Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Land of the Lost TV Series #4: Pryor's Place
It's kind of fascinating to think that Richard Pryor headed his own Saturday morning children's television show. By the time Pryor's Place aired in 1984, the comedian/actor was known for his obscenity-laced routines, album titles that contained the "n" word and the infamous incident where he set himself on fire after freebasing cocaine. But controversial or not, Pryor obviously liked children and cared enough about their well-being to bring some of his tamer comedic talents to Pryor's Place. While the show only aired for 13 episodes, it tackled some of the heavy issues of the day such as divorce, shoplifting, cheating and child molestation. The show was also produced by Sid and Marty Krofft and featured puppets of their creation, as well as guest stars such as Willie Nelson, John Ritter, Henry Winkler, Robin Williams and Lily Tomlin. One of its cast members was Marla Gibbs, who would go on to star in The Jeffersons and 227.
Pryor also appeared on the show as an assortment of characters. The show itself was supposed to be about the young Richard Pryor growing up with his friends in the inner city and learning some hard lessons along the way (which did not include pouring high-proof rum all over your body and setting yourself on fire.) This venture into television was not Pryor's first; The Richard Pryor Show only lasted for four episodes in 1977 after audiences failed to appreciate Pryor's edgy humor.
Ray Parker Jr. of Ghostbusters fame wrote and performed the theme song to Pryor's Place. Unfortunately, there are not any real clips from the show on YouTube to share other than the opening theme below, but all 13 episodes are available on DVD through Amazon.com.