“Way back in the pre-call-display 1970s, Jim Davidson and John Elmo repeatedly phoned the owner of the local dive, Louis ‘Red’ Deutsch, asking for pun names like ‘Ben Dover’ and ‘Pepe Roni.’ After polling the bar for the nonexistent patrons, Red would growl elaborately obscene threats at the pranksters — way too vulgar even for the moral cesspool that was ’90s FOX programming.

The pair recorded all their calls on an old Panasonic cassette player, and somehow a copy leaked. What would became known as ‘The Tube Tapes’ began to circulate, eventually turning into a cult phenomenon.

Groening confessed to being a fan of the tapes, but cagily hesitated from citing them as a direct inspiration”