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
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.
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.