Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Brian-El asks:

A recent episode of 'The Simpsons' had Homer Simpson encountering his "real-life" counterpart, Dan Castellaneta.

Was this a first? Where does this fit into the TV Universe as compared to, say, Castellaneta's appearance on 'L.A. Law' as a guy stuck in a Homer Simpson suit?

And when are characters from 'Lost' going to appear on 'The Simpsons', huh?
Well, when you realize it took over thirty years for 'The Prisoner' to appear in an episode of 'The Simpsons', you might be well advised not to hold your breath waiting to see Homer meet Hurley!

But as for a cartoon character meeting the actor who played him, I think this is new in the Tooniverse.

But in main Toobworld:

Mork met Robin Williams ('Mork & Mindy').

Lucille Carter met Lucille Ball on 'Here's Lucy'... and she came in second in a Lucy Lookalike contest!

'Moesha' met Brandy Norwood.

Ralph and Norton met Jackie Gleason and Art Carney during an episode of 'The Honeymooners'.

Dean Martin played his own stand-in, Ed Feldman. This was in Lucille Ball's favorite episode ever, "Lucy Dates Dean Martin", on 'The Lucy Show'.

During 'The Sammy Davis Jr. Kidnap Caper' on 'Charlie's Angels', an obnoxious guy named Herbert Brubaker III was kidnapped instead of the star. Sammy played both roles.

As far as cartoons go, it's more common for the toon characters to meet the animators, or at least the producer of their animated shorts.

This goes back over one hundred years with Winsor McKay meeting Gertie the Dinosaur.

One of the best examples had Daffy Duck talking Porky Pig into facing Leon Schlesinger at the Warner Brothers Studio and quitting his cushy gig as a Loony Tunes star. ('You Ought To Be In Pictures')

(Daffy got his comeuppance in a cartoon in which he lost a battle with an animator's pencil.)

Back in the Tooniverse, 'Futurama' had something of a close encounter in which we saw Matt Groening's head in one of those jars at the Head Museum.

Would any appearances on TV in which Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog appeared together count?

The creators of TV shows (or the writers who inspired those shows) have found themselves immersed in their own creations. And we had the latest example of that just this past Sunday - when Aaron Sorkin was spotted on the dais during the inauguration. I wonder how he felt to be there watching his creation "pass the torch"?

Felx Unger and Oscar Madison, 'The Odd Couple', got to glad-hand with Neil Simon in an episode of their show.

Except for the theatrically released cartoons, this seems to me to be a Toobworld-centric experience. At least, when it does happen in the movies, it doesn't seem to go over very well.

An example? How about Julia Roberts as Tess Ocean impersonating Julia Roberts in 'Ocean's Twelve'? I remember reading at the time how that spoiled the illusion of the movie.

At the same time, it seems to be the kind of gimmick you might find in some old movie shown on TCM; something starring Bob Hope perhaps.

Thanks for asking, Brian-El. You just gave me a blog post. Thanks!


(Anybody out there have any examples of this?)


WordsSayNothing said...

You left out the best example of this. On the short-lived Hope & Gloria, the character of talk show host Dennis Dupree had a huge grudge against Alan Thicke. And, of course, Dupree was played by Thicke. As I recall, the two did meet at least once on the show.

Toby said...

Thanks for refreshing my Swiss cheese memory, WSN! They did indeed meet at least once, when the cast of 'Growing Pains' were reunited on Dennis' talk show.

Funny, some kid named Leo couldn't make it; guess he was too busy.....