The parting of the clouds. The heavenly chorus of voices singing “The Simpsons.” Bart writing out his punishment on the chalkboard. Homer throwing caution and nuclear waste to the wind. Lisa saxing her way out of band practice. Marge and Maggie navigating a winding road. The family making a beeline for the couch and squeezing onto it.
The opening credits of The Simpsons are among TV’s most iconic, having been burned into your brain over the last three decades. They’ve been tweaked over the years, and the ever-changing couch gags have opened up some glorious wormholes. And on Friday, the earliest version of the title sequence was revealed on Twitter. Longtime Simpsons director/producer David Silverman — who has a treasure trove of Simpsons doodlings that he’s shared over the years — tweeted primitive drawings of the opening credits. “This has to be the earliest sketches I made for the Simpsons opening title,” he explained. “Circa May 1989, in a meeting with Matt Groening and Sam Simon. Notes are fairly intelligible, tho they were only meant for the 1989 me. The 2018 me doesn’t recall everything.”
Note that Silverman has the seeds here for the clouds parting with The Simpsons name, Bart writing on the chalkboard and tearing up the town on his skateboard (though jumping over a car), Marge and Maggie “driving in tandem,” and the family car pulling into the garage. In addition, though, there are a few curiosities to be found in Silverman’s doodles, like “Lisa with Hell’s Angels gals” or “Who sits on floor?” Check it out above.
The Simpsons, which began as a series of animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987, premiered as its own series on Fox in December of 1989.