Ron Pallilo, famously known for playing Arnold Horshack on the 1960’s classic TV Show Welcome Back, Kotter, passed away last week at the age of 63. The show itself, and more importantly the character of Horshack, was one of the first shows & one of the first characters that had an impact on my life. It’s almost as if I knew that this person was someone who I would emulate in high school years; looking back now we certainly had a lot of similarities.
I remember being in 8thgrade and waiting until 10:30 p.m.when Welcome Back, Kotter would come on. I would then put my tape recorder up to the TV speaker, hit record then fall asleep. During language arts class at school the next day, when the teacher assigned us 45 minutes of reading time, I would pretend to read a book while I was really listening to the previous nights episode via a single head phone that I would thread through my sweater. I’m surprised my teacher couldn’t figure it out; I mean, I was reading the same Star Wars book for the entire year and laughing out loud during most of the class.
One of my favorite scenes is when he’s reciting a poem by Elizabeth Barret Browning. “Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways. One….two…….three.” Gets me every time.
Welcome Back, Kotter was the first show that made me realize that strong characters are what make a show great. I try my best to forget the Palillo vs. Diamond boxing match on Celebrity Boxing, but hey, you can’t win ’em all.
After the jump, that very same Palillo vs. Diamond celebrity boxing match! Have your lye handy, your eyes are going to need a good scrubbing after this.