T-SHIRT TUESDAY - A 1989 Simpsons Family Portrait

1989. The year Matt Groening's animated-short-turned-prime-time-series, The Simpsons, debuted on FOX. Also, the copyright date on these awesome deadstock "Family Portrait" t-shirts in our inventory!

Doesn't this early depiction of everyone's favorite dysfunctional family capture the spirit of the series so perfectly?!

Long, long ago, or B.S. (Before Simpsons) as we like to say, James L. Brooks, producer of The Tracey Ullman Show and HUGE fan of Groening's weekly underground comic strip, Life in Hell, hired Groening to create an animated series to run between acts on his new show. In the 15 minutes before their initial meeting, Groening, afraid his original idea to animate Life in Hell characters would be an imminent failure, made up new characters on the spot named after members of his own family, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. Though the animation style was rough and the content was a bit crude, The Simpsons was an immediate hit! After a three-season run on Ullman, the then upstart network FOX took a chance and produced the first-ever prime time animated series. Below are Maggie, Lisa, Marge, Homer and Bart as seen on Ullman in 1987-89 (left) and 1989 for FOX (right). Click here to watch some early shorts.

A great Tracey Ullman Show t-shirt from our inventory from 1987, the year of The Simpsons debut!

By Christmas 1989, The Simpsons was on the air and Simpsonmania took hold. Bart graced the cover of both Rolling Stone AND TIME


For more about America's favorite family, check out this great "Making of" on Youtube! Also, check out our whole Simpsons Collection of t-shirts on our site!

(sources: wiki,,