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The Love Boat ran from September 1977 until September 1986 on ABC.

The Love Boat was closely patterned after ABC's hit series Love American Style, which ran from 1969-1974. Both programs consisted each week of several comic sketches dealing with love of all types, young and old, married and unmarried, and also featured famous guest stars in the sketches as well. The difference was that all of the happenings on The Love Boat were set aboard the Pacific Princess, a luxury cruise ship which embarked each week on a romantic, sentimental, and often hilarious voyage across tropic seas. Each story was interwoven with the next and almost always involved the ship's crew , who were seen on the show every week.

The show was adapted from The Love Boats, a novel written by former cruise hostess Jeraldine Saunders. The format was tested out in three two-hour made for television films that was broadcast during the 1976-1977 season. The original pilot featured none of the regular actors.

Unknown actor Ted Hamilton Stern played the captain with Dick Van Patten the doctor, Theodore Wilson, the bartender, Sandy Helberg the yeoman purser and unknown actress Terry O'Mara the cruise director. Other characters in the pilot that did not make their way into the series was Joseph Siceri as the Steward and a couple of lounge entertainers played by Kathryn Ish and Richard Stahl.

A Second pilot, The Love Boat 2 aired in early 1977. It starred Quinn Redeker as the captain,unknown actress Diane Stilwell as the cruise director and soon to be regular faces Bernie Koppell as Dr. O' N eill ( his name would be changed to Adam Bricker in the third Love Boat movie) , Ted Lange as bartender Isaac Washington and Fred Grandy as Burl " Gopher" Smith the yeoman purser. Candice Azzara was also featured as a lounge entertainer. A third movie entitled The New Love Boat aired in May 1977 and would introduce the crew that would go on to star in the series. Since all three movies did well in the ratings, ABC asked executive producers Aaron Spelling and Douglas S. Cramer to create a one hour series for 1977-1978.

The new crew included Gavin MacLeod( fresh from The Mary Tyler Moore Show) as Captain Merrill Stubing; Bernie Kopell as Doctor Adam Bricker, the ship's doctor; Fred Grandy as Burl ( Gopher) Smith, assistant purser; Ted Lange as Isaac Washington, the bartender; and Lauren Tewes as Julie McCoy, crews Director. Most critics derided the show as sappy nonsence , but audiences responded to the show's mixture of romance , glitz, and exotic locales to make it a long running hit.

Famous movie and TV stars of the past and present were always a part of the floating sound stage, combing work with travel to exotic locations. Among the many famous names were: Dick VanPatten, Jane Wyman, Steve Allen, Greer Garson, Don Adams, Janet Gaynor and Helen Hayes. Charo was around for the recurring role of singer-guitarist April Lopez.

Some of the stories revolved around the crew, with Captain Stubing's womanizing brother Marshall (played by Gavin MacLeod wearing a toupee) showing up on occasion, and Vicki ( Jill Whelen), Stubing's 12-year-old illigitimate daughter, becoming a regular cast member in 1979. New Cruise Director Judy McCoy ( Pat Klouse) came aboard in 1984 when Lauren Tewes ( Julie) left the show. Tewes candidly admited that drug use led to her departure from the series ( She would later appear as a guest star). Also joining the cast was the boat's new photographrer Ace Evans ( Ted McGinley).

Most of the shows were filