They each measure 1-7/8'' wide. They are in excellent condition as pictured, however please note that the surface of the old rubber is cloudy unless it is wet (or maybe oiled) and then the image is clear. Below here is some background reference information about the hit television show and its characters:
Welcome Back, Kotter
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Created by: Gabriel Kaplan & Alan Sacks
Starring: Gabriel Kaplan, Marcia Strassman, John Travolta, Robert Hegyes, Lawrence Hilton - Jacobs, Ron Palillo, John Sylvester White, & Stephen Shortridge
''Welcome Back'' by John Sebastian
Number of episodes: 95
Original run: September 9, 1975 – August 10, 1979
Summary: Welcome Back, Kotter (sometimes shortened to Welcome Back or Kotter) was an American television sitcom that originally aired on the ABC network from September 9, 1975 to June 8, 1979. The show starred comedian and professional poker player Gabriel Kaplan as the title character Gabe Kotter, a wise-cracking teacher who returns to his high school alma mater James Buchanan (often shortened to just ''Buchanan'') High in Brooklyn, New York to teach an often unruly group of remedial wiseguys known as the ''Sweathogs''. The Sweathogs inner circle consisted of: Vinnie Barbarino, the leader of the Sweathogs. A handsome, charming (and selectively air headed) Italian-American. Juan Epstein, the wild boy of the gang, a Puerto Rican Jew (or, more accurately, a Jewish Puerto Rican). Freddie ''Boom Boom'' Washington, the hip African American basketball enthusiast. Arnold Horshack, the diminutive oddball of the Sweathogs known for his wheezing laugh.
Kotter had attended the same remedial classes when he was a student at Buchanan and was a founding member of the Sweathogs. He soon befriends his students who often visit his Bensonhurst apartment, sometimes to the chagrin of his wife, Julie (Marcia Strassman). Most of the major characters of Welcome Back, Kotter were based on actual people from Kaplan's teen years as a remedial high school student in Brooklyn. As a stand up comic, one of Kaplan's most popular routines was ''Holes and Mellow Rolls'', in which he talks in depth about the kids with whom he had attended remedial education classes. The names of three of the four major characters in Holes and Mellow Rolls were changed for the TV series.
''Vinnie Barbarino'' was the inspiration from Eddie Lecarri.
''Freddie Washington'' was inspired by Freddie ''Furdy'' Peyton.
''Juan Epstein'' was half inspired by Epstein ''The Animal''.
''Arnold Horshack's'' name remained unchanged.
Characters (Cast) & Their Catchphrases
Gabe Kotter (played by Gabriel Kaplan)
A facetious, but well meaning teacher who returns to Buchanan High, his alma mater, to teach a group of remedial students known as the Sweathogs. Having been a Sweathog himself (and a founding member), Kotter has a special appreciation for the potential of these supposedly ''unteachable'' students. His first day on the job, he shows the students both his authority and his playful side when he fires a giant paper airplane at them in response to a similar attack, and when he launches into a Groucho Marx impersonation. Kotter is married to Julie, with whom he eventually has twin girls (Robin and Rachel). When Buchanan High principal John Lazarus retires, Kotter becomes the vice principal, though maintaining some teaching duties.
Kotter's catchphrase(s): ''Did I ever tell you about... (varying relatives, usually an uncle)?" (early on, Kotter usually said this only to Julie, but it was later incorporated into conversations with other characters at the beginning and the end of a given episode.)
Julie Kotter (Marcia Strassman)
Gabe's wife and closest friend. Though she has a sense of humor, she often wishes Gabe would take matters more seriously. She is occasionally upset with the amount of time her husband spends with his students, and she is troubled that he allows them to regularly visit their apartment (during the first season she briefly separated from Gabe because of the Sweathogs' constant intrusions). Originally from Nebraska with a college degree in anthropology, Julie eventually became a secretary, and later a substitute teacher at Buchanan High after Gabe's promotion to vice principal. She makes several references to her ''world famous tuna casserole'', a common meal at the Kotter dinner, which Gabe (and the Sweathogs) dislike.
(from the episode Classroom Marriage)
Julie (to Gabe): You-u.. love my tuna casserole.
Gabe: No! You love your tuna casserole! Nobody puts prunes in a tuna casserole!
Mr. (Michael) Woodman (John Sylvester White)
The curmudgeonous vice principal (and later principal) of Buchanan High. He makes no secret of his dislike for the Sweathogs, whom he considers the bottom of the totem pole at his school. He refers to non-Sweathogs as ''real'' students. When Kotter was a student at Buchanan, Woodman taught Social Studies, the same class Kotter returns to Buchanan to teach. His old age is a common joke with the Sweathogs. Woodman was totally against Kotter's unorthodox teaching methods (though as the series progressed he began to marginally tolerate them), and at one point even put Kotter in front of the school's review board in an unsuccessful attempt to get him fired. Woodman was always looking to further his own career, his bitter personality having stemmed in part from being passed over in favor of John Lazarus for promotion to principal. (When the Sweathogs worked on the Buchanan Bugle a scandal implicating members of the school board and administration had broken; the unseen informant who leaked the information to the paper was revealed to be Mr. Woodman himself.)
Woodman's Catchphrases: ''Nutsy Cuckoo!'' (Often used to describe Kotter's class, Kotter's teaching methods, and sometimes Kotter himself.) ''They're not people!'' (Another way he used to describe the Sweathogs.)
Vincent ''Vinnie'' Barbarino (John Travolta)
Barbarino was the self appointed leader and resident heartthrob of the Sweathogs. His prowess with women was a source of envy (and more often amusement) among his classmates. On occasion Barbarino broke out in song of his last name to the tune of The Beach Boys' classic, ''Barbara Ann''. He was the first of the Sweathogs to move out on his own when he got a job as a hospital orderly. In the fourth season, he had a girlfriend, Sally. Vinnie is also Catholic, and is a ''big Star Trek fan.''
Vinnie's Catchphrases: ''Up Your Nose With A Rubber Hose!'' (Barbarino was the first in the series to rank somebody. In later episodes other body parts and objects whose names rhymed were incorporated into the rank. For example, ''Up your gizzard with a rubber lizard!'' was used by Washington in a later episode.) (The so-called art of ranking was immortalized in song in 1976 performed by Gabe Kaplan. The song, ''Up Your Nose'', didn't get very far as it highly dated itself by making numerous contemporary references CB Radios, The Gong Show, singing cat commercials, et al). ''Wah-ha-ha-ha-howwww...'' ''What?'' ''Where?'' ''Why?'' (Usually to feign ignorance when accused of something or asked to do something he's not ready to do) ''I'm so confu-used!'' (usually over-dramatized)
Arnold Horshack (Ron Palillo)
The class clown of the Sweathogs, completely comfortable with his oddball, if innocent personality. Horshack was known for his unique observations, and his wheezing laugh, similar to that of a hyena. He was the only one of the central Sweathogs to be promoted out of remedial academics class, but he soon returned after feeling out of place. He eventually married Mary Johnson, a co-worker and fellow Sweathog. Although his surname sounds like a term for a brothel, he claimed it's ''very old and respected name'' meaning ''the cattle are dying.'' His middle name (and his mother's maiden name) was ''Dingfelder.''
Arnold's Catchphrases: ''Ooh-ooh-ooooh!'' (used with raised hand when Arnold gets excited because he believes he knows an answer to Mr. Kotter's question. The shout was an imitation of Joe E. Ross's phrase from Car 54, Where Are You?.) ''Hello. How are ya? I'm Arnold Horsha-a-ck'' (how Arnold introduces himself) ''That was ver-ry impressive, Mister Kotter-r-r!'' ''G'head, G'head! (go ahead, go ahead)''
Freddie ''Boom Boom'' Washington (Lawrence Hilton Jacobs)
A hip African American known as the athletic Sweathog for his skills on the basketball court, Washington claimed his nickname came from his habit of ''pretending to play the bass''). Though often the voice of reason among his classmates, Washington nonetheless was a willing participant in the Sweathogs' various antics and pranks. Freddie also found success as a radio disc jockey along with another former Sweathog, Wally The Wow (played by George Carlin). Washington had an older sister who got divorced twice while living in Vermont, and another older sibling, Leroy.
