Fresh prince of Bel Air (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), the legendary series starring Will Smith, aired on September 10, 1990. Even 30 years after its debut, the production is very popular with audiences and was responsible for introducing talent beyond newcomer Will, such as Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton) , Tatyana Ali (Ashley), among others.
Check out 21 fun facts about the series, below;
1. Will Smith shares his real name with the character thanks to Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton)
Will and Alfonso. (Source: Entertainment Weekly/Reproduction)Fonte: Entertainment Weekly
The idea of sharing Will’s name with the character came from Alfonso Ribeiro, Carlton, as Will was already a well-known rapper at the time and the public would recognize him. In an interview with the Snapchat board “Will From Home”, Ribeiro and Smith recalled the moment.
“We talked and I said: ‘Look, if you’re going to do this show, it has to be Will Smith”, remembers Ribeiro. “It was such a profound insight that you had, you said, ‘Because people are going to call you that for the rest of your life,’” Smith added in the episode that aired in 2020.
2. Will Smith wrote the opening in less than 15 minutes
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, DJ Jazzy Jeff, who formed the hip-hop duo with Will, said the process was quick since the concept behind Fresh prince of Bel Air it was clear. In a few minutes Will would have written the lyrics and 15 minutes later the song was already recorded in the studio.
3. Will Smith (today) is older than Uncle Phil (James Avery) was when Fresh prince of Bel Air debuted
James and Will. (Source: Hello Giggles/Reproduction)Fonte: Hello Giggles
Actor James Avery was 45 years old when he began recording the role of Uncle Phil in the series, while Will Smith is 53 today.
4. Will and Jada Smith met on set recordings of the series
Will and Jada met in 1994 on the recording set when Jada auditioned for the role of Lisa (Nia Long), Will’s girlfriend on the series, but was not cast. They were married in 1997 and had two children: Jaden Smith and Willow Smith.
5. The driver of the opening taxi was Quincy Jones
Will and Quincy Jones. (Source: Marathon Pop/Reproduction)Fonte: Maratonando Pop
Quincy Jones, the show’s legendary producer and responsible for Michael Jackson’s Thriller, is the taxi driver who appears at the show’s opening.
6. The series was renewed because of the fans
The series was canceled in 1994, when Will returned to Philadelphia. However, after a flurry of fan letters requesting a return, sent to both the network and Will, NBC decided to renew it for two more seasons.
7. The Banks family home shown in the opening is not in Bel-Air
(Source: Forbes/Reproduction)Source: Forbes
The famous white mansion of the Banks family that appears at the opening, is not located in the luxurious Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, but in Brentwood, a city that is close to California.
8. Will memorized the entire script at the beginning of the series
Will Smith memorized the entire script at the beginning of the series, and it is possible to see in the first episodes he muttering the speech of other characters.
9. The series house was already available on Airbnb
(Source: Forbes/Reproduction)Source: Forbes
To celebrate 30 years of the series, Will Smith in partnership with Airbnb and the current owners of the mansion made available for five days, people to rent one of the rooms for just US$30, about R$166 at current prices.
10. The series was created by a woman
Susan Stevenson Borowitz was the author of the comic novel, sharing the creation with her then-husband Andy Borowitz. Susan and Andy co-created and produced other television comedies. Today she is dedicated to telling stories through photography.
11. Jazz was only thrown from the house once
Every time Jazz is played outside the mansion, the scene played is the same. Since the scene required a lot of takes and was hurting Townes’ (Jazz) body, the production decided to use the same scene. You can tell that no matter what Jazz outfit he’s wearing, when he’s played, he’s always wearing the same shirt.
12. Conflicts between Will and Ashley
Tatyana M. Ali (Ashley) confessed that Will’s lack of acting talent at the beginning of the recordings bothered his co-workers and that, at times, this was a reason for conflict between the two.
13. Only 4 characters are present in all episodes of the series
They are: Will Smith, the protagonist of the series, Alfonso Ribeiro, who plays Carlton Banks, James Avery as Uncle Phil and Karyn Parsons, as Hilary.
14. Film set diary
(Source: Getty Images/Made By Them/Reproduction)Fonte: Getty Images
There was a diary on the film set, kept by the cast and production crew, in which they wrote silly poems or lines like “James is getting on my nerves.” According to Karyn Parsons (Hilary), she took the notebook home and uses it as a memory for James Avery (Uncle Phil), who played her character’s father.
15. Problems with the Internal Revenue Service
Will Smith was a rapper known as Fresh Prince and the series was made just for him. However, the main reason he accepted was his problems with the US Internal Revenue Service, which even confiscated 70% of the salary received by Will to pay back taxes.
16. Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian’s actors didn’t know Will
(Source: Be Creative/Reproduction)Source: Be Creative
Will was already a well-known rapper before the series, but the actors who played Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian had no idea who he was.
17. Karyn Parsons (Hilary) wasn’t sure the show would be successful.
The actress who played Hilary kept her job as a waitress until she was sure the show would be successful.
18. Will and Jazz’s greeting
Will and Jazz were an off-screen hip-hop duo and it was during their tour that a replacement dancer created their compliment, which was added to the program later.
19. Tribute to the band Earth, Wind & Fire
In reference to the music group Earth, Wind & Fire, Uncle Phil’s law firm is called Firth, Wynn and Meyer.
20. Daphne Maxwell Reid (Aunt Vivian) and her work “Fresh Prints”
The actress who played Aunt Vivian is a photographer and calls her work “Fresh Prints” in honor of the show’s original name The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
21. Carlton’s dance is inspired by a Bruce Springsteen and Courtney Cox dance
Alfonso, interpreter of the Carlton character, said her famous dance was inspired by a video by Bruce Springsteen and Courtney Cox called “Dancing in the Dark”, in which Bruce pulls her onto the stage and “she basically dances”. He admits yet another inspiration was Eddie Murphy’s performance in no censorship.