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Who remembers 'The Love Boat'? (Now doesn't that make you feel old)

Ally

Deckhand
During the 1970s and '80s, shows produced by Aaron Spelling dominated the television landscape. At one point during the 1984 season, Spelling had seven series running on the ABC network, which generated more than one-third of the network's revenues. Some critics dubbed ABC "Aaron's Broadcasting Company." One of those series, The Love Boat, became a solid top 15 hit in the Nielsen ratings when it debuted on September 24, 1977.

The Love Boat, an anthology series about the adventures of the passengers and crew aboard a luxury liner on a cruise from California to Mexico was based on a 1976 and 1977 television movies of the same name, which in turn was based on a novel by Jeraldine Saunders titled The Love Boats. Her book was taken from her experiences serving as a hostess aboard a cruise ship.

When The Love Boat appeared as a series in the fall of 1977, the cast was very different from that of the two pilot films. Gavin MacLeod, fresh from seven seasons as Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show plays the ship's Captain, Merrill Stubing, Fred Grandy plays the ship's goofball Yeoman-Purser, Burl 'Gopher' Smith, Ted Lange plays the suave bartender Isaac Washington, Bernie Kopel is the skirt-chasing Dr. Adam Bricker, and perky Lauren Tewes is the cruise director. While each member of the crew had a job, that was secondary to helping the passengers find love.

The Love Boat: Season One, Volume One consists of the first 12 episodes of the series' 30-episode first season. The Love Boat is an anthology series which means that each episode is divided into three stories all going on aboard ship simultaneously. Each storyline was written by a different set of writers; one storyline focused on a member of the crew, another focused on how a crew member interacted with a passenger — maybe they struck up a friendship or a romance with someone — and the third storyline usually focused on a specific passenger or group of passengers.

The series premiere, "The Captain and the Lady/One If By Land/Centerfold," best illustrates the style of a typical episode. Captain Stubing and his ex-wife (Bonnie Franklin) have to face the realities of a badly resolved divorce when they find themselves trapped on the same cruise. The future wife of a powerful congressman (Meredith Baxter Birney) worries that the photo she took for an adult magazine as a young law student will jeopardize her fiancé's political career. With Julie's help she hides all the copies of the magazine that are available on the ship, until she finds the courage to tell her fiancé about the photos. Ginny O'Brien (Brenda Sykes) is followed by her commitment phobic boyfriend (Jimmie Walker) through all the ports where the cruise stops. Ginny thinks marriage is the only answer until she gets some advice from her cabin mate, Lorraine Hoffman (Suzanne Somers).

Earlier shows such as Love, American Style used famous guest stars to attract an audience, but Aaron Spelling turned it into an art form. Setting a show on a cruise line meant that the producers could have a whole new set of stars take a cruise every week. It has often been said that The Love Boat was where out of work has-beens went to get work. While some of that might be true, Spelling and company actually did a great job of mixing current stars of the time with those of older generations. One week's guest stars on The Love Boat: Season One, Volume One set include Maureen McCormick (The Brady Bunch), Patty Duke (Astin), Ruth Gordon, Phil Foster, Robert Hegyes (Welcome Back, Kotter), and Tab Hunter. Another week, the guest list includes Florence Henderson, Donna Mills, Shecky Green, and Dick Sargent (Bewitched). That is a pretty eclectic guest list. It is no mistake that the inside cover of the DVD set lists each episode title and a list of the guest stars instead of a summary of the plot.

The fact is the plot of The Love Boat never really changes in the entire 12 episodes presented here. The fun is watching each show to see who will show up. It was neat to see a young Scott Baio, cute and adorable. That's how I want to remember him, not the whiny, overgrown child currently gracing television screens in Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant.

The Love Boat: Season One, Volume One is a four-DVD set containing the first 12 episodes (the two pilot movies are not included). The video is shown in full screen format. The picture is a bit grainy at times but acceptable for a show of this age. The audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0 and pretty standard stuff. Subtitles are available in English and Spanish. Special features are non-existent, though promos for each episode are included.
DVD Review: The Love Boat - Season One, Volume One
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Ally

Deckhand
I blame this series for getting my family hooked on cruising...if they hadn't watched it on telly every week without fail, I would not have caught the cruise bug......that's my story & I'm sticking to it :p :laughalot:
 

alphakitty

Deckhand
The Loooove Boooat...soon will be making another run!
I remember it well...always liked that show, it didn't give me the cruising bug though. ;)
 

Barbee524

Deckhand
"Love exciting and new, come aboard we're expecting you"

Yep this is where my interest in cruising first started. Someday I really should try a Princess ship.
 
I am not THAT old, but I have watched and liked The Love Boat. The funny thing is, I usually dislike that sort of Television series. The Love Boat however won me over with it's stellar cast, and entertaining plot lines.

There was never another show quite like it, and it is quite possible we will never see one again. Even were it to be remade into a new series, the magic would be lost.
 

