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"You know, a town with money's a little like the mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it, and danged if he knows how to use it!"
―Lyle Lanley

Lillard Lewis "Lyle" Lanley (possible full name) is a con artist and shyster who sold faulty monorails to several towns, including Springfield.

The Con[]

The "marks" in Lanley's con scheme were towns with a lot of money. Lanley would visit a town and make a sales pitch for his monorails. After the town bought the monorail, Lanley would open a monorail conductor's training school, which was really a farce and provided very little in the way of real training. At the end of the school, Lanley would either select a random student or the least qualified in the class to be the conductor (his exact decision-making method isn't known, but implied to choose a drunk conductor that is least qualified to help cause the accident).

After the monorail was built and a conductor selected, Lanley would set up a huge opening ceremony with a celebrity presiding, then leave (with the town's money) while everyone's attention was focused on the opening ceremony and the celebrity. The monorail, due to shoddy materials, would typically crash on its first run, causing loss of life and extensive property damage, and leaving the town financially ruined. Meanwhile, Lanley would be living it up on a resort vacation -- bought and paid for with the "mark" town's money. However, he was left unaware that there were people whom he could not pull the wool over his eyes; such as one who questioned the concept of a monorail from the start: Marge. Another one Lanley had angered was one of his former contractors: Sebastian Cobb, who regretted working on such a slipshod product when it caused a disaster in North Haverbrook.

Song[]

Main article: The Monorail Song

In Springfield[]

In Springfield, Lyle Lanley interrupted a town meeting when the people were trying to decide how to spend three million dollars the town had collected in fines from Mr. Burns. The town was on the verge of voting to use the money to repair Main Street when Lanley successfully made his sales pitch for the monorail. Lanley then appeared at Springfield Elementary School where he charmed Lisa's class. He seemed surprised that Elizabeth Hoover was a spinster, which won her over. Lisa asked a difficult question as to why mass transit is needed for a community like Springfield, but Lanley managed to win over Lisa as well by playing on her intellect.

Lanley also opened up a school for the conductor of the monorail, which was in actuality a solitary classroom. Signs of shadiness were first shown when Lanley began his lessons by demanding all investigative reports get out. The only lesson shown was where Lanley said the word monorail stood for "one rail", and that was it for the program. Lyle proceeded to walk out the door, until being reminded by Otto Mann that he failed to select a conductor. Lanley considered that an afterthought and opened a notebook where he said he has been intensely monitoring progress. In actuality, the inside of the notebook contained a stick figure of himself driving a truckload of cash to Tahiti, then motioned that Homer Simpson was the star pupil. This seemed to be either a random gesture or that Homer caught Lanley's eye being seated at the front of the class. Marge was concerned about Homer going into such a dangerous profession, and she felt her worries justified when Homer showed the family the bridge of the monorail. When she opened the bay door for the fire extinguisher, she found none, instead a family of possums nesting in that area. She decided to visit Mr. Lanley's trailer, which was unattended. Marge noticed a notebook with crude drawings of the monorail catching fire while a stick figure version of Lanley was absconding with bags of money. Marge was then confronted by Lanley, who demanded to know what she saw. Marge answered "Nothing incriminating". Despite being a confidence man, Lanley seemed gullible in that he bought Marge's lie and had no problem with her leaving, then talking to himself "I don't know why I keep this {the notebook} lying around." This then inspires Marge to investigate further by driving to North Haverbrook, which was one of the towns Lanley mentioned having previously sold a monorail.

The monorail opening ceremony featured celebrity guest Leonard Nimoy, who wowed the townspeople by joking that the monorail could do at least Warp Five. Lisa observes Lanley lugging a suitcase full of money into a taxi. She wonders that since Lanley was so promoting of the monorail, shouldn't he join people on its first trip? Lanely rudely told her he had a plane to catch. After the first run started, the monorail's throttle broke and its brakes failed, leaving the monorail speeding out of control. The label for the Springfield Monorail also peeled off, revealing it had been previously been used for the 1964 World's Fair.

When Marge returns to Springfield with Sebastian Cobb, they and Lisa try to help Homer by using the main control towers for the monorail. However, Homer finds everything to be shoddy, even the brakes. Homer saved the day when Cobb suggests that he uses an anchor. He took the "M" from the "Monorail" sign and used it as an improvised anchor with a rope, embedding it in a giant metal donut atop a donut shop and stopping the monorail without serious injury to the passengers.

Lyle Lanley

Lanley, meanwhile, boarded a plane for Tahiti, looking forward to his retirement. His plans went awry, however, when his flight made an unscheduled stop in North Haverbrook, one of his previous monorail "mark" towns. Apparently tipped off to Lanley's presence by Marge and/or Cobb, a mob of angry locals stormed the plane and attacked him off-screen. Blows can be heard landing and Lanley was heard screaming as the plane was seen rocking back and forth.[1] Given the fact that Lanley has made no further canonical appearances so far since the comeuppance, not to mention the locals were carrying all manners of lethal weapons like knifes or sickles, it's likely that he was lynched by this mob, if he wasn't handed over to the authorities.

The Simpsons later watched a home video of him because they were showing clips of songs and that video contained his song, Monorail.[2]

Victims[]

  • North Haverbrook (Some time after Lyle Lanley was attacked and beaten on the plane, the town recovered from the monorail disaster[3].)
  • Ogdenville
  • Brockway
  • Springfield (Disaster was averted when monorail conductor Homer Simpson stopped the monorail using an improvised anchor and Marge catching on to his true motives)

Trivia[]

  • In costume and motivation, he is very similar to Harold Hill in the musical The Music Man, not to mention the fact he talks in song. The main difference, however, is that Harold Hill is the main protagonist and actually changes his ways for the better, while Lyle Lanley was a villain throughout the episode.

Appearances[]

Citations[]

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