Season 11, Episode 20: Last Tap Dance in Springfield
After seeing a movie about dancing, Lisa Simpson is inspired to take dance lessons. She takes a class taught by a former 1930s child movie star by the name of Little Vicki.
Little Vicki is clearly inspired by Shirley Temple. In fact, the show’s producers invited Shirley Temple to voice the character for this episode, but she turned the offer down. After taking a few lessons with Vicki, Lisa is discouraged because she has a hard time catching on. At home, she watches one of Vicki’s old movies, which seems to be loosely based on Shirley Temple dancing with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson in 1935’s The Little Colonel.
Later, when Lisa’s dance class has its big recital, the song they perform is a parody of Temple’s famous “On the Good Ship Lollipop” song from 1934’s Bright Eyes.
Season 5, Episode 2: Cape Feare
Once again, Sideshow Bob is out to kill his biggest enemy, Bart Simpson. This time, he starts out by sending Bart threatening letters written in blood. When Bob is up for parole, he manages to win over the parole board, despite the large “Die, Bart, Die” tattoo on his chest. Later in the episode, we see that he also has tattoos on his knuckles that are a nod to the sinister Harry Powell, played by Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter.
Season 9, Episode 25: Natural Born Kissers
In this episode, Bart and Lisa borrow a metal detector from Grampa Simpson and take it around town to see what they can find. After not having much luck, they think they’ve hit the jackpot when they end up discovering a buried box containing a film reel for an alternate ending to Casablanca.
Bart and Lisa take the reel back to Grampa’s retirement home and get a film projector so they can watch it. In this version of the ending, Ilsa decides to come back to Rick and they end up getting married.
Everyone loves the alternate ending, except for another nursing home resident, who was apparently a studio executive at Warner Brothers. He explains that they tried to tack on that happy ending because they were idiots who had no idea what they were doing. Although Bart and Lisa say they think it’s great and want to give it to a museum, the guy offers them $20 to bury it again. While they’re at it, he’d also like them to bury another alternate ending to a different beloved classic film.
Happy August, everyone! Hope you’re all having a nice summer. August is always a great month on TCM thanks to their annual Summer Under the Stars programming. I’ve decided to skip my usual Blogging Under the Stars event this year since I feel like it just wouldn’t fit into my schedule this time around, but I’ll hopefully still be able to see lots of new-to-me movies during this year’s schedule.
First of all, if you’re a big fan of pre-code cinema, there’s a lot for you to look forward to in August. Stars like Fay Wray, Robert Montgomery, Constance Cummings, Ruby Keeler, and Jean Harlow all have days this month so it’s actually a pretty pre-code heavy lineup this year. (Not that I’m complaining!)
Aside from those stars, I’m very excited to see stars like Janet Gaynor, Anne Baxter, and Jean Arthur featured in this year’s schedule.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at this year’s Summer Under the Stars schedule.
Season 24, Episode 17: What Animated Women Want
Milhouse has had a big crush on Lisa for a long time, but despite his best efforts, he just never seems to get her attention in that way. But after watching A Streetcar Named Desire in school, Milhouse decides to shake up his image by adopting a more Marlon Brando-esque bad boy image.
Much to his surprise, Lisa seems to be attracted to this new attitude. But just because he’s acting like Brando, he’s still Milhouse at heart and begins to question whether or not it’s right for him to get Lisa’s attention by acting like somebody else. Of course, by the end of the episode, he goes back to being regular Milhouse.
Elizabeth Taylor has the distinction of making two guest appearances on The Simpsons, both during the show’s fourth season. Her first appearance was in the episode Lisa’s First Word, in which the family is trying to coach Maggie into saying her first word, which leads to Marge and Homer telling the story of Lisa’s first word. In the end, Maggie does finally say her first word, although it’s said when nobody else is around.
Elizabeth Taylor agreed to provide the voice for the famously non-verbal Maggie’s first word. Although her part only consisted of a single word, it was a role that had its challenges. In the DVD commentary for this episode, some of the show’s staffers talked about how it took a few tries for Taylor to get the voice just right. Her initial takes of the word sounded too vampy for a baby. But in the end, she got it just right and played a role in one of the most genuinely endearing moments of the series.
Elizabeth Taylor returned for the season 4 finale episode, Krusty Gets Kancelled, playing herself this time. When Krusty the Clown’s show gets cancelled because all of his viewers start turning into a rival show, Bart and Lisa help him get back on his feet. When they discover Krusty has lots of connections to big entertainment stars like Bette Midler, Hugh Hefner, and Elizabeth Taylor, Bart and Lisa start organizing an all-star TV extravaganza. When they approach Elizabeth Taylor’s agent, he turns it down and she’s okay with that.
But as she watches the special on TV (while polishing one of her big diamond rings, naturally) she regrets not getting in on it and decides to fire that agent.
Season 4, Episode 4: Lisa the Beauty Queen
When Lisa has a bout of low self-esteem about her appearance, Homer has the well-intended, albeit misguided idea to make her feel better by entering her in a beauty pageant. At first, Lisa is horrified and convinced that she could never stand a chance of winning. To build up her confidence, Bart decides to become her pageant coach. When trying to show her how to walk in high heels, Bart strikes a pose and it’s pretty clear the animators were using Betty Grable’s very famous pin-up picture as a reference for this scene.