The Late Movies: Kids Incorporated
The children's TV show Kids Incorporated ran from 1984 through 1993 and featured a group of kids who performed in their own rock group, Kids Incorporated, at a former musical club called The Palace. While you may not have heard of the show before, you should be familiar with some of its regular cast members, dancers, and guest stars. The clips below feature some of the bigger names who guest starred on Kids Incorporated or who spent some of their younger days in its cast.
1. Stacy Ferguson
Stacy, or "Fergie" as she's now known, was the youngest cast member, at about 8 years old, when the show began, and she remained with the show for more seasons than anyone else, not leaving until 1990. Within 2 years, she had joined the group Wild Orchid (then New Rhythm Generation or NRG), which she left in 2001. She joined The Black-Eyed Peas for their 2003 album, and the rest is history.
Stacy covers Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock" from the season 2 episode "A Pain in the Neck."
2. Jennifer Love Hewitt
One of Jennifer Love Hewitt's earliest roles was as Robin in season 7 of Kids Incorporated. She went on to star in movies such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, Can't Hardly Wait, and Heartbreakers and television shows, including Party of Five, The Ghost Whisperer, and The Client List. She's also released 4 studio albums, including one the year after her Kids Incorporated run, which made her a star in Japan.
Jennifer sings lead on this Kids Incorporated original, "Where There's a Will," which opened the season 7 episode "Mummy Dearest."
3. Mario Lopez
Kids Incorporated was Mario Lopez's first recorded role; he was one of the many dancers, but he was also a singer in the first season and served as the drummer from 1984 through 1986. In one notable episode, his character taught "The Kid" (played by Rahsaan Patterson) to wrestle. Post-Kids Inc., Mario starred in the many iterations of Saved by the Bell. He's hosted many shows and events, including Extra and America's Best Dance Crew, appeared on Broadway in A Chorus Line, competed in the season 3 of Dancing with the Stars, and published 3 books.
Mario is on drums in this cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" from the season 1 episode "Robot Bop."
4. Eric Balfour
One of his very first roles, Eric Balfour played Eric on Kids Incorporated for season 7, in 1991. In 1997, he was one of the first victims in the pilot episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He starred in the short-lived Dick Wolf TV drama Conviction, the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the TV show Life on Mars. He's most well-known for his roles as Milo Pressman on 24 and as Duke Crocker on the current Syfy show Haven.
Eric, with Kenny Ford, covers the Nelson song "Love and Affection" in the season 7 episode "Flip Out."
5. David Hasselhoff
In the first season of Kids Incorporated, David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff guest-starred in an episode called "School's for Fools." At that point, he was starring in Knight Rider and had already spent eight years on the cast of The Young and the Restless. Since his appearance on Kids Inc., he's starred in Baywatch, served as a judge on America's Got Talent, and competed in Dancing with the Stars. He released his first album in 1985 and has put out 17 more albums since then.
David and the Kids cover The Contours' "Do You Love Me?" in the 15th episode of season 1.
6. Florence Henderson
By the time Florence Henderson appeared as the "Granny" of Jared (played by Jared Delgin) in season 8 of Kids Incorporated in 1992, she was already well-known for her role as Mrs. Brady in The Brady Bunch and its many offshoots. She has continued to guest-star in a variety of shows since her appearance on Kids Incorporated.
Florence's "Granny" and her grandson Jared sing a cover of Kathy Treccoli's "Everything Changes" with the rest of the Kids. (Watch closely -- Florence also appears to play saxophone.)
7. Brittany Murphy
When Brittany Murphy had a guest role in season 8 of Kids Inc., she had already starred in the TV show Drexell's Class and appeared in an episode of Murphy's Law. Three years later, she was nominated for a Young Artists Award for her role in Clueless. Post-Clueless, she starred in Drop Dead Gorgeous, Girl, Interrupted, 8 Mile, and Uptown Girls, among others, voiced Luanne Platter and more characters for the TV show King of the Hill, and appeared in a variety of other TV shows.
Brittany and Nicole cover the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" in the season 8 episode "Lay Off."
8. Scott Wolf
Scott Wolf appeared in one episode of Kids Incorporated, in which he played identical twins named Billy and Bobby. (Billy was the new friend of Eric, played by Eric Balfour, listed above.) He had already appeared in 4 episodes of Saved by the Bell at that point, and he went on to star in Party of Five (with Kids Inc alum Jennifer Love Hewitt), Everwood, The Nine, and V.
Watch for the guy in the varsity jacket. (The quality isn't great, but this is the only song from Scott's episode, "Double Trouble" in season 7, on YouTube.)
9. Jeff Cohen
Jeff Cohen is best known as Chunk from The Goonies ("Truffle shuffle!"), but in 1984, the year before The Goonies came out, he was the guest star of the fifth episode, "The Joker," of Kids Incorporated's first season. Jeff played a practical joker who wanted to be friends with the Kids. Since The Goonies, he had small roles on a few other TV shows and made-for-TV movies, but his main focus has been on his education and his career. Today, he's an entertainment lawyer and was named one of "Hollywood's Top 35 Executives 35 and Under" by The Hollywood Reporter.
This is the full season 1 episode guest-starring Jeff as "the joker."
10. Billy Blanks
The inventor of Tae Bo, Billy Blanks has practiced martial arts since the age of 11. In the '80s, he broke into acting with several (not very successful) action-adventure films. In the final episode of season 6 of Kids Inc., Billy teaches karate to Robin (Jennifer Love Hewitt's character), who's being bullied. Since 1989, Billy has grown his Tae Bo empire and continued to appear in action movies.
In "Karate Kids," episode 15 of season 6, Billy teaches Robin karate. (The episode isn't available on YouTube as one continuous video.)