“The Simpsons” animated shorts premiere

When a television series begins, there is rarely any certainty as to whether or not it will be successful.  For every successful, long-running show, there are dozens upon dozens that have failed.  In terms of animated television, the chances of success are even more slim.  Despite this fact, there are some programs that have defied the odds and become very successful.  The Simpsons is an example of a television show that has become far more successful that its creators could ever have imagined.

On this day, April 19th, in 1987, The Simpsons premires as an animated short in The Tracey Ullman Show.  Two years later, The Simpsons became its own half-hour series for the Fox Broadcasting Company.  The series had a dark humor that focused on satirical takes on American culture, society and human nature.  The Simpsons quickly gained popularity and became a cultural phenomenon.

Since premiering two decades ago, the Simpsons has become a franchise and brand name.  A series of products have spawned as a result of the cartoon’s success, including: a full-length feature film, video games, comic books, music and a simulator ride at Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.  The Simpsons brand has also been incorporated into many well-known game franchises, such as Clue, Scrabble, Monopoly, Operation and The Game of Life. Simpsons merchandise is currently a billion-dollar industry.