Blog Archives

40 Years Ago Today: The Sweathogs leave the air

Welcome Back Kotter

I fondly remember watching reruns of Welcome Back Kotter during the summer when I was off school. I loved imitating Horshack’s “Oo-Oo-Oo” because I was knew I wasn’t cool enough to pull off Barbarino. Sadly, Mr. Kotter and the Sweathogs left the air after only four seasons, with the final episode, “The Breadwinners,” airing June 8, 1979.

Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (“Boom Boom” Washington) and John Travolta (Vinnie Barbarino) are still active actors, while Gabe Kaplan (Mr. Kotter) became an accomplished professional poker player.

Two of the actors that portrayed Sweathogs are no longer with us. Both Robert Hegyes (Juan Epstein) and Ron Palillo (Arnold Horshack) passed away in 2012. Marcia Strassman, who played Mr. Kotter’s wife Julie, also passed in 2014.

The theme song, “Welcome Back,” was written and recorded by Lovin’ Spoonful frontman John Sebastian. It hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1976.

R.I.P. Marcia Strassman

(April 28, 1948 – October 25, 2014)

Julie Kotter

The actress who played Gabe Kotter’s wife Julie on the 1970s sitcom “Welcome Back Kotter,” Marcia Strassman passed away Saturday from breast cancer.

R.I.P. Ron Palillo

(April 2, 1949 – August 14, 2012)

Horshack RIP

Ron Palillo was best known for his role as Arnold Dingfelder Horshack on one of my favorite childhood sitcoms, “Welcome Back Kotter.” He also voiced Sgt. Squealy on the “Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour” and played Allen Hayes in Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI.

Non-sports cards can be pretty cool

I like non-sports cards. Whether it’s Garbage Pail Kids, Star Wars, KISS, or Americana, non-sports cards can be pretty cool. What I don’t like, however, is non-sports cards in baseball card packs. That’s why I got upset every time I pulled a Mike Huckabee in the 2008 Topps packs. Nothing against Mike…I really like Mike…but he’s not a baseball player. If I want non-sports cards, I will buy Topps American Heritage or Donruss Americana.

About a month ago, my wife picked up a pack of Topps American Heritage for me. Unfortunately, every card was damaged (not sure if she bought them that way or if they were damaged in transit from the store to home), but they are still pretty cool cards. My favorite was of course #1…

But there were several other cool ones in the pack. Maybe it was two packs, I can’t remember now. A month was a long time ago. Anyway, if you are collecting 2009 American Heritage and need any of these cards, just drop me a note (jasontcarter at gmail). I’ll trade for any 2009 or 2010 Reds cards that are taking up space in your doubles boxes. Keep in mind the bottom-left corner is damaged on nearly every card. I’m keeping #1, but all the rest are up for grabs…

15, 22, 35, 39, 40, 41, 65, 66, C67, 79, 99, 104, 119, MOH-27, HS-16

Tonight I picked up a pack of 2009 Donruss Americana. Only 5 cards in a pack is always disappointing, but at only a buck I couldn’t pass it up. At first I thought the pack was a dud, with only one decent card out of five. Ty Hardin, Geoff Stults, Dean McDermott…all duds. Anson Williams, though, was worth the dollar. Potsie, yo!

I also got a card of Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, who I thought at first was a dud, until I turned it over and read that he “is best known for his role as the Sweathog Freddie ‘Boom Boom’ Washington.” A SWEATHOG!?!?! NO WAY!?!?! Not a dud!

%d bloggers like this: