Friday, January 9, 2009
Montgomery Burns Cartoon Gallery
Charles Montgomery "Monty" Burns, usually referred to as Mr. Burns, is a recurring fictional character and antagonist in the animated television series The Simpsons, who is voiced by Harry Shearer and previously Christopher Collins. Mr. Burns is the often antagonistic owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and Homer Simpson's boss. He is attended to at almost all times by Waylon Smithers, his loyal and sycophantic aide, advisor, confidant and secret admirer.
Although he was originally designed as a one-dimensional, recurring villain who might occasionally enter the Simpsons' lives and wreak some sort of havoc, Burns' popularity has led to his repeated inclusion on the show. He embodies a number of characteristics about Corporate America, as he has an unquenchable desire to increase his own wealth and power. Mr. Burns also embodies the stereotype of a manager: he forgets his employees' names (especially Homer, despite the fact that they seem to interact on a daily basis) and is unconcerned for their safety and well-being. His age provides the writers a character with which to express dated humor and references to popular culture before the 1950s. His aspirations to apply obsolete technology to everyday life or references to Victorian era people or places provide a common source of humor on the show.
His trademark expression is the word "Excellent", muttered slowly in a low, sinister voice while tenting his fingertips. He also frequently orders Smithers to "release the hounds", resulting in his vicious guard dogs attacking any intruders or enemies. Mr. Burns is Springfield's richest and most powerful citizen; within the show his current net worth is $996 million. He uses his power and wealth to do whatever he wants, usually without regard for consequences and without interference from the authorities. These qualities led Wizard Magazine to rate him the 45th greatest villain of all time.
Burns's character, appearance, and mannerisms are based on several different persons. The show's creator Matt Groening principally based Burns on Fredrik Olsen, a reclusive Norwegian shipping magnate and the owner of Timex. Drawing further inspiration from oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller and fictional character Henry Potter from It's a Wonderful Life, Groening made Burns the "embodiment of corporate greed".
Animator David Silverman parodied Burns's appearance on Fox founder Barry Diller, and modeled his body on a praying mantis. The idea of Burns reading employee names off cards in "There's No Disgrace Like Home" came from an article about Ronald Reagan that writer Al Jean had read. In some episodes, parallels have been drawn between Burns and moguls such as Howard Hughes and, more frequently, fictional character Charles Foster Kane from Citizen Kane. Writer George Meyer lifted Burns's "Excellent!" hand gesture from his former Saturday Night Live colleague Jim Downey.
Matt Groening got Burns's middle name from a Montgomery Ward department store in Portland, Oregon's Northwest Industrial district and his surname from Burnside Street, a main thoroughfare in downtown Portland. Burns's first name being Charles is a reference to Charles Foster Kane. In the script for "There's No Disgrace Like Home", Al Jean and Mike Reiss referred to him as "Mr. Meanie".
In the second season, the writers started to enjoy writing about Smithers and Burns's relationship, and they often pitched episodes with them as the focus, but many never came to fruition. (Wikipedia)