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A Night at the Museum of TV & Radio

Simpsons News — Posted 13 Feb, 2003 by Scott

A small theatre of less than 100 people and a live broadcast to over 270 universities [1] around the US. That was the deal tonight as I attended the special Simpsons panel meeting at the Museum of TV & Radio in Beverly Hills. I was lucky enough to find a member selling his tickets.. step 1, I'm in. I and the rest of the crowd walked into this cozy little theatre where there was one camera, 6 seats on a small platform and a fairly large screen behind it...[click More/Comments to read more]

The cast slowly started to walk inside. First to come in was Harry Shearer, the voice to such characters as Burns and Smithers. Following him was Yeardly Smith and Dan Castellaneta. Al Jean took a seat while the 4 and host were waiting for the man himself, Matt Groening. The crowd cheered as Matt entered the room.

Show time... the link was up and our little theatre was joined by over 270 universities which would call in for questions later. We started with a compiled clip of episodes ranging from this season all the way to the Ullman era. And now for the interview... How? When? Why Matt? It all started with Matt and Jim Davis. He didn't draw them on a napkin, Groening explained, it was a sheet of typewriter paper.. a quick drawing. He had to think fast for the names.. his family, except for little Matt which we know as Bart. They taped the voices for the Ullman shorts during the breaks of the regular show, usually behind the benches where the audience was; it was primitive but it worked. He explained Fox wanted 4 specials, Matt wouldn't budge until he got 13 shows. Fox, a nothing station at the time, agreed.

Harry and Dan stepped in and explained the voices. All experimental to tell the truth. They didn't know the characters and Sam Simon at the time was just looking for voices.

Lets pause for a little treat... it would have been great to see the full 300th episode but to see a good 3-4 minute portion of it was good enough for us and then the interview continued. They talked about the 300th episode. Is it really the 300th, Al Jeans says "he hopes so or Fox just wasted a lot of money in advertising." Matt says it is! and there is something in the episode which indicates it... a little surprise which we'll see in the episode, Matt says. Keep a look out fans!

Favorite episodes for each panel member were taken. Shearer loved the one where Smithers went on vacation and Homer was his "prank monkey". Yeardly loved Moaning Lisa as well as the episodes with Bleeding Gums. Dan loves the ones where they show Homer's good / smart side, like the one where he "almost" jumped the gorge just to save Bart. Matt... well like he said, he loves them all except he doesn't even know which episode they're working on. Jean is just glad to be back with the show [we're pretty happy he's back too].

Lets take some calls... time for the students to call in. The calls came in about religion and death, changes to characters and one from a student who does cartoons for his college newspaper asking Matt for some advise.

They talked alittle about the DVD which they said they were working on this week. Matt talked about They even got asked about a Simpsons movie. What was the reply on that? Matt would love to make one but he wants a GOOD script. As Matt put it, he doesn't want a "Scoobie-Doo".

The night ended with a few signatures, a few personal hellos and goodbyes. A night well spent at the museum if you ask me :)

We'll keep you informed if there is a video available of tonight's panel discussion.

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