I tried to enroll in school, but your Principal Skinner turned me away because of my shabby clothes. — “Timmy O’Toole”, “Radio Bart”
Timmy O’Toole’s ill-considered trip down the well is based on a similarly subterranean fishing expedition made by toddler Jessica McClure back in 1987.
Jessica (pictured above post-fall, with a scar visible from a scrape sustained in her rescue) became a media sensation when she tumbled down an eight-inch-wide abandoned well casing in her backyard in Midland, Texas.
As in the Simpsons ep, her rescue was effected by digging a tunnel parallel to the well shaft and then slowly digging horizontally to free her as she hung out in the dark without food and water (which would have aggravated any internal injuries she might have picked up in the fall) for 58 hours. But then: light.
Ultimately, Jessica turned to be pretty much fine, merely sustaining an amputated toe and the aforementioned scar throughout the ordeal. Today, she is alive and well, and enriched by a $800k trust fund that donors built up for her during her time underground. Unsure if she got a cut of the revenues from the ensuing TV movie adaptation of the episode, which I was not expecting to feature a young Will Oldham.