Bill Cosby explains Fat Albert's 'Hey, Hey, Hey'
Popular cartoon catchphrase inspired by legendary Motown group
Saturday mornings from 1972-85 were more fun because of a rotund, good-natured guy named Fat Albert and his ragtag gang of pals.
In case you weren't around to appreciate it, the cartoon was called "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" and it was based on the childhood friends of comedic mastermind Bill Cosby, who created and hosted the show. In time for Shout! Factory's June 25 box set release, Cosby, 75, did a special feature interview where he breaks down Fat Albert as the program's central figure. Fat Albert eventually became a hero for countless child viewers, including Cosby's late son, Ennis, he said.
Cosby, who provided the voice for Fat Albert, said he wanted the character to exhibit a range of emotional inflections not heard on most animated offerings of that era. He also wanted the red-sweater wearing star to have a catchphrase viewers would identify with and enjoy. And "Hey, Hey, Hey" was born.
"'Hey, Hey, Hey' is a signal," Cosby said. "It's a charge that he's coming. And that came from his love for The Temptations. (In) some of their songs, the background singers (would sing) 'hey, hey, hey,' that kind of thing. And so whenever Fat Albert would say that, it would come from his group, The Temps. I don't know if Fat Albert wanted to be a background singer or be one of The Temps."
Cosby also said he wanted to challenge the way overweight people were perceived. "In my time, fat people were stereotyped as clumsy, to laugh at, not particularly intelligent and (having) low self-esteem," Cosby said. "I wanted to change that and make Fat Albert the large fellow that everybody started liking because he was the biggest guy in the football game ... to take a person like that and make him an intelligent, compassionate and wise leader."
"Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: The Complete Series" ($119.99, Shout! Factory) hits store shelves Tuesday, June 25.
the Coz featured Fat Albert in one of his stand-up routines in the mid 60's. Fat Albert can be found on one of the several alblums produced during that time. To quote Bill Cosby: "Fat Albert weighed two thousand pounds and he loved to hear us call his name."
I think this is a nice explanation from the man who, for me and many others, is an all time Master of Comedy, but I recall that Fat Albert and his "Hey, Hey, Hey..." dates back to at least the late sixties, when on a vinyl album I wore out, (Dr.) Bill Cosby told the story of playing "Buck-Buck", and how when his team of skinny small kids played the "big kids", Fat Albert was their secret weapon:
"Come on out ... Fat Albert"
"Hey, hey, hey! I Looooove to Play Buck-Buck!"
(sounds of heavy footsteps, parents taking their children out of the street)
"Hey, hey, hey..."
Fun album. Think it may have also included bits about "the Chicken Heart that Ate New York City", and "little tiny hairs growing out all over my face ... I always use a razor, on my face, to shave with"
Great show!! My favorite scene involved one of their friends, who had violated his punishment. His sister showed up, and said, "Hey, you ain't s'posed to be outside! You is s'posed to be grounded! If Pop finds out, you in biiiig trouble!" He answered, "Well, Pop ain't here!" But actually, he was! A huge, black hulk was right there, and gave him The Look. The kid had the fear of God in him!
The only downside was that Filmation Studios "animated" this show...and quite poorly. It was mostly a bunch of talking heads sliding in and out of the picture, and a lot of long-range "silhouette" shots. (They would do the same cheesy production for the "Star Trek cartoon in 1973.) Thankfully, TV animation has improved a lot since then.
I grew up watching Fat Albert and the Cosby kid's. There was always a life lesson in there. Say what you want, but todays cartoons lack that and border on the silly to just ridicules. Bill Cosby out did himself in that cartoon.
I loved "Fat Albert" for the same reason I loved "What's Happening" and "Good Times." It is not that they were black or white or purple, it was that they were poor and I could associate with that more than anything else.
Thank you so much Mr. Cosby
hey hey hey what you got to say .....cos is cool then and now ...he tells it like it is