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Gabe Kaplan in Welcome Back, Kotter in 1975

Welcome Back, Kotter, first aired in 1975 and portrayed a group of students, (aka “Sweathogs”) and Mr. Kotter (Gabe Kaplan), their wisecracking teacher. The show was actually based on Kaplan’s own experience in remedial education at New Utrecht High School. The first season of Welcome Back, Kotter was pretty controversial. In fact, Boston’s local ABC affiliate (WCVB-TV) initially refused to air the show. To be fair, the city was going through a tumultuous school busing program that involved widespread protests and riots. So, they were a little worried that Kotter’s fictional integrated classroom would only exacerbate an already difficult situation. Once the show became a ratings success without any negative repercussions in other areas, the Boston affiliate relented and picked the show up from its fifth episode. H/T Groovy History >

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