Tag Archives: Welcome Back Kotter

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.



New TV Season, Same Old Games

17 Sep

September 17, 2013

Before video games, there were board games. Sure, board games are still around, but unless you are Amish you probably don’t play them. But back in “the day” (what day? I dunno) there were board games based on TV shows, and here I present 2 dozen of them from the thrilling day of yesteryear.


Ahh, the wholesome Waltons. What a boring game this must have been, “Say goodnight, John Boy. Move back 2 spaces.”


Meh. I was always more of a Goober fan.


ALF! Everyone loves ALF! Go ahead and laugh, you loved him the 80’s.

board_games_based_on_old_tv_shows_07“I rolled a 4! I get to rough up a suspect!”
“I rolled a 6. I have to clean up after the bird.”


The wackiness of war, right in your own home! Help Klinger find a cocktail dress! Search for Hawkeye’s lost tuxedo! Perform a blood transfusion on a wounded North Korean prisoner of war! Die in a mortar attack!


I don’t know if this is based on the movie or the TV show, but in what version did that little ape kid star? None of them.

Back Camera

Going way back with this one. This might be one of the only games on this list that actually lends itself to a board game.


“Color Photo of B.A. Inside!”  YES! I have to have a color photo of Mr. T to round out my Foes of Hulk Hogan Collection!


What? What? An All in the Family game? What do you do to win? I think this game makes us all losers.


I’d have bought time one if I saw it.


Any game where you can play as Sorrell Booke is OK in my book.


Ah yes, the classic concentration camp game. Tasteless.


No. Just no.


Being a huge Dark Shadows fan I’d play this. Ghosts, coffins, vampires, witches, what is there not to love?


I had this one.


I wish I owned this one. Imagine- all the action of your favorite, dynamic tv show! “One more thing- can I borrow a shoelace? Lose a turn.”


AAAAAAYYYYYY! Stick The Fonz’s face on anything and it will sell, even if it is a goofy cartoon picture like this.


Not a TV-based game, but in my never-ending quest to present all things Superman I had to include it, Plus the box is just awful. imagesCAZNDRS0

I had this one too. I was actually called (check if you don’t believe me) the “up your nose with a rubber hose game” and it came with a short piece of rubber hose. For real.


Didn’t have this, but I had the Mork action figure, which came in an interstellar egg, and the talking Mork doll. Pull the string on his back and he says “nanu nanu.”

star trek game 010

Bet this goes for big bucks now.


I have never seen this show.


From across the ocean comes this British game where old men fight Nazis. Keep it classy England.


This is the box they went with? They stuck a small picture of Telly Savalas in the corner because they just had to have the image of the munchkin in the funny hat on the cover? Why?

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