1970s Brooklyn on TV: Welcome Back, Kotter

The plot lines are so moronic, and the jokes so awful, the show is practically unwatchable. But the opening credits—now that’s another story.

It’s 48 seconds of gritty mid-1970s Bensonhurst, featuring shots of graffiti-covered subway cars, the 86th Street elevated train, and New Utrecht High School.

New Utrecht is the real-life Buchanan High School on the show and alma mater of Gabe Kaplan, aka Mr. Kotter.

It’s also where David Geffen, Buddy Hackett, and Moe and Curly Howard went to school. That’s quite an illustrious list of alumni, almost as good as at nearby Midwood High School.

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5 Responses to “1970s Brooklyn on TV: Welcome Back, Kotter”

  1. Beth Says:

    My dad went to New Utrecht in the 1930s. It was one of the best schools in the city. Now it’s a completely different story, unfortunately.

  2. Beth Says:

    Actually, I think my mom went to New Utrecht and my dad went to Erasmus Hall. Either way, they both got a very good public education in the ’30s.

  3. Gus Says:

    I have always been told that the school in Welcome Back Kotter was Lafayette. No?

  4. Ron Says:

    Kaplan actually attended Erasmus Hall, though he apparently did not graduate. I think it’s still fair to call it “alma mater”, though, as he seems to have taken enough nourishment from it.


    Show was hilarious and recaptured my youth. It also launch the careers of John Travolta and Gabe Kaplan. So up your nose with a rubber hose!

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