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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Children > Music > TV > Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids - The Original Animated Series V.1

Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids – The Original Animated Series V.1


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Episodes: B+     CD sound: B-



When it first aired, television had never seen anything like Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids, which debuted in 1972.  There had never been an all African-American cast animated series before (and few since), while commercial TV had seen few such shows that combined education and morals.  In the first shows, especially the ones where Bill Cosby hosts in a yellow shirt, he added music numbers ala Hanna Barberra series like Scooby Doo and Josie & The Pussycats.  Urban Works has been issuing many titles from the series, and here is a Volume One double DVD set that offers the following half-hour shows:


1)     Lying

2)     The Runt

3)     The Stranger

4)     Creativity

5)     Fish Out Of Water

6)     Moving

7)     Playing Hookey

8)     The Hospital

9)     Beggin’ Benny

10)  The Hero

11)  The Prankster

12)  Four Eyes



They are some of the most important, classic pieces of Saturday Morning TV programming ever and was among a golden age of children’s programming like nothing ever seen before or since.  When the show replaced music numbers with Brown Hornet segments, a superhero spoof on the tail end of such send-ups, it was never the same.  The show was still good, but got in creative trouble.  That is why this is a particularly good set to get if you have trouble choosing between what has been issued so far, though I do look forward to seeing the later shows.


Bill Cosby has been derailed and criticized lately often, but at the same time has achieved so much in his career.  The Cosby Show was a huge hit, as were several feature films (especially the great Hickey & Boggs reviewed elsewhere on this site) and I Spy the series is still light years ahead of the awful feature films.  As far as his TV work is concerned, even after many memorable guest appearances and other hit sitcoms, these shows remain the most important work he ever did in the television medium.  Even the recent feature film could not recapture the magic.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image is nice and clean in many instances, but there are many shots where the image is distorted and even has double vision blurriness that I do not recall in any broadcasts.  As with the other installments in Urban Works’ series of DVD releases, the video you see comes from composite D1 digital videotape, which was then restored in the video realm only by JCA TV with Snell & Wilcox Archangel Ph.C digital restoration system.  This is good for DVD releasing at this time, but not for preserving the shows in the future for digital HD presentation and more durable film storage.  The early shows are going to need work digital cannot alone fix.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is fine for its age, but no match for the PCM 2.0 16Bit/44.1kHz monophonic CD that is a bonus disc in this set.  This includes songs that always sounded like Smokie Robinson producing Three Dog Night and they are:



1)     Fat Albert Opening Theme

2)     Don’t Go Telling A Lie

3)     Don’t Look Down On A Small Guy

4)     Everybody’s Different

5)     We’re All Together

6)     One World

7)     Friends

8)     There’s No Fool Like A Fool Playing Hookey

9)     Don’t Be Scared (Of A Hospital)

10)  Beggin’ Benny

11)  Oh Don’t You Know He’s Not A Hero

12)  A Joke Isn’t A Joke

13)  Four Eyes

14)  Fat Albert Closing Theme



Though simple, these are children’s music classics and more people know them than you might think.  If you get this set and have seen the film, you might be surprised how quickly you recall some of this particular material.  The other extra in the case is connected with this CD, a nice booklet with listings of all the episodes, songs and song lyrics.  That rounds out a great set of discs that are perfect children’s fare.  Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids - Volume One is a must for any children’s, TV and animation library.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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