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Hey Eldergays! Tell me about Welcome Back Kotter!!

This was one of America’s favorite TV shows in the late 1970’s and gave John Travolta, as sex on a Brooklyn stick, Vinny Barbarino, his big break.

Was Ron Palillo as Arnold Horshack America’s first gay TV star? Don’t forget sweathogs, Juan Epstein and Freddy Boom Boom Washington

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by Mr. Woodmanreply 6405/23/2020

Marcia Strassman was the female Ed McMahon. She was hired solely to laugh at Gabe Kaplan's corny dad jokes.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 105/19/2020

Mid-70s. Not late-70s.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 205/19/2020

It was an obnoxious loud POS. Just bad.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 305/19/2020

Every single character was defined by a catchphrase.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 405/19/2020

The show ran from 1975-1979.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 505/19/2020

A show that should be in the "Jump The Shark" Hall of fame for continuing after Gabriel Kaplan left.

At one point I vaguely remember his wife was teaching the class.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 605/19/2020

Hi There

by Mr. Woodmanreply 705/19/2020

It came on right before dinner in the early 80s. Even as a little kid, the show gave me a headache.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 805/19/2020

Juan was hawt!

by Mr. Woodmanreply 905/19/2020

It was huge for a couple of years, but it has not aged well. I think even by the time it went off the air it was kind of forgotten. I don't remember it being in the rerun cycle like other 70's sitcoms in the 80's like Happy Days or Good Times.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 1005/19/2020

i was obsessed with Juan in the late 80's, reruns.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 1105/19/2020

Yes. Juan was the sexiest on the show.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 1205/19/2020

I luv me some Puerto Rican Jews.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 1305/19/2020

[quote]I don't remember it being in the rerun cycle like other 70's sitcoms in the 80's like Happy Days or Good Times.

True, though I think it may be running on Antenna TV right now (or was until recently anyway).

by Mr. Woodmanreply 1405/19/2020

R1 that show was bookended by those corny jokes. 🤕

by Mr. Woodmanreply 1505/19/2020

I loved Hotsy Totsy played by Debralee Scott

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by Mr. Woodmanreply 1605/19/2020

The theme song was written and sung by John Sebastian, formerly of the Lovin' Spoonful. His godmother was, believe it or not, DL icon Vivian Vance.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 1705/19/2020

What was the thing with showing low -income neighborhood footage in 70s for intros like All In The Family, Welcome Back Kotter, Good Times, Chico and the Man, Sanford and Son, What’s Happening?, etc. It seemed like a that was a thing: corny theme song over amateurish footage of the average neighborhoods or the ghetto. Was it to give it a sense of gritty realism?

by Mr. Woodmanreply 1805/19/2020

Yes, it was a very conscious 180 from the manicured suburbs that prevailed in 50s and 60s TV Land.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 1905/19/2020

This show was on when I was a young kid. I thought the teacher's name was Mr. Carter, and the pronunciation "Kotter" was the result of the kids' New York accents. I was wrong.

You have to give them credit. The show was ahead of the times in terms of diversity, with multiple demographics groups represented in the main cast.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 2005/19/2020

Why did Ron Palillo skip the reunion in 2010? He died in 2012. RIP. He was so funny as Horshack.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 2105/20/2020

I liked Freddie Boom Boom.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 2205/20/2020

Gabe Kaplan cowrote all the episodes and cocreated the show? Holy shit!

by Mr. Woodmanreply 2305/20/2020

Yeah, I hated that show. I never liked teachers like Kotter who let the cut-ups run the class; they want too badly to be the "cool" teacher that it slights the quieter students who just want to learn without all the yuk-yuks and Groucho Marx bullshit.

Never understood the appeal of Travolta, when it was Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs who was "sex on a stick".

Kaplan and the actress who played his wife belong on the "Costars who hated one another--and it shows" thread. It made me uncomfortable just watching their pained interactions.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 2405/20/2020

I liked the song. I STILL like the song.

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by Mr. Woodmanreply 2505/20/2020

R18- The Good Times neighborhood was a SLUM. The All In The Family neighborhood was lower middle class. Big difference between the two neighborhoods which you're lumping together as LOW income.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 2605/20/2020

John Travolta was beautiful!

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by Mr. Woodmanreply 2705/20/2020

Juan Epstein piqued my interest as a child. Only reason I watched this as a kid.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 2805/20/2020

i liked it when male model turned actor steven shortridge appeared as the pretty preppy that the sweathogs hated until he became "one of them".. he sure was pretty and the early episode where they showed him off shirtless wearing only a towel because the sweathogs had stolen his clothes was pure homoerotica... wonder if travolta had the hots for him on set?...

by Mr. Woodmanreply 2905/20/2020

I was a weird young gayling but I thought Mr. Kotter was hotter than Vinny Barbarino, who was too stupid for words and always seemed rather simian to me.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 3005/20/2020

R29, here you go.

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by Mr. Woodmanreply 3105/20/2020

R31.. thanks! i remember the scene had him strutting down the school hallway past the lockers in only this towel covering his lower half and the sweat hogs are laughing at him but the live audience was whooping it up see him half naked handsome pretty boy steven shortridge..

by Mr. Woodmanreply 3205/20/2020

the seventies were SEXAY

by Mr. Woodmanreply 3305/20/2020

Up your nose with a rubbah hose!

by Mr. Woodmanreply 3405/20/2020

Robert Hegyes had a nice ass. Watching episodes of Cagney and Lacey, he looked good in his tight jeans. Even had a brief scene in his jockeys in the locker room.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 3505/20/2020

Really old looking high school students.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 3605/20/2020

Just like the movie GREASE. Stockard Channing was 33 and playing a 17 year old. In real life Stockard Channing was actually in high school in 1959!

by Mr. Woodmanreply 3705/20/2020

I don't remember so many hair chests when I was in high school.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 3805/20/2020

R31’s pic makes it look like he’s got a woody.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 3905/20/2020

[quote] Just like the movie GREASE. Stockard Channing was 33 and playing a 17 year old. In real life Stockard Channing was actually in high school in 1959!

Travolta was 21 when the show started. As stupid as Vinny was. 21 in high school would have been correct for him.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 4005/20/2020

John Travolta looked the right age for Welcome Back Kotter. Stockard could have played the Eve Arden role in Grease. Seriously.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 4105/20/2020

Was Travolta in sort of a Farrah/"Angels" situation where they were basically forcing him to keep making guest appearances? Didn't he leave after his movie career took off? I also thought Shortridge was brought in as his replacement but of course never took off like Barbarino (though to be fair, I'm sure the show had also started to fade a lot by then, too).

by Mr. Woodmanreply 4205/20/2020

I thought it was bad. I was never a Travolta fan and this certainly didn't create a good first impression.

And the Horshack character was difficult to watch.

Not to mention Kaplan's shtick seemed dated.

But most of my school friends liked the show.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 4305/20/2020

The high school shown in the opening credits was New Utrecht High School in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. I lived near there and passed it on the train every day for 8 years. The subway line that's visible on screen is the West End Line. I'm not sure which train it was in the 1970s, but I know in the late 90s it was the B, then replaced by the W, and finally the D, which currently runs on the line.

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by Mr. Woodmanreply 4405/20/2020

R18 suspension of disbelief. it was to make us forget that the show was shot in a studio.

But then again John Amos screaming "live from television City in Hollywood" before each episode of Good times didn't really help.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 4505/20/2020

I meant "Epstein" when I was working in retail in Los Angeles in the mid-90s. It was very friendly and easy going.

It was sad to hear that he died in 2012. RIP Robert Hegyes

by Mr. Woodmanreply 4605/20/2020

Wow, r46, I didn’t even realize he died.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 4705/21/2020

R46, R47

It's okay, he was excused.

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by Mr. Woodmanreply 4805/21/2020

Like everyone mentioned, the show has not aged well. It wasn't well written or acted unlike surprisingly Goot Times. It's appeal was the characters and the theme song. And about the gritty scenes in the credits, folks that was NYC in the 70s, like a more sanitized Saturday Night Fever or the Warriors.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 4905/21/2020

The Horshack character wasn't gay just extremely goofy and socially awkward just shy of being developmentally disabled. Were the Sweathogs supposed to be a special Ed class?

The hotsy totsy episodes were interesting because it suggested all the guys in the class slept with her. I don't think that was ever on tv before.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 5005/21/2020

RIP Ron Palillo

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by Mr. Woodmanreply 5105/21/2020

R34 In your ear with a can of beer.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 5205/21/2020

Thanks R27 for the video. Loved it when Travolta laid down for the night. He had a nice arse.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 5305/21/2020

Gabe Kaplan was Groucho, Epstein was Chico, and Horshack was Harpo.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 5405/21/2020

[quote] Epstein was Chico

Dear lord! That’s racist!

by Mr. Woodmanreply 5505/21/2020

R53 Saw the video. U r right!

by Mr. Woodmanreply 5605/22/2020

[quote] Thanks [R27] for the video. Loved it when Travolta laid down for the night. He had a nice arse.

You’re welcome. The question is how many guys had gotten between those cheeks at that point.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 5705/22/2020

There’s never a mention of a wife or female partner in any of Lawrence Hilton Jacob’s biographies. So possibly three gay men in the show’s cast?

by Mr. Woodmanreply 5805/23/2020

Yeah I didn’t feel like getting into an extensive socioeconomic breakdown of the intros in my comment—I figured low income or lower income neighborhoods was a general enough reference to illustrate my point about the use of amateur footage of neighborhoods.. I’m confident most adults could distinguish the different types of neighborhoods in the intros and know they weren’t all the same without having to have it clarified.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 5905/23/2020

The series is super dated, but I admit I still love the theme song. I feel a happy wave of nostalgia when I hear theme songs of shows from the 70s and 80s, and this is one of the better ones.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 6005/23/2020

R60.. personally i LOVE the intro song to WKRP in Cincinnati! love the lyrics, both upbeat and melancholy longing sad...

by Mr. Woodmanreply 6105/23/2020

Howard Stern did a segment on the best TV show theme songs.. The Jeffersons was anointed the best.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 6205/23/2020

Interesting that Gabe Kaplan’s career literally ended after this show finished, despite the fact that it was a significant hit.

by Mr. Woodmanreply 6305/23/2020

R27, do you suppose JT always looks like this when he lies on his stomach? Or, did the director have to tell him how to position his legs?

by Mr. Woodmanreply 6405/23/2020
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