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Why did Gabe Kaplan leave "Welcome Back, Kotter"?

And did he ever get acting work again? What happened to him?

by Anonymousreply 64April 26, 2014 1:55 AM

did they get a new teacher/actor when Kaplan left? who? Did Strassman leave too?

by Anonymousreply 1April 24, 2014 6:47 AM

He beat Robert Conrad in the marathon run on Battle of the Network Stars

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by Anonymousreply 2April 24, 2014 7:03 AM

There was terrible friction on the set, mostly between Kaplan and Strassman, and the castmembers taking sides. Strassman whined to People magazine about it and wished it were canceled (terribly unprofessional IMO). What with Komack being an ass and the ratings tanking, Kaplan simply had had enough and reduced his workload.

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by Anonymousreply 3April 24, 2014 7:08 AM

Yeah, Strassman's character ended up working at the school after Kotter was promoted to the least visible vice principal ever.

Stephen Shortridge quit acting to focus on his art and he wrote a book about Christian faith (it appears to be the more reflective, touchy-feely type, not the strident, judgmental fundie type.) He's still a silver-haired fox. Remember him on that "Charlie's Angels" episode with Barbara Stanwyck and her 3 hunky male detectives?

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by Anonymousreply 4April 24, 2014 7:18 AM

Komack played them against each other.

by Anonymousreply 5April 24, 2014 7:18 AM

That People article at r5 is great! I can't imagine anything that dishy and tell-all getting published today.

by Anonymousreply 6April 24, 2014 7:34 AM

Kotter without Travolta was like McDonald's without beef products.

by Anonymousreply 7April 24, 2014 7:44 AM

Well, it was the end of all of their careers after that, except Travolta's.

by Anonymousreply 8April 24, 2014 3:40 PM

Who painted the Kotter's funky apartment with all those arrows?

by Anonymousreply 9April 24, 2014 3:50 PM

He started a computer company and made millions. He still does stand-up in Vegas, and is actually pretty funny.

I had the "Boom-Boom Washington" and "Mr. Kotter" dolls when I was a kid. I used to undress them and do lewd things with them.

by Anonymousreply 10April 24, 2014 3:59 PM

Did Kaplan have a serious gambling problem?

by Anonymousreply 11April 24, 2014 4:07 PM

I had a WELCOME BACK, KOTTER t-shirt when I was a little kid. I think is said something something then "toilet face." Is that familiar to anyone?

by Anonymousreply 12April 24, 2014 4:08 PM

Wasn't he the show's creator? So I'm sure he raked it in whether he was in the show or not and got plenty of royalties

by Anonymousreply 13April 24, 2014 4:28 PM

And I should add that "Fast Break" was a pretty good movie. It had a "gay" story line where one of the players was attracted to another player, not realizing the player was actually a girl. The scene with Gabe as the coach and the player was pretty pro-gay, surprisingly so for the time.

by Anonymousreply 14April 24, 2014 4:34 PM

"Did Kaplan have a serious gambling problem?"

I remember hearing that he's an expert poker player and makes big money doing it.

John Sebastian had a #1 hit with the theme song.

Boy, Marcia Strassman was a whiny bitch. Apparently she blamed Gabe Kaplan and WBK for EVERYTHING that went wrong in her life.

Reruns of the show are are MeTv. It's kind of sad watching them. Three of the Sweathogs are dead now: Robert Hegyes, Ron Palillo, and Debralee Scott are all gone. None of them reached the age of 65. That's sad.

by Anonymousreply 15April 24, 2014 4:53 PM

That people story is hilarious. I love the idea of Marcia Strassman palling around with Cher and riding motorcycles with Kate Jackson. I wonder if they're still close.

by Anonymousreply 16April 24, 2014 4:57 PM

That People thing was great. You never hear that kind of honesty anymore.

Strassman seems to have revelled in her Hollywood life and was resentful that she was on this trashy sitcom.

by Anonymousreply 17April 24, 2014 5:12 PM

You can hardly blame her for hating the show for the first several years. All she ever got to do was say, "No, Gabe, tell me about your Uncle Morty."

by Anonymousreply 18April 24, 2014 5:17 PM

R20, exactly.

