Tag Archives: Gabe Kaplan

1976: Groucho Marx Visits Welcome Back Kotter and Makes Everyone Sad

13 Mar

March 13, 2018

I wrote a frankly excellent post back in 2010 about Groucho Marx and his cultural impact in the 1970s. It is possibly my favorite post and it is constantly being reblogged and linked. 

Briefly, it is the story of a man whose famous past has outlived him, and the sorry way he was treated in the fast-declining years of his life. One of the saddest, but true, stories is about a visit Groucho made (or was forced to make) to the set of Welcome Back Kotter for a guest spot. Everyone was shocked at his fragile body and mental deterioration. He was such a shell of himself that some people in both the cast and audience shed tears. Groucho was unable to do the part, the spot was canceled, and even the publicity photos were never released.

Now flash ahead to 2018.

I was listening to the truly laugh out loud funny Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, episode 191 with guest Mark Evanier. It was hysterical, and right in my wheelhouse because Evanier knows everyone in comedy from Jack Benny to Sergio Aragones, and guys like Jack Kirby as well. During the show, he told an extended version of Groucho’s visit to the Welcome Back Kotter set. Mark was there, and saw it all, first hand. He worked on the show. Here’s his account from his blog, and it fleshes out my version, which I am happy to say is verified as accurate.

There are big points revealed in his post and his podcast appearance.

First, that the whole reason the guest appearance came about was apparently so Erin Fleming could wrangle a guest spot in a future episode. Poor Groucho should not have even left his house in the shape he was in.

Second, he was in such poor, confused shape that he was not able to talk and they first changed his guest spot to a silent cameo, then finally canceled it altogether.

Third, and even more interesting, the photos were not only never released but they were claimed to have been destroyed.

But at least two weren’t. Someone sent them to Mark and they can be found online now. They weren’t there in 2010 when I first searched.


Honestly, I was expecting far worse.

But this is not the way to remember this great man.

This is.


Groovy Fun With Fashion, By “Tiger” Keyes (Classic Tiger Beat Repost)

19 Aug

August 19, 2013

Allan Keyes has a lot on his mind. His enemy list just keeps growing and growing and something has to be done. so while he’s in his secluded bunker planning his next move, here is a classic Keyes post from almost exactly one year ago.


from August 13, 2012

Allen Keyes is off on vacation this week climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. In the meantime, please enjoy this rare presentation of his first printed work, from the June 1978 issue of Discotheque Magazine


Groovy Fun With Fashion, By “Tiger” Keyes

Hello all you cats and kittens! It’s my deepest pleasure to be writing for you all today. It gives me such happiness to put words to paper. My friends Bill G. and Steve J. keep trying to get me interested in something called Telenet. I don’t know what that is. Man, they keep going on and on about how it works computers and stuff like that. Writing for large audiences over a computer? Heh heh oh man…..it will never catch on. I keep telling them they need to make the scene at the disco instead of playing in the garage with those circuit boards. Man, I’d rather dance! My lapels are wide, my suit is tight, my platforms are this high! Computers? By 1980 we’ll have forgotten all about them. But it’s all good, right amigos and amigas? We have this fine magazine, we have each other, we have disco (FOREVER!!!!!!) and I have a fashion roundup for all of you.

Karate Man

Righteous outfit brother…..righteous. Obviously inspired by the man himself:


That’s what I’m talking about boys and girls! Look at that comfortable gi! Everyone is going to want one of those. So comfortable, so loose and convenient! I predict that the recreational karate gi is going to become the most popular garment in the afro community within the next 5 years. This is going to usher in a whole golden age of black karate in the United States, I guarantee it.

These jumpsuits have a vaguely Mideastern flair to them


Speaking of the middle-east, as I write this I hear on my transistor earbud that the Ayatollah is returning home to Iran. I have a feeling that this is going to spark a whole new era of US-Iran friendship. I hope so, it costs me $11 dollars to fill up my Impala’s tank! Godspeed Ayatollah, our good friend!

Anyway, getting back to the ads above – the suits are hip, but for the guy I’d recommend he do something about his facial hair. Hey guy, just some friendly advice, grow it out a bit. It looks a drop thin. The bunnies love something to hang onto during the shag, wink wink! Gentleman, I suggest this be the facial hair that you aspire to:


See? And that shirt he’s wearing is really caposhi!

The Executive Look


Ace! As my man Chico says, “looo-king Goood!”  Ride on Plaid Stallions, ride on brothers. That’s what I’m talking about. This is how the man dresses, dig? That double-knit polyester gives a nice, unwrinkled look. A suit is no good without a nice sheen to it. And those dress shirts! It’s like the old days at the Court of Versailles – the more ruffles you have, the more power you have. I only have a training ruffle right now, but by this time next year I plan to have at least two.

You look at these well-dressed Cassanovas above, then you look at a square like this Reagan guy!


A cowboy hat? What a grueler! He’s so not with it! And this hombre thinks he can run for President in 1980? HA! Gonna be a Carter landslide my friends. Easy. This guy will fade into obscurity soon enough.

Colder Than a Deuce


One word describes that sweater: GROOOOO-VY! I always wanted my grandma to knit me some winter wear, but this is the next best thing. I want to rush out right this second and beef up my wardrobe. Others may show up with bigger lapels or wider jean flairs or hairier chests (I shave my chest hair in the form of an eagle, when the ladies see it I tell them if they like that they should see the nest!) but belted sweaters are always hard to beat. 

The best thing about this piece? It looks nice and warm. You can wear these threads to chilly Lake Placid to see the Olympics. Wear that bad boy to the Ice Hockey tournament, where you can watch the Russian Team cruise to the gold. They have the world’s best goalie in Tretiak, and they’re just an overall powerhouse. What do we have, a bunch of college kids? They’ll be lucky to get even one win. I’d lay heavy bread on it.


Douglas Bull


Ladies and gentlemen, this is a real man. Ready for action…..anywhere, anytime. This is the look I’ve been trying to perfect for a few years now, but I lack this gentleman’s finely chiseled physique. The only problem I have with this outfit is the shirt! Lose the shirt man. Show the world what us Doug Bulls are all about!

This cat puts me in mind of master thespian Burt Reynolds. He was just on the cover of People:


I love Burt. He’s the best actor of our generation. I just read that he’s agreed to star in Smokey and the Bandit 2! That’s exciting news! Sure to be the box office hit of next year, I just hope that Emipre Strikes Back film gets pushed back to make way for this hit. Star Wars….*snort* It’s just a passing fad. Smokey and the Bandit, now that’s a franchise that has legs! Why the premise alone is so good, I bet that they can even do one without the Bandit himself! The only change I’d make would be to get rid of Jackie Gleason as Sherriff Justice. What a hack that guy is. Gabe Kaplan, now THERE’S the guy who should be playing Smokey!


Off to boogie……

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