On April 19, 1987, a momentous event happened: America was introduced to one of its most enduring families, The Simpsons.

Bart, Homer, Marge and the rest of the family first appeared in 48 short filler segments on the sketch comedy program The Tracey Ullman Show, but those first characters were very different from the Simpsons of today.

When Matt Groening created The Simpsons, Furniss says, people were excited to see what the cartoonist would do within the field of animation. With the show, she says Groening set a new standard for animation on TV, especially when it came to shows that were more crass and humorous.

“When The Simpsons came out, people were so worried about the crude behavior,” Furniss says. “But they didn’t have any idea that South Park or Beavis and Butt-head were on the horizon and would be much more outrageous in a lot of ways.”

Since the days of the early filler segments and The Simpsons’ launch as its own show in December 1989, the town of Springfield and its yellow inhabitants have managed to become TV’s longest-running, prime-time scripted entertainment series.

With such a long history, it’s no surprise that there have been more than a few times when The Simpsons were the subject of a story here at NPR. Here you’ll find a sampling of this work, with an assurance that there’s always more to come — so long as Homer and Co. continue to let us into their world on Sunday nights.

30 Years Later, ‘The Simpsons’ Are A Part Of The American Family

Image: Courtesy of Fox

History lesson via Browning:

The battlefield experience against the Moros resulted in the famous Thompson-LeGarde tests by the US Military in 1904. In these tests a variety of military cartridges of the day were tested for their penetration, ‘stopping ability’ and energy transfer, using both live and dead cattle at the target medium. While somewhat subjective by modern standards, the tests resulted in an official recommendation “…that a bullet, which will have the shock effect and stopping effect at short ranges necessary for a military pistol or revolver, should have a caliber not less than .45.“


Springfield M1903 variant prototype

Manufactured c.1917 by the Springfield Armory with experimental rifling, fitted with a Winchester 1909 Patent A5 scope manufactured by Winchester Repeating Arms Company in New Haven, Connecticut - serial number 716929.
.30-06 five-rounds magazine fed by stripper clips, bolt action repeater.

The older scopes are also the sexier ones.


Eddystone Model of 1917, barrel dated November 1918. This rifle has a SAA (San Antonio Arsenal) mark on it. It was taken out of storage and refurbished there in preparation for WWII. This one sports an interesting light grey or sliver finish. It is a CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) rifle, but the finish on it suggests most likely it was a VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post rifle that was returned, and reworked by the CMP.

Remington Model of 1903 manufactured April 1942.

Springfield M1 Garand. This is a rifle I rebuilt to be as close to parts correct for 1944.