Hey, Hey, Hey, It's Fat Albert (Rare Primetime Animated Special; 1969)
|A newspaper ad, showing The Cosby Kids in their original designs.|
Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids is an animated TV series which aired from September 9, 1972 to August 10, 1985. It has 114 episodes counting specials.
Before the series premiered, there was a primetime special called Hey, Hey, Hey, It's Fat Albert, which was shown on November 12, 1969, and aired on NBC. It was rebroadcasted twice, but presumably never saw a home release.
It follows The Cosby Kids performing stand-up sketches from Bill Cosby's routines, much like in the actual show.
The plot would have centered on Fat Albert being made fun of by his friends because of his weight, and so he distances himself from them. The other kids would then dispute an (American) football game against rivals, and Fat Albert would then arrive, using his weight to help his friends to win the game.
Mundie and six animators worked 18-hour days for six months to meet NBC's deadline. The animators drew directly onto cels with grease pencils, coloring each cel themselves. The cels were then photographed.
Live footage from Philadelphia was inserted as background. Said Filmation's Lou Scheimer: "It did not work. It was a strange-looking thing. And it did not have any of the values that we wanted to do ultimately in the show." While the series became popular, the special has not been released since.
AvailabilityThe Paley Center for Media holds a copy of the special in their collection, and it is available for viewing at their locations in New York and Los Angeles.
The only footage of the special that has publically resurfaced is a blurry red-tinted clip from animator Leo Sullivan's collection. It seems it comes from near the end of the special, where Fat Albert arrives at a football game that his friends are playing against rivals, and so he is using his huge weight to dogpile the opponents.
As of 2016, it is becoming more unlikely that this animated special becomes more widely available, considering Bill Cosby's rape allegations and his upcoming trial.