Running from September 1990 to May 1996, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air is one of televisions most legendary shows. Loved by people of all ages and generations, the show continues to grow its fan base today, through syndication.
Check out to these facts about The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.
42. Timing Is Everything
Will Smith was saved from bankruptcy by the show. The IRS forcefully took 70% of his salary during the first 3 seasons. Pay your taxes, folks.
41. The Ol’ Switcheroo
The location of the house shown in the intro and throughout the series is actually in Brentwood, California. Can’t lie, the Fresh Prince Of Brentwood doesn’t have quite the same ring…
Will received 2 Golden Globe nominations for his role in Fresh Prince.
39. It’s Over
At the request of Smith himself, the show ended in 1996, after 6 seasons.
38. Love Of My Life
Will met his future wife, Jada Pinkett, during an audition she had for one of his on-screen girlfriends. She didn’t get the role. She definitely won in the end.
37. You Get A Room, And You Get A Room!
Will gifted the entire cast new dressing rooms during filming in 1995.
36. I Guess That Works
The butler, Geoffrey’s last name in the show was actually Butler. Why they had to play him like that?
35. That’s My Mama
Actress Janet Hubert played Aunt Viv for the first three seasons, while Daphne Reid took over during the last three.
34. Just In Case
The finale episodes of seasons three, four and five were all written to be potential ends to the series. Writers did not know at the time of writing whether the show would be back or not. The finale of season six was written with full knowledge that the show was ending.
33. I Only Make Hits
Quincy Jones is the producer on Fresh Prince. He is also the producer behind Michael Jackson’s mega-hit “Thriller”.
32. Take The Wheel
Though many claim that Quincy Jones plays the cab driver in the show’s opening song, official sources state that it is not Quincy. He’s rolling in too much Hollywood money to need to be a fake cabbie.
31. Too Many Names
Nicky, Will’s cousin on the show, was given the on-air middle name ‘Nathan-Michael-Shawn-Wanya”. These are the first names of each member of Boyz II Men. Say that 10 times fast.
30. I See What You Did There
Uncle Phil played a lawyer in the show for a firm called Firth, Wynn And Meyer. This was a play on the musical group, Earth Wind And Fire.
29. Memorable Appearances
Some of the more notable guest stars to appear on Fresh Prince include: Oprah, Jay Leno, Tyra Banks, Queen Latifah, Don Cheadle and Evander Holyfield.
28. Get Together
The cast held reunion specials in 2005 and 2011. Janet Hubert was not invited.
The on-air friendship between Will and Jazzy Jeff was based off their real-life friendship, which started years before the show as a hip-hop duo.
26. Money Maker
Since the shows end, Will went on to become a box-office hit. He grossed $624 million in 2012 alone.
James Avery went on to star in shows like NYPD Blue and Grey’s Anatomy. He tragically passed away on December 31st, 2013. He was so many peoples favourite TV uncle.
24. Keep A Tune
Tatyana Ali, who played Ashley, went on to release a musical album in 1998. It was called “Kiss The Sky” and went gold.
23. Fresh Prints
Daphne Maxwell-Reid went on to…. wait for it…. take pictures of doors around the world. No joke, look it up.
22. Whose Line Is It Anyway
Will Smith can sometimes be seen on film mouthing other actor’s lines. He did this to help remember his own lines while filming.
21. Spin Doctor
Jazzy Jeff is still an active DJ and has over 30 releases to his name.
20. For The Real Fans
Having been cut down for the show’s intro, the full theme song is actually 3 minutes in length. The YouTube video for it only has 11 million hits, compared to the 25+ million for the shortened version. Jimmy Fallon’s version has 11.5 million views.
19. We Get It
“Bel-Air” was referenced in the show intro a total of 6 times. In case you didn’t know where he was going.
18. Be Careful Where You Sing
An American school was put on lockdown in 2013 when a faculty member misheard the show’s lyrics “Shootin’ some b-ball outside of the school” on a student’s voicemail. How times have changed.
17. For Old Times Sake
British talk show host Graham Norton was able to convince Will Smith to sing the Fresh Prince theme song on his show twice.
Will Smith had only one acting credit before signing on to Fresh prince. He claims to have cringed any time he would playback the first few seasons. Confidence is king, people.
15. Right In The Feels
One of the show’s most iconic scenes takes place at the end of the episode “Papa’s Got A Brand New Excuse”. The episode deals with Will’s on-screen biological father coming back into his life, only to quickly abandon him again. In the famous scene, Will actually went off-script and tapped into his own similar real-life experiences to deliver one of the most heartfelt speeches in TV history. It was so moving that audience members could be heard crying off camera.
14. Fancy Footwork
Actress Courtney Cox’s dancing from the Bruce Springsteen video “Dancing In The Dark” and an Eddie Murphy sketch about how white people dance inspired the show’s famous “Carlton Dance”.
13. Choose Wisely
Both Will and Alfonso Ribeiro were allowed to choose their character’s names for the show. Alfonso warned Will to pick carefully because if the show was successful, people might call him that name for the rest of his career. Will picked his own name, while Alfonso went with Carlton.
12. Most Important Meal Of The Day
A breakfast cereal in 1993 offered breakfast with the cast of Fresh Prince as a prize. If I had known this then, I would never have skipped the meal so regularly.
11. Just Dance
In an attempt to break the world record for largest simultaneous flash mob, Alfonso Ribeiro led a large group of Los Angeles citizens in the “Carlton Dance”. The dance took place across hundreds of North American cities and was sponsored by an ad firm. Bonus fact, I’ve been doing the dance while writing this list.
10. Can’t Keep Us Down
NBC, the network behind Fresh Prince, cancelled the show after its fourth season. There was enough backlash from rabid fans that NBC renewed the show for two more seasons.
9. Not For Your Eyes
The cast and crew shared a diary they kept hidden in a drawer on the kitchen TV set. Anyone could write notes in it at their leisure, and some even wrote gossip about other stars. It is now in the hands of Karyn Parsons (Hillary). This is the ultimate collectors item.
There was an episode in which Will interviews at Princeton University and impresses the dean by solving a Rubik’s Cube. This is in actuality a real-life talent of his and Smith has shown off his skill in multiple talk shows and movies. My talent is that I can spell Rubik’s Cube.
Both Will and Alfonso tried their hand at other off-camera roles. Will wrote an episode in season three and Alfonso directed one in season five.
6. On A Serious Note
The writers of Fresh Prince were encouraged to write scripts that dealt with more serious subject matter. This came from Will, who was inspired by the emotional moments in the show, ‘Roseanne’.
5. Drama On The Set
On set, Will and Aunt Viv had a loving relationship, but most fans don’t realize that the actress, Janet Hubert, was actually not well liked by the cast. She was even fired at Will’s request.
4. We’re Special
James Avery, Karyn Parsons and Will Smith were the only cast members to appear in every episode of Fresh Prince. Teacher’s pets.
3. Fresh Kicks
Will famously wore Air Jordan basketball shoes throughout the show’s six seasons. Eventually, the show got its own model in the Air Jordan 5 Bel Air. A real pair will cost you upwards of $600 today, if you’re wondering what to get me for Christmas.
2. One Take
Due to the high cost of on-location filming, the famous scenes where Jazzy Jeff is thrown out of the mansion were actually a recycled shot. They filmed this scene one time and Jeff wears the same shirt in any episode where he is thrown out for continuity reasons.
Will Smith never auditioned for his role. He was chosen to play the lead by Quincy Jones himself.