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Welcome Back, Kotter: Season 1

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Welcome Back, Kotter: Season 1 + Welcome Back, Kotter (Television Favorites Compilation) + Chico and the Man
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Product Details

  • Actors: Gabe Kaplan, John Travolta, Ron Palillo, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Robert Hegyes
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 12, 2007
  • Run Time: 553 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,180 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Welcome Back, Kotter: Season 1" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 22 episodes on four discs
  • Actors' original screen tests
  • "Only a Few Degrees from a Sweathog" retrospective featurette

Editorial Reviews


Travel back to a time when sitcoms were recorded live on tape before a studio audience and dialogue was dominated by nonsensical catch phrases, like "Up your nose with a rubber hose!" and "Off my case, potato face!" The year was 1975. Saturday Night Fever had yet to make John Travolta a star, and stand-up comedian-turned-creator Gabe Kaplan had yet to become a late-night poker mainstay. Welcome to four years at Brooklyn's Buchanan High School.

Along with What's Happening, Welcome Back, Kotter was what the cool kids were watching--just as their kids would turn to Freaks and Geeks in the years to come. Unlike the teens of Happy Days, Buchanan's remedial students aren't polite preppies, but slang-slinging hooligans. Gabe Kotter (Kaplan) serves as home-room teacher to a "pack of howling baboons" led by Vinnie Barbarino (Travolta), Arnold Horshack (Ron Palillo), Freddie "Boom-Boom" Washington (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs), and self-described Puerto Rican Jew Juan Epstein (Robert Hegyes) Their adversary: Vice Principal Woodman (John Sylvester White), who lives to put a kibosh on their high jinks--just as he did when Kotter was a Sweathog in the 1960s.

Other regulars include Kotter's wife, Julie (Marcia Strassman, who hosts the featurette "Only a Few Degrees from a Sweathog"), and Rosalie "Hotzy" Totzy (Mary Hartman's Debra Lee Scott). At the time, Welcome Back, Kotter was more than just a show. It was a cultural phenomenon, spawning lunch boxes, schoolyard taunts, and the like. In retrospect, the jokes are cornier than ever, but the anything-goes spirit--crazy costumes and musical numbers--is hard to resist. At least that's true of the first three seasons. By the fourth, Travolta and Kaplan became scarce, and Kotter ran out of steam. Rest assured, though, that John Sebastian's clap-happy, chart-topping theme remains as catchy as ever. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Mr. Kotter, meet the Sweathogs, the goofiest group of remedial students who ever set off the fire alarm two minutes before a test or spent algebra class constructing spit wads. Sweathogs, meet Mr. Kotter, a former Sweathog who's returned to his old high school as your new teacher. Gabriel Kaplan stars as Kotter and John Travolta, in his breakthrough role, plays Sweathog leader Vinnie Barbarino in this multicultural, multicomical 1970s smash hit set at Brooklyn's James Buchanan High School. Join them plus jivin', high-fivin' Freddie Washington, tough-guy Juan Epstein and peppy pipsqueak Arnold Horshack for all the Season One fun - or it's up your nose with a rubber hose!

DVD Features:
Featurette:The shows cast and creators reflect on the influence of the show, their personal experiences and memorable moments
Other:Actors' Original Screen Tests

Customer Reviews

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Popular Discussion Topics

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  • "Opinions" 37
  • "Series" 13
  • "Characters" 6
  • "Acting" 5
  • "Audio" 2
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By James Ferguson VINE VOICE on May 2, 2007
Verified Purchase
It has been years since I last saw "Welcome Back, Kotter." It is a real treat to see it coming out on DVD. No one could have imagined the break out star John Travolta would become, trading in his tight t-shirt for a white leisure suit, as Gabe Kaplan fights to hold his own against an unruly class of "Sweathogs," who fall below the curve of Buchanan High School. This was the first high school comedy to capture a gritty urban feel. Room 222 had its moments but was sticky sweet by comparison. Gabe Kaplan drew on his life experiences, which had been the fodder of his stand-up routines, to capture a lively classroom of remedial kids led by Vinnie Barbarino. They manage to stay one step ahead of Vice Principal Woodman (John Sylvester White), but Kotter knows the tricks all too well, having been a sweathog himself in his youth. Robert Hegyes, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (who enjoyed a brief celebrity of his own) and Ron Palillo round out the motley crew, representative of the racial diversity of the school. Marcia Strassman is wonderful as Kotter's wife, Julie, who has to listen to his daily accounts each evening, reminiscent of the bed conversations between Bob and Emily Newhart. The show had a good run of 4 seasons, which is appropriate given that it was a high school comedy. And, don't forget the wonderful theme song by John Sebastian.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Retro_Saiyan on November 16, 2008
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I guess you could say I'm picky with DVD releases, but this one was quite good. The theme song is intact, the studio audience laughter is still there and the episodes are mostly complete, with the episodes usually running from 24-25 minutes. It's always annoying when a show is released on DVD but is badly edited, glad to see they left this show mostly intact. The price is also quite good, you get 22 episodes, compared with some DVDs which contain 15 at a higher price (I'm looking at you, Paramount). Picture quality is decent, certainly not the level seen in "I Love Lucy" or "MASH" but those shows were done on film, and considering this show was done on tape I'd say it's pretty good. As for the humor, well taste is subjective but I enjoyed this even if I didn't quite get the occasional topical joke, with much of it being quite watchable.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Bennet Pomerantz VINE VOICE on June 18, 2007
If you want to laugh and keep laughing, this is the DVD box set for you

Welcome Back Kotter was a cross between the Blackboard Jungle mixed with the Marx Brothers and Burns & Allen. The jokes were recycled Marx Brother msterial, but Gabe Kaplan (who created this show with Alan Sacks, based this on his stand up act) and crew made this stuff work.

