On this day in comedy on July 31, 1992 Bébé’s Kids was released by Paramount Pictures!
The brainchild of comedian, Robin Harris, the animated comedy was produced by Reginald Hudlin and Hyperion Pictures after Harris’ death in 1990. Based on a routine from his stand-up act, Bebe’s Kids tells the story of some bad kids and the trials and tribulations of a wannabe boyfriend forced to deal with them to score points with his potential lady.
Robin meets Jamika at a funeral and before he dies he wants some of that. He wants her so bad he gets talked into taking her and her son out to Fun World to get acquainted. The problems start to stack up when Robin goes to pick up Jamika and her son and there are three other kids there. They’re Bebe’s Kids and Bebe is nowhere to be seen, but she did leave a few bucks for the kids; a very few. Oh well, if Robin wants some Jamika he has to survive one little old day. Off to Fun World they go.
Bebe’s Kids reputation proceeds them. The guards at Fun World warn them they’ll be watched. Doesn’t matter – they go off anyway; running off and destroying everything in sight. It doesn’t help that Robin’s ex-wife is at Fun World, too. She and her weight challenged side kick try to put salt in Robin’s game, but get smacked down with a barrage of mama jokes. Jamika warms up to Robin. Meanwhile Jamika’s son gets no love from Bebe’s Kids as they run amok, get caught by security, escape and recruit other amusement park going kids to be menaces too. There’s a trail with Lincoln and Nixon, a fully demolished Fun World and a trip to Las Vegas that ends with Bebe’s Kids begin spotted and the gamblers fleeing for their lives. Best of all there’s a live action clip of legendary (for good reason) Robin Harris doing stand-up comedy.
A predominately black cast voices the film, including Faizon Love (the voice of Harris), Vanessa Bell Calloway, Nell Carter, Myra J, John Witherspoon, George Wallace, Tone Loc and Marques Houston. Directed by Bruce W. Smith with a screenplay by Reginald Hudlin, Bebe’s Kids made $8,442,162 at the domestic box office. Even though the critics disliked it and it came in #7 its opening weekend, audiences came to embrace the film as a cult classic. In 1994 it was adapted into a video game on Super Nintendo. Later Bebe’s Kids was released on DVD in October of 2004, but was discontinued in March 2008.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
Check out this clip: