In 1989, rapper Will Smith was approached by NBC about possibly starring in his own sitcom. The end result was “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and although the show wasn’t big in the ratings, it managed to gain a massive fanbase which it has retained to this day. This show, which lasted six seasons on NBC, helped elevate Smith’s acting career, leading him to a plethora of Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. It also gave the world the beloved Carlton Dance and helped revive the music career of Grammy Award winning artist Tom Jones.
Click through to learn 12 fresh facts about the Fresh Prince!
12) Will Smith As Will Smith
When thinking of a name for his character, Will Smith was told by co-star Alfonso Ribeiro that whatever name he picked is what folks would call him for the rest of his acting career. He thought long and hard about it, and finally came up with the name Will Smith.
11) Jazz Getting Tossed Out
One of the most memorable things about the show is Will Smith’s best friend Jazz consistently getting thrown out of the house. They only shot one take of it, though. DJ Jazzy Jeff had to wear the same shirt in episodes where he would be removed by Uncle Phil.
10) The Carlton Dance
The Carlton Dance is one of the most beloved dances to come out of the ’90s. The dance was inspired by Courteney Cox’s dance in the Bruce Springsteen music video for “Dancing in the Dark.” Alfonso Ribeiro can’t escape the dance; he performed it during the 19th season of “Dancing With The Stars,” which he won.
9) On The Verge Of Cancellation
Due to low ratings, the show was nearly canceled on three different occasions. TV station managers from across the country begged NBC to keep the show on the air. The season finales for seasons three through five were actually shot as though they would be the final episodes of the entire show!
Characters from the show made appearances on other NBC series. Under his rap persona The Fresh Prince, Will Smith made an appearance in the “Blossom” episode “I’m With The Band.” Hilary Banks appeared on the “Blossom” episode “Wake Up Little Suzy” and the “Out All Night” episode “The Great Pretender.” With the exception of Nicky, the other members of the Banks family (Vivian, Phillip, Carlton, and Ashley) and Geoffrey appear on several episodes of “In The House.”