Welcome Back, Kotter: Season 1
DVD | Box Set
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Welcome Back Kotter: The Complete First Season (DVD)
Gabe Kotter, formerly a Sweathog, returns to James Buchanan High as a teacher and is assigned the remedial class to which he once belonged. Mr. Kotter is an involved and caring teacher, which one would have to be in dealing with a certain four students in his class, who end up in trouble on a regular basis -- lady's man Vinnie Barbarino, the always cool Freddie "Boom-Boom" Washington, the tough Juan (Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos) Epstein, and the sheepish Arnold Dingfelder Horshack. Welcome Back, Kotter was based on Gabe Kaplan's own high school experiences with remedial education and a teacher who cared dearly for her students.]]>
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
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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. The low points of the episodes include Gabe's uncle jokes, which open and close every show, and almost any scene between Gabe and Julie or Gabe and Mr. Woodman - but that's why we have scan buttons on our DVD players, so we can forward to the next Sweathog appearance.
The DVD includes two extras - a documentary about the show, in which almost all the actors discuss their memories of their time on the set, and the original screen tests for the actors. Here, we see Robert Hegyes auditioning for Barbarino and playing him as a scary tough guy (he didn't realize he had actually been cast as Epstein until he arrived for the first day of rehearsal), and Ron Palillo presenting a more shy and quiet version of Horshack. I wish there had been bloopers, out-takes, cast commentary tracks, or participation by John Travolta, but hopefully some of those would be included in the Season Two release.
Dear Mr. Kotter: Please excuse Becky for being so happy that "Welcome Back, Kotter" is still as funny as she remembered it as a little girl. Signed, Becky's mother's daughter.
The extra features such as the screen tests by the main characters was neat to see. The picture quality was outstanding and all 22 episodes (including the pilot) were contained on four discs. Each episode was listed in the order it was originally aired and the air date was included on the package (i.e. the pilot episode was third in the set since it originally aired as the third episode). The only disappointment was the fact that seasons 2-4 have not yet been released to the public. What is taking them so long??