Hey, Hey, Hey! Buy This DVD Today!
sundayclub | 03/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Those of us who grew up in the seventies will always have fond memories of watching the Fat Albert cartoons on CBS-TV; this budget-priced DVD collection features the first dozen episodes as aired in the fall of 1972. Bill Cosby hosted each show and also provided a few of the characters' voices, but his greatest contribution to the series may have been his insistence on high-quality writing in collaboration with professional educators. Fewer episodes were produced as a result, but the attention to quality made the shows surprisingly durable over seven years of reruns on Saturday morning TV.
Cosby had tremendous respect for young children, and his segments in the series demonstrate his gift for being able to talk to children without talking down to them. Like a good teacher, Cosby addressed his young viewers not as immature troublemakers, but as the young adults they would one day become. His presence was more than just a gimmick to keep animation costs down; he actually gave instant credibility to the lessons that were being taught in every episode.
This DVD package includes an audio CD of the songs from each episode, but the sound quality is poor; what you're hearing is the original tinny-sounding TV soundtrack with extra bass added. Sadly, the only way you can hear these songs in stereo is to hunt down a copy of the ultra-rare 1973 soundtrack LP. Hopefully, someone will dig up the original studio tapes for a CD boxed set soon, and I hope it includes the soulful instrumental themes as well.
In its day, the series was widely praised by parents and educators for its positive portrayal of black teenagers as role models for young viewers. Three decades later, these shows are still considered the standard by which all other animated series are judged. In fact, I can't think of a cartoon series on the air today that combines education and entertainment as skillfully as the Fat Albert series. Watching these cartoons again for the first time in 25 years brought back many pleasant memories from my childhood. I recommend it highly to parents looking for an educational show that can teach without the preach."
Great to see these again, but NOT entirely original...
BRADLEY R HUTSON | Illinois | 03/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I always enjoyed watching "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" when I was young. Not only was it funny and imaginative (some of Rudy and Russell's slams on each other were hysterical), but each episode always contained a good moral lesson and great music to boot! This 2-disc DVD set contains the first 12 episodes broadcast on CBS in 1972. I'm not sure how the publisher went about acquiring the films to transfer to DVD, though. Some of the episodes clock in at around 19:30 and contain the original opening and closing sequences, while others clock in around 21:30 and appear to be the 1984 syndicated versions (with the 80's style "FILMATION Presents" tag and an older Bill Cosby with shorter hair in the intro.) I don't know if the syndicated versions had footage added to them later, or if the original versions presented here are cut. Because of all that, something does not totally jive with the way this set is presented. However, it is a great buy for fans of the show or for anyone who enjoys classic cartoons that are not only fun to watch (even as an adult), but teach a good lesson as well. Let's hope enough future volumes are released to make up a complete 110 episode set!"
Hey Hey Hey this Set is OK!
Andre M. | Mt. Pleasant, SC United States | 03/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This time, they got it right on putting FA&TCK on DVD!
This has the good stuff from the Golden era. Great stories interwoven with stuff from Cosby's classic routines, the wonderful songs of the Junkyard Band and the voice of Micheal Gray (note to FA novices-the Junkyard Band was the Cosby Kids band that provided the cool music for the show-and an additional CD of the songs to boot!) memorable characters (Begging Benny, Scrap Iron Yates, Dumb Donald's cousin Betty, Lying Edward, etc.)
"Moving," what I consider to the their all-time best episode, is included here. In 30 minutes, Albert and crew play out Bill Cosby's classic BUCK BUCK and GO CARTS routines within the context of the story, as well as a really beautiful song called "Friends" that holds up well years later.
"Fish Out of Water" has the gang meeting some white kids at a summer camp (surprisingly, the difference in the character's race as a source of their antagonism is deftly underplayed). But the thing to watch out for in this one is an animated version of the greatest of all Bill Cosby routines-THE CHICKEN HEART as Cosby's younger animated self scares his friends with this tale around the campfire.
"Creativity" tells the tale of the forming of the Junkyard Band, and includes Bill Cosby's "Mudfoot Brown" character (one wonders if this was the source of Richard Pryor's legendary "Mudbone") telling Albert and Weird Harold a tall tale about bear fighting. This bit has nothing to do with the story in question, but it's a really cool scene as children today rarely experience the pleasure of having an old man in their neighborhood entertain them with wild stories.
These epsiodes played well to us seventies children, and I have noticed that their effect on children of today has not diminished. Like "Bullwinkle" and "Garfield and Friends," (and as "Kim Possible" will surely be to future generations), it's a timeless classic.
Two more volumes of these classic first 36 episodes of FA&TCK are on the way, so save your piggy banks. HOWEVER-beware of the post 1979 Junkyard Bandless episodes with the sorry "Brown Hornet" episodes and overbearingly unfunny stories. Don't waste your time or cash with any of that shark-jumping junk.
It would be great to see the 1969 FA pilot/debut HEY! HEY! HEY! IT'S FAT ALBERT and the almost-forgotten 1970 sequel WEIRD HAROLD (which, as I vividly recall, was based entirely on the GO CARTS routine and was only shown once afterward around 1973) on one of the future Fat Albert DVDs. Just a suggestion, but in the meatime, get with the kids and enjoy as a family some really great stories and songs together."