D’oh! Homer Simpson Breaks 2 Records

SimpsonsFam

In this television season, Homer Simpson, aided by his “loving” family, has set 2 television records. To truly understand the magnitude of this achievement, you need some background information.

America’s true “wild west” history lasted from approximately 1865 to 1895.  From that history of tall tales and true came many, many stories about cowboys –most of them made into movies starring John Wayne.  (My personal favorite was his last film: “The Shootist.” In it, he was aided by the sexiest woman in Hollywood history (Lauren Bacall) (see below) and a “kid” almost old enough to Direct a film (Ron Howard)).  In spite of millions of movies made about adventures in that period of time (OK, thousands of movies), some of them even being true, there were still more thousands of ideas that were made into TV shows.  The record for most cowboy-based TV shows in one TV season was 26 in 1959. Remember: at  that time, there were only 3 broadcasting networks, each with only 3 or 4 hours of programing available in prime time per day.  From that mass of cowboy-based shows came one that stood above all others: Gunsmoke.

Wayne+Bacall

You might expect television to choose Mr. Wayne to star in the show.  It was not to be.  However, THE cowboy movie star did introduce the viewing audience to the new TV show. It got the show off on the right foot. Gunsmoke was on television for 20 years (1955 to 1975): a record length of primetime for any show.  It also set the record for number of episodes: 635. Each ran for one hour.

In 1989, Homer and family, unwittingly, took on this giant of television history.  The Simpsons’ creator, Matt Groening, has said: “We certainly didn’t expect to last this long.  When we started, we didn’t even know if the Fox network was going to last, much less our own show.  Fox was an experiment, and they allowed us to do pretty much whatever we wanted.  When we first started, we were part of the downfall of civilization.  Bart said he was ‘an underachiever and proud of it, man.’  Simpsons T-shirts were banned in grade schools.  I knew it would blow over.  At the heart of our show is a churchgoing family who eats dinner together every night and is very traditional.  They drive each other crazy but they do love each other.” (see below)

HomerPie

What was the outcome of Gunsmoke vs. The Simpsons?  The record 20 year lifetime of Gunsmoke was eclipsed by Homer’s family “drama” which is in its 29thseason (1989 – 2018).  Gunsmoke’s record 635 episodes has been exceeded by The Simpsons’ 639 episode this year –and is still going.

Everyone knows Homer’s reaction to these achievements will be: “Records are made to be broken …by me.” And Mr. Groening’s outlook?   “I don’t see any end in sight.  It’s always possible.  But I live in denial of death, much less the cancellation of The Simpsons.” And what could be Bart’s reaction? (see below)

Bart's Shorts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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