Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spooktober: Fat Albert Halloween Special (1977)

Hey! Hey! Hey! Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids returned to their primetime roots in a 1977 Halloween special, one of two holiday treats during the series' 12 year run on CBS.

I'd better explain the "primetime roots" part to some of you uninitiated folks. See, while series creator Bill Cosby was starring in a self-titled sitcom for NBC, the network aired a pair of primetime specials that first introduced viewers to Fat Albert and the rest of Cosby's childhood pals. A different studio produced those two shows, but Filmation struck a deal with Cosby when the iconic series launched in 1972, a year after Cosby had graced PBS on The Electric Company.

Anyway, the gang learns not to believe heresay when it comes to the elderly, specifically a widow who's been cast in a bad light by a so-called friend of the gang. I am not sure if CBS took the opportunity to air this episode on a Saturday afternoon, when the series normally aired.......

Here's a preview:



Rating: A.

8 comments:

magicdog said...

I do rememebr seeing this special but I can't remember seeing it during the afternoon. It was one of those primetime specials treated the same way the Peanuts special were.

I definitely appreciated the messgae - as even today kids always talk about that one weird person in the neighborhood! However, even as a kid I thought Russell was wrong to have gone into the woman's house. Sure things turned out OK but we'd always been warned to never walk into stranger's houses and russell doing that could have given some kids the wrong idea.


I don't think I've ever seen the Cosby Kids in any other animated format other than Filmation's. Are they vastly different from the regular series?

hobbyfan said...

It was one of two primetime specials produced during the CBS run. The other was a Christmas special which I think came out the same year (during season 6).

I will see if I can find the pre-Filmation Cosby Kids specials. I do know that Weird Harold headlined one.

SaturdayMorningFan said...

FYI, there was also an Easter Special. I used to watch the show pretty regularly from 1972 to 1979 or so (I never saw the syndicated series) and I never once saw any of the specials air on Saturday morning.
Over at TVParty.com they've got a pretty extensive history of the show (http://www.tvparty.com/satfat.html) wherein they state that the first special was animated by a studio other than Filmation, but the second, titled "Weird Harold", was done by Filmation in 1973. I made a pretty extensive online search a while back for both of those early specials but came up empty. Please let us all know if you find either. The TVParty article also states that the guy that animated the first special is the same guy that animated the opening to the show "The Wild Wild West" and he did it in the same style, so that should give you an idea of what the first Fat Albert special looked like. Cosby apparently didn't like it and went with Filmation for the series, fortunately (IMHO).

hobbyfan said...

Ok, so Weird Harold aired after Fat Albert was launched. Gotcha. Ya know, I think I recall seeing a piece of it when I was on a field-trip vaycay with my class in '73. Thanks for helping.

SaturdayMorningFan said...

I found reference to to one more special in Wikipedia's entry for Saturday Morning Preview specials:
"1976 - Hey, Hey, Hey! It's the CBS Saturday Preview Special (hosted by Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids)"

I really hope Shout Factory tracks that one down and includes it as a bonus on their complete Fat Albert set.

hobbyfan said...

I knew about that one. However, since it entails the rest of CBS' freshman class that year, including Filmation stablemate Ark II, I doubt it'll be included on a DVD release. The network, I think, would still own it or have already wiped it.

SaturdayMorningFan said...

That's a shame, those Saturday morning preview specials are a nostalgic blast to watch today. How about a post on them?

hobbyfan said...

Ya know, if I can find some on YouTube, they'll go up......