They tease him a lot, but Kotter is the tube's greatest teacher

By Colin Mahan

Aug 31, 2005

In a new list from Inside TV magazine, Gabe Kotter, the titular teacher from the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, has been named "Television's Most Memorable Teacher." Kotter, created and performed by stand-up comedian Gabe Kaplan, taught at an inner-city high school and presided over a group of teens called "The Sweathogs." He befriended the troubled students and gave them the educational tools to have a fighting chance in the rough-and-tumble job market of the late 1970s.

While Kaplan and the rest of the Sweathogs have struggled to maintain their Q ratings, one of Kotter's students "graduated" to much better things: John Travolta, who played the goofy hunk Vinnie Barbarino. Travolta was launched into megastardom after he starred as the lead in the disco hit Saturday Night Fever. Travolta went on to make several classic films of the modern era, including Staying Alive, Numbers, Perfect, Swordfish, Michael, Battlefield Earth and Look Who's Talking Now.

Kotter's grade was higher than fellow TV teachers Edna Krabapple from The Simpsons, Laura Ingalls of Little House on the Prairie, and Mark Cooper from Hangin' with Mr. Cooper.

It should be noted that life does not imitate art, because while these actors earned a mint as highly paid TV stars, the average annual salary of a teacher is $46,000.

  • Comments (5)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • gorlox5 Mar 19, 2007

    This information will be useful as an aid in my college classes; it's fun and shows how high school can be if treated with a sense of humor and friendship. Also using it complement to Theodore Sizer's "What High School Is."

  • Robinflamingo Feb 12, 2006

    As a teacher, I have a fondness for all shows about high school...but I can't fathom Mr. Kotter being favorite. I would like to see the list they got to choose from. What about Room 222? White Shadow? Fame? I loved this show...but favorite teacher?

    ::shudder::

  • Stinger100 Nov 07, 2005

    My family can not wait for the DVD's of Welcome Back Kotter to be available for purchase. I grew up watching this tv show and now that I have children we were looking for someplace to purchase these episodes for our children to watch.

  • snide Sep 02, 2005

    Travolta went on to make several classic films of the modern era, including Staying Alive, Numbers, Perfect, Swordfish, Michael, Battlefield Earth and Look Who's Talking Now.

    Classic indeed. I can't stand travolta.

  • IllyriaRules Sep 01, 2005

    heeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy Mr Kott-tare