Sep. 10, 1990
30 min.
NBC TV Network

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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air tv show photo

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The Banks family, a respectable Californian family, take in a relative - Will Smith, a street-smart teenager from Philadelphia. The idea is to make him respectable, responsible and mature, but Will has got other plans...

Trivia Facts | Top Quotes | Goofs/Mistakes
  • Will Smith's character name in the show is actually different than in real life. In the show, he is "William" Smith, in real life he's "Willard" Smith. This is referred to when one of Will's girlfriend's father calls him Williard as a joke.
  • SPOILER: Lisa's real name is Beulah.
  • The term "Fresh Prince" in the title is a reference to the stage name used by Will Smith as a rap artist in the 1980s.
  • The character "Philip Banks" was ranked #34 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (June 20, 2004 issue).
  • The address of the Banks' house is 805 St. Cloud Road, Bel Air, California.
  • The part of Aunt Vivian Banks was portrayed by two different actresses during the series run. Janet Hubert-Whitten portrayed the original Vivian during seasons 1-3, but growing problems between Will Smith, the producers, and Hubert-Whitten caused her to depart in 1994. The producers offered Hubert-Whitten a 12/25 contract for season four, but she declined. Daphne Maxwell Reid replaced her in the role from 1994-1996, seasons 4-6.
  • The running gag of the "Carlton Dance" throughout the show was actually a parody of the dance Courteney Cox did on the Bruce Springsteen music video "Dancing in the Dark" in 1984.
  • SPOILER: The show was originally canceled by NBC after the fourth season, with the series finale being the episode where Will moves back to Philadelphia. However, fan reaction and letters written to Will Smith and NBC persuaded them to renew the show and it ended up continuing for two more seasons.
  • May have been the first television series saved from cancellation by pleas from television station managers. The show aired its 1990-1994 episodes in syndication after the fourth season, while running the fifth season on network. At the end of that season, NBC wanted to pull the plug, because the new episodes were getting a mediocre 8.6 rating, but the reruns were drawing a 7.4. The managers of the local stations thought they might have one of those "phenom" series where people religiously watch their favorite episodes and a lot of them. To avoid over-running the shows they already had (about a hundred, already run three times), the station managers agreed to buy the fifth and sixth seasons at a greatly inflated price (adding fifty more shows to their libraries, and helping avoid burning out the audiences) - meaning NBC would NOT lose money by picking up the show after all.
  • In the episode "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (1990) {The Lucky Charm (#1.16)} in season one, we learn that Philip's birthday is January 30th.
  • In the episode "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (1990) {Love Hurts (#5.9)} in season five, we learn that Hilary's birthday is August 18th.
  • Sherman Hemsley appeared as two different characters throughout the show, once as Judge Carl Robertson, and again later playing George Jefferson.
  • Nicky's full name is Nicholas Michael Shawn Nathan Wanya Banks. He is named after the four members of Boyz II Men, after they performed at his christening.
  • Geoffrey's last name is Butler (which matches his occupation) and it's later revealed that his middle name is Barbara, to much comedic effect.
  • As it required on-location shooting, only one shot of Jazz being thrown out of the house was done (with only a few exceptions). Therefore, to avoid continuity errors, it is made sure that Jazz is always wearing the same shirt in episodes where he's thrown out. Though some minor continuity errors still occured due to the original footage of Jazz showed him wearing dark glasses and on some occasions, he wore regular clear glasses.
  • According to Will Smith in an interview, the reason for his character being named "Will Smith" was that, during the creation of the show, he and Alfonso Ribeiro were brainstorming names for their characters. Alfonso remarked that Will had to be careful in naming his character, as people would refer to him in public by that name for the rest of his life, and suggested that he name the character "Will Smith".
  • Uncle Phil's law firm is Firth, Wynn, and Meyer, which is a play on the name of the band Earth Wind & Fire. Executive Producer Quincy Jones is a big fan of this group.
  • Will Smith was approached by the television network NBC, who signed him on to a contract and created a sitcom that focused on him.
  • During the fall of 1991-92 season, NBC gained two hit television shows to anchor their Monday night line-up ("Blossom" aired after "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"). To gain popularity between the two shows, Will Smith appeared in an episode as himself under the rap persona of The Fresh Prince. Several episodes later, Karyn Parsons showed up in an episode of "Blossom", as Hilary Banks. Parsons also appeared in the Patti LaBelle sitcom, "Out All Night" as her Fresh Prince character.
  • In the UK, the show was exclusively aired in 1991 on BBC Two up until the Summer 2004, originally in the DEF II programming block. The channel edited some of the episodes so that, like the pilot, the titles would comes before the beginning of the episode; this was indicated by the lack of credits in the first scene.
  • Three of the show's cast members, Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana Ali, and Karyn Parsons are all of Trinidadian decent.
  • Real-life game show host Bob Eubanks appeared in an episode as a game show host on the fictitious game show titled 'Double Trouble' where Will, Carlton, and Jazz were all contestants trying to win a Corvette.
  • Will Smith, Karyn Parsons, and James Avery are the only cast members to appear in every episode. (Karyn Parsons didn't have any new scenes in the episode "Love in an Elevator," but she appeared in flashback scenes, so she technically was absent from that episode only, although she did appear).
  • It was stated several times that the Banks family lived in the same neighborhood as Aaron Spelling and his family.
  • Janet Hubert and James Avery have stated in interviews that they'd never heard of the Fresh Prince before they signed on for the series.
  • During the earlier seasons of the show (particularly the first few episodes), Will Smith was placed under scrutiny as he was constantly being ridiculed and dismissed for his lack of acting skills. Executives at NBC noticed this and nearly fired him. However, the creators and producers of the sitcom saw strong potential in Smith, successfully convincing NBC to keep him on the show.
  • Tatyana Ali is said to have been very doubtful of Will Smith's acting potential during the earliest episodes of the show, saying that he constantly messed up his lines. Because of this, there was slight tension between them while on set.
  • Despite portraying himself as "Will Smith" on the show as being a charismatic, self-confident playboy, Will Smith has admitted to behaving nothing like the title character he played. Smith said that he was, in reality, a shy, awkward teen who was very insecure about approaching and dating girls.
  • Will Smith has stated that he encouraged the writers of the show to write more serious and dramatic episodes after being inspired by the many emotional moments on Roseanne.
  • The mascot at Will and Carlton's college, ULA, is a peacock. This is a reference to the show's network, NBC, which had used a peacock as its logo for years.

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