The Bill Cosby Show

The Bill Cosby Show Information

The Bill Cosby Show is an American situation comedy that aired for two seasons on NBC's Sunday night schedule from 1969 until 1971, under the sponsorship of Procter & Gamble. There were 52 episodes made in the series. It marked Cosby's first solo foray in television, after his co-starring role with Robert Culp in I Spy. The series also marked the first time an African American starred in his or her own eponymous comedy series.


In this light-hearted comedy, Bill Cosby played the role of Chet Kincaid, physical education teacher at a Los Angeles high school, bachelor, and average cool guy trying to earn a living and helping people out along the way. The Bill Cosby Show was humorous but not a laugh-out-loud sitcom. The show entertained with intelligent character studies and plausible, real-life situations, conveyed in the classic Cosby style.

The show ran for two seasons, 52 episodes in all. While only a modest critical success, The Bill Cosby Show was a ratings hit, finishing eleventh in its first season.

With the high school as the setting of most episodes, story lines comprise: life lessons, students and fellow teachers, family drama, a coach's purview, and a few challenging forays as a substitute teacher of algebra or English. Cosby was lauded for using some previously unknown African-American performers such as Lillian Randolph (as Kincaid's mother) and Rex Ingram. Well known guest stars appear as well; including Henry Fonda and veteran comedians Mantan Moreland and Moms Mabley as Kincaid's married—and feuding—uncle and aunt.

The show's horn-centric and groovy theme song, "Hikky Burr," was written by Cosby and Quincy Jones, with Cosby providing the vocals. A new version of the theme was recorded for later seasons.

Notably, the show did not use a laugh track, which at the time was unique for a half-hour situation comedy. According to commentary on the show's Season 1 DVD, Cosby and NBC were at odds over his refusal to include a laugh track in the show. Cosby felt that viewers were intelligent enough to find the humor themselves, without being prompted. While a few comedy-dramas already aired without laugh tracks, few sitcoms went without and those that did had studio audiences.

