Despite enormous breakout popularity in its first two seasons, 'Welcome Back, Kotter' never managed to win any awards. It created catch phrases, and made instant stars of its cast, but it wasn't until its 35th anniversary at the 2011 TV Land Awards that the cast was honored for their work on the series.

"I think it's a little overdue, but thank you very much," said Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, who played Freddie "Boom-Boom" Washington. "Thank you for the award. Thank you for honoring us and the legacy."

Series co-creator and star Gabe Kaplan talked about how the show was largely inspired by his own upbringing and particularly his multi-cultural group of friends.

"It just worked because everybody at every school -- not only in America and Canada, but all over the world -- there was a Horshack, an Epstein, a Washington, and a Barbarino," Kaplan said of the show's characters.