Joel Katz


New Welcome Back Kotter Release Has Jersey Ties

Growing up in the seventies one of the hottest TV shows was Welcome Back, Kotter. I remember as a kid watching each week and thinking it was awesome. As an adult, not so much, but I digress. Me and my brother and friends would blurt out all the stupid “Sweathog” catchphrases like, “Up your nose with a rubber hose,” Horshack’s ridiculous laugh, Vinnie Barbarino’s clueless, “What, where” Washington’s suave style, and Epstein the “Puerto Rican Jew,” and his absence notes signed by “Epstein’s Mother.” It also had an extremely popular theme song. Welcome Back, Kotter was set in Brooklyn, New York, but one of the actors from the show, Robert Hegyes played “Epstein,” was from New Jersey. Welcome Back Kotter New Jersey Native Hegyes was born in Perth Amboy and grew up in Metuchen, New Jersey. He also went to Rowan University which was Glassboro State College at the time. While starting his acting career he was cast as Juan Epstein on Welcome Back, Kotter. He also had roles in other shows in the eighties. According to IMDB he was Jon Bon Jovi’s cousin. Jersey-born Robert Hegyes was sixty years old when he died of a heart attack at his home in Metuchen, NJ in 2012. John Travolta, who played Vinnie Barbarino, was the most successful actor featured in the show. Welcome back Kotter led to roles in Saturday Night Fever and Grease. The series also stars Gabe Kaplan as Gabe Kotter, Marcia Strassman as Julie Kotter, and John Sylvester White as Mr. Woodman. It’s hard to believe, but for the first time, all the episodes from the classic Welcome Back Kotter TV series are all together and available in one DVD set. [caption id="attachment_887097" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Welcome Back Kotter DVD box[/caption] It’s the new release of "Welcome Back, Kotter: The Complete Series" on DVD on June 11th. The brand-new set is available online and in stores. You’ll be able to binge on all the ninety-five episodes. Welcome Back, Kotter premiered in 1975 and aired for four seasons. The series was nominated for four Emmy Awards including Outstanding Comedy Series in 1976.

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