Hey! Hey! It's Fat Albert! And it's about time. Forget the recent lame
Fat Albert feature film, a new 3-DVD collection, Fat Albert & The
Cosby Kids-The Original Animated Series (Urban Works) is just the
primer you need to enjoy the comical exploits of this musical gang of
Created by Bill Cosby, Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids was an instant
cartoon sensation, premiering on Saturday mornings in 1972 and running
for an additional twelve years.
aired during a tumultuous time in U.S. history marked by radical
political and social upheaval. A brilliant comedian and master
communicator, Cosby was also a fine writer and in this show he was able
to infuse serious issues with a facile comedic flair.
This collection contains the first 12 episodes of the series.
a slew of memorable characters including Fat Albert, the wise-crackin'
Rudy, Weird Harold, the marble-voiced Mushmouth, Dumb Donald, and
Cosby ensured that these characters, based on friends of his
while growing up on the mean streets of Philadelphia, were identifiable
and relatable to every race, creed or color.
Beautifully animated in glorious day-glo colors, each smartly
constructed episode deals with a theme, whether tackling liars,
distrust, racial tolerance or the pressures of conformity. Not having
watched these shows for almost twenty-five years, seeing them again one
is impressed by how well they hold up. Sure, there's the occasional
dated dialogue, and static animation, but on the whole they still shine
with mountains of wicked wit, invention and punchy panache. Opening and
closing with real-life footage of Cosby who introduces each episode and
provides a prologue, the shows navigate a fine line of entertainment and
education. Cosby, however, is aware of the dangers of falling prey to
heavy-handed didacticism. Importantly, the messages imparted at the
conclusion of each episode are conveyed with a light touch.
The show's fourth episode, "Creativity," is a highlight, centering upon
the gang's general aimlessness. Finally they come to the solution of
uniting together by forming their own Junkyard Band. Using make-shift
instruments borrowed from a local junkyard (a tuba made out of spare
plumbing parts and a radio speaker, a bass constructed with a long
piece of wood, a washtub and a heavy string), Fat Albert and his cohorts
get their groove thang on, creating a joyous musical racket that sounds
likes Barry White meets The Jackson Five. That episode like the other
represented on this collection blends intelligently-written stories
earmarked by a social, cultural or educational message.
Making this collection even more indispensable for fans is the inclusion
of a bonus 14-track audio CD packed with the musical performances from
each show. Written by Ed Fournier and sung by the late Michael Gray, the
tracks range from the infectious title song (with its contagious "Na, na,
na, gonna have a good time" hook) to the instructive "Don't Go Tellin'
A Lie" to the funky "There's No Fool Like A Fool Playing Hookey," these
songs help spread the message of understanding, tolerance and most of