And by crew, I mean actors John Travolta (pre Saturday Night Fever/Grease), Robert Hegyes, Lawrence Hilton Jacobs and Ron Palillo (as his students-the Sweathogs), Marcia Strassman (as Julie Kotter) and John Slyvester White (as Mr. Woodman). These actors keep this pace fun and well timed

A friend remarked I have not laughed that hard in years..and so will you. This perfect Family fare for all ages. It may be from 1975, but you could run it today and everyone would still enjoy it, GREAT STUFF

Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
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46 of 59 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 23, 2007
Let's face it, "Welcome Back Kotter" was the REAL "That 70's Show" - the inner city urban version. You may not remember, but originally the pilot is shown as the third episode of the season, so hopefully that confusing situation will be remedied on the DVD. I can't remember the last time I even saw this show in syndication on channels such as Nick at Nite that specialize in dusting off old sitcoms unseen for years. The comic premise of the show is that Gabe Kotter, newly graduated from college and certified to teach, has returned to teach the same remedial class of high school misfits of which he was a member ten years earlier. Vice Principal Woodman, who was the object of Gabe's torments and jokes ten years earlier, is still employed at the high school and gives Gabe this job as the ultimate irony and revenge for what Gabe had put him through. Of course, this show is sugar-coated compared to the real problems and issues of a New York City public school in a poor neighborhood, but it had to be since this was a sitcom, not a drama. The show had a great cast playing great characters - there was Horshack, the class nerd with the nasal laugh; Barbarino, the cool maverick who was a little slow on the uptake; Epstein with the mixed Latino/Jewish heritage and the great excused absence notes signed by "Epstein's mother", and last but not least, Washington. There was a great common enemy in Mr. Woodman, who you couldn't help but feel a little sorry for. Finally, the show had a great location in Brooklyn and a memorable theme song by John Sebastian that you are much more likely to hear today than see the show from whence it came. For three wonderful seasons from 1975 to 1978 it was a comedy classic. But, alas, all things must come to an end.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Banfield on July 16, 2007
"Welcome Back, Kotter" is my favorite sitcom of all time. I was ten years old and in the fifth grade when it premiered, and every kid watched it. When we weren't driving our parents and teachers crazy singing commercials, yelling "Dyn-o-MITE!" or trying to figure out the Laverne and Shirley chant, we were coming up with different versions of "Up your nose with a rubber hose," writing fake notes, wheezing, saying "Hi there!" or talking in bad Brooklyn accents. I liked all the Sweathogs, but Horshack was my favorite - I thought he was cute. Thus it was with a mixture of excitement and worry that I bought the first season on DVD. Would this show hold up in the 2000s, or was it never really funny in the first place?

I was thrilled to find out that I still enjoyed the vast majority of the first season of "Kotter." When any of the Sweathogs are on the screen, it's a joy - they played off each other so well and obviously enjoyed working together. The telethon episode, when the guys do a song-and-dance version of "Me And My Shadow," led by a very young John Travolta as Barbarino, had me laughing so hard I was crying.

Also fun are the episodes in which Horshack (who's still cute) gets promoted out of the class and hates it, where Epstein cares for his pets, where the class has a sleep-over at the school and gets into a surprisingly philosophical discussion for low-achieving students, where Washington thinks he's going to be a basketball star, and where Mr. Woodman becomes a nice guy - temporarily. And you can't forget the Barbarino dance, which would show up later in a few other movies. When I was younger, I never caught all the old Hollywood allusions they make - someone is always imitating the Marx Brothers, James Cagney, George Burns, etc.
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Topic From this Discussion
What's The Delay With Season 2 and 3?
Considering that we've lost both Robert Heyges (Juan Epstein) & Ron Palillo (Arnold Horshack) within a seven month period,Warner Brothers should go ahead & release the remaining three seasons.
Aug 14, 2012 by Scott N. Burton |  See all 2 posts
Season Two?
it's the same way with "CHiPS", they took forever to get season 1 and it seems like it will be at least a full year before we even hear about season 2. Pretty annoying how slow Warner Bros. puts out some tv show dvds. And they are doing a HORRENDOUS job with 'Whose Line is it... Read More
Dec 15, 2007 by Bryan |  See all 5 posts
John Travolta MIA
Yeah, I noticed that, too. You'd think he'd take the time to say a few words about the show that made him famous. Oh, well.
Jul 28, 2007 by Kiwi Kenobi |  See all 2 posts
Where's Seasons 2 through 4 of Welcome Back Kotter? Be the first to reply
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