Today in history, July 12th, 1937, William Henry “Bill” Cosby, Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He’s 74 years old today.

Revisiting a Bill Cosby memory… his first big screen role – 1971’s Man And Boy. Prior to this, he was primarily a TV celeb.

A Western, occurring just after the Civil War, Cosby’s Caleb Revers is a man with a family (wife and son, played well by Gloria Foster and George Spell) he must protect from racist whites determined to scare them off their newly acquired homestead. But Caleb refuses to be bullied; he’s fearless, carrying a loaded rifle, and shoots with intent to kill, more than a few times; and he won’t be belittled or condescended to.

It’s part road movie, part father/son bonding drama, with the search for a stolen horse, and a man’s pride at the center of it all, as well as a colorful cast of friends and foes along the way.

There’s even quite a fight scene between Cosby and Yapphet Kotto, an apparent long-time nemesis in the film. It’s not like the well-choreographed, dirty sequence between Bourne and Desh in The Bourne Ultimatum; but, for its time, it’s a good one.

It’s the 19th century American west (the Arizona desert, specifically), where the most feared and most wanted man is black, and he goes by the name of Lee Christmas, played by Douglas Turner Ward, who’s also pretty crafty and surgical with a gun.

Overall, certainly not a top-notch work, but a solid drama about family, heartfelt, with good performances all around. It was initially difficult to get past the Bill Cosby we’ve all come to know and love (or hate, depending on your POV) over the last 25 years; but once I was sold, I believed him as this man-on-a-mission to protect what’s his, even if it means giving his own life in the process.

There is some humor, but it’s limited.

Here’s the trailer, which doesn’t really do the film justice. Any other Bill Cosby memories???