KID ‘N PLAY
Christopher “Kid” Reid – Himself (live)
Christopher “Play” Martin – Himself (live)
Christopher Hooks – Christopher “Kid” Reid
Brian Stokes Mitchell – Christopher “Play” Martin
Tommy Davidson – Jazzy, Acorn
J.D. Hall – Pitbull, Mr. Reid
Cree Summer – Marika, Downtown Patty, Terry Martin
Martin Lawrence – Wiz, Hurbie
Dawnn Lewis – Lela Martin
Danny Mann – Hairy
Rain Pryor – B.B.
Dorian Harewood – Old Blue
|Kid 'n Play.|
Christopher “Kid Coolout” Reid and Christopher “Playboy” Martin were part of rival high school hip-hop groups: The Turnout Brothers and The Super Lovers. Meeting during a competition, the two hit it off and, after their respective groups broke up, they formed their own in 1986. Initially called The Fresh Force Crew, they had recorded two songs before officially changing their name to Kid ‘n Play in 1987 based on shortened versions of their respective nicknames.
|Kid 'n Play animated.|
With their fame riding high, NBC decided to offer the pair a TV deal. NBC not only gave them an animated series, but also a live-action sitcom. The cartoon was developed by Cynthia Friedlob and John Semper. While providing the theme song and appearing in live wraparound segments, Kid ‘n Play didn’t voice their animated counterparts. Instead, their roles were played by Christopher Hooks and Brian Stokes Mitchell, respectively. To attract the pre-teen audience, the duo was portrayed younger and still in school. Azor, renamed “Hurbie” for the series, was still their manager of sorts, albeit goofily portrayed, and drove the official Kid ‘n Play truck around. He was played by House Party co-star and then-relatively unknown comedian/actor Martin Lawrence. Kid also had a mohawk-sporting dog named Hairy (Danny Mann).
The series has often been compared to Fat Albert in that it featured kids in an urban setting engaging in adventures that had a positive moral message for the viewers. Joining the duo were their backup dancers Lela (Dawnn Lweis), Play’s sister, Marika, Play’s crush, and Downtown Patty (both Cree Summer); their DJ, Wiz (Lawrence); Play’s tomboy little sister, Terry (also Summer); and rival performers The Mean Machine: Acorn (Tommy Davidson), B.B. (Rain Pryor) and Pitbull (J.D. Hall), who would engage in practical jokes and sabotage the duo out of jealousy. Also tagging along was Jazzy (Davidson), a klutzy boy that idolized Play.
|Ad for NBC's 1990 Saturday morning line-up.|
Kid ‘n Play debuted on NBC on September 8, 1990. Aside from the music from Kid ‘n Play themselves, the show’s original music was composed by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy, while the rapping was handled by Romeo Rich, Stan “The Guitar” Man, Nye Tucker and Yutaka. the show only lasted a single season of 13 episodes before it was cancelled. A major contributing factor was it was scheduled opposite two ratings powerhouses on the rival networks: CBS’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and ABC’s Beetlejuice. Another factor was that NBC was looking to get out of the cartoon business and further build on the success of Saved by the Bell. Kid and Play, having grown up on cartoons and enjoying being the first rappers to have one, stood firm and cancelled production on the sitcom in anger. That show that ended up taking its place was Will Smith’s career-launching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Marvel Comics would publish a series based on the cartoon in 1992 that ran for nine issues.
In 1995, after their third House Party outing, the act split up to pursue their own ventures. Kid continued to act, guest-starring in numerous sitcoms and hosting several specials. Play became a born-again Christian and spent time working on Christian-based hip-hop projects before founding HP4 Digital Works and Brand Newz. He also became a professor at North Carolina Central University. Beginning in 2009, the duo would reunite on several talk shows and for the BETHip Hop Awards, and engaged on a House Party anniversary tour where they performed with various acts, including Salt-N-Pepa. In 2012, Kid 'n Play returned to the House Party franchise with House Party: Tonight's the Night, which served as a direct sequel to House Party 3. In 2014, they appeared in Radio Shack’s “The 80s Called” Super Bowl commercial.
“Play’s Place” (9/8/90) – To get a date with Marika, Play tries to impress her by saying he and Kid will be appearing at a big club.