Dead Bart: Uncomplete
The story of “Dead Bart” is a long and confusing one. To summarize, Dead Bart was a production by Matt Groening, and one of the first episodes in “The Simpsons” series. Today, not much footage from "Dead Bart" exists, since most copies have been destroyed. Including those made by the studio. The production has been considered to be a “mistake”, and those who have seen the episode, or worked on it, have said that the creation of it should never have happened.
FOX labels all of its episodes according to a smart and efficient system. But the creation of "Dead Bart" has caused an inconsistency in the amount of episodes reported. The original production label given to the episode was “7G06”, but searching for 7G06 brings up another episode, entitled “Moaning Lisa.” People believe that this is to hide the fact that Dead Bart was ever created.
Many people know the plot of the story quite well, having read about it in endless Creepypasta. But not many know the actual origin of the production.
Dead Bart: Over the Years
During the early part of 1989, Matt Groening was experiencing quite a few health problems. He had been experiencing serious delusion and had visions of his death from time to time, many of them eerie and vomit-inducing. He was under a lot of pressure to produce quality content for FOX, who were forcing him to work nights in order to get the first season of The Simpsons finalized and ready for broadcast. Having made several mistakes in his life so far, he had decided to make one more, and that mistake was Dead Bart.
He wrote the episode in hopes that it would allow him to sleep easy. Like many people write their feelings down on paper, Matt felt that doing the same would take his mind off things. Except for instead of just writing them down, he put them into a storyline, and made his characters play out the scenario.
The episode starts with four characters: Bart, Homer, Lisa and Marge. Maggie hadn’t made an appearance in the episode, as the overall idea for The Simpsons was a lot different when he had started writing Dead Bart. This includes Maggie being absent. There are several fan theories regarding continuity as to when and how Maggie was born.
The Simpsons show was originally going to make stylistic use of death, and the ramifications of someone dear dying. The characters had stronger feelings, due to the effects of death on them in earlier years. Bart had more hatred for his elders, Marge was subject to depression, Lisa was more anxious and Homer was a lot angrier. This concept wasn’t scrapped completely in newer episodes of The Simpsons though. Homer still has a strong sense of anger, as reminiscent of him strangling Bart all the time. One of them is related to the characters feelings, Homer being angry, and Marge being depressed may drive them away from reproduction, plus Marge’s depression may have been caused by previous experiences. (Maybe she had an abortion?).
The episode Matt had wrote wasn’t supposed to be an actual production though, it was simply a log of his feelings turned into a script. But somewhere along the line, one of the head animators had picked up Matt’s work, and took the episode seriously, animating the entire thing, and had voice tracks produced to go along. The voice actors became suspicious as to why they had been asked to read such deluded lines, but they never brought it up with Matt, as they didn’t want to mess with an individual who was in such a state. (Or somebody in more authority than them for that matter.)
The production eventually came to the rendering stage. Matt was brought into a conference room, where the head animator had the final render on tape. Matt was dumbfounded as to why he was asked in, seeing that he was screening another episode that week, and official production hadn’t been announced yet.
The tape started, with the family, as described above. As Matt watched he became pale and looked flushed. The first scene eventually came to a close, and he was already on the verge of tears.
I’m not going to summarize the rest here, if you need to, go look at the original Creepypasta, entitled “Dead Bart”
As time ran out, and the credits were fading out, a black and white FOX logo appeared on the top of the screen, and the production label, 7G06 faded in just below that, along with the words “Final Sales Copy”. That’s where the tape ended. After that Matt left and went home. The team didn’t see him for another two days, and when he finally turned up, he completely ignored everyone around him. After being asked about his absence by the receptionist, he quoted “we shall never talk about it again.” Since that time, the entire team has uttered not one word about the day.
The tape was thrown out. Not burnt, not destroyed, just thrown out. This allowed an eager fan to pick up the tape from the alley way outside. He watched it several times. His 12 year old son found out about the tape by accident. He then attempted to set the tape alight. Though not a successful destruction, this caused the footage to become shaky and filled with static. An anonymous man recovered the video cassette and uploaded it to a webserver under the name of “deadbart.completeandexploited.net/pwtrue/7g06” which when opened, would bring up a blank black page with a yellow download link. The page doesn’t exist today, and Google failed to get a cached version of it. Not many people can recollect memories of the page while it existed, but some can, including Matt Groening himself.
After many weeks of moping over the incident, Matt had received an email, on his personal address, containing the link “deadbart.completeandexploited.net/pwtrue/7g06”, which was masked as “thesimpsonsofficial.com.” Seeing no harm, and assuming it was their reeboted site, he went ahead and clicked it. This being in the days of 128kbps internet, the page slowly loaded, and then Internet Explorer packed up under the pressure. Matt decided to take a look later on his home PC. After finally getting onto the site, he downloaded the 20mb file entitled “justforyou.flv” and loaded it into his Flash player. To his dismay, the file downloaded was a ripped file of Dead Bart. He closed down his computer, and attempted to track down the old cassette to make sure that it wasn't seen by any one else, but never managed to find it. He could remember the entire website link though, off by heart. It was the shock.
Eventually a presentation came around, documenting the success of the first season. A Q&A was opened up to the crowd, when a young lad asked about the missing episode. David Silverman, the man speaking at the time closed down the presentation hours before they intended the presentation to end.
Another lad, who was researching on the episode at the time, stalked Matt down at the end, and asked about the episode. In his dumbfounded state Matt wrote down:
On a piece of paper, and handed it to the enquirer. He then begged him to never speak of the episode again.
That man was the original writer of the Dead Bart Creepypasta.
Although only one VCR of the episode was ever made by the studio, some interns had stolen early footage in the form of Betamax tapes they brought in from home. You would think a major studio would keep their resources safe.
Another man has documented his experiences with a bootleg tape of Dead Bart. Legend has it the start of the tape contained an aired episode of The Simpsons, and he had watched this from start to finish, but hadn’t realized that the tape also contained Dead Bart. While making coffee for himself he heard a loud shouting from the room he had been in, something along the lines of Homer shouting Bart’s name out. When he arrived back in the room he was able to witness Bart being plummeted from a plane, 50 feet up in the air, to be followed by the crunching sound of broken bones. That’s when the VCR player caught fire, and the tape was initially ruined, except for a scene right at the end, showing Bart’s dead body.
Dead Bart: Where We Stand Now
With both known tapes of Dead Bart ruined, the latter of people have assumed that Dead Bart was just a story, nothing but fancy words, written to amuse and scare. But it wasn’t. The truth is that the episode was produced. I saw it when I was eight. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since. I now spend my life researching the meaning, and the cause of Dead Bart. Whenever I hear a name being shouted, or screaming from afar, I panic, my heart starts racing. And I see it, that dead lifeless corpse, the one of Bart, with his dead eyes staring right at me in disgust, and I look back at him. Feeling mutual.
Written by Golligysutton