While wearing those huge glasses.

by Anonymousreply 19April 24, 2014 5:22 PM

Yeah, but she was a working actress who had a regular TV gig. Most actors would kill for that.

Like most of her kind it went to her head and she thought it was holding her back from great acting success. That WAS her great acting success and all she did was bitch about it.

Ungrateful cow.

by Anonymousreply 20April 24, 2014 5:29 PM

Strassman is a huge dyke. Anyone who's ever met her will tell you.

by Anonymousreply 21April 24, 2014 6:23 PM

Strassman was on MASH for a few episodes as nurse Margie Cutler. Seemingly she was Hawkeye's kind of steady girlfriend. On an episode where everybody thought the war was coming to an end she initiated a talk with Hawkeye about their future together, assuming that "the way we've been" meant that they were going to be together after the war. Hawkeye tells her he's married (he's not), and if I recall it correctly she hits him over the head with a bedpan. I guess Nurse Cutler put in for a transfer after that, because that was the last that was seen of her.

by Anonymousreply 22April 24, 2014 6:49 PM

[quote] Like most of her kind it went to her head and she thought it was holding her back from great acting success.

She was locked into a contract for 4 or 5 years. She was an actress who was friends with other actresses her age. When she signed on for the show, she was a cast member like everyone else, expecting to be in the show as much as everyone else. That's how it was presented to her.

But then she was stuck for 4 or 5 years on a show where she had 2 lines per episode while her pals like Kate Jackson were making lots of money on their tv shows. Strassman wanted to be fired from her contract so she could go do something besides asking, "No, what did your cousin Schlomo say?" I think she felt like a jerk because she was basically nonexistent as an actress and suffered great tension because of problems on the set and with the network. Maybe she wanted to do TV movies or try out for other sitcoms where she could have a real role. She was expecting her character to be like the Suzanne Pleshette to Bob Newhart's character or the Gloria to Mike Stivic, the Mrs C to Mr C on Happy Days. Instead, she had less of a role than a ventriloquist's dummy.

ABC should simply have let her out of her contract. It's not as if people would even notice another actress playing Mrs Kotter, let alone rise up and demand her return. They kept her locked in as punishment for being pissed off that her part was whittled down to nothing.

I wonder how much Komack was really responsible for all the tension on the show? All of the fingerpointing at him started after he died. He may have been a real dick or he may have just had an unfortunate situation on his hands. We can't know because he can't tell us. Clearly, he wanted to be a Norman Lear, but tv didn't want two Norman Lears.

by Anonymousreply 23April 24, 2014 7:26 PM

I used to confuse her with the one on WKRP

by Anonymousreply 24April 24, 2014 7:30 PM

"Well, it was the end of all of their careers after that, except Travolta's."

Yeah, he about 4 good years: Saturday Night Fever; Grease; Urban Cowboy- then began a slow decline to obscurity (untile Tarantino foisted him back on us 15 years later).

Sitcoms are like travelling Vaudeville shows; actors rarely make a career afterwards.

by Anonymousreply 25April 24, 2014 7:35 PM

The People article mentions that ALL the cast members were united in their dislike of Komack. Strassman and Kaplan apparently buried the hatchet several years after the show ended when they compared notes and realized Komack had been playing them against one another during the show. There was a "Welcome Back Kotter" reunion on one of the TVLand Award Shows in the last few years and there didn't appear to be any tension between them.

by Anonymousreply 26April 24, 2014 7:43 PM

R26 - Yes, I'm sure she was ambitious and wanted a bigger role and wanted to go on to do other more interesting things and find artistic and commercial fulfillment.

But the reality is that only a tiny fraction of actors land regular roles in TV shows and movies. By landing Kotter, Strassman hit a jackpot that few actors ever experience, however disappointing it turned out to be. A five year contract on a hit TV sitcom and all she has to do is show up, appear in one or two scenes and speak only a few lines of dialogue? Most actors would love to "fail" like that.

