On this day in comedy on July 26, 1974 Uptown Saturday Night was released by Warner Bros.
Directed by Sidney Poitier, this classic comedy is the first in a trilogy that included Let’s Do It Again (1975) and A Piece of The Action (1977). A three films starred Poitier and Bill Cosby. This outing also co-starred Harry Belafonte as Geechie Dan Beauford.
The story revolves around a robbery. Poitier plays a straight arrow working man on a two-week vacation. Cosby is his wilder side-kick who talks him into going to Madam Zenobia’s nightclub. Next thing they know robbers have everybody stripping naked and stealing everything not down their throats. Unfortunately for Poitier his wallet wasn’t down his throat and it held the winning lottery ticket; which he now has to get back, with the help of Cosby of course. That’s when the real fun starts.
This film features some of black Hollywood’s most enduring legends. Richard Pryor plays a conman who gets busted right after taking their money to crack the case. Harold Nicholas of the dancing Nicholas brothers plays Little Seymour Pettigrew, a diminutive gangster with a bodyguard named Big Percy. Flip Wilson is a reverend. Roscoe Lee Browne is a congressman and Paula Kelly is pretty much Paula Kelly, but they called her Leggy Peggy. Other cast members include Rosalind Cash, Calvin Lockhart, Lee Chamberlin and Lincoln Kilpatrick.
Uptown Saturday Night was an immediate success. Written by Richard Wesley and Poitier, the film was produced by First Artists and Melville Tucker. The budget was $3,000,000 and the box office take was $6.7 million.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
Check out this clip: