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Buy Exclusive Game of Thrones Merch at the HBO Shop Now!
 
 
 
 
1975: 'Welcome Back, Kotter' Begins on ABC
September 9, 2017  | By TV WW
 
On this day in 1975, ABC introduced the situation comedy Welcome Back, Kotter, starring comedian Gabe Kaplan as Gabe Kotter, a teacher who returns to the high school he attended in Brooklyn to oversee a class of remedial misfits. The series was loosely based on Kaplan's own high school experiences. 

The students in Kotter's class were collectively known as the Sweathogs, and the actors portraying the wisecracking crew became television favorites. The show's biggest breakout star was John Travolta, who played high school Casanova Vinnie Barbarino. The main quartet also included Ron Palillo as Arnold Horshack, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs as Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington and Robert Hegyes as Juan Epstein. Marcia Strassman played Kotter's wife, Julie. 

The series was responsible for numerous catchphrases of the day, including Barbarino's "Up your nose with a rubber hose!" During the show's run a range of Welcome Back, Kotter merchandise was released, including lunch boxes, comic books, board games and action figures.

By the show's third season, its popularity had begun to wane. By its fourth Travolta — who had found feature film success with Grease and Saturday Night Fever— was appearing only occasionally as a "special guest star." The show was cancelled after its fourth season.
 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

This Day in TV History