Episode list

Season 1: 1969"70

Ep Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date ShortSummary=While out jogging, Chet hears the telephone ringing inside a phone booth. He hesitates, but decides to answer. As a result, Chet ends up getting involved in a dispute between an auto mechanic and his wife. In an interesting twist, a case of mistaken identity in which Chet is involved brings this episode to a close. Guest star: Vic Tayback as Calvin the mechanic. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is having difficulty sleeping at night, due to the new neighbor across the street whose dog won't stop barking. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=A short, but talented youngster with an unusual hook shot is determined to make the Holmes High School basketball team, where Chet is coach. He makes the team, after defeating Chet in a game of one on one. It's the day of the big game, Chet and the team pin their hopes on the little guy and his hook shot to win the game. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet does volunteer work for the local community center, a place for underprivileged children. He is having problems with Punkin, a young girl who is unresponsive and stays to herself. Chet eventually breaks through, and Punkin comes around. A touching scene where Chet tells Punkin a bedtime story and teaches her a lesson in love and caring at the same time is the high point of this episode. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet goes to great lengths to obtain a valve needle which he needs in order to inflate basketballs for his gym class. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is asked to be substitute teacher in an algebra class. Chet and the students have a difficult time arriving at the answer for one particular problem involving candy being sold at varying amounts per pound. Chet spends the weekend trying to solve the problem, he even visits a candy store to try to purchase the correct amounts of candy. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is receiving attention from a female student of the high school. He thinks she has a crush on him, but the girl is actually trying to set Chet up with her mother. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is having problems with a proud father who insists that his son make the high school football team. Trouble is, the kid just doesn't have what it takes and is not cut out to play football. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet starts dating a substitute teacher from the high school, and has difficulty finding time to spend alone with her. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet's brother Brian moves in with Chet after having an argument with his wife. Brian spoils Chet's plans for the evening, then hilarity ensues when they attempt to sleep in the same bed together. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet's nephew is in bed with a cold. Chet is asked and agrees to substitute for his nephew in the morning paper route. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet does a TV commercial for a morning breakfast cereal, with disastrous results. Classic episode. Guest Stars: Alan Oppenheimer, Mike Farrell of M*A*S*H fame also makes a brief cameo appearance. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet helps a down on his luck old timer capture the spirit of Christmas. Guest star: Rex Ingram (in his final role) LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is home with a cold, and is unable to rest because all his relatives come over offering their cure-alls and remedies. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is asked to chaperone at a high school dance. Chet's car is not available, so he ends up borrowing his brothers garbage truck to drive his date to the dance. At the dance, Chet teaches one student a lesson in the importance of physical appearance. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet gets stuck inside an elevator at the high school along with one other faculty member and the school's cleaning lady. They entertain each other until help arrives. Guest stars: Henry Fonda as a faculty member, Elsa Lanchester as the school's cleaning lady. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet tries to get his ever arguing aunt and uncle to stop fighting and treat each other with kindness and respect. Veteran actors Mantan Moreland and Jackie "Moms" Mabley guest star and give classic performances as the bickering old couple. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is asked to help straighten out Raymond, a youngster who has a penchant for stealing. In an effort to keep Raymond out of trouble, Chet finds a spot for him on his little league baseball team. But Raymond steals the money that Chet had saved up which was intended to buy uniforms for the team. In the end, Raymond realizes what he did was wrong and returns the money to Chet. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is wrongfully accused and arrested for breaking a gumball machine. Guest star: Tom Bosley as Cookie Maharg. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Wally Cox guest stars in this episode as a shy man lacking in self-confidence. With Chet's help, he builds up the nerve to ask a woman out on a date. She rejects him, and he wants to commit suicide. Chet helps to restore the man's confidence and self-esteem. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Drivers ed instructor Chet tries to teach a nervous student how to drive. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet reluctantly agrees to go on a blind date, and ends up falling in love. Guest star: Cicely Tyson as Chet's love interest. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is in the running for the city handball championship. He defeats his semi-final opponent, using psychological tactics. In the final match however, Chet has the tables turned on him and loses the match while being psyched out by his opponent. By losing, Chet teaches a player on the high school football team a lesson in good sportsmanship. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Big Bronson, an old high school classmate of Chet's, is coming to town for a visit. Chet recalls having a past dispute with Bronson, and fears revenge. Chet meets ex prize fighter Hurricane Smith, and asks for some boxing lessons to prepare himself for Bronson's arrival. Guest Stars: Lou Gossett as Hurricane Smith, Don Pedro Colley as Big Bronson. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is having problems with a player on the high school basketball team who uses profane language on the court during games. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is asked to tell a few stories about his life for a forthcoming article in the Holmes High School newspaper. LineColor=CDAD00 }}

