B.A. Baracus is The A-Team's mechanic, muscle and enforcer. It's his job to intimidate anybody standing in the team's way. Generally speaking, just one look from B.A. Baracus would send opponents running the other direction. He was a character that wasn't scared of anything.
How could such a daunting character be afraid of something millions of people do? The thing is, flying isn't for everyone, and the fact that B.A. Baracus, a dominant human being, could be afraid of flying, made him a little more relatable. Of course the character of B.A. could be made into whatever writers wanted him to be, but it was the persona of Mr. T that made the character work.
Still, one thing was missing from Mr. T's character: vulnerability. That's where the fear of flying idea came into play. Of course there were plenty of laughs along this storyline, which was also part of The A-Team's plan.
"We needed a comic release of it, you know?" Mr. T said in a 2009 interview with Absolute Radio. "Here's B.A., a big tough guy [who] can clear a bar room of four or five guys, then [he's] afraid to fly. That made me more human."
Timing also played a role in selecting a comedic relief aspect surrounding Mr. T's character. He was fresh off the role of Clubber Lang, the fearless boxing champion.
"You remember, I'm coming off of Rocky III," Mr. T said. "You know people saw me as this mean, tough guy. So when I get on The A-Team I was vulnerable. I was afraid to fly."
It's any actors job to be convincing when he or she is in front of a camera. According to fans, B.A. was so scared of flying they thought it was an actual fear for the actor himself.
"I would get letters from people [saying] 'Mr. T, I'm afraid too! Don't let them get you on no plane, watch out for them!'"
When fans confessed they thought he was actually afraid to fly, Mr. T poked fun at the show and the recurring theme in which he had to be drugged to take to the skies.
"I would joke with them and say 'they put something in my milk!'"
Of course in the show, that was just one of the ways to get B.A. Baracus on a plane. Others weren't as subtle.
While the image of Mr. T totally personified the role of B.A. Baracus, Mr. T himself is known for being a role model for children, volunteering at churches and relating to as many people as possible.
B.A.'s fear of flying allowed Mr. T to reach that many more fans, giving him another reason to interact and make them smile. All that said, it doesn't mean he won't call you a fool.
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