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Whatever Happened to Mr. Kotter?

You know, like many other viewers, I tried to never miss “Welcome Back Kotter.” Now, I haven’t seen a rerun of that show in ages so I don’t know how well it stands up today but between the years of 1975 and 1979, just about everyone was tuned in to see the weekly antics Mr. Kotter and the Sweathogs. The show made a huge star out of John Travolta, but most of the other cast members faded into relative obscurity when the show left the air.

For some reason, this morning, I started wondering whatever happened to the guy who played Mr. Kotter. I honestly could not remember Gabe Kaplan’s name. That’s a shame because he was indeed the glue that held the show together despite the fact that co-star John Travolta became a household name while Gabe Kaplan became more of a co-star of his own show. Hey, that’s how it works sometimes. I found myself wondering if Gabe Kaplan was still living, so I decided to find out if he was and what he was doing.

Kaplan is still very much alive and basically having fun for a living. It turns out that Gabe is quite the poker player and, believe or not, the guy that couldn’t control the sweathogs is very respected in the world of poker. From time to time, he even acts as a “play by play” announcer, if you will, on various televised poker tournaments like National Heads-Up Poker Championship on NBC, High Stakes Poker on Game Show Network, and the Intercontinental Poker Championship on CBS.

Kaplan still does stand-up when he feels like it and is reportedly working on a new version of “Welcome Back Kotter.” By the way, don’t think that just because he is no longer a  TV star that he lives some kind of “has been” life. Kaplan’s net worth is estimated at around $50 million. Not bad for a teacher!

The show had a great theme song written by John Sebastian who, at one time, was pretty much the man behind all the hits of the Lovin’ Spoonful.

Here’s that classic TV theme

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