayhem and classic dialogue from “The Simpsons” TV series, along with the original score and special guest stars. What about an episode guide? Yes, that’s now availbale too! The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family (HarperCollins $15.95 US/$22.75 CAN/£14.99 U.K.) More information than you ever wanted to know about your favorite TV show!

Are there any cels of Bart or the family for sale?
Yes, animation cels are sold at various art galleries around the country.

Is there a merchandise catalogue available? Is there any official merchandise for sale by mail-order?
No, although some retail merchandise can still purchased. If you cannot find the merchandise you are looking for, we’d be happy to pass along your request to the Licensing & Merchandising Deparment here at the FOX studios.

Please note that all the dates and answers like how many episodes has been produced is out of date.

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