BRISTOL BITS: 'Simpsons' writer Reiss offers insider's view in new book

Published on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 21:23
Written by Bob Montgomery

Bristol native Mike Reiss has penned a book entitled, “Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets and Outright Lies From a Lifetime of Writing for The Simpsons.”

The 58-year-old, who works out of his office in New York City, has been with the TV series for 30 years. The series is the longest running of all time, recently surpassing “Gunsmoke,” and that’s quite something.

The book, which came out a week ago Tuesday, will give readers background on the show, such as the history behind the names of its characters and other funny “stuff” the Bristol native has weaved in.

When it all started 30 years ago, Mike, who had written for several well-known TV shows, thought “The Simpsons” would have a short life. However, his humor and that of the other writers for the show - and there have been many, including some young writers in their 20s today - have pecked away in keeping Homer Simpson and family entertaining the masses.

The book, written with the well-known Mathew Klickstein, a journalist, screenwriter, author and playwright, includes a foreword by Judd Apatow, a stand-up comedian also known for his work as producer, writer and director.

The book is published by HarperCollins and can be purchased at

Mike will be at the Mark Twain House in Hartford on July 26, talking about the book and career.

Pete Lis

A high school classmate of mine, Pete is expected to be among panel members Thursday night when the Bristol Historical Society hosts a history of WBIS, the former radio station in downtown Bristol and later located on Route 6.

I recall Pete having his first program at the station while in high school and it was quite cool. Of course, Pete still is. You may recall him as a basketball player for Bristol Eastern before going onto a career in broadcasting.

I’m also looking forward to listening to Don Goranson. Don was one year ahead of us at Bristol Eastern and at one time was the editor of The Bristol Press under the Barnes family ownership.

Barnes documentary

I hope a lot of folks were able to watch the CPTV documentary on the Barnes Group last night. There were a number of familiar faces on the screen from Bristol, those who have worked for the manufacturing firm.

Carol Koboski

Carol McCarthy Koboski, a former circulation director of The Bristol Press, wanted me to share some of her thoughts regarding Flag Day and those who are fathers, both veterans and non-veterans. These are precious individuals whom we must always remember and keep in our prayers and hearts.

Rewind 1942

Johnny Utke, a basketball and baseball standout for Bristol High, was 19 years old and working at New Departure when he had a tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers. I don’t know what became of any possible career - I don’t think he had one in baseball - but high school coach Tommy M. Monahan at the time had pegged him as the best baseball player from Bristol in the last 10 years.

Perhaps one of our older readers can give me more information on the lad.

Johnny was the younger brother of Walt Utke, a standout baseball and basketball player for Monahan as a member of the Class of 1934 at Bristol High. Utke went on to umpire sports and has been inducted into the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame.

The Utke name doesn’t stop there. Rick Utke, Walter’s son, was a classmate of mine at Bristol Eastern in 1963.

Rick, now a longtime Georgia resident, held the city mark in the 200 meters for several decades and would have had a shot at the Olympics if things had turned out better for him. He had the potential.

Write Bob Montgomery, c/o The Bristol Press, 188 Main St., Bristol, CT 06010. Call 860-973-1808 or email

Posted in The Bristol Press, Arts, Bristol on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 21:23. Updated: Tuesday, 19 June 2018 21:25.