Washington's Catchphrases: ''Hi there.'' (his normal greeting, usually in a basso profondo voice) ''Hey, Mister Kah-tare!'' (how he addresses Mr. Kotter) ''My assignment? Yes, Mr. Kotter. I have my assignment. Unfortunately, I don't have it here... handy...''(whenever he forgot his homework or didn't accomplish any given task)
Juan Luis Pedro Philippo DeHuevos Epstein (Robert Hegyes)
A fiercely proud Puerto Rican Jew (his father was Puerto Rican; his mother's name was Bibbermann), and one of the toughest students at Buchanan High. He normally walked with a tough man strut, wore a red handkerchief hanging out of his right back pocket, and was voted ''Most Likely To Take A Life'' by his peers. In the episode, ''One Of Our Sweathogs Is Missing'', Epstein was shown to be one of six children, although his mother had 10. Epstein was also known to have a ''buddy'' relationship with Principal Lazarus as he often referred to him by his first name, Jack. On a few occasions when Kotter would do his Groucho Marx impersonation, Epstein would jump in and impersonate Marx Brother Chico (Groucho Marx even stated that Robert Hegyes reminded him of Chico).
Epstein's Catchphrase(s): ''Hey, Mr. Kotter, I got a note!'' (the phony notes, excusing Epstein from classes and other sundry functions, were always written by Epstein himself, though he claimed they were signed by, as written, ''Epstein's Mother''. Epstein would lip synch the wording of the note while Kotter would read it aloud, usually proving the note was written by Epstein himself.)
Rosalie ''Hotsie'' Totsie (Debralee Scott)
The blazon haired femme fatale purported to have put the ''sweat'' in Sweathog, though her reputation was largely exaggerated by the Sweathogs' word of mouth. To restore her good name (and to prove a point), she fabricated a story about one of the Sweathogs getting her pregnant. The character was phased out of the series by the end of the first season when Scott was picked to co-star in ''Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman''), but she reprised her role in a 1978 episode, The Return Of Hotsie Totsie, in which it was revealed she dropped out of school and became a stripper.
Judy Borden (Helaine Lembeck)
A recurring non-Sweathog character in the earlier seasons, Borden is a Straight A student and editor of the Buchanan Bugle, the school newspaper. She was Barbarino's tutor at one point, and even dated him for a time. Despite her academic superiority, she can easily hold her own in a ranking contest with any Sweathog.
(from the episode Sweatgate Scandal)
Judy: I'm an honor student. In my whole life I've never even gotten a ''B''.
Horshack: Neither have I! (wheezing laugh)
Beauregarde ''Beau'' De Labarre (Stephen Shortridge)
Introduced as a regular character in the fourth and final season, Beau is a smooth talking southerner who transfers to Buchanan High after being kicked out of several other schools. He ends up in Kotter's class, though his first reaction to the term ''Sweathog'' is ''That sounds gross.'' He seems to have a way with women, as mentioned in later episodes. One of his running jokes involved imparting whimsical sayings, such as one about how a real man never steps on a pregnant alligator.
