The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air is a TV classic, but there’s a few things you might not have known about the show.
Will Smith only ended up in the show because he was in serious debt.
Will Smith was a rapper before appearing in the show, and while he was successful, he wasn’t too smart with his money and ended up owing £2.8 million in taxes. He almost declared bankruptcy before Quincy Jones picked him up and The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air was created.
He had to pay up.
The IRS made him repay 70% of his debt over the first three seasons.
He couldn’t actually act.
Having only appeared in one previous TV show, in a tiny role, Will Smith was a total amateur when it came to acting, and he hated himself for it.
I was trying so hard.
I would memorize the entire script, then I’d be lipping everybody’s lines while they were talking. When I watch those episodes, it’s disgusting.
My performances were horrible.
The house you see in the intro isn’t actually in Bel-Air.
It’s in a nearby and similarly rich area. It’s 251 N. Bristol Avenue in Brentwood… If you happen to be passing.
Tyra Banks made her acting debut on the show.
Geoffrey the butler does have a surname.
It’s Butler. Yes, really.
Carlton’s dance was inspired by Eddie Murphy and Courtney Cox.
Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton, said:
There was a video of Bruce Springsteen and Courteney Cox called ‘Dancing in the Dark,’ and Bruce Springsteen pulls her up onto the stage and she basically does that dance.
And it was also from Eddie Murphy’s Delirious comedy video where he does ‘the white man dance.’ What I did was ultimately take those two dances and combined them and made it my own, and made it my character’s.
Nicky’s full name was influenced by Boyz II Men.
Nicky came into the show in season three. His full name is Nicholas Andrew Michael Shawn Nathan Wanya Banks. And Boyz II Men’s names? Michael, Shawn, Nathan, and Wanya. Obviously.
In season four, they performed at Nicky’s christening.
Will Smith met his wife, Jada Pinkett, at the show’s auditions.
She auditioned for the role of Will’s on-screen girlfriend, and didn’t get the part. She landed the role off-screen, though, and they married in 1997.
Two different actresses have played Aunt Vivian.
It’s not the biggest of secrets, especially if you’ve got a keen eye, but they changed actresses after the third series.
Will Smith helped write a lot of storylines.
As well as being the star of the show, Will Smith also contributed to the storylines, and was actually the producer on a few episodes.
Loads of famous people appeared in it.
Hugh Hefner even made an appearance.
The show was actually cancelled.
NBC cancelled the show in it’s fourth season, which is why Will leaves to go back to Philadelphia in the finale. Fans kicked off, though, and it got brought back for another two series’.
Each cast member kept a ‘diary’.
Karyn Parsons, who played Hilary Bank told ABC News that there was a book in the drawer in the kitchen on set:
Every now and then a camera person or the actors, somebody would just write silly poetry or ‘James is getting on my nerves’.
We would make little notes, so I took that. I need to pull that out, especially now that James has passed, because I know he’s written in there. I know he was written about.
It’d be funny to see what’s written in the book, hopefully it will surface soon!
The iconic theme song cause a school lockdown.
This is ridiculous…
In 2013, a school receptionist from Ambridge Area High School in Pennsylvania called a pupil to remind him of an appointment that he had. It went to voicemail, and his answer message was him imitating the Fresh Prince theme tune. The receptionist thought he said “shooting some people outside of the school”. The school was locked down, and the police were involved. They arrested the kid, before later releasing him without charge. Brilliant.
You actually can’t get the soundtrack.
Yeah, you might have the theme tune on your laptop from the Limewire days, but you probably don’t have an original copy of the soundtrack. It was only originally released in Holland, where the extended remixed version reached number 3 in 1992. Weird.
The cabbie ISN’T Quincy Jones.
The fella driving the cab in the intro is listed online, including IMDB, as being the show’s producer. But his daughter came out saying that it wasn’t him, and that he had a car accident at 14 which has meant he’s never learned to drive.
Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay love the show.
In August 2012, the Fresh Prince officially overtook Harry Potter as the viewing of choice in the prison.
It’s been parodied.
The Fresh Pup Of Bel-Air is a real thing. And it’s ace.
They had their own Jordan’s.
Yup. Nike Air Jordan 5 Bel Air’s. They’re not cheap.