Bret Hart appeared in a classic episode of The Simpsons. He appeared in the 1997 episodes “The Old Man and the Lisa” (Season 8, Episode 21), voicing himself as Bret “The Hitman” Hart as he purchased Mr Burns mansion when the erratic billionaire lost all his money and was forced into bankruptcy.
However, Bret Hart’s The Simpson’s appearance left fans confused as his character sounded very little like himself. While some fans thought that he did not voice himself at all, it later came out that the story of his appearance on the long running TV Show was much more interesting than first thought.
The Simpsons Team Originally Didn’t Want Bret Hart As Himself
In a 2009 interview that the AV Club‘s Dave Hofer conducted with Hart, The Hitman revealed that he was originally approached for the role as a generic wrestler and not the iconic “Bret Hart” character that fans had grown to love.
Instead, The Simpsons producers prefered the Canadian grappler to portray a generic wrestler, which Hart has on seperate occasion called “The Mad Russian” or “The Mad Viking”. He was told that the only option was to portray this character in his brief scene with Mr Burns and that it was a “take it or leave it” offer.
Wanting to be a part of such a huge TV show, he agreed. He performed the character the best he could. He spent a few minutes performing the character in a distinct American accent which differed from his usual Canadian voice. This was an odd decision by The Simpsons but one the Hitman took in his stride.
“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!
Bret Hart was drawn in the Simpsons after an interaction with fans
While Bret Hart was meant to portray a wholly fictionalised wrestler in The Simpsons, it took an interaction with fans after he had finished recording his lines to finally convince the writers to let him appear in the show as “The Hitman”.
In the same interview as previously reference, Hart claimed that after his recording, he waited for his limo whilst signing autographs for fans. He stood for 45 minutes while attending to hoards of screaming fans, something which was not missed by the executives he had just been working with.
After seeing just how popular he was, The Simpsons writers immediately informed Bret Hart that his The Simpson’s character was now going to be based on himself, admitting they were not quite sure just how famous he was in the United States
“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!”
Bret Hart appeared in The Simpson’s in 1997, during which time he was the WWE Champion. He would leave the company later that to join WCW and was the subject of the controversial Montreal Screwjob.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.