We knew that Bill, Clair, Sandra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy were representative of families we knew and loved. For some of us, the Cosbys represented our own families. They didn’t redefine Blackness; they simply revealed another facet. A Black narrative that focused on education instead of poverty. A Black narrative that focused on art instead of gang violence. A Black narrative that focused on love instead of pathology.
“The Cosby Show” provided access to the Black upper-middle class existence, one that didn’t shy away from Blackness in favor of a White atheistic, but one which showcased Black artists, jazz musicians and dancers.
And, now, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the show’s premiere, many of us are all in our feelings, reminiscing about what the show meant for us—and still does mean to this day.
To that end, ABC News has compiled 30 things you may not know about “The Cosby Show”.
Read below and add your own “Cosby” memories in the comment section.
1. “The Cosby Show” wasn’t the first show named after Bill Cosby. There were three others that came before, “The Bill Cosby Show,” “The New Bill Cosby Show” and “Cos.” After “The Cosby Show” ended, Cosby and Phylicia Rashad moved to CBS to star in “Cosby.”
2. Cosby’s real-life family was the basis of the Huxtables. Both families consisted of four daughters and one son in the middle.
3. The character Theo was patterned after Cosby’s own son, Ennis, who like the character had dyslexia. Ennis was murdered in 1997.
4. Bill Cosby never received an Emmy nod for his acting on the series — apparently at his own request, because he was opposed to such competition between performers. He did receive, however, two Golden Globe awards for playing Cliff Huxtable.
5. Whitney Houston was up for the role as the Huxtables’ oldest daughter, but the part instead went to 26-year-old Sabrina Le Beauf because she had more acting experience and Houston was intent on becoming a recording artist.
6. On the show, the Huxtable brownstone was supposedly in Brooklyn, but the facade was actually shot in the West Village at 10 St. Luke’s Place in Manhattan.
7. Much of the artwork that hung on the walls of the Huxtable home was by renowned African-American artists Synthia Saint James and by the painter Varnette Honeywood.
8. Phylicia Rashad won the part of Clair, in part, because she spoke fluent Spanish. The show originally planned to have Clair’s character be a Dominican who would go on tirades in Spanish — ala “I Love Lucy” — but dropped the idea before the pilot was taped.
9. The show, according to TV Guide, was the biggest hit in the 1980s and almost single-handedly revived the sitcom genre and NBC’s fortunes.
10. Cosby used material about family life from his stand-up routines for episodes of the show.