Welcome, Black Kotter

The dry, cracked riverbed of Hollywood inspiration has once again turned to the seemingly bottomless well of beloved sitcoms for creative irrigation: We can now look forward to our fond memories of Welcome Back, Kotter being irreparably soiled on its journey to the big screen, Variety reports, with the no-brainer casting of gangsta-rapper-turned-beloved-star- of-forgettable-family-comedies Ice Cube producing and starring:

The rights to the series that ran from 1975-79 were controlled by the show's creators, Gabe Kaplan and Alan Sacks. Kaplan originated the role Cube will play, a teacher who returns to his tough, inner-city alma mater, where he meets a new generation of underprivileged troublemakers who are as unmotivated as he used to be.

"There was no bigger fan of the original show than me, and I'm very excited to be able to put a new twist on it," Cube said. [...]

Kaplan and Sacks had long resisted movie overtures, but the pair liked the package and Weinstein Co. partners Bob and Harvey Weinstein.

"We were skeptical about selling 'Kotter' because making a great movie from a TV show can be challenging," Kaplan said. "After meeting with the Weinsteins, we knew they were the right ones to bring this project to the screen."

We must thank Kaplan for holding out as long as he has, until an actor came along with just the right combination of self-deprecating humility and Groucho Marx-influenced comic timing to fill the big shoes he left behind. Who knows Cube might even find himself improving on the original, in much the same way Cedric the Entertainer managed to find the funny in ways Jackie Gleason could only have dreamed about in his beloved "new twist" on The Honeymooners.