Category Archives: welcome back kotter

Actor Ron Palillo Dead at 63

Actor Ron Palillo, best known for his portrayal of Arnold Horshack on “Welcome Back, Kotter,” was found dead early this morning by his longtime partner. He was 63, dead from an apparent heart attack.

While a star of film, television, stage and animation voicework for most of his career, he will forever be remembered as Arnold Horshack, a role he played from 1975-1979. For years he strove to rise above or erase the public’s memory of the role, even going so far as to have plastic surgery. He is the second of the ‘Sweathogs’ to pass away within a year.

He was a prolific stage actor on and off Broadway. Most recently Palillo was teaching acting in Florida where he lived and passed away.


Bolt ~ More computer animation from Disney, this time doing its level animated best to take advantage of the Miley Cyrus phenomenon while it lasts.

The premise of Bolt is that of a dog actor who doesn’t know he’s acting in a TV show about a super-powered dog. It’s sort of Truman Show gone to the dogs, if you can forgive the pun. Bolt gets out of the studio, and learns the hard way that he doesn’t really have super powers. Cyrus is his mistress and he’s set loose across the country searching for her.

John Travolta in an unsteady step backwards plays the title role. He plays Bolt with his Vinnie Barbarino voice from “Welcome Back, Kotter” back in the 1970s. It’s almost like take Vinnie, add a touch of Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction, add some fleas and shake briskly. I tried to get it out of my head, but failed. Weirdly, at some points, the voice works. On the opposite end of the Travolta stuff, the voice work of Susie Essman (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Mark Walton make the flick that much better.

Sadly however, for me, in the long run, the movie fails. It never matches up in the reality scenes to the pure adventure thrill of the faked scenes from the Bolt TV series. Why didn’t they just make a movie about the TV Bolt character? A bit clichéd, but exciting and nail-biting, but for me, it would have been a better movie.