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Fresh Prince of Bel Air

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The Fresh Prince of Belair





 

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Format: Sitcom

Created by: Andy Borowitz

Starring: Will Smith, James Avery, Janet Hubert-Whitten (1990-1993), Daphne Maxwell Reid (1993-1996), Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana Ali, Ross Bagley (1994-1996), Joseph Marcell

Country of origin: USA

No. of seasons: 6 No. of episodes: 148 Production

Location(s): Bel Air, Los Angeles, California

Running time: approx. 23 mins (per episode)

Broadcast

Original channel: NBC Original run: September 10, 1990 May 20, 1996

 

 

 

Click here to see a great Fresh Prince video clip

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was an award winning American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from September 10, 1990, to May 20, 1996. The show starred Will Smith as a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to live with his wealthy relatives in a Bel-Air mansion. His lifestyle often clashes with that of his relatives there. 148 episodes were produced over six seasons.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Theme song and opening sequence

 

The theme song and opening sequence explains the context of the show. Will Smith is revealed as a street-smart teenager, born and raised on the mean streets of West Philadelphia, while the plot of the story is shown and rapped in the theme song.

The theme song was written and performed by The Fresh Prince (Will Smith). Contrary to popular belief, DJ Jazzy Jeff did not compose the music for the opening credits. The music was composed by Quincy Jones III, who is credited at the end of each episode. An additional credit at the end of episodes also reads "Theme song written by Will Smith", in regard to the lyrics, with no reference to DJ Jazzy Jeff. The music often used to bridge scenes together during the show is also based on a similar chord structure as the theme song. This too is the work of Quincy Jones III. The full version of the theme song, telling how he went on a plane to Bel-Air, was only used on the first three episodes of the show, although Will Smith did record it as an unreleased B-side. The full-length version, which is 2:52", was included on Will Smith's Greatest Hits album and attributed to himself only. A 3:23" version was released in the Netherlands in 1992, and reached #3 on the charts.

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

 

Smith still performs the song in concert and invariably has the audience sing along.

For the first few episodes of the show stanzas one to three and stanzas six and seven were used. Beginning with Episode #9 (titled "Someday Your Prince Will Be in Effect (2)"), only the first two and the last two stanzas of the song were used. The change to the theme song allowed for longer episodes to be created.

Seasons 1, 5, and 6 featured an instrumental version of the theme and still photographs from the episode for the closing credits. In Season 2, the music and stills were dropped and closing credits would almost always appear over bloopers and outtakes from the episode. This continued until the end of Season 4. The closing theme over episode clips returned for Season 5, due to NBC's change from traditional credits to the split screen credits that are currently employed by the network.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Cast and characters

William "Will" Smith

William "Will" Smith (played by Will Smith) was born on July 3, 1973 in West Philadelphia. He often has disagreements with his cousin Carlton, whom he sees as not quite "black." Despite their differences, Will grows extremely close to the Banks family, even turning down his mother when she offers to let him move back in with her again in Philly. At the conclusion of the story's run, he remains in Los Angeles to finish up his last year of college.

Carlton Banks

Carlton Banks (played by Alfonso Ribeiro), born August 4, 1974, is Will's pedantic and preppy cousin. Carlton is a firmly conservative Republican, and proves both friend and foe for Will. Although Carlton and Will often trade insults, Carlton obviously cares about Will by referring to him as "the brother I've always wanted." His role model is talk show host Bryant Gumbel, and his favorite singer is Tom Jones. His favorite actor is William Shatner, whom he annoys by making lame Star Trek jokes. Carlton also idolizes Macaulay Culkin, whom he once dressed up as for Halloween.

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

 

Hilary Banks

Hilary Violet Banks (played by Karyn Parsons), born August 18, 1972, is Will's attractive, but dull-witted, eldest cousin, known for her notable lack of intelligence, her pretentious attitude, for being "spoiled", and her dependence on Geoffrey. In earlier seasons, Hilary's snobbishness is emphasized, as well as her shallow trendy environmental activism. During this time, she often claimed to hobnob with celebrities and loves being mistaken by people for Whitney Houston. Later on, Hilary is written as a self-centered airhead; she looks down on Will's upbringing and is obsessed with shopping and money. However, despite her apparent shallow personality, she has a strong sense of integrity and shows obvious affection to her family members. It is revealed that Hilary was conceived while Phil and Vivian were waiting for a Sly Stone concert to begin.

Ashley Banks

Ashley Banks (played by Tatyana M. Ali), born April 29, 1979, is Will's younger cousin. Ashley was Vivian's baby, and always loved being with her mommy. Philip was always trying to control Ashley's life so she didn't become anything like regular teenage girls. Will's devil-may-care approach to life is an exciting alternative, which makes her generally more sympathetic and understanding towards him than other members of the Banks family. It seems that by spending time with Will, Ashley often acts rebelliously as she gets older, for which her father becomes very angry at Will. In the episode "Father Knows Best", Ashley lies and drops out of her private school and goes into a public school. Ashley matures much in the series; she is a one-hit wonder with her brief singing career and strives to become a fashion model.

 

 

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Recurring settings

The Banks Mansion - full series

The mansion is where the Banks family, as well as Will, live; the address was revealed in the fourth season's "For Sale By Owner" as 805 Saint Cloud Road. A majority of the show's scenes take place in the mansion. Originally, most of the family scenes took place in the living room, with less prominence given to the kitchen. The living room set had archways at either end to hallways, and two doorways at the back of the set to the side yard. The right-side hallway was occasionally shot in, and had a staircase upstairs, and the front door. The kitchen set was not attached to the rest of the downstairs set, and was unconventionally laid out compared to many sitcoms: The left side had counters that continued along the fourth wall (where the audience would be), and had a lot of depth (from the audience perspective), with camera angles frequently shooting almost parallel to the fourth wall. The set had two interior doors; one of which, at the right side of the set, led to the hallway left of the living room (though was not attached on set), and an exterior door to the unseen back yard. There was a dining room also off the hallway left of the living room. The upper floor hallway was shown in Season 1, until the mansion sets were completely rebuilt after the season.

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

 

In the second season, the kitchen and living room sets were rebuilt much larger, and were connected directly by an archway, allowing scenes to be shot continuously between the sets, which is where most scenes were shot. The staircase upstairs was incorporated into the back of the living room, with only one rarely-used exit to the side yard beside it. An actual television prop was added at the fourth wall, whereas there had only been one implicitly in the first season. The archway to the right still led to a hallway with the front door. The only element that remained from the original set was the kitchen's left-hand wall and island which were rotated ninety degrees to become the back wall at the right of the kitchen, with some modification to the cosmetics. The archway was the only way into the room, other than the exit at the left to the backyard patio, which was now an existing part of the main house set.

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

 

In addition, Will's and occasionally other family members', rooms were shown (sometimes changing looks between appearances) during the series. The pool house was shown in one episode of season 3. A different set was used when it became a main location in season 4 until the end of the series, after Will and Carlton moved in.

Despite the changes, the exterior shot of the Banks house, which is an actual house in Bel-Air, Los Angeles, California, was constant throughout the series, usually featured in still shots. A running gag, however, featured Jazz being thrown out of the front door using the exterior of the house. Every time he is thrown out of the house, he wears the same shirt. So when he wears the shirt, it is known that he will be thorwn out of the house.

 

 

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Recurring settings continued

 

Bel-Air Prep - Seasons 1-3

Bel-Air Prep is the high school that Will and Carlton attend in Seasons 1-3.The 3 main sets are the classroom, a hallway and the auditorium (the auditorium was only shown in three episodes: "Def Poet's Society", "Courting Disaster" and "Just Say Yo").

Hospital - Seasons 2-6

A hospital in Los Angeles is seen in several episodes which deal with the Banks family's medical problems. The exterior shot of the hospital is a shot of the VA Hospital in nearby Westwood

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

 

 

Jazz's apartment in Compton - Seasons 1, 3-5

Jazz lives with a few friends in a run-down apartment complex in Compton, California called the Chalet Towers. This setting was seen in every season except Seasons 2 and 6.

KFPB Channel 8 News station - Seasons 3, 4, 6

This setting was seen throughout Season 3 because Hilary was hired as a weather girl and fell in love with Trevor Collins, who died in a bungee accident in Season 4. Due to his death, the setting was written off towards the end of the 4th Season. The setting returned in Season 6 because Hilary's own talk show was produced there.

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

 

ULA Student Store - Seasons 4-5

The ULA Student Store, also known as "The Peacock Stop" for the school mascot, is where Will, Carlton, and Will's friend Jackie Ames work. In Season 4, Jackie is the manager, Carlton is the assistant manager, and Will is the cashier. When Jackie leaves ULA in the middle of Season 4, Carlton takes over as manager and Will becomes assistant manager and cashier until Season 5.

 

 

 

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Awards and Nominations

 

Awards Outcome

ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards:

Top TV Series Won

 

Emmy Awards:

Outstanding Individual Achievement in Lighting Direction for a Comedy Series Nominated

 

Golden Globe Awards:

Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical Nominated

Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical Nominated

 

Image Award:

Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Won

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated

Outstanding Comedy Series Won

 

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

 

Kids' Choice Awards:

Favorite Television Actor Nominated

Favorite Television Show Nominated

Favorite TV actor Won

 

NCLR Bravo Awards:

Outstanding Television Series Actor in a Crossover Role Nominated

 

TP de Oro:

Best Foreign Series (Mejor Serie Extranjera) Nominated

Best Foreign Series (Mejor Serie Extranjera) Won

 

TV Land Awards:

Best Broadcast Butler Nominated

 

Young Artist Awards:

Best Performance by an Actor Under Ten - Television Won

Best Performance by an Actor Under Ten in a TV Series Won

Best Youth Comedienne Nominated

Best Young Actor Guest Starring in a Television Series Nominated

Best Young Actor Guest Starring or Recurring Role in a TV Series Nominated

Best New Family Television Comedy Series Won

 

YoungStar Award:

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy TV Series Won

 

 

 

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Syndication and DVD Releases

The series was originally an NBC production in association with

The Stuffed Dog Company and Quincy Jones Productions (later QDE, or Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment). After the show was released to syndication, the rights reverted to Warner Bros. Television, which continues to distribute the show worldwide (although NBC Universal does own the series' copyright). Currently, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air airs on TBS, Nick at Nite and The-N as well as My Network TV and was purchaed by ABC Family. It is also currently being aired on the UK digital TV channel Virgin 1 and in Canada on YTV, TVtropolis and Crossroads Television.

Warner Home Video has released the first four seasons of the series on DVD. It is currently unknown if Seasons 5 and 6 will be released.

 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

 

DVD Name Ep # Release dates DVD Extras

Region 1 Region 2 Region 4

The Complete 1st Season 25 February 8, 2005 February 21, 2005 April 13, 2005 "Back-to-Bel-Air: A Fresh Look" featurette.

The Complete 2nd Season 24 October 11, 2005 November 21, 2005 March 1, 2006 Best Bits of Bel Air, and Bloopers from Season 2

The Complete 3rd Season 24 February 14, 2006 June 26, 2006 August 9, 2006 Best of the Upper Bel-Air Crust (Season 3 highlights), and Bloopers from Season 3

The Complete 4th Season 26 August 8, 2006 January 22, 2007 December 6, 2006 No extras are available in the boxed set of season 4.

The Complete 5th Season 25 TBA TBA TBA

The Complete 6th Season 24 TBA TBA TBA

 

 

 

 

 

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Car Repair

For the best car repair service go to Don's Auto Clinic at

1950 Ellesmere Rd #21 Scarborough ON, M1H 2V8 Phone: 416-438-9575

Make an appointment and don't worry about what kind of service you'll get because it's the best. I've been going there for at least 3 years. (Zane Ladhani---of Zane's Comedy Warehouse www.zanes-comedy-warehouse.com)

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one.

 

 

Chinese Food

Kim Kims Hakka Chinese Restaurant www.kimkim.ca

 

Chinese Food is great and there are a lot of restaurants but if you want to go to one of the best chinese food restaurants in Toronto then go to Kim Kims at

Kim Kim Hakka Chinese Restaurant 1188 Kennedy Road Scarborough, ON M1P 2L1 416-757-8300 (Near Kennedy and Lawrence)

I ususally have the Curry Chicken on Rice but you'll be happy with whatever you order.

If you can't handle spicy food tell them when you order.

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one.

 

Real Estate Services

 

The best real estate agents in Toronto are the Wright Sisters. They

are the right choice whether you're buying or selling property.

 

Lindsay & Melanie Wright Sales Representatives

RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd., Brokerage 2237 Queen Street East Toronto ON M4E 1G2

Office: (416) 699-9292 Toll Free: 1-866-921-9292 Fax: (416) 699-8576

*************************************************************

 

 


 

 

 

Car Repair 

For the best car repair service 
go to Don's Auto Clinic at 

1950 Ellesmere Rd #21 
Scarborough ON, M1H 2V8 

Phone: 416-438-9575 

Make an appointment 
and don't worry about                     what kind of service
you'll get because it's the best.
I've been going there for at least 5 years.
(Zane Ladhani---owner of Zane's Mall of Comedy
www.zanesmall.com )  

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one. 


Chinese Food 

Kim Kims Hakka Chinese

 Restaurant www.kimkim.ca 


Chinese Food is great and there are a lot of restaurants
but if you want to go to one of the best chinese food
restaurants in Toronto then go to Kim Kims at 

Kim Kim Hakka Chinese Restaurant 1188 Kennedy Road
Scarborough, ON M1P 2L1 416-757-8300
(Near Kennedy and Lawrence) 

I ususally have the Curry Chicken on Rice
but you'll be happy with whatever you order. 

If you can't handle spicy food tell them when you order. 

Don't ask for a discount because you won't need one. 

Real Estate Services 


One of Toronto's Best Real Estate teams is
the Wright Sisters.

They are the right choice 
whether you're buying or selling property. 


Lindsay & Melanie Wright Sales Representatives 

RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd., 
Brokerage 2237 Queen Street East Toronto ON M4E 1G2 

Office: (416) 699-9292 
Toll Free: 1-866-921-9292 Fax: (416) 699-8576

Tell them Zane sent you.