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Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids facts for kids

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Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.jpg
The title card in the show's intro
Genre Comedy-drama
Educational
Created by Bill Cosby
Directed by Hal Sutherland
Creative director(s) Don Christensen
Presented by Bill Cosby
Voices of
  • Bill Cosby
  • Lou Scheimer
  • Jan Crawford
  • Gerald Edwards
  • Eric Suter
  • Demetra McHenry
  • Erika Carroll
  • Lane Vaux
Theme music composer Ricky Sheldon
Edward Fournier
Opening theme "Gonna Have A Good Time (Fat Albert Theme)" (Performed by Michael Gray)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 110 + 5 specials (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Bill Cosby
Producer(s) Lou Scheimer
Norm Prescott (1972–84)
Production location(s) United States
Production company(s) Filmation
Distributor Group W Productions (syndicated)
NBCUniversal Television Distribution (current, on behalf of DreamWorks Classics)
Release
Original network CBS (1972–84)
first-run syndication (1984–85)
Picture format 480i
Audio format Mono
Original release September 9, 1972 (1972-09-09) – August 10, 1985 (1985-08-10)
Chronology
Preceded by Hey, Hey, Hey, It's Fat Albert (1969)

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids is an American animated television series created, produced, and hosted (in live action bookends) by comedian Bill Cosby, who also lent his voice to a number of characters, including Fat Albert and himself. Filmation was the production company for the series. The show premiered in 1972 and ran until 1985 (with new episodes being produced sporadically during that time frame). The show, based on Cosby's remembrances of his childhood gang, focused on Fat Albert (known for his catchphrase "Hey hey hey!"), and his friends.

The show features an educational lesson in each episode, emphasized by Cosby's live-action segments. In addition, at the end of the early episodes, the gang typically joins in their North Philadelphia junkyard to play a song on their cobbled-together instruments, summarizing the show's lesson.

Characters

The Cosby Kids

  • Fat Albert Robertson (voiced by Bill Cosby; singing by Michael Gray) is based on Cosby's childhood friend Albert Robertson. The main character in the series, he is usually the conscience of the Junkyard Gang. Though very obese, he is athletic and enjoys playing sports. He always wears a red shirt and blue pants. Civic-minded and wise beyond his years, Fat Albert works hard to maintain integrity in the gang and with others, and is the lead singer as well as bagpipe-accordion (made from a funnel, radiator and an airbag) player in the Junkyard Band and on occasion, plays the bedspring.
  • James "Mushmouth" Mush (voiced by Bill Cosby) is a slack-jawed simpleton with big lips. He always wears a red knit hat with a blue scarf and always speaks in virtual Ubbi Dubbi, tantamount to an overdose of novocaine in the mouth, which Cosby would later use in the "Dentist" monologue from his 1983 film, Himself. He plays a homemade bass guitar in the Junkyard Band.
  • "Dumb" Donald Parker (voiced by Lou Scheimer) is a lanky, dimwitted fellow. He is Rudy's best friend. He always wears a green long-sleeved jersey three sizes too big, and a pink stocking knit cap covering his entire face except his eyes and mouth. In the Junkyard Band, he plays a trombone made out of plumbers' pipe and a morning glory horn from an old phonograph. In the Fat Albert film and while in the real world, Donald takes off his cap and learns that he has a handsome face.
  • William "Bill" Cosby (voiced by Bill Cosby) is a character based on Cosby himself and is the host of the series. Like the others, Bill is a good athlete and enjoys playing sports. However, he spends most of his time trying, often unsuccessfully, to keep his little brother Russell out of trouble. Like Fat Albert, Bill is often a voice of reason in the gang, although at times a little more stubborn. In the Junkyard Band, he plays homemade drums made from a discarded foot-pedal trash can using spoons for sticks.
  • Russell Cosby (voiced by Jan Crawford) is Bill's younger brother (based on his real-life brother—whom he often talked about in his routines) and the smallest and youngest of the Junkyard Gang. He always wears a heavy blue jacket, a yellow scarf, red boots, and a dark blue Ushanka winter hat regardless of the weather. Russell has a penchant for making snide remarks and blunt observations (much to his older brother's consternation). Russell frequently criticizes Rudy, reserving his most withering insults for when Rudy is being especially cocky. His catchphrase is "no class." He plays the xylophone in the Junkyard Band (made out of empty cans and a discarded coat rack).
  • Weird Harold Simmons (voiced by Gerald Edwards) is a tall, skinny, beady-eyed kid who is the tallest one of the Junkyard Gang and always wears a gold dress blazer, a brown sock on one foot and a red sock on the other, and is clumsy. In the Junkyard Band, he plays a harp made from bedsprings, and on occasion plays a "dressmaker dummy" in the percussion section. In the film adaptation, he is called "Old Weird Harold", as he was in Cosby's stand-up routines.
  • Rude Rudy Davis (voiced by Eric Suter) is a sharp-dressed, smooth talking, cocky huckster whose smart-aleck attitude frequently gets him into trouble. He is Dumb Donald's best friend. Rudy's cocky attitude and dismissive demeanor are often the catalyst for a typical plot's conflict. But inside he has a good heart and usually learns lessons from his mistakes. In the Junkyard Band, he plays a makeshift banjo, whose parts include a broomstick handle and sewing-thread spool to hold the strings. However, when shown playing apart from the others, Rudy plays an electric guitar (personalized with a big "R"). He always wears an orange flat cap, a fuchsia vest, a pink turtleneck, purple bell-bottom jeans, and boots. Rudy's personality in the Fat Albert movie is much different as he is portrayed as a kind and chivalrous gentleman who falls in love with the female lead Doris (Kyla Pratt).
  • Bucky Miller (voiced by Jan Crawford), as his name indicates, has a large overbite. He is a quick and flexible athlete. Bucky plays a stovepipe organ in the Junkyard Band.

