TreasuryCast #62 – Welcome Back, Kotter


Up your nose with a rubber hose! Rob welcomes back returning guest Brian Heiler to discuss LIMITED COLLECTORS' EDITION #C57 - WELCOME BACK, KOTTER!

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Opening theme by Luke Daab: Closing music by Hanna-Barbera.

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14 responses to “TreasuryCast #62 – Welcome Back, Kotter

  1. I am a huge fan of Welcome Back, Kotter. My brother and I covered the tv series for our podcast.
    I’ve only read the first 4 issues of the comic book, and I absolutely agree that the art is a perfect blend of cartoonish caricature and realistic depiction of the actors. The writing is also very well done. As I read the dialogue, I could absolutely hear the actors reciting it, as they would as the characters.
    The theme song was written for the show. In fact, the changed the show’s title from Kotter to Welcome Back, Kotter in order for he don’t to fit. (Song writers were having great difficulty rhyming Kotter).
    As for whether or not the Augie Borelli story could have been an episode, I have to disagree with you. The show had a couple of rather gritty episodes. In fact, the show did indeed do an episode where the character of Hotsie Totsie claims should is pregnant and that one of the Sweathogs is the father! The fourth season has an episode where The Sweathogs sneak into a strip club and discover Hotsie has become a stripper after dropping out of high school to support herself and her baby.
    There was also a Christmas episode where the Kotters and The Sweathogs help out a homeless man, buying him a suit and finding him a job. The episode ends with the man back on the street, because, as he explains to the Sweathogs, a “bum” is who he is.
    Bambi was a short lived character in the show who did indeed attempt to seduce Mr Kotter.
    Ok, I’ve rambled on long enough about my beloved show. It was a huge hit for its first two seasons but fell hard for the 3rd and 4th. (Oops, guess I had some rambling left)
    The cover of this treasury is AMAZING!!! Sure it’s way more MADcap than the show was. This cover would be more fitting for a show like Police Squad or Scrubs. I could spend hours looking at it! It’s a truly joyful piece of comic art.

    1. Yeah, the first thing that came to mind when Rob mentioned Isabella recounting that both he and one of the show’s writers had a script rejected due to the teen pregnancy theme was the ‘Hotsie Totsie’ episode. (That one had one of my favorite ever lines delivered by Mir. Kotter: after all of the Sweathogs vehemently deny their paternity, he said something like, “The last time this happened, three kings came bearing gifts.”)

      1. Ugh, my chubby sausage fingers screwed me again. My comment about the theme song should read
        They changed the title from simply “Kotter” to “Welcome Back, Kotter” in order for the song to fit.

  2. Great show guys! I have been tempted to buy this Treasury in the wild a few times, but the price is always sky high for some reason. Is it that rare? Or do dealers just want to charge a premium because it’s different? I don’t know. But now that I know the content inside is so good, I will be looking out for a good deal on it.

    I was a big fan of Kotter as a kid. I would mimic Horseshack a lot, with the laugh, the “OOH, OOH, OOH!” and all of that. I think I probably watched most of it in early syndication, because by the time I would have really remebered the network broadcasts, the show was probalby on it’s last legs and Travolta-less and Kaplan-less. Brian’s story about using Sweathog phrases to amuse his parents reminds me of how my parents would encourage me to imitate Fonzie at a an early age with an “AYYYY!”. I even head a leather jacket! So, yes, as Brian said, Fonzie-mania was quite real, and in some ways Kotter was like a contemporary version of that show, so that’s probably why merchandisers smelled money around the license.

    I appreciate the kind words from two of my favorite people. I’m blushing. And I look forward to contributing to Toy Ventures again! You guys go check that magazine out! It’s pure joy in print form!


  3. Oh, yeah, A wonderful Treasury Cast – as usual.
    I’m just old enough to remember occasionally watching the show during its original run with my older sister and brother (I was about 6 or 7 during its first season). However, at that point I wasn’t absorbing much of it except the catchphrases, like ‘up you nose…’, etc., which were obviously repeated by all the kids in school – and some of the older kids even came up with creative, R-rated versions, like one involving a piece of glass and, well, the rhyming part of the human anatomy.
    Later, when I was in my teens I watched the show quite a bit in syndication and gained a greater appreciation of it – and Mrs. Kotter.

