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The Tracey Ullman Show was a weekly American television variety show, hosted by British comedian and one-time pop singer Tracey Ullman. It was also produced by Simpsons co-producer James L. Brooks, and co-written by 1989-1994 Simpsons executive producer Sam Simon. It debuted on April 5, 1987 as the FOX network's second prime-time series and ran until May 26, 1990. The show featured sketch comedy, which included Simpsons voices Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner in live-action roles, along with many musical numbers, featuring Emmy Award-winning choreography by Paula Abdul.

The Simpsons

Simpson Family as they originally appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show

The Simpsons first appeared as short vignettes on The Tracey Ullman Show. These cartoon shorts acted as bumpers that are shown before and after commercials. The shorts were written by Matt Groening and animated at Klasky-Csupo by a team consisting of David Silverman, Bill Kopp and Wes Archer (in the later seasons, the shorts were animated by Silverman and Archer) Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith and Julie Kavner provided the voices of characters Homer Simpson, Bart Simpson, Lisa Simpson, and Marge Simpson.

The characters were crudely drawn because Matt Groening assumed that the animators would clean them up after he submitted the rough sketches to them. Instead, the animators simply traced over the sketches.

The first short, Good Night, was aired on April 19, 1987. Later, the shorts were given their own segment on the show before the cartoon was developed into a 30 minute TV animated spin-off in 1989.