"I've waited thirty-five years to thank this man," Travolta said, gesturing to Kaplan. "I never got to publicly thank Gabe for his genius, his putting us on the map. You know, we all wouldn't be here today without Gabe."
Of course, that isn't always the case. Teachers can also be awful monsters whom we never forget for their ability to patronize, degrade, or humiliate us, often leaving one wondering if the man or woman in question took the job merely to torture students. This, naturally, can lead a kid to fantasize about how cool it would be to fall under the instruction of one of the following actors who, despite likely not possessing any type of teaching certification in real life, would probably be a blast to spend 40-or-so minutes on a daily basis.
People who say "hey, whatever happened to Gabe Kaplan?" obviously don't watch poker on television. He's been a player and commentator on the tour for quite some time now. He doesn't act, but he is getting back into stand-up comedy.
He's also a writer. He has a new book out, Kotter's Back: E-mails From A Faded Celebrity To A Bewildered World. It's a series of humorous e-mails to various people about supposedly great ideas that Kaplan has to get back into the public eye. Stuff like writing a memoir about his sex life or starting a gambling camp for kids.
In an interview with Access Hollywood, Kaplan said that Cube is a great choice for the role. "He has shown what kind of crossover appeal he has," he told the program.
Of course, Kaplan probably couldn't care less about a Kotter remake, since he's been busy playing professional poker for the last couple of decades. But he could not have said a word, or even refused to talk about it. So Cube and company should be happy with Kaplan's endorsement.
Although, to be honest, I don't even think Ice Cube will ever have a better 'fro than Gabe did. Gabe wins the hair war, hands down.
The event took place at the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills. Gabe Kaplan took the stage, made a few jokes about the new Welcome Back, Kotter movie and showed off the In2TV concept. He was a good sport and even brought out a paper airplane to put on his head, joking that it didn't stick as well as it used to (aw, Gabe, you're thin on top but we still love you.) He introduced George Lopez who gave a heartfelt tribute to Freddie Prinze, showing clips of the comic's career and snippets of episodes from Chico and the Man. Somehow, in George's speech, he managed to reference the fact that he has one kidney and his wife gave it to him (is there anyone who hasn't heard this story yet?) He announced the In2TV Influencer Award and handed the strangely shaped trophy to Freddie Prinze Jr. Freddie made a brief speech, then Jose Feliciano was brought to the stage to play the Chico and the Man theme (with just a bit of "Light My Fire" thrown in). The crowd was full of old favorites from the TV days of long ago. After the jump, a few familiar faces.
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