Thursday, January 3, 2008

“Welcome Back, Kotter”

As I’m typing this, I have the “Welcome Back, Kotter” theme song in my head.

Running from 1975 to 1979, “Welcome Back, Kotter” starred Gabe Kaplan as Gabe Kotter, who returns to his alma mater high school, James Buchanan High in Brooklyn, N.Y., to teach a bunch of students collectively known as the “Sweathogs.” John Travolta—who would become a film star during the show’s run--starred as sweathog Vinnie Barbarino. (Everybody sing, “Ba…ba…ba…ba ba barino…”) The other three featured Sweathogs were Ron Palillo as Arnold Horshack (“Ooh…ooh…ooh, Mr. Kotter!”), Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs as Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington, and Robert Hegyes as Juan Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos Epstein (who consistently had a note from his mother excusing him from homework).

Constantly butting heads with Mr. Kotter and the Sweathogs was the assistant vice-principal Mr. Michael Woodman, played by John Sylvester White. And, there was Mr. Kotter’s wife, Julie, played by Marcia Strassman, who would patiently sit through Gabe’s joke about his family and endure unexpected visits from the Sweathogs.

Later in the series, Stephen Shortridge would join the cast as sweathog Beau De Labarre. John Travolta would make only guest starring appearances as he concentrated on his movie career. The Kotters became parents of twin girls, and Gabe Kotter was promoted to vice principal, while still doing some teaching.

One of the show’s most oft-used catch-phrases: “Up your nose with a rubber hose!”

If you’re looking for more info on “Welcome Back, Kotter,” check out these sites:

Here’s the series’ opening scene:

Take a look at John Travolta singing the “Barbarino” song

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