Ally

Deckhand
For most of us, it was the closest we might ever get to sitting at the captain's table. And whether you hated it or, well, loved it, television's The Love Boat was immensely popular, exposed millions to a different kind of vacation and -- for better or worse -- shaped what it means to take a cruise today.

Don't believe me? Just ask Capt. Stubing.

''The Mary Tyler Moore Show . . . accrued more Emmys in a seven-year period than any other show on television, and that's admirable,'' said actor Gavin MacLeod, who from 1977-86 played the fatherly commander of the Pacific Princess. ``But The Love Boat truly created an enormous industry that continues to grow and grow.''

MacLeod, a spokesman for Princess since the show ended, is promoting a newly released DVD set of episodes from the first season -- 20 years since the show went off the air and 30 since those episodes aired.

''It's all because of people watching that television show,'' he said during a phone interview. ``It kicked off the cruise industry.''

Overstating the role of a simple TV program? Nope.

Kristoffer A. Garin, whose book Devils on the Deep Blue Sea chronicles the rise of the modern cruise era (since the early 1970s), called the show ''one of the great lucky strokes in the history of commerce'' and the ``single greatest product placement of all time.''

In the early '70s the fledgling industry had little money for national marketing, according to Garin, so companies were asking people to buy a vacation sight-unseen. Ships and what happens onboard were a mystery to most Americans, beyond what appeared in movies -- limited at the time to The Poseidon Adventure.

Despite the fact Princess was extremely reluctant to participate in the show -- too racy, apparently -- The Love Boat won over fans and the industry.

''The show and the actual cruise experience had become inseparable,'' Garin wrote in Devils. ``When the producers changed the uniforms on the show, Princess changed them on the ships, as well; it got to the point where passengers, on learning that their cruise directors couldn't produce Captain Stubing in the flesh, sometimes demanded their money back.''

While not a real captain (he only played one on TV), MacLeod is a confirmed cruise buff who talks lovingly not just about the 10 years of filming aboard the real Pacific Princess and Island Princess, but of voyages since then. What follows are a few thoughts and memories from the world's most recognized cruise captain:

• The first season: During the filming of those first 12 episodes, MacLeod said, he didn't do much on screen because he also was on stage in San Francisco every night with Debbie Reynolds in Annie Get Your Gun. 'I would come down every night, the 1 o'clock flight from San Francisco, and my wife used to say, `There's a man who gets in my bed at 2 o'clock in the morning and leaves at six. I hope to God it's my husband.' ''

• Passengers who thought he was a real captain: ``I'm having a hard time with the computer. If they know me, I don't think they want me to run the ship.''

He did get to steer the Pacific Princess out of New York harbor once: ``It didn't hurt that the captain was on my left and the assistant was on my right.''

• The free-wheeling attitude toward sex onboard: ''I don't know much about that. I've been a married guy all this time. I'm sure a lot of that stuff went on.'' He confided that during lunch with actor Bernie Kopell, a young woman approached the pair and suggested a tryst with both of them. ``But she came on in a very strange way -- she started to knock the show.''

• Favorite ports: ``I love New York and I love Australia. Sydney has got one of the most beautiful ports I've ever seen in my life. You've got the coat-hanger bridge there and the Opera House. And New York City, you have all those skyscrapers and the lights.''

• Favorite ships: The newest Pacific Princess and Tahitian Princess, smaller luxury ships formerly of Renaissance Cruises. ``I happen to like the smaller ships. I like the feel of them.''

• True ''Love Boat'' stories: A beautiful woman who said she boarded specifically to find a husband quickly paired up with a Stetson-wearing Texan and, when the ship left Mexico, the couple didn't reboard. It turns out they flew to Texas in his private jet, got married and flew back to California in time to meet the returning boat. ``As we pulled into Los Angeles harbor, there they were waving, throwing confetti.''

• Favorite memory: The last episode, when the captain married a character played by longtime friend Marion Ross, whom MacLeod met filming Operation Petticoat with Cary Grant. ``The last episode we did of the entire series, she became Mrs. Capt. Merrill Stubing. My wife came down and we had a wedding cake, and my buddy from college played the minister that married us.''

• Guilty pleasure onboard: ``It's the only time I have a pedicure.''

The Love Boat, Season One, Volume One (1977, $24.99) is available at Amazon.com and larger video stores.
After 20 years adrift, 'the Love Boat' finally lands - 03/24/2008 - MiamiHerald.com
 

Ally

Deckhand
• The first season: During the filming of those first 12 episodes, MacLeod said, he didn't do much on screen because he also was on stage in San Francisco every night with Debbie Reynolds in Annie Get Your Gun. 'I would come down every night, the 1 o'clock flight from San Francisco, and my wife used to say, `There's a man who gets in my bed at 2 o'clock in the morning and leaves at six. I hope to God it's my husband.' ''
:laughalot: Good job it was her husband....:laughalot:
 

John

Deckhand
They made a remake in the 90's with Robert Urich. However it was not the same. I don't think it lasted too long.
 
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