Hey Hey Hey

In what will no doubt become one of next winter’s biggest hits, Bill Cosby has handpicked Forest Whitaker to bring Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids to the big screen. You might have seen the film is already set for release on Christmas Day, but what do you know about the film itself? Look no further, because Filmjerk has the first breakdown on the story and how each of the characters fits in…

FAT ALBERT

African American. 18 to early 20s to play 16.

The famous “Fat Albert” cartoon character created by Bill Cosby, he tumbles out of the television set during his show and winds up in the real world, as a real person. Exuberant, sensitive, funny and very sweet, Fat Albert is famous for his “Hey, hey, hey!” and his talent for problem solving, for which all of his crew look up to him. True to form, Fat Albert is determined to help the friendless and feisty Doris Robertson find some friends, but his mission is complicated somewhat by the fact that a) he is a cartoon character in the real world and a bit out of touch with reality, and b) he’s fallen in love with Doris’ sister, Lauri, which is kind of a distraction. Though Fat Albert becomes frustrated by his inability to make everything all right with Lauri and Doris before he has to return to his TV show, he has a meeting with the Big Guy—Bill Cosby himself—and gets some advice and information that helps him out.

MUSHMOUTH

African American. 18 to early 20s to play 16.

Another of the well-known “Fat Albert” cartoon characters created by Bill Cosby, he’s famous for being literally a “mushmouth”—it’s very difficult to understand anything he says. However, after he tumbles out of the television into the real world, he finds himself befriended by a little 3 year old girl who teaches him how to speak properly. Suddenly articulate and very well spoken, Mushmouth enjoys being finally understood until it’s time for him to jump back into his television show.

OLD WEIRD HAROLD

African American. 18 to early 20s to play 16.

Another of the famous “Fat Arnold” cartoon characters, he, too, tumbles out of the TV to find himself a real person in the real world. Very tall and somewhat awkward, Old Weird Harold undergoes an amazing transformation when he’s invited to play in a pick-up basketball game and suddenly finds himself dribbling, shooting and scoring! Full of new-found confidence, he informs everyone that he doesn’t want to be called “Old Weird Harold” anymore—but just plain Harold. Harold’s the first to go back to his television show world when he sees his little TV cartoon sister crying because she misses him.

DUMB DONALD

African American. 18 to early 20s to play 16.

Another of the famous “Fat Albert” cartoon characters, he tumbles out of the television to find himself a real person in the real world. Donald’s not too bright at first, and his most often-heard phrase is “I’m so confused.” However, Dumb Donald decides to go to the library in the real world, and settles down to do some serious reading (he reads up to volume 22 of African American history). Suddenly very intelligent, Donald has an excellent vocabulary and some good insights; eventually, he asks that people drop the “Dumb” and just call him Donald—and he also takes off his dumb hat, revealing that he’s actually a good looking guy.

RUDY

African American. 18 to early 20s to play 16.

Another of the famous “Fat Albert” cartoon characters, he’s a tough, bright, curious guy who’s fascinated by the remote control when he tumbles out of his cartoon TV show and into the real world. Like the others, Rudy finds out there’s something he’s very good at in the real world; in his case, it’s math class. Like the rest of Fat Albert’s crew, Rudy has a deep respect for Fat Albert and his problem solving talents, and is very impressed with Fat Albert’s resolution to Doris’ problem.

RUSSELL

African American. 8 or 9 years old to play 6 or 7.

Another of the famous “Fat Albert” cartoon characters who tumbles out of the TV show and into the real world, he’s kind of a wiseguy. Despite his tendency to razz people, especially Rudy, he still joins the others in respecting Fat Albert and his problem-solving abilities, and is devastated when Fat Albert doesn’t rise to the occasion. One of the first of the cartoon characters to lose a significant body part when they all begin to fade, Russell is one of the first to go back inside their TV show in the hopes of getting his behind back.

BILL

African American. 18 to early 20s to play 16.

Yet another of the famous “Fat Albert” cartoon characters who tumbles out of the TV show, he’s a pretty level-headed and smart young man. Concerned that they won’t be able to go back inside the TV show—after all, they’re all a lot bigger now than when they fell out of it—he’s the first one to notice that their colors are beginning to fade, which can’t be a good sign. A practical guy, Bill’s the one who finally gets everybody back into the TV show where they belong.

STORY LINE:

The characters of Bill Cosby’s famous “Fat Albert” cartoon series (FAT ALBERT, MUSHMOUTH, OLD WEIRD HAROLD, DUMB DONALD, RUDY, RUSSELL and BILL) find themselves in human form when they tumble out of their television show and end up in the real world. As Fat Albert tries to help young Doris win some friends, he falls in love with her sister Lauri, and everyone gets nervous that not only will his famous problemsolving talent fail him, but that he’ll want to stay in the real world…

I was a kid when Fat Albert first ran on CBS. I liked the show and watched it from time to time, but I wouldn’t call myself a real fan. Being the precocious brat I was, I appreciated the little messages Mister Cosby would put into each episode. But after reading this, I’m trying to figure just what the hell Mister Cosby, along with cowriter Charles Kipps, is thinking. This reads more like a rejected plot for a Scooby Doo movie, as an overly medicated Shaggy hallucinates his way into an alternate reality.

I guess one has to try to give Cos the benefit of the doubt. But then, on the other hand, this is the guy who created Leonard Part 6 and tried to blame the studio for the film sucking as much as it did, despite Cos having written, produced and starred in the dog…

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