I swore I was going to try and do something productive, but apparently that’s not happening….er…..yet.
Whilst at Half Price Books the other day, there was an unauthorized book about The Simpsons that I got for $3.00. While at points in time I was a super-fan (we’ll get to that), I had always wondered how the whole transition to prime-time actually occurred. The book is actually explaining all that, so I’l tell my personal story about how I started watching.
Back in the 80′s, mid way or so, I lived in New Zealand, and one of the TV shows that showed there was The Tracey Ullman show. It wasn’t too odd seeing Tracey Ullman as she was pretty big in NZ around that time if I recall, due to one of her other shows, Three of a Kind. However, that was my first experience with The Simpsons. Crude, and really funny. After those shorts had aired, my mother brought me a book called “School is Hell”, which after I think started picking up the other LIfe in Hell series books.
Very shortly after, we moved back to the US. While this was a time where I would still go hang out with my parents, we caught the 2nd Animation Celebration which had some of the Simpson clips in it.
Then, even more shortly thereafter, I was a sophomore in High School and I found out that The Simpsons was coming to prime time. I couldn’t believe it! I was telling the guy that sat next to me (or behind me) in homeroom, and he said, “That’s so dumb, that will never last”. (This being possibly the only reason that I will ever go to a high school reunion. To give a Nelson-esque “Ha-Ha!” as an I-told-you-so)
The Christmas special was a hit (as we all know), and history was made. The marketing frenzy was pretty outrageous. I didn’t ever own a Bart Simpson T-shirt, but I thoroughly remember the furor over the attitudes presented in the show. Meanwhile I was finding that the local Houston Public News was running Life in Hell, which I still love.
In fact, I had gotten a “School in Hell” T-shirt that I was made to wear inside out at school when I was unceremoniously busted by the High School Band teacher. I didn’t think anything of it, it wasn’t a statement, it was a matter of fact.
One of the things that I did unearth in my brain as a result of the book was an old (treasure?) that I haven’t ever seen anywhere else. I was part of the “Life in Hell” fanclub, I think, and had ordered it waaaaayyyyy back when. Sorry, I threw away the old newsletters (one of which i remember had a lesson on how to draw Bart).
Much like Mark Hamill in Amazing Stories, here is a piece of glassware that managed to survive some 25-odd years…..wonder what it’s worth now? (Not for Sale)