    The comics I’ve never read, though. I remember occasionally seeing the regular series on the spinner racks, but was never interested in picking it up because I figured it was just a typical, bland comic book adaptation. Now I’d really like to read it, because over the years – not just here – I’ve heard good things about it. It’s too bad that there’s very little chance it’ll ever be collected and reprinted in a trade or HC.
    By the way, it’s interesting that you mentioned finding the Kotter books in the Whitman 3-packs. Where I was growing up, I only ever saw those with DC reprints, and I never, ever remember one of them containing Welcome Back, Kotter.
    And finally, I think the “Welcome Back” song was written and recorded specifically to be a theme for the show.

    1. p.s. Rob, I’ve also often wondered why there was never a Greatest American Hero comic book – it’s particularly surprising given that at right around that time Marvel seemed to be grabbing the license to everything.

      1. I THINK I read where DC threatened a lawsuit against Stephen J. Cannell and the studio if GAH came too close to infringing upon Superman. I think they had to agree to not do certain things with the character to avoid DC/WB slapping them with a lawsuit. So that may be the reason there was no comic. That may have been mowing grass a bit too close to DC’s yard. Oddly enough, I believe Ralph Hinkley’s son is watching an episode of Super Friends in the pilot episode!


  4. Yay, Treasurycast! A curious subject, this one. Welcome Back Kotter is not something I ever encountered or even heard of growing up in the UK, though Wikipedia tells me it did in fact air in the early 80s. Given that I watched every bit of US TV I could get my grubby little paws on at that age, I’m surprised it passed me by. The first time I ever heard of it was in the early 2000s, when I discovered that one of my favourite bands, Mr Bungle, used to cover the theme tune in their live shows. The second time I encountered it was this episode of Treasurycast! Still, this episode was a blast, and gave me a weirdly nostalgic feel, reminding me of being a kid obsessed with US TV and US culture, gleaning little tidbits of information from Peanuts strips and ads in the back of Marvel comics.

    Second, and more importantly… Rob, I’m glad you were intrigued and excited by the Fantastic Four Winter Special, but I fear I may have massively oversold it! Not having pulled it off the shelf for a few years, and not generally having much of a sense of scale, I just checked my copy against my only Treasury Edition (Heaven’s Ladder) and discovered it’s not quite treasury size. It’s definitely bigger than a regular comic, but it’d be more accurate to call it magazine or tabloid format, with a sturdier, glossy cover. But then, when I open it up, I note that the comic is actually reprinted at exactly the same size as the regular US comic, with massive margins around the sides! So while it’s an interesting curio, I wouldn’t exactly rush out to grab one.

  5. Was that a reference to ‘Red’s’ , my childhood Brooklyn toystore? The front half of the store was toys, and the back half was pool supplies. Whenever I get a toy that smells like rubber/vinyl, I say “It smells like the back of Red’s!”

  6. Welcome Back, Kotter always brings me back to my childhood. My dad was a teacher and head basketball coach at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster, PA. This was a two year trade school where every student was either an orphan or lost at least one parent. My dad taught and coached a lot of kids who were definitely in the mold of the Sweathogs. I got to know many of his students when I was a little kid while I sat in his brown and beige office (everything in the late 70s/early 80s was a shade of brown) and drew cartoons. So, there was a always a story to be told. One of my most vivid memories was my dad’s starting point guard was afraid of driving over bridges. So for road games, they’d have to stop the team bus when they got to a bridge and let him run across. Then pick him up on the other side. If it was a major bridge that would take too long to run across, the other players would jump him and cover him with towels so he didn’t panic. Good player though.

    What was this about? Oh, yeah, Rob, you should’ve dropped the 50 bucks and gotten Travolta to sign the book! You probably just wasted that $50 on an Aquaman statue!

  7. I never saw the show, I’m surprised by that Wikipedia entry that says it was screened in the UK…. Mind, it was likely just in one ITV region that Matt and I couldn’t access. At 2am. Thank goodness we had Please Sir, which some folk see as the unacknowledged inspiration for Welcome Back Kotter.

    I did, though, read the comic as it came put, and enjoyed it – as you say, Rob and Brian, it was nicely done. This treasury sounds a good read, I’ll have to see if I can find that new story.

    Bob Oksnet was sooooooo good!

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