April 19, 1987: The Simpsons is broadcast for the first time as a one-minute short animation on The Tracey Ullman Show. Creator Matt Groening named the characters after members of his own family, replacing his own name with that of Bart. Forty eight shorts were made over two and a half years before the show became a half-hour prime time hit for the Fox network. The Simpsons will enter its 23rd season in September 2011 and add to the 482 episodes already produced. It is recognised by Guinness World Records as the longest running sitcom in terms of the number of episodes made.
Also on April 19: Captain James Cook catches sight of Australia for the first time (1770); Belgium is recognised as an independent state (1839); Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco (1956)
Born on April 19: Eliot Ness (1903), Dudley Moore (1935), Maria Sharapova (1987)