BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Jun 28th, 2013 •

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Saturday morning cartoons and kids shows in the 1970’s were mostly entertaining – quick-to-satisfy tidbits of giggles and fun. There were the silent serial styled suspense of Hanna-Barbera’s THE PERILS OF PENELOPE PITSTOP and the awe-gee-wow dinosaurs in Sid and Marty Croft’s LAND OF THE LOST. Yes, kids were entertained – but never educated. Stand up comedian Bill Cosby’s contribution to 1970’s children’s TV- the cartoon series FAT ALBERT AND THE COSBY KIDS certainly had this laugh-along Little Rascals-like feel. On top of that, kid viewers watched valuable life-lessons unfold in the cartoons.

FAT ALBERT aired on Saturday mornings from 1972 to 1985. FAT ALBERT was a series of comical cartoons following a group of African American kids living in a slum-like urban environment. The kids are varied and memorable – such as the adult-like Rudy, Weird Harold, and The Brown Hornet. Then, of course, there’s the unofficial group leader – Fat Albert. This obese, always-joking guy is the group spokesman, counselor, therapist, and problem-solver. His now famous catch-phrase – starting almost every statement with “Hey, hey, hey”, was often joyfully repeated in American schools during the 1970’s All of these episode were introduced and concluded by creator Bill Cosby, seen in his life action self, often saying “…and if you’re not careful, you might learn something before it’s done!” Cosby, usually standing in a colorful slum-junkyard set, reminds us, in a friendly way, of the moral each cartoon told you about. You were entertained and taught – and it never felt preachy.

Shout Factory has released a terrific must-own 15 disc set of all 110 episodes of FAT ALBERT AND THE COSBY KIDS. The picture quality is great, with the cartoons coming alive in vibrant color. The humor hasn’t dated at all. There is an extra feature documentary here – HEY, HEY, HEY… IT’S THE STORY OF FAT ALBERT, where creator Bill Cosby talks about his early life growing up in North Philadelphia, the inspiration for his hit cartoon series.

After FAT ALBERT, Cosby went on to create several popular sit-coms and TV series. In all of his television work, including FAT ALBERT, Cosby maintained the same moral code – entertainment that never insulted or shocked – “I don’t want sitcom jokes.” Cosby once said on one of his TV series sets – “I don’t want jokes about behinds or breasts or pimples or characters saying, ‘Oh, my God’ every other line. What we want to deal with is human behavior. If we can put it on paper and have it come to life through the actors, then we can have people identifying with us.”

Even if you did not grow up with Fat Albert and the gang on your Saturday Morning TV line-up – The Shout Factory box set of FAT ALBERT AND THE COSBY KIDS is well worth the purchase price.

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