Throwback Thursday-Diversity In 90’s Sitcoms-Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996) & Family Matters (1989-1998)

In the 1990’s, television attempted to diversify.  Attempted is the word here. But there are two shows that added some color to our screens and still makes audiences laugh years after the final episode aired.

The first show I am going to talk about is Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996).

Will Smith (Will Smith) is a young man from a troubled neighborhood. After getting into one too many fights, Will is shipped off to California to live with his wealthy relatives.  His mother hopes that living away from the mean streets of Philadelphia will refine her son into a respectable, proper young man.  While Will does grow up, his family also changes due to the new addition to the house hold.

Then rapper and budding actor Will Smith added an urban flavor to television. He was funny, charming, incorrigible, but also sincere with a good heart. Just under 20 years after the final episode aired, Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air is still funny, relevant and just fun to watch.

The other show I am going to talk about is Family Matters (1989-1998).

The Winslows are a middle class African-American family living in Chicago. Carl (Reginald VelJohnson) is a police officer. His wife, Harriet (Jo Marie Payton) works at bank. They have three growing children, his mother and her sister and her son living with them. It sounds like the typical family sitcom, right? Wrong. Enter Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) and you have a character that is instantly recognizable.

While this show had the typical saccharine moments and “very special episodes” that often appear on the schedule, there was a reality to this world and this show that kept the viewers coming back.

I recommend both.


Throwback Thursday-From Here To Eternity (1953)

War can often bring out behaviors in us that we would not do in other situations.

In the classic Hollywood film From Here To Eternity (1953),  the backdrop of World War II and the then future bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese creates a tension that will change lives.

Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) has just switched army bases. His new base is in Hawaii. His reputation within the boxing ring has preceded him. But Prew, as he prefers to be known, would like nothing more to stay out of the ring.  But the leader of his unit, Captain Holmes (Philip Ober) has other plans. When Prew remains adamant about not boxing, Captain Holmes has the rest of the unit turn on Prew and make his life miserable. Meanwhile, Sergeant Milton Warden (Burt Lancaster) is having an affair with Captain Holmes’s unhappily married wife, Karen (Deborah Kerr).

As the drama intensifies and war seems imminent, the characters must make tough decisions.

This movie is a classic for a reason. The cast is top-notch, the drama keeps the audience glued to the screen and it doesn’t hurt that Frank Sinatra won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. If a classic film being remembered for a single scene is the mark of a good film (regardless if the viewer has seen the entire film), then this movie is a good one.

I recommend it.


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