Others

  • Miss Berry is the kids' first teacher and mentor. She is later replaced by Mrs. Breyfogle. In later seasons, the kids went to a different school where their teacher and mentor was Miss Wucher. All three characters were voiced by Jay Scheimer, wife of executive producer Lou Scheimer.
  • Mudfoot Brown (voiced by Bill Cosby) is a wise old man and unemployed vagrant who gives advice to the gang, often using reverse psychology to get his point across. He has a talent for telling tall tales (he makes a minor appearance in the film adaptation, at the beginning and end of the film, voiced by Earl Billings—however, he is never referred to by name in the film).
  • The Brown Hornet (voiced by Bill Cosby) is the title character of a show about an African-American superhero whose cartoons were watched regularly by the gang. He is a parody of the Green Hornet.
    • Stinger (voiced by Lou Scheimer) is the Brown Hornet's beefy sidekick whose gruff exterior masks a soft heart.
    • Tweeterbell (voiced by Erika Scheimer) is a female robot assistant to the Brown Hornet and Stinger.
  • Cluck – A duck that followed the gang regularly in early episodes, but stopped appearing after season 1. (3 episodes)
  • Legal Eagle (voiced by Lou Scheimer) is another show-within-a-show, involving a crime-fighting cartoon eagle.
    • Moe and Gabby (voiced by Jan Crawford & Gerald Edwards) Two lazy, klutzy squirrel underlings that work with Legal Eagle as police officers.
  • Margene (voiced by Erika Scheimer) classmate/ good friend of Fat Albert's. In one episode she and Albert ran for co-president of the Student Council and beat out two other candidates, both of whom were running on platforms of racism. A straight-A student, Margene occasionally got in with the wrong people but always managed to rebound.
  • 3 River Blockbusters – The Junkyard Gang's main rival when it comes to competing in sports such as baseball and football. The Blockbusters stole the championship in a competition called "buck buck" in the episode "Moving". One of them was voiced by Gerald Edwards, who voiced Weird Harold, and one of them was voiced by Eric Suter, who voiced Rudy. They make an appearance in the film adaptation featuring totally different members and the leader, dubbed as Crips, voiced by Catero Colbert credited as Lead Teen.
  • Pee Wee is a small boy who looks up to Fat Albert and the gang. While being small in stature, his best athletic skill is kicking a football at a long distance. When the bigger kids could not get anything out of a small van, Pee Wee is there to retrieve it.

Lou Scheimer, Erika Scheimer, Keith Allen, Lane Vaux, Pepe Brown, Dementra McHenry, Eric Suter, and Gerald Edwards provided additional voices.

Episodes

Educational lessons and songs

Fat Albert was honored and noted for its educational content, which included Cosby earning a Doctorate in Education.

At the end of most episodes (with some exceptions in the case of particularly serious themes), the gang would sing a song about the theme of the day. This sequence, similar to those seen in other Filmation shows including The Archie Show, has often been parodied. The musical sequence was dropped during the Brown Hornet/Legal Eagle years.

The series would enjoy one of the longest runs in the history of the Saturday morning cartoons.

Theme song

The theme song, "Gonna Have a Good Time", was composed by Ricky Sheldon and Edward Fournier, and performed by Michael Gray (vocals), Kim Carnes (background vocals) and Edward Fournier (background vocals).

A cover of the show's theme song, performed by Dig, is included on the 1995 tribute album Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits, produced by Ralph Sall for MCA Records. The song's chorus ("Na-na-na, gonna have a good time!") was also sampled for Fatboy Slim's 1998 hit single "Praise You".

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