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    21 Really Surprising Facts You Never Knew About "The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air"

    Where did Will and Jazz's handshake come from?

    1. When Will Smith auditioned for the show, James Avery (Uncle Phil) had no idea who he was.

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    When Avery entered the room, Will had his feet on the table and his hat turned sideways. Avery told Will to put his feet down, turn his hat around, and look at him when spoken to.

    2. Early on, Will Smith was so focused that he'd learn the entire script. In some early episodes, he can be seen mouthing other people's lines.

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    3. The IRS took 70% of each paycheck Will Smith earned on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to cover back taxes he owed.

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    4. Geoffrey the butler's last name was Butler. (And his middle name was Barbara.)

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    5. Karyn Parsons, who played Hilary, wasn't sure the show would be a hit at first, so she kept her job as a waitress until she knew for certain.

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    6. Will Smith is older than Uncle Phil was when The Fresh Prince began. James Avery was 45, Will Smith is currently 49.

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    7. The mansion seen in the intro isn't located in Bel-Air, it's in Brentwood.

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    8. The Carlton dance was partly inspired by Bruce Springsteen and Courteney Cox in "Dancing in the Dark"...

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    9. ...and partly inspired by a dance Eddie Murphy does in Raw.

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    10. Will and Jada Smith first met on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Jada auditioned for the role of Lisa, but it went to Nia Long.


    11. Shots of Jazz being thrown out of the house were recycled. It required many takes and that became taxing on Townes' body, so they started using the same clip over and over.

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    12. Uncle Phil's law firm is called Firth, Wynn, and Meyer, a reference to the musical group Earth, Wind & Fire.

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    13. Alfonso Ribeiro advised Will Smith to name his character Will in case fans started calling him by his character's name in real life.

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    14. A man once prank called C-Span, casually reciting the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air opening song lyrics. He got about halfway through before being cut off.


    15. Larry Wilmore wrote for The Fresh Prince.

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    16. Daphne Maxwell Reid (who played Aunt Vivian) is a photographer who sells her works, cleverly labeling them, "Fresh Prints."

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    17. Nicky's full name is Nicholas Andrew Michael Shawn Nathan Wanya Banks. His middle names are from the members of Boyz II Men, who performed at his christening in Season 4's "'Twas the Night Before Christening."

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    18. Will and Jazz's handshake was created by a backup dancer during their musical tour, before Will and Jazz brought it to the show.

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    19. Before playing Carlton, Alfonso Ribeiro sold a break dance instruction kit called "Breakin' and Poppin'."


    20. Ribeiro also starred in a popular Pepsi commercial with Michael Jackson.


    21. And finally, there's a longer version of the opening credits that includes lyrics many aren't familiar with.

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