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Before ‘The Simpsons,’ Matt Groening drew cartoons for Apple computers
03.28.2014
08:10 am

Topics:
Advertising

Tags:
Apple
Matt Groening


 
You might remember my post from a while back on Hunter S. Thompson’s truly weird Apple computer commercial, but I think I’ve found something to top it. Apple’s branding strategy has usually been to flatter those who fancy themselves “outsiders” or “rebels”—basically everyone in the entire world. But with this 1989 attempt to woo Generation Xers, the company took a more subtle approach, with a pamphlet illustrated by Matt Groening.

At the time, Groening had plenty of underground cred with his uber-angsty comic strip, “Life in Hell.” As the name suggests, the theme of his work was much more along the lines of “surviving post-modern desperation” than “hot blonde chucking a sledgehammer at Big Brother.” But Gen Xers had a reputation (whether earned or not) for capitulating to the daily grind, and Groening’s nervous, insecure art probably felt like a perfect fit for engaging with disaffected young people preparing themselves for the job market.

The brochure was passed out in college bookstores and in between the pages selling computers as the newest college necessity, Groening’s cartoons provided a few funny, self-effacing prototypes of disoriented students. I’m sure they kept prospective customers’ attention. Groening also did a couple of posters for Apple, including one titled “Bongo’s Dream Dorm,” a fantasy of college life for his “Life in Hell” lead character. Shortly after, The Simpsons took off, and Groening’s been free to mock Apple’s “culture of innovation” ever since.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Via Vintage Zen

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Meet the real-life ‘Simpsons’ kids in a 1969 film made by Matt Groening’s father, Homer
01.30.2014
08:46 am

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
The Simpsons
Matt Groening


He looks more like a “Bart,” don’t you think?

Fans of The Simpsons will enjoy “The Story,” a sweet short film made by Homer Groening in 1969. With a young Matt Groening and co-starring his sister Lisa, in “The Story,” a bedtime tale is told to their younger sister (that would be Maggie) about some encounters her siblings had in the woods with various animals.

The elder Groening, his name at least, immortalized by the Simpson’s doofus patriarch, was a war hero who flew a B-17 during WWII and participated in the D-Day invasion. He later became a prominent and award-winning advertising executive and made a series of films about water. Like his famous son, he was also a cartoonist and would make up the beginning of a story and then ask his children to finish it. Homer Groening died in 1996 at the age of 76.

Matt Groening told The Smithsonian magazine about how he came up with the idea for The Simpsons and why “Bart” wasn’t named Matt:

I had been drawing my weekly comic strip, “Life in Hell,” for about five years when I got a call from Jim Brooks, who was developing “The Tracey Ullman Show” for the brand-new Fox network. He wanted me to come in and pitch an idea for doing little cartoons on that show. I soon realized that whatever I pitched would not be owned by me, but would be owned by Fox, so I decided to keep my rabbits in “Life in Hell” and come up with something new.

While I was waiting—I believe they kept me waiting for over an hour—I very quickly drew the Simpsons family. I basically drew my own family. My father’s name is Homer. My mother’s name is Margaret. I have a sister Lisa and another sister Maggie, so I drew all of them. I was going to name the main character Matt, but I didn’t think it would go over well in a pitch meeting, so I changed the name to Bart.

Bart. Why?
Back in high school I wrote a novel about a character named Bart Simpson. I thought it was a very unusual name for a kid at the time. I had this idea of an angry father yelling “Bart,” and Bart sounds kind of like bark—like a barking dog. I thought it would sound funny. In my novel, Bart was the son of Homer Simpson. I took that name from a minor character in the novel The Day of the Locust, by Nathanael West. Since Homer was my father’s name, and I thought Simpson was a funny name in that it had the word “simp” in it, which is short for “simpleton”—I just went with it.

Did your father contribute anything besides his first name?
My father was a really sharp cartoonist and filmmaker. He used to tape-record the family surreptitiously, either while we were driving around or at dinner, and in 1963 he and I made up a story about a brother and a sister, Lisa and Matt, having an adventure out in the woods with animals. I told it to my sister Lisa, and she in turn told it to my sister Maggie. My father recorded the telling of the story by Lisa to Maggie, and then he used it as the soundtrack to a movie. So the idea of dramatizing the family—Lisa, Maggie, Matt—I think was the inspiration for doing something kind of autobiographical with “The Simpsons.” There is an aspect of the psychodynamics of my family in which it makes sense that one of us grew up and made a cartoon out of the family and had it shown all over the world.

 

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Homer Simpson’s headstone?

nospmisremohevarg.jpg
 
A suitable gravestone for Homer Simpson…or, even Matt Groening, at some future date?
 
Previously on Dangerous MInds

‘Adamson’: The original Homer Simpson from 1949?


 
Via Tam O’Shanter and b3ta
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Adamson’: The original Homer Simpson from 1949?

adamson_homer_simpson_1949
 
Meet Adamson - a dead ringer for Homer Simpson, as published in Icelandic paper Fálkinn in July 1949.

Adamson was created by Swedish cartoonist Oscar Jacobsson, whose work was published successfully around the world. In America Adamson was known as Silent Sam, and had a considerable following. Was Adamson a possible influence on the look of Matt Groening’s Homer Simpson?
 
Adamson_cover
 
More pictures of Homer, d’oh, Adamson, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
1967 Frank Zappa & Linda Ronstadt radio ad that influenced ‘The Simpsons’ theme


 
When Matt Groening hired Danny Elfman to write the theme for The Simpsons, he gave him a mixed tape of songs that he wanted the music to sound like: The theme from The Jetsons, some of Esquivel’s “space age bachelor-pad music,” a teach-your-parrot-to-talk record, selections from Nino Rota’s Juliet of the Spirits soundtrack and this unused Frank Zappa-produced radio commercial for Remington electric shavers that features the vocal stylings of none other than a young Linda Ronstadt.

The future queen of country rock is nearly unrecognizable here, speeded-up, multi-tracked and sounding like she’s just taken a hit off a helium balloon. At the end, Zappa tells listeners that the Remington electric razor “cleans you, thrills you… may even keep you from getting busted.”

According to legend, after giving the tape several listens Elfman told Groening, “I know exactly what you’re looking for!”

If you haven’t heard yet, Universal Music Group is re-releasing the entire Frank Zappa oeuvre and the first dozen of his 60s and early 70s albums—everything from 1966’s Freak Out! to the 1972 live set, Just Another Band From L.A.—are already out.

You can get more information and updates on the Frank Zappa remasters by following Jeff Newelt’s Twitter feed.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment