16 ‘King Of The Hill’ Facts Even More Interesting Than Propane And Propane Accessories

King of the Hill may be on one of TVs most unexpected successes. The show follows Hank Hill and his family as they live their mundane, everyday life in Arlen, TX. Unlike many other adult animated comedies that came before it or aired since, the plot lines for each episode didn’t set off grand adventures, but rather reveled in the down-to-earth suburban life of Middle America. Much of the show is driven by Hank’s defined moral compass as it’s challenged by minor happenings in his community that force him to become more flexible. Yet, having such an ordinary premise the show continues to garner admiration for it’s writing and harbor a fairly devout cult following.

Over the span of 13 seasons, audiences have been able to see the characters grow and develop, debate their favorite episodes, and even generate some wild fan theories, but often overlook the history of those who worked behind the scenes and brought the story to life. But knowing these facts will make you appreciate the show even more.

1. ‘Lucky’s Wedding Suit’ Was Written As The Series Finale

'Lucky's Wedding Suit' Was Almost The Series Finale

Photo: 20th Television

King of the Hill ended its 13-season run with “To Sirloin With Love,” which aired on Fox on September 13, 2009. In another timeline, though, King of the Hill would have ended two years earlier. Before Fox ordered two more seasons at the last minute, Season 11 was supposed to be the last. This is why “Lucky’s Wedding Suit” feels more like a series finale than your run-of-the-mill season finale.

As Luanne walks down the aisle, a montage of minor and one-off characters – like the social worker from the first episode – plays out. The episode also features callbacks to Season 1 gags, like when Cotton demands a mai tai from Kahn, or when Chuck Mangione plays “Feels So Good” at the wedding.

2. Many Memorable Episodes Were Nearly Retconned As Hallucinations

Some Of The Most Memorable Episodes Were Nearly Retconned

Photo: 20th Television

In the first draft of “Lucky’s Wedding Suit” – originally written as the series finale – Hank and the gang have a conversation that would have suggested some serious retcons. The script, shared via Twitter by King of the Hill writer and executive producer Jim Dauterive, sets the timeline for the series to just one year, beginning when Luanne moves in with the Hills. There is even a line poking fun at the absurd one-year timeline, as Hank says, “Boy, I can’t believe it was just a year ago that Luanne’s mama stabbed her daddy with a fork and she moved into our house. It feels like 10.”

The most interesting aspect of the original draft isn’t the timeline, though – it’s the fact that the retcon apparently would have painted some of the show’s craziest episodes as hallucinations. The events of episodes like “Yankee Hankee,” which revealed Hank was born in New York because his dad wanted to kill Fidel Castro at Yankee Stadium, and “Tankin’ It to the Streets,” the episode in which Bill steals a tank from an army base, would never have happened.

3. Mike Judge Hated The Show’s Venture Into More Surreal Plotlines

The Show Almost Became Too Crazy For Mike Judge

Photo: 20th Television

King of the Hill was sold to Fox as a down-to-earth satire about Middle Americans enjoying their somewhat ordinary lives. But around Season 5, some of the show’s storylines veered into surreal territory. Series co-creator Mike Judge wasn’t happy with some of the characters’ antics, like when Cotton tries to assassinate Fidel Castro, or when Hank becomes a pimp. Season 6 deviated even more from the show’s original slice-of-life format, featuring over-the-top plotlines and punch-down jokes that Judge did not agree with.

For Season 7, longtime writers John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky took over as showrunners. The duo brought King of the Hill back to small, personal stories about everyday people.

4. The Writers Read ‘The Death Of Common Sense’ To Better Understand Hank Hill

To Understand Hank Hill, The Writers Read 'The Death Of Common Sense'

Photo: 20th Television

Even though King of the Hill often pokes fun at Hank’s naiveté, the show champions his simple, no-nonsense perspective on life. To get inside the head of Hank Hill, co-creator Greg Daniels had the writers read The Death of Common Sense.

Written by Georgetown law professor Philip K. Howard, The Death of Common Sense argues that excessive government regulations and the bureaucratic process encumber our ability to get things done. When you look back at classic episodes like the series opener, in which Hank is falsely accused of abusing his son, or “Junkie Business,” in which Hank is forbidden from firing a drug addict because his addiction is considered a disability, the influence becomes clear.

5. There Was Almost A Live-Action Monsignor Martinez Spinoff

Monsignor Martinez Almost Had A Live-Action Spinoff

Photo: 20th Television

Similar to the live-action Krusty the Clown Simpsons spinoff that never took off, King of the Hill almost had a live-action spinoff featuring one of its most infamous characters. In 2000, Fox commissioned a pilot about Monsignor Martinez. The slayer priest is the titular character in a fictional telenovela watched by the Hill family.

The network ultimately passed on the pilot, and the show was shelved. While Fox never offered a reason for declining the spinoff, some suggested Fox wasn’t comfortable with a show about a mercenary priest wasting a bunch of parishioners.

6. Dale Gribble Was Almost Voiced By One Of The Wet Bandits From ‘Home Alone’

Johnny Hardwick Wasn't The Original Choice For Dale Gribble

Photo: 20th Television

It’s impossible to imagine Dale being voiced by anyone but Johnny Hardwick – his manic and deadpan performance is just too perfect for the conspiracy nut. But the role of Dale Gribble was originally offered to the Wet Bandit himself, Daniel Stern of Home Alone fame. When Stern and Fox couldn’t agree on a salary, the search for Dale’s voice continued.

Stephen Root also auditioned for the part, but was cast as Bill Dauterive in the end. Johnny Hardwick was offered the role of Dale Gribble after Greg Daniels, co-creator of King of the Hill, watched him perform a comedy set about his Texan father at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. In interviews, Hardwick cites William S. Burroughs as his inspiration for Dale.

7. Boomhauer’s Voice Was Inspired By An Angry Voicemail

An Angry Voicemail Inspired Boomhauer's Voice

Photo: 20th Television

There are a lot of unique performances on King of the Hill, but the one that arguably takes the cake is Mike Judge’s turn as the incomprehensible fast-talker, Boomhauer. Judge revealed the voice of Boomhauer was inspired by a nonsensical rant he got on his voicemail in regards to his previous show, Beavis and Butt-Head.

The caller, for reasons unknown, kept calling the show Porky’s Butthole.

8. Bill Dauterive Is Based On One Of The Show’s Writers

Photo: 20th Televivsion

There’s more to William Fontaine “Bill” de La Tour Dauterive than meets the eye. He’s named after King of the Hill writer and executive producer Jim Dauterive, who worked on the show from the first episode through its series finale.

Dauterive also developed the Fox animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers with series creator Loren Bouchard. He is still involved with its production.

9. ‘Pigmalion’ Was Too Dark For Fox

'Pigmalion' Was Pushed Back For Being Too Dark

Photo: 20th Television

A good Halloween episode should always be a little creepy, but one King of the Hill Halloween special was so disturbing, it didn’t air until two seasons after its completion. “Pigmalion,” named after the George Bernard Shaw play “Pygmalion,” is considered by many fans to be the darkest episode of the series.

In the episode, Trip Larsen (Michael Keaton), the successful owner of Larsen Pork Products, dates Luanne. As the episode goes on, Trip is revealed to be a manipulative psycho who wants to become a pig from his company’s old ad. At the end of the episode, Trip regains his sanity after getting shocked by one of his slaughterhouse machines – and is eliminated seconds later.

According to the show’s commentary, the episode was written for Season 5, but Fox kept pushing it back for undisclosed reasons – presumably because of its dark content. It eventually aired during Season 7 in 2003.

10. ‘King Of The Hill’ Had A Theatrical Short

Video: YouTube

King of the Hill never got a big-screen movie like Beavis and Butt-Head, but it did receive a theatrical short to help raise funds for the Will Rogers Institute. Wes Archer, an animation director who worked on The Simpsons and King of the Hill, shared a clip of the film on his Instagram account.