And then a People magazine interview where she's given a voice to air her grievances? Who had that in those days? No one.

Marcia Strassman was blessed by the showbiz gods. What she did with that gift was up to her.

by Anonymousreply 27April 24, 2014 7:51 PM

Weirrrd show. No way would Kaplan's character have a hot blonde wife like that- not on a teacher's salary. Kaplan could not act, just smirked as he told Borscht belt jokes to no one. And all the 'students' were in their 30's.

by Anonymousreply 28April 24, 2014 7:54 PM

And the classroom held maybe ten students.

by Anonymousreply 29April 24, 2014 7:55 PM

[quote]No way would Kaplan's character have a hot blonde wife like that- not on a teacher's salary.

You don't remember the late sixties and seventies, do you? It was very common to see lots of Gabes with Julies in the seventies.

by Anonymousreply 30April 24, 2014 8:03 PM

R33 is right. Straight men in the 60s and 70s looked either schlubby or preppy/jock. Metrosexuals didn't exist yet and straight men were careful not to look too "done" or gay (like they cared about how they looked).

by Anonymousreply 31April 24, 2014 8:09 PM

[quote] And then a People magazine interview where she's given a voice to air her grievances? Who had that in those days?

Someone who wanted to be fired. She was unhappy and wanted out. The more interesting question is, why wouldn't ABC let her go?

She was a SAG activist who later helped head the 1980 actors strike. It may have been a reason ABC wouldn't let her go do dinner theater or voiceovers or whatever she wanted to do instead of being contracted to a tv show. Seems they didn't like her and wouldn't give her what she wanted.

I would have let her go. Her character was meaningless.

by Anonymousreply 32April 24, 2014 8:43 PM

[quote] Weirrrd show. No way would Kaplan's character have a hot blonde wife like that-

Oh yeah. Like Seinfeld and George Costanza and Kramer would have had girlfriends who looked like the ones on the show. Like Kevin James, Ralph Kramden, Al Bundy, Drew Carey, Tobias Funke, Jim Belushi, George Lopez, Mark Addy, and even Barney Rubble would have their tv wives in real life. (I don't know the names of some of the actors' tv characters because I never watched their show).

It's been a tv trope since the first sitcom all the way up until today that fat or schlubby working class guys would have a hot wife.

Even in real life, Larry David, who's worth about a half billion dollars, didn't have a wife as hot as Cheryl Hines.

by Anonymousreply 33April 24, 2014 8:55 PM

As a kid, this show's dirty inner-city sets were depressing as hell to me, a little white suburban, middle class kid. I'd never seen anything like it or heard those obnoxious, New York accents.

by Anonymousreply 34April 24, 2014 8:57 PM

For me it was the graffiti covered commuter trains during the opening credits, R37.

by Anonymousreply 35April 24, 2014 9:00 PM

So did Mr. Woodman fingerbang Vinny or not?

by Anonymousreply 36April 24, 2014 9:34 PM

Ah yes. Stephen Shortridge. The poor man's Ted McGinley

by Anonymousreply 37April 24, 2014 9:40 PM

There was an episode with Shortridge in a tiny towel and he had an amazing body.

But the show was out of gas at that point.

by Anonymousreply 38April 24, 2014 9:44 PM

[quote]Yeah, he about 4 good years: Saturday Night Fever; Grease; Urban Cowboy- then began a slow decline to obscurity (untile Tarantino foisted him back on us 15 years later).

That's not entirely true. The Look Who's Talking movies were both big hits, whatever else you might think of them.

by Anonymousreply 39April 24, 2014 9:44 PM

I was fascinated by the non-Sweathog students in Kotter's class. They never spoke and he never addressed them. They just laughed at everything he and the Sweathogs had to say. That was it.

by Anonymousreply 40April 24, 2014 11:09 PM

Welcome Back Kotter--The Up Your Nose with a Rubber Hose Game!"

Look for Steve Guttenberg!

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by Anonymousreply 41April 24, 2014 11:19 PM

Shortridge is now 60. I thought he was so hot back then. I remember the episode that he was in the towel. He still looks great.

