Jerome Benton says the famous "Wrecka Stow" scene in Prince's Under the Cherry Moon was drawn from a real-life experience.

The often-quoted, frequently memed exchange finds Prince's Christopher Tracy and Benton's Tricky torturing Kristin Scott Thomas' rich socialite Mary by repeatedly asking her to read a phonetic spelling of "Record Store."

Without naming names, Benton says the scene was drawn from a real-life experience. "When we were putting together the journey of Under the Cherry Moon, it was basically us traveling," he told Grown Folks Music in 2017. "[That scene] came from an experience that was happening in real life. [Prince would] watch me in the clubs, and take notes of that, go back to the drawing board, and you look up and it's on a script somewhere, you're re-enacting something that he observed."

Paul Peterson, best known as frontman for the Family, says Prince played the same joke on him years before it appeared in Under the Cherry Moon, while Peterson was auditioning for what would become a brief stint in the Time. "I was pretty intimidated. Prince was trying to make me at ease," he told the Star Tribune. "He wrote on a piece of paper: W-R-E-C-K-A-S-T-O-W. He said, 'What’s that?' I don’t know. He said, 'Say it again.' He said, 'Say it faster. What is it?' I said, 'I don’t know.' He said, 'Where do you buy your records?' I was just this suburban Norwegian coming into that whole thing. We all laughed, and that kind of broke the ice."

After earning high marks as the on-screen comedic partner for both Morris Day (in Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge) and Prince, Benton declared a tie when asked who was funnier by Grown Folks Music. "They're both equally as funny. We all come from that melting pot, of our heritage of humor. We've experienced some of the same ups and downs, resolve and those things. I can't put one in front of the other. Songwriting? Prince."

The real fireworks came whenever Prince and Day were in the same room trading jokes. "It's like, 'Shots fired, you've gotta duck!' Both of them are amazingly funny, funny guys, in a split second they'll be talking about your mama. Prince's array of experiences from his travels come through in his songwriting, but he's also ghetto as well."

Benton also said Prince's portrayal of Christopher Tracy in Under the Cherry Moon came closest to capturing his real-life personality on screen. "I think there were some elements of that character that came from who he was as a person. You come real close to the Prince that you were allowed to see. I know another Prince as well, as well. I know an emotional Prince, I know a caring Prince. People don't talk about his caring side. So yes, that would be as close as you can get to knowing who he was."

 Watch Under the Cherry Moon's "Wrecka Stow" Scene


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