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"Welcome Back, Kotter" Radio Free Freddie (1977)

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George Carlin and Fred Grandy

Author: kevin olzak ( from Youngstown, Ohio
2 July 2016

"Radio Free Freddie" was the episode guest starring irreverent stand up comic George Carlin as Wally 'The Wow' Wexler, famed disc jockey at WBAD radio, a former Sweathog from Buchanan called Wally 'The Weasel' Wexler, whose nickname for Gabe was 'clown faced Kotter!' Carlin's first scene is a classic: "listen to the big sounds of The Meter Readers and their brand new disco hit 'Baby Stick My Head in Your Oven!'" Not to mention the next platter, from the Reverend Funk and the Vienna Boys Boogie Band: "I Threw My Heart in the Collection Plate!" (a selection by The Crosswords is titled 'Love is a Three Letter Word!'). A Marx Brothers style mix up trying to sit down leads to the introduction of Fred Grandy as Wally's engineer and producer Andy, who has to be reminded not to put the records on top of the radiator: "this morning I found the Captain all over Marie, and Donny stuck to Tennille, man!" Vinnie debuts on the radio with his usual 'what,' Horshack and Epstein little better, but Washington immediately sparks interest from the listening audience (Arnold's mother calls to report that her son's voice shattered all of her wine glasses). His instant success has the other three Sweathogs quickly departing the station, while 'The Wow' tries to show Freddie the ropes from his 15 years of experience. Fred Grandy had already debuted as Gopher in the feature pilot of THE LOVE BOAT, and teams well with the great Carlin.

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