The lost King of the Hill clip shows the cast living out just about every movie cliché known to man.

11. Hank Hill Was Pitched As Mr. Anderson’s Son

Photo: 20th Television / Viacom

Anyone who watched Beavis and Butt-Head can see its influence on King of the Hill. Both shows share Mike Judge’s distinctive art style and satirize modern culture through a generational perspective (’90s teens for Beavis and Butt-Head; baby boomers for King of the Hill). One very on-the-nose connection between the two shows is the similarities between Hank Hill and Tom Anderson. Hank and Mr. Anderson are two middle-aged conservative men who share a love of gas. Hank’s a propane man; Mr. Anderson has a fondness for butane.

The two are so alike that Judge considered making Hank Mr. Anderson’s son until Fox turned down the idea. “Originally I was going to have Hank be his son,” Judge told The Seattle Times. “I was kind of thinking we’d tie it into Beavis and Butt-Head as a sort of spinoff or something, but Fox said no.”

12. John Redcorn Had Two Different Voice Actors

John Redcorn Was Played By Two Different Voice Actors

Photo: 20th Television

Comanche actor Jonathan Joss was so good as John Redcorn that it’s easy to forget he wasn’t the original pick for the character. In the first season, Native American actor Victor Aaron of the Yaqui Tribe played the New Age healer.

But then, in 1996, a week before his 40th birthday, Aaron died in a tragic automobile accident. Joss took over the role of John Redcorn in the second season of the show and continued to play him until the series finale.

13. Greg Daniels Hopped On The Show Only After Mike Judge Pitched It

Greg Daniels Hopped On The Show After Mike Judge Pitched It

Photo: 20th Television

While Mike Judge’s satirical talent is evident, King of the Hill would not be the same show without Greg Daniels. Even though Judge had tremendous success with Beavis and Butt-Head on MTV, Fox was still leery of King of the Hill due to its realistic tone and American South setting. To ensure the show’s success, they paired Judge with Daniels, a prime-time writer best known for his work on The Simpsons.

Daniels is responsible for fleshing out Judge’s vision of Arlen, TX. Memorable characters Luanne and Cotton Hill didn’t exist until Daniels came on board. In fact, most of the cast was depicted as “snaggle-toothed hillbillies” until Daniels gave them some needed character depth. Dale Gribble also became a conspiracy theorist at Daniels’s suggestion. Judge was so pleased with Daniels’s contributions to the show that he gave him the title of co-creator.

14. The Creators Of ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Were Assistant Directors On ‘King Of The Hill’

The Creators Of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Worked On The Show

Photo: 20th Television

Before Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko hit it big with the animated Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender, they were playing around in Arlen, TX. The two were assistant directors on King of the Hill.

As DiMartino noted on his blog, he and Konietzko worked on various episodes of King of the Hill, including “Keeping Up With Our Joneses,” “Hilloween,” and “The Buck Stops Here.”

15. Hank Hill Met The Silver Surfer To Promote Fox Kids

Hank Hill Met The Silver Surfer

Photo: 20th Television

It’s easy to forget that King of the Hill was an incredible hit for Fox in its early years. One piece of evidence of its wild success was the fact that the Fox Kids programming block used King of the Hill to promote its Saturday-morning lineup.

One hilarious promo had Hank Hill trying to sell propane to the Silver Surfer.

16. There Was A ‘King Of The Hill’ Music Album

'King Of The Hill' Has Its Own Album

Photo: Elektra/Asylum Records

Michael Jackson may have contributed backing vocals for a song with Bart Simpson, but King of the Hill‘s soundtrack is also nothing short of stellar. In 1999, Asylum Records released a King of the Hill soundtrack album featuring rock and country artists like Willie Nelson, Faith Hill, Sheryl Crow, and Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray.

The album also features a musical parody of Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” called “Mow Against the Grain” and a moving rendition of Red Sovine’s “Teddy Bear” by Mike Judge performing as Hank Hill.