Other Recurring Characters
Vernee Watson as Verna Jean
Susan Lanier as Bambi
Charles Fleischer as Carvelli
Bob Harcum as Murray
Dennis Bowen as Todd Ludlow
Geoffrey Stump as Kyle ''the Heartbreaker'' Lucas
Irene Arranga as Mary Johnson - Horshack
Welcome Back, Kotter's beginning had its controversial moments. In Boston, the local ABC affiliate (WCVB) refused to air the show. The city was going though a tumultuous school busing program to enhance racial equality and the local affiliate felt Kotter's fictional integrated classroom would only add fuel to the fire. However, the show became an early ratings success and the affiliate relented, picking it up from its fifth episode. Teachers in other cities had concerns about how Kotter would be portrayed, so producers allowed a union representative on the set to ensure the show protected the image of those in the profession. Kaplan opposed the idea, at one point asking a reporter if there was a junkman on the set of Sanford and Son to protect the resputation of junkmen. There were also concerns that the show would celebrate juvenile delinquency. However, these sentiments faded after the Sweathogs' antics proved to be silly rather than scary. Like Kaplan, Hegyes was a fan of the Marx Brothers. Hegyes claims that he suggested that the Sweathogs be modelled after the Marx Bros in order to reduce tension. By the third season, the ratings began to slip. In an interview years later, Kaplan attributed the decline to the age of the actors playing the Sweathogs (Palillo was 30, Hegyes was 28, Hilton-Jacobs was 27 and Travolta was 25), saying they were no longer believable as high school students. His idea was that to have Kotter join the faculty of a community college attended by the Sweathogs. However, this storyline never materialized. To help lure more viewers, the Kotters had twin girls, but this didn't prove to be enough to regain the show's earlier momentum.
Major changes took place in the fourth and final season: Travolta, who had already starred in box office hits such as Grease and Saturday Night Fever, began to focus more time on his film career. He was featured in fewer than half of that year's episodes and was billed a ''special guest star''. It was Travolta's phasing out from the storyline that was the primary contributor to the final cancellation of the show itself. Mr. Woodman was promoted to Principal of the school (Principal Lazarus retired), and Kotter was promoted to Vice Principal, and the show's focus moved away from Kotter's class. Meanwhile, behind the scenes disputes led to limited appearances by Kaplan. To help fill the voids, Stephen Shortridge joined the cast as smooth talking Southerner Beau De Labarre, and Kotter's wife, Julie, becomes a secretary at the school.
The show enjoyed ratings success during its first two seasons, spawning a host of merchandising tie ins including lunch boxes, dolls, comic books, novels and even a board game. The TV characters' signature lines became enormously popular catch phrases such as Barbarino's ''up your nose with a rubber hose'' and Washington's deep voiced ''hi there'', along with many guys imitating Horshack's wheezing laugh. It wasn't long before the previously unknown actors became hot commodities, particularly Travolta, the show's breakout star.
Welcome Back by John Sebastian from Welcome Back by John Sebastian, Reprise Records 1976. The popular theme song Welcome Back, written and recorded by former Lovin' Spoonful frontman John Sebastian, became a #1 hit in the spring of 1976. Sebastian's song ''Welcome Back'' is one of a few songs written for a television show to become hits on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The show was originally going to be called Kotter, but that was changed because of the theme song lyrics. Sebastian has said he tried to find a more general theme for the song after being unable to find any reasonable rhymes for Kotter.
Kotter failed to receive any major awards, though it was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1976 after its first season it lost to Mary Tyler Moore. Kotter was also nominated for three technical Emmy Awards: Outstanding Achievement in Videotape Editing for a Series in 1976, Outstanding Art Direction for a Comedy Series in 1978 and Outstanding Individual Achievement - Creative Technical Crafts (Dick Wilson) in 1979.
Several noteworthy performers enjoyed guest stints on Kotter either during or prior to their widespread fame. James Woods guest starred in the second episode portraying a drama teacher. Pat Morita appeared in the first episode of the second season. Comedian George Carlin was featured, as was John Astin. Other guest stars included Ellen Travolta, Richard Moll, Della Reese and Dinah Manoff. Groucho Marx was set to have a brief walk on role in one episode. He arrived on set, but was deemed to be too sick to appear. Pictures of Marx with the cast were taken, but were never released because of his ill appearance.