About Christmas TV History

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fat Albert's Christmas Special (1977)

I enjoy honoring Black History Month (BHM) on my blog because there are so many excellent Christmas episodes, specials and TV movies with exceptional African-American cast members.  There are also many outstanding or touching Christmas TV story lines aimed at black audiences.  In the upcoming month, I'll highlight a few of my favorites.  If you have a particular episode, special or TV movie that you'd like me to discuss here in Black History Month, please comment below and ask about it.  I'll see what I can do.

"If you're not careful, you just might learn somethin'."

This half-hour, animated primetime TV special was based on the characters from the Saturday morning cartoon series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.  Of course, this series was created by actor/comedian Bill Cosby Jr. and often featured an introduction by the actor himself.  Do you remember the show's opening theme song "Hey, hey hey--it's Faaat Albert..."

The nativity rehearsals are interrupted by a knock at the clubhouse door...

In the Christmas Special, Fat Albert and his friends are staging a production of a Nativity pageant in their junkyard clubhouse.

Mr. Tyrone only wants to make money at Christmas time.
The Scrooge-like owner of the junkyard, Mr. Tyrone, wants to tear down the boys’ structure.  Meanwhile, Fat Albert offers a needy family shelter in their clubhouse.  The husband, wife and son Marshall are out-of-towners, their car has broken down and the wife is expecting a baby! 

Hoping to earn some money, Fat Albert goes to work for Mr. Tyrone as a sidewalk Santa Claus
Young Marshall fears he’s a burden to his parents and runs away, forcing the Cosby Kids to lay chase to convince him his parents need him now more than ever.

The dramatic rescue of Marshall after he runs away and ends up falling through the ice!

Fat Albert overhears that Mr. Tyrone has been down since his wife died several years ago.  Can Fat Albert do anything to help him improve Tyrone's outlook at Christmas?  And, what will happen to Mr. Tyrone’s plans to demolish the clubhouse? 

Gifts for the new baby born in the clubhouse
This is a Christmas story with the classic elements of a family that comes together, the arrival of a newborn, and a miser who learns there's more to Christmas than making money when he opens his heart to others.  What makes this classic tale unique is its urban setting and the distinctive characters that make up the Cosby Kids.

Did you watch Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids on Saturday mornings?  Is watching this Christmas special a part of your annual Christmas tradition?

How many of the Cosby Kids' names can you recall?  Dumb Donald, Bill, Russell, Mushmouth, Weird Harold, Rudy and Bucky.  And, of course there's Fat Albert.

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