Season 2: 1970"71

Ep Title Directed by: Written by: Original air date ShortSummary=The Holmes High School football team is on a losing streak, so the team asks Chet if they can have game films to help determine what they're doing wrong. Chet borrows a movie camera from a friend, and films the teams practice sessions. Funny silent films result from Chet's experiments with trying out the camera. A side plot has Chet trying to help out a student and former player of the football team who can no longer play due to injury. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=One of Chet's fellow teachers from the high school is a part-time real estate agent. Chet spends a weekend helping him out, trying to sell a house. Chet sells the house, but the couple who put the house up for sale change their mind. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Chet injures his back during his gym class, and needs to be taken to the hospital. Upon arrival, he has difficulty trying to obtain medical service, until a young patient staying at the hospital assists Chet and helps him find a doctor. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=A female student at the high school is convinced she is destined to be an actress and is certain she will win an acting contest she has entered. Chet then tells her about the time he missed his own surprise birthday party to try to teach her a lesson about anticipation and being overconfident. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Will Geer guest stars in this episode as a lonesome elderly man looking for companionship. He befriends Chet, and becomes too demanding of Chet's time, but they end up compromising and spend some quality time together. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Chet inherits a valuable letter which originally came from Abraham Lincoln. Only catch, the letter is misplaced and needs to be found. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is sent out to track down and find a runaway boy. He succeeds, and they spend the day together. After sharing a few adventures, Chet helps the boy decide he should go back home. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Chet helps out a talented youngster who wants to become an artist. Chet disputes however, when the youngster chooses Chet as subject matter for his painting which will be on display at the art fair. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is in charge of a group of youngsters and is supposed to take them on an overnight camping trip. They set out to their destination, but mishaps occur, and they end up staying over at Chet's apartment. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=A driving rainstorm is pounding the Los Angeles area. Chet's next door neighbor is due to have her baby and is unable to get to the hospital, streets are flooded. Chet helps out as the woman prepares to have her baby at home. Part one of a two part episode. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Conclusion of a two part episode. Chet helps an expectant mother deliver her baby at home during a driving rainstorm. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Don Knotts guest stars in this episode as a shifty repossessor who's trying to repossess Chet's television set. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=A male student at the high school enjoys writing poetry, but doesn't want his friends to find out, fearing ridicule. Chet (who has also written some poetry) tells the student he shouldn't be concerned with what other people think, to go ahead and do what he enjoys doing. Chet then gets in a bind when he is mistaken as the author of a poem he copied in his youth, and the poem is scheduled to be published in the school newspaper. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Upon winning the award for Teacher of the Year, Chet has a difficult time convincing the other teachers to attend the banquet where he will receive the award. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Students at the high school organize a lockout of the teachers cafeteria, requesting that they have input over what foods go on the student menu. Chet helps the students and cafeteria manager reach a compromise. But when the same students have a grievance with Chet's gym class, Chet is not as willing to cooperate. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Chet tutors a Mexican immigrant who is studying to become a United States citizen. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Dick Van Dyke guest stars in this episode as Miraculous Martin, an out of work magician who's trying to stay sober and planning to get married. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Chet has a large TV antenna installed so he can watch the big Rams/Packers football game. Many teachers from the high school come over to see the game, but Chet's TV set goes out. Chet goes to his sister's and brother-in-law's place to try to borrow their TV set, but Chet's little nephew Davey refuses to let him borrow it, insisting that he wants to watch Sesame Street. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Chet's mother is going out of town, so Chet's father comes to stay with him while she is away. As they spend time together, they discover that things have changed and they don't have as much in common anymore. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Chet aids a fellow teacher from the high school who's trying to quit smoking. Herb Edelman guest stars as Mr. Maher, the teacher who's trying to kick the habit. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Chet is at odds with a student at the high school who wants to be a spy. Because the student is a fast runner, Chet wants him to join up with the school's track team. But the student wants no part of it, preferring to remain out of the spotlight. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Chet visits the local barber shop for a haircut. While there, he gets involved in a dispute with the barber and another patron over baseball. The three of them end up going to a high rise hotel, where the barber claims he can catch a baseball dropped from a window of the hotel's top floor. Guest Star: Antonio Fargas as J.J. the barber, and Arthur French. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=Elsa Lanchester guest stars as an eccentric woman who recruits Chet to help save a tree from being cut down at a construction site. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=A male student from the high school seeks Chet's advice regarding love and jealousy. As it turns out, Chet could use a lesson or two himself and does not seem to practice what he preaches. Kim Weston guest stars, and cast includes DeWayne Jessie (Otis Day). LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=John Marley guest stars in this episode as a wealthy, eccentric man who wants to relive his childhood. He seeks Chet's help to have his wish come true. LineColor=000070 }}

ShortSummary=A young Jewish boy joins Chet's little league baseball team. Saturday is the day of the big game, and the boy is forced to decide between playing in the game, or sitting out due to his religious beliefs, Saturday being the Jewish sabbath. The episode that brings this show to an end. LineColor=000070 }}


In 1984, Cosby returned to NBC with a similarly named sitcom titled The Cosby Show. The popularity of that sitcom led to reruns of this one being picked up on the CBN Cable Network (now known as ABC Family).

In 2010, this series started being broadcast on the Retro Television Network.

In 2013, reruns of this series began being broadcast on the [ASPIRE Television Network].

DVD releases

Shout! Factory has released both seasons of The Bill Cosby Show on DVD in Region 1.

Mill Creek Entertainment released a 10 episode best-of set entitled The Bill Cosby Show- The Best of Season 1 on March 22, 2011.

DVD name Ep # Release date
Season One 26 August 22, 2006
Season Two? 26 April 20, 2010
? - Shout! Factory select title, sold exclusively through Shout's online store

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Bill_Cosby_Show" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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