Coming from Time Life is the most amazing 13-disc collection from one of the greatest comics who left his mark on the world with THE ULTIMATE RICHARD PRYOR COLLECTION UNCENSORED.
On December 1st, 1940, Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor was born in Peoria Illinois. Not a great start to life, young Richard learned about the real world growing up in a brothel with his mother and grandmother and a father who has his own issues in life. With a very difficult growing up, Pryor joined the Army but that too pushed him towards another run in with the law.
Arriving in New York in 1963, he began his club career and eventually made his way into television with appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He also wrote for such shows as Sanford and Son and (my personal favorite) The Flip Wilson Show.
Comedy albums helped to build his success for which he won several Grammy’s for Best Comedy Recordings. Pryor also co-wrote BLAZING SADDLES, was a guest host on Saturday Night Life until, in 1977 he would host his own The Richard Pryor Show. On the big screen, Pryor came to life with LADY SINGS THE BLUES, SILVER STREAK, GREASED LIGHTENING, SUPERMAN III, BREWSTER’S MILLIONS, THE TOY and HARLEM NIGHTS just to name a few.
Pryor was no stranger to alcohol, smoking, hard living and drug use which brought him to the most talked about event of his life and became the laughs for some of his comedy. In the 1990’s, he would be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and wife Jennifer Lee had no worries taking care of the man she truly loved.
In December of 2005, the world would lose one of the greatest comic geniuses who made us laugh, think, be a tad uncomfortable and then make us laugh all over again – he had a large name that would never be as large as his presence on the stage and screen.
Time Life continues to bring never-before released anywhere classic collections of television shows for fans to revisit and remember what has made television so special. Time Life has released Mama’s Family, CPO Sharkey and The Tonight Show and they now remind of us of a time when sex and politics were up for grabs with ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN. For more of what Time Life has to offer fans of classic television visit www.timelife.com.
THE ULTIMATE RICHARD PRYOR COLLCTION UNCENSORED includes Volume 1-six discs Richard Pryor: Live & Smokin’, The Legend of Uncle Tom’s Fairy Tales and Interviews with Jennifer Lee Pryor Richard Pryor: Live in Concert, Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip, Richard Pryor: Here and Now, The Richard Pryor Special?, The Richard Pryor Show (Never Aired Original Series Opening), The Richard Pryor Show (Cold Open: Camel Love, Chimp Symphony, The Richard Pryor Show (TV Violence, Improv Segment Outtakes), The Richard Pryor Show (Mudbone Monologue, Audience Q&A).
Volume 2-six discs The Merv Griffin Show (four shows), The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (three shows), Pryor’s Place (five shows), JOJO DANCER YOUR LIFE IS CALLING, Last Stand-Up Sit Down, Richard Pryor: LOVED! On the Sunset Strip: An American Cinematheque Tribute, Richard Pryor: I Ain’t Dead Yet, #*%$#@!!, and The Dick Cavett Show, Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic. Also included are interviews with Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Jennifer Lee Pryor, Willie Nelson, Quincy Jones, David Banks and David Steinberg.
Volume 3 includes I Am Richard Pryor.
Always Pushing the boundaries, Pryor’s comedy was in your face and hard, just like the life he led. It would not be out of line to say that if life imitates art, he found a way to make fun of both and, at times, at his own expense. Nothing and no one were safe from the biting humor and telling us about his world.
I actually remember hearing Pryor for the first time and my jaw dropping followed by howling laughter. In one fell swoop he added a new convert to his army of followers who knew that seeing Pryor meant that anything could possibly happen, and he never let us down.
Taking every step and then a step further, his comedy had truth wrapped up in the laughs and moments where the audience (or anyone listening for that matter) became privy to his train of thought. Starting out as chaos, he asked us to trust the verbal ride bringing it to a thought-provoking and hilarious conclusion. He was always the conductor of the train and when the ride was over – we all bought another ticket without hesitation!
His film career is equally extraordinary as my favorites of his films are GREASED LIGHTENING and HARLEM NIGHTS. The latter film brought Pryor on screen with Eddie Murphy, but the cast also included the additional stunning comedic performers of Arsenio Hall, Ray Murphy, and Redd Foxx. The film made me laugh and every time it is on television, I stop to watch these characters make it all look so easy.
As with everything that Time Life bring us, they have reached into every nook and cranny to find amazing pieces to share with true fans of Richard Pryor. Their unique ability to weave together this thoughtful collection is worth every moment of viewing. The holidays are right around the corner and this collection would make a truly wonderful present with 1,584 minutes (yes, that is correct!) of what we came to love Pryor for.
In the end – he said it best with ‘I love ya’ll and you can take that with you!”