Richard Pryor Spent His Army Years Getting Into Fistfights And Stabbing Dudes
There's no person in the annals of history who, on reflection, was less suited to a career in the military than Richard Pryor. Pryor served in the Army from 1958 to 1960, and spent much of that time putting on comedy shows and doing as much violence as possible. In the first of two major incidents, Pryor was jumped in the shower by three soldiers armed with tire irons. Instead of taking the beating, he flew into beast mode, grabbed a length of piping, and smacked one of them in the head. His attacker/victim then stumbled back into the arms of his comrades and gave up, awed by Pryor's show of dominance. "Well damn! You're alright with me, I'll tell you that."
The second incident didn't end quite as well. A few months after his shower brawl, Pryor and a group of other black soldiers were watching Imitation Of Life, a movie about a black woman whose light-skinned daughter rejects her in order to pass for white. The guys soon noticed that one their white comrades seemed a little too amused by this plot, and so they jumped him after the movie finished. Pryor flew pulled a switchblade and repeatedly stabbed the guy in the back.
The guy refused to go down. Sensing that perhaps he'd stumbled into a Highlander-type situation, Pryor turned and ran, tossing the knife into some nearby bushes. He was soon arrested by MPs after the white guy stormed into the base commander's office (still wearing his shredded, bloodied fatigues) and demanded justice. Pryor was locked up in military jail for a month before being dishonorably discharged on account of "some silly enlisted man f--king up regulations." That's certainly one way to put it.
Stan Lee Burglarized An Army Mail Room Because Of Comics
Stan Lee had already begun his career in comics when World War II broke out. He enlisted in the Army, where, after a brief stint in the Signal Corps repairing communications equipment, he was transferred to the Training Film Division as a "playwright," which saw him writing everything from training manuals to film scripts to cartoons.
As you'd expect, he was pretty good at it. He was so good, in fact, that his commanding officer asked him to slow down because he was making his colleagues look bad. (Who were they, you might wonder? Just some nobodies like Charles Addams and Theodor "Dr." Seuss Geisel.) His prodigious output was especially remarkable considering that he was still writing comics in his downtime. Lee would receive a package from Timely Comics every Friday with notes on what they wanted him to write, and Lee would spend his weekend writing copy before sending the completed drafts back on Monday.