Friday, January 27, 2012

And how long ago was this?

I remember the night that Welcome Back Kotter premiered on television.
Know why?
Because it was my birthday.
My 12th one to be exact, and for that birthday I was given the great present - every year actually until they started screwing up television seasons - of a brand new TV show(s) happening right on or around my birthday.
Remember when you could count on going back to school and also getting those huge September issues of TV Guide that would describe all the new and returning shows?
Now everything's so mixed up throughout the year that I usually end up waiting to watch a show on Netflix about three years after it's been cancelled.
I sure miss the agrarian-based system of television. You know, keep the summers free for farming (show repeats), and we'll premiere the new shows when the crops are in.
But September 1975 - it was a clear evening, and after my birthday dinner and some cake, I was hanging outside with a couple of friends talking about the new show that was coming on that night.
It was a school night - a Monday to be exact.
I was wearing green pants.
I think.
And if I wasn't I will have been - that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Enough of the details.
Suffice it to say that we were all pretty excited for "Welcome Back Kotter".
Life was pretty exciting in my town - still is.
It's a hot time in our town, etc., etc.
But from the first I was hooked.
I still love that show even though it's now thirty something years later (stop trying to do the math, I'm old, okay?).
Even after watching it recently (thank you again, Netflix, now quit raising your prices) I was immediately drawn right back to that first viewing and the palpable magic of being there as witness to the birth of a hit show.
Sure it's a little dated, but it's easy to get hooked again, and it had such a great storyline with such memorable characters.
Even my kids have watched it and thought it was a great show, and they're the YouTube generation! Nothing shocks them!
Now which Sweathog was my favorite?
Hard to say, they were all rather quotable, but surely Epstein, or at least his "mother", were memorable.
But who didn't want to be a sweat hog, right?
They were so dang cool.
And for that matter, who knew any Puerto Rican Jews? There certainly weren't any in my hometown.
I'm happy to say, however, that in my world travels I have acquired two gentleman friends who are indeed Puerto Rican and Jewish.
Yes, we have made the Epstein reference in conversation.
It's obligatory.
Sadly, Epstein's mother has written her last note, as Robert Hegyes, the actor who played Epstein, has gone to the big classroom in the sky.
Here's a little bit of the magic that was revealed to the world in 1975.
That was a long time ago, but it seems like yesterday.
Enjoy and remember. Or discover!

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