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by Anonymousreply 42April 25, 2014 12:02 AM

Kaplan pre WBK was a big time Stand up - he was one of the first Stand ups to transition to TV

by Anonymousreply 43April 25, 2014 12:12 AM

"You don't remember the late sixties and seventies, do you? It was very common to see lots of Gabes with Julies in the seventies."

Remember the movie "The Paper Chase?" It starred Timothy Bottoms. What with his mop of curly hair, cheesy mustache and plain face, he was definitely the same type as Gabe Kaplan.

In the movie, the very hot Lindsay Wagner runs up to him on the street, takes his arm, and say a man is following her, will he see her home? That seems pretty stupid; he's as much a total stranger as the guy following her. Anyway, he sees her home. Later he comes back to her place, knocks on the door, and she lets him in, this man who is for all intents and purposes is a total stranger. They fuck.

After coitus, she tells him that she would have invited him in that first night but for...I don't remember. But I thought it amazing that this very attractive woman would have such an immediate interest in such an ordinary nothing of a guy, that she would let this guy she knows nothing about, an almost complete stranger, into her home and her bed. But that was the seventies for you. I guess that was considered normal behavior back then.

by Anonymousreply 44April 25, 2014 12:32 AM

Great article. And the irony her part was beefed up after it.

by Anonymousreply 45April 25, 2014 1:02 AM

Sorry: I thought Timothy Bottoms was adorable.

Not Gabe Kaplan, though.

by Anonymousreply 46April 25, 2014 1:08 AM

Not Gabe Kaplanish, sorry, no matter what happens to his hair or facial hair.

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by Anonymousreply 47April 25, 2014 1:27 AM

Timothy Bottoms [italic]was[/italic] adorable (and so was Joseph.)

Gabe Kaplan was out and out ugly.

Not comparable at all.

by Anonymousreply 48April 25, 2014 1:45 AM

Timothy Bottoms was not "adorable" in "The Paper Chase." He was nothing much to look at all, at least in that movie. And he'd definitely put on a few pounds; his face was much fuller than that photo at the link. Fuzzy clown hair, cheesy mustache, glasses...it was a very seventies look. Very ordinary, very plain.

by Anonymousreply 49April 25, 2014 2:16 AM

Joseph Bottoms was hot as fuck. I remember the sex scene he did with Tanya Roberts in Inner Sanctum. Damn I wanted him badly.

by Anonymousreply 50April 25, 2014 3:53 AM

R53 is crazy. Bottoms was lovely in Paper Chase. I jus saw the shower scene the other day and he was lovely.

by Anonymousreply 51April 25, 2014 4:28 AM

Marcia Strassman made a record! "The Groovy World of Jack & Jill."

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by Anonymousreply 52April 25, 2014 4:30 AM

Both Bottoms brothers were incredibly gorgeous back in the day.

by Anonymousreply 53April 25, 2014 9:39 PM

What was the Debralee Scott character supposed to be? Just the high school slut or what?

by Anonymousreply 54April 25, 2014 9:45 PM

I saw Marcia Strassman eating dinner in LA about 5 years ago with some agent type. She looked just like she did in Honey I Shrunk the Kids.

by Anonymousreply 55April 25, 2014 9:55 PM

Give me Gabe Kapler any day of the week.

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by Anonymousreply 56April 25, 2014 9:57 PM

Have any of you swooning twats in love with Timothy Bottoms actually seen "The Paper Chase?" I have. He's nothing to look at. If you think he is, then your standards are very low. And the shower scene? His body was average. Average! I guess that's what you TB fangurls like: average plain joes.

by Anonymousreply 57April 25, 2014 10:50 PM

Doesn't he support himself as a professional gambler, if he's still alive?

by Anonymousreply 58April 25, 2014 11:49 PM

He left to have gender reassignment surgery. I heard he is now a grandmother going by the name Ida and lives in a small backwards town somewhere in Idaho.

by Anonymousreply 59April 26, 2014 1:55 AM
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