Why didn't the WWE Hall of Famer sound like himself on The Simpsons?
In 1997, at arguably the height of his professional wrestling career, Bret "The Hitman" Hart appeared in an episode of The Simpsons. In "The Old Man and the Lisa," the twenty-first episode of Season 8, Mr. Burns loses his vast fortune due to making bad investments. He has to sell his mansion, and that is when we see a realtor showing the place to 'Hitman.'
In the background, Smithers is helping a depressed Mr. Burns down the long staircase. Hitman sniffs the air and says aloud, "This place has got old man stink." And once Hitman hears that another pro wrestler, the Shrieking Sheik, lives in the neighborhood, he excitedly tells the realtor: "I'll take it!"
Even though he only had a few speaking lines, fans of the wrestler were left scratching their heads as to why Hitman didn't sound like himself. He looked like himself with his signature pink-and-black tights, wrap around shades, and long greasy hair. But that was the only way in which you would know he was the "Excellence of Execution." So what gives?
Hofer: Why did your appearance on The Simpsons sound so, well, weird?
Hart: They approached me about doing a voice as a wrestler, but not Bret Hart. It was the Mad Russian or something. I said, “I don’t want to be the Mad Russian, I want to be Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart!” We went back and forth for a while and they eventually said, very politely, “This is the way it’s written, take it or leave it.” I agreed, and flew down to FOX Studios. They had blocked off this huge chunk of time for my three lines, and were saying things like, “We need you more mad,” “Okay, not quite that mad!” I did my lines about 100 times in two minutes! I went outside to wait for my limo that had gone to get gas, and I signed autographs and took pictures for 45 minutes. The guy that was in charge of my episode came up to me and said, “I had no idea you were this big of a star! If we haven’t already started the artwork, we’re going to draw you in as yourself.” That’s why the voice doesn’t really sound like me, because I thought I was playing a crazy Russian!
THE SIMPSONS continues to strike a chord with viewers for irreverently poking fun at anything and everything. As the longest-running scripted series in television history, THE SIMPSONS has become one of the most consistently groundbreaking, innovative and recognizable entertainment franchises throughout the world. With its subversive humor and delightful wit, the series has made an indelible imprint on American pop culture, and its family members – HOMER (Dan Castellaneta), MARGE (Julie Kavner), BART (Nancy Cartwright), LISA (Yeardley Smith) and MAGGIE – are television icons. Recently renewed for the unprecedented 28th season, THE SIMPSONS has won 31 Emmy Awards, a 2015 People’s Choice Award and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012 for the theatrical short “The Longest Daycare.” The series recently received five 2015 Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Animated Program. “The Simpsons Movie” was a hit feature film; the mega-attraction “The Simpsons Ride” at Universal Studios has received historic expansion updates with the addition of Springfield added to the roster; and the show was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000. It was named the “Best Show of the 20th Century” by Time magazine, and called the “Greatest American Sitcom” by Entertainment Weekly in 2013.
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