Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, was born in Portland, Oregon, on February 14, 1954. According to the Portland Tribune, many parts of Springfield — the fictitious hometown of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie — are based on the Groening’s hometown: “[l]ike Springfield, the Portland of his childhood had a scenic gorge, a nuclear plant nearby and a polluted river,” as examples. And when it came to developing characters, Portland also played a role.
The city gave some characters their names.
Pictured above are two characters from the Simpsons — Ned Flanders and the Reverend Timothy Lovejoy. Pictured below is a map of Northwest Lovejoy Street, Portland, Oregon.
A keen observer — and die-hard Simpsons fan — may also note that just south of Lovejoy Street is Kearney Street; and that “Kearney” is the first name of another Simpson character, a schoolyard bully. And no, this isn’t a coincidence. There is a Flanders Street, a Quimby Street (which led its name to Mayor Joe Quimby), and a Van Houten Avenue (see Milhouse and his family) as well.
There is, however, one coincidence. Terwilliger Boulevard is believed by some to be the namesake of Bart’s nemesis Sideshow Bob, whose “real” name is Robert Underdunk Terwilliger, Jr. — but, it isn’t. Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson and many other characters, told MTV that Sideshow Bob is named after a character from the movie The 5,000 Fingers of T – a character named Dr. Terwilliker (yes, with a K, not a G). Both Castellaneta and Groening are big fans of the movie — which happens to be the only feature film written by Dr. Seuss.
Bonus fact: In 1939, Dr. Seuss wrote The Seven Lady Godivas, one of his few books intended for adult audiences. And in this case, “adult” had a second meaning — the book is about seven sisters who never wear clothing. The book was considered a significant commercial failure, and Seuss himself was not happy with the work; per Wikipedia, “he tried to draw ‘the sexiest-looking [naked] women’ he could, but they ‘came out just ridiculous.’”
From the Archives: Fifty Word Masterpiece: About a Dr. Seuss book — a class one, not a poorly-drawn adult oriented one.
Related: “The Seven Lady Godivas” by Dr. Seuss. As of this writing, used copies can be purchased for about $5 plus shipping. 10 reviews, 4.5 stars.