James L. Brooks created the production company with the help of 20th Century Fox in 1986, which was named after the comedian Gracie Allen. The company was established to "provide real writers with a vehicle to get their movies made". Through the company, Brooks gave The Simpsons free rein when it came to writing the series, as he firmly believed they were the most important part of the process. Indie, Inc described it as "James L. Brooks and Polly Platt's production company, Gracie Films, which had a relationship with Columbia."
Simpsons Confidential said that "It's important to note that in the legal battles over The Simpsons, it was Fox that was being sued, not Gracie Films".
Beyond Monopoly also said that "FOX and Gracie Films (co-producers of the series [The Simpsons] have paid to every phase of the show's international distribution".Since When Is Fran Drescher Jewish? explained: "In Italy, in particular, Gracie Films has worked in collaboration with Mediaset (the local distributor of The Simpsons) to find voices for dubbing that would match those of the original American actors as closely as possible."
The Gracie Films animation depicts whispering and even noisy movie patrons in a theater being shushed by a woman so the company's name accompanied by music and a blue background can be seen and heard.
Some special versions of the company's animation were made to fit episodes of shows like The Simpsons, for example playing the jingle in a minor key with a pipe organ, and replacing the hush with a scream in the Treehouse of Horror anthology specials. Often, dialogue from characters can be heard during the animation, sometimes in response to the shushing.