You know how Fox has a weird way of counting Simpsons episodes? They refuse to count a couple of them, making the amount of episodes inconsistent. The reason for this is a lost episode from season one.
Finding details about this missing episode is difficult; no one who was working on the show at the time likes to talk about it. From what has been pieced together, the lost episode was written entirely by Matt Groening. During production of the first season, Matt started to act strangely. He was very quiet, seemingly nervous and morbid. Mentioning this to anyone who was present results in them getting very angry. They forbid you to ever mention it to Matt.
I first heard of it at an event where David Silverman was speaking. Someone in the crowed asked about the episode and Silverman left the stage, ending the presentation hours early. The episode's production number was 7G06, with the title being Dead Bart. The episode "Moaning Lisa" was made later and given Dead Bart's production code to hide the latter's existence.
I kept looking for more information online and I eventually found someone who claimed to have worked in a low-level position on the Simpsons' production team. He said he found a copy of the episode on tape while cleaning out an old desk. His supervisor freaked out and told him to destroy the tape immediately, but made a digital copy of it first. He refused to discuss any details of the episode, but after I bugged him about it enough, he gave me a link and said I could download the episode there.
I went to the website, but I would rather not tell the URL for reasons I'll explain in a second. I entered the address into my browser and came to a site that was completely black except for a line of yellow text (a download link). I clicked the link and a file began to download. When the file was downloaded, my computer went crazy. Almost all text was scrambled into gibberish and weird sounds and images kept popping up. System restore didn't help; the entire computer had to be reformatted. However, before doing this, I copied the file onto a CD. I tried to open it on my now-empty computer and, as I suspected, there was an episode of the Simpsons on it.
The episode started off like any other, but had very poor quality animation. If you've seen the original animation for Some Enchanted Evening, it was similar but less stable. The first part was fairly normal, but the way the characters acted was a bit off. Homer seemed angrier, Marge seemed depressed, Lisa seemed anxious, and Bart seemed to have genuine anger and hatred for his parents. There was no sign of Maggie or the pets.
The episode was about the family going on a trip. Near the end of the first part, the plane they took was taking off. Bart was fooling around, as you'd expect. However, as the plane was about 50 feet off the ground, Bart broke a window and was sucked out of the plane.
At the beginning of the series, Matt had an idea that the animated style of the Simpsons' world represented life and that death turned things more realistic. This was used in the episode. When they showed Bart after he landed on the ground, his corpse was barely recognizeable; they took full advantage of it not having to move and made an almost photo-realistic drawing of his dead body.
The first part ended with the shot of Bart's corpse. When part two started, Homer, Marge, and Lisa were sitting at their kitchen table, crying. The crying went on and on for a while. As time passed, the crying got more pained and sounded more realistic. It was better voice-acting than anyone would think possible. The animation started to decay even more as they cried and a murmuring sound faded into the background. The characters could barely be made out; they were stretching and blurring and looked like deformed shadows with random bright colors thrown on them. There were faces looking in the window, but they were flashing in and out so fast I couldn't be sure what they looked like. This crying scene went on for all of part two.
Part three opened with a title card saying one year had passed. Homer, Marge, and Lisa were skeletally thin and still sitting at the table. There was still no sign of Maggie or the pets.
The family decided to visit Bart's grave. Springfield was completely deserted and, as they walked to the cemetery, the houses became more and more decrepit. They looked abandoned. When they got to the grave, Bart's body was lying in front of his tombstone, looking just like it did at the end of part one.
They started crying again. Eventually, they stopped and stared at Bart's body. The camera zoomed in on Homer's face. According to various summaries, Homer tells a joke at this part. However, it isn't audible in the version I saw and you can't tell what Homer says.
The view zoomed out as the episode came to a close. The tombstones in the background had the names of every Simpsons guest star on them. Some were names of people that no one had heard of in 1989, and some that hadn't been on the show yet. All of the tombstones, however, had death dates on them. For guests who died since their appearance on the show, like Michael Jackson and George Harrison, the dates were their real life death dats. The credits were completely silent and seemed handwritten. The final image was the Simpsons family on their couch, like in the intros, but all drawn in the hyper-realistic, lifeless style of Bart's corpse.
A thought occurred to me after seeing the episode for the first time: you could try to use the tombstones to predict the death of living Simpsons guest stars. However, there's something odd about most of the ones who haven't died yet. All of their deaths are listed as the same date.(This story is credited to a person called KI Simpson. Also, click here to read the update to this story.)