Like any television show or movie, Matt Groening's Futurama is not without its tidbits of little-known trivia. In this installment from Top10Archive, we will take a look at the popular animated series and some of the series' quirky little facts.
Bender has the same Microprocessor as the Original Nintendo and the Terminator
The original Nintendo Entertainment System, the NES, utilized a 8-bit microprocessor MOS Technology 6502 designed in 1975 by Chuck Peddle and Bill Mensch. In the Futurama episode “Fry and the Slurm Factory”, it is revealed that the brain of the industrial robot, Bender, runs off of the same processor. Looking at the history of the 6502, the little device has quite the repertoire, having been used to power both the T-800 Terminator and the original Nintendo Entertainment System. That’s a lot of punch for a processor that’s almost 40-years old.
In “The Prisoner of Benda”, the Mathematical Theorem For Body Switching is Real
Sometimes, it pays to have a well educated individual on staff for a show as silly as Futurama. In the episode “The Prisoner of Benda”, the shows script writers needed a formula that would revolve around the concept of mind-switching, but a random series of numbers and letters just wouldn’t cut it. Enter writer Ken Keeler, who holds a PhD in applied mathematics. To make the formula accurate, Keeler created a real life theorem that proves that, despite the number of times a mind switch has been done between two bodies, the minds can be restored to their original bodies using only two extra people. Confused yet?
Alien Language Changed Occasionally
Some easter eggs are meant to give fans something to accomplish – such is the case with Alienese, the alien language that shows up in episodes of Futurama. The in-joke was created to see how fast fans could decipher it. The first iteration of the language was solved pretty easily, being a simple substitution cipher where one symbol corresponds directly to a specific letter. The second language proved to be more of a challenge, being a variation of autokey ciphering. Despite the difficulty of this system, fans were able to figure out the numerical puzzle and crack the code. Good job fanboy’s and fangirl’s.
There is a Full Episode of Everybody Loves Hypnotoad (hip-no-toad) Available to View
The Hypnotoad is a quirky character on Futurama that can hypnotize anything with its oscillating eyes. Part of Hypnotoad’s fame are two shows within Futurama‘s universe, Everybody Loves Hypnotoad and Hypnotoad On Ice. An easter egg on the DVD release of Bender’s Big Score includes a 22-minute long episode of Everybody Loves Hypnotoad. The catch being that the entire 22-minutes is simply Hypnotoad attempting to hypnotize the audience, with establishing shots thrown in to show a “change in scenery” throughout the episode.
Groening had to purchase “30th Century Fox” rights.
At the end of every episode, Futurama is pegged as being produced by 30th Century Fox, a future version of the 20th Century Fox we have in the real world. This fictitious future version of Fox almost did not exist in the Futurama realm, as any request Matt Groening made to use the logo was shot down by Fox. Adamant that the logo appear in both televised and film versions of the show, Groening funded the creation of the 30th Century Fox logo on his own. Groening presented it to Fox who eventually approved use of it and reimbursed the series’ creator.
The Idea for Futurama Came to Groening while listening to Robot Blues
While some may expect the idea for Futurama to be rooted in some late 1970’s sci-fi binge watching on Matt Groening’s part, there is actually a surprising origin to the show’s concept. One day, while listening to music, Groening came across a song by the 1960’s psychedelic Scottish folk band, The Incredible String Band, called Robot Blues. The song’s lyrics are quite depressing, following a robot in Robot City that simply wants to be with Robot Number 3, but finds himself unable to do what he must to keep another robot from stealing her away.
Some Characters Are Named After Specific People and Things
Though some of Futurama‘s characters names sound a little made-up and fit the futuristic setting, some of them actually have real origins. Take, for instance, Philip J. Fry. The main character was originally to be named Curtis, but a tragic event in 1998 lead to the change. Actor Phil Hartman, who had worked with Groening before on The Simpsons, was slated to voice Zap Brannigan, a role eventually given to Billy West. After his death, Fry’s name was changed to honor him. Other origins include Bender, which was an admiration to The Breakfast Club‘s John Bender, Leela’s named from the Fourth Doctor’s companion on Doctor Who, and Zoidbergs origins as an Apple II game designed by co-developer David Cohen in high school.
Al Gore’s daughter, Kristen Gore, Has Written for Futurama
Seeing as how Al Gore has shown up in an episode of Futurama playing his own severed head, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to learn that his daughter, author and screenwriter Kristen Gore, has also penned several episodes in seasons 3 and 4. Kristen was most noted for being the main writer for the episode “Leela’s Homeworld”, which focused heavily on Leela’s absentee parents. The episode was successful enough to make IGN’s list of Top 25 Futurama Episodes of all time.
Futurama titled after World’s Fair Exhibit
Many wonder where the title for “Futurama” came from. It wasn’t some random draw from a hat, though. Futurama stems from a pavilion found at the 1939 New York World’s Fair designed by Normal Bel Geddes which depicted how the world would allegedly look by 1959. The exhibit carted visitors over a massive diorama of miniature highways and towns. Over 500,000 unique miniature homes, 50,000 vehicles, and over a million miniature trees made up this “World of Tomorrow”. Other titles that were considered by Groening for the show included “Aloha, Mars!” and “Doomsville”, which were uniformly rejected by all associated with the project.
Philip J. Fry’s Voice Actor Has Quite the Filmography
Futurama’s lead character, Philip J. Fry, may have a very distinguishable voice, but the actor behind the lovable character can be heard over many different mediums. Voice actor Billy West may best be known for his portrayal of Philip J. Fry, but West’s career has included many other recognizable vocals. Included in West’s hundred’s long list of beloved characters are Ren and Stimpy from The Ren and Stimpy Show, Dough Funnie, Porkchop, and Roger Klutz from Doug, the red M&M, and, on Futurama he’s known for also voicing Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, and Zap Brannigan.