10 things you may not have known about Stir Crazy

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Only two more Movies left! Come laugh your laughs at Stir Crazy this Thursday! Starts at sunset, on 260 Westminster Street.

350 Arizona State Prison inmates worked as extras in the film.

STIR CRAZY, from left, Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, 1980, ©Columbia

 

The cast and crew had to leave the prison walking in single file every night so the prison guards could ensure that no prisoners escaped. One night, Charles Weldon was mistaken for a prisoner by the guards, pulled out of the line and sent to the cell block. Weldon recalled one occasion: “As I was walking out, a guard asked me to stand to one side. I should have realized something was wrong, but I obeyed him without a second thought”. A moment later, Weldon found himself marched toward a cell block, along with the jail inmate extras. Weldon added: “The guard told me, ‘I could have sworn you were one of our guys. He was profusely apologetic. But I didn’t mind. To an actor, there couldn’t have been a higher compliment”.

 

The first movie directed by an African American to gross over $100 million dollars in North America.

 

 

Wilder starred in BLAZING SADDLES the 1974 classic written by Pryor and Mel Brooks. Later when he was picked up for SILVER STREAK, Wilder would only take the part if he acted across Richard Pryor.

 

 

 

One of five movies where actor Gene Wilder plays a man wrongly accused of committing a crime. The others? Silver Streak (1976), The Frisco Kid (1979), Hanky Panky (1982), and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989).

 

STIR CRAZY, front from left: Gene Wilder, Craig T. Nelson, 1980, © Columbia

 

Warden Walter Beatty played by Barry Corbin was frequently referred to in the movie as “Warden Beatty” as this spoofed the name of actor Warren Beatty.

 

This movie was the sixth film that Sidney Poitier directed but it was the first one in which he also did not star.

 

The tower that is directly in the middle of the cell block where Skip and Harry are placed was built solely for the movie. It still remains in the cell block (Cell Block 2), but it is never used.

STIR CRAZY, Cedric Hardman (vest), Gene Wilder (falling back in profile), Richard Pryor (plaid shirt), 1980, © Columbia

According to casting director Jack Young:
 “Richard Pryor was not well liked at the prison. I guess he had done something or said something about the inmates. When time came to shoot those scenes, Pryor refused to show up for fear of his life. We had to put their real guards, with real guns and bullets in the scene before he would come to work. All the time we were shooting, he was constantly looking over his shoulder and was scared to death. “
Richard Pryor’s last role was in LOST HIGHWAY which was screened at Movie’s on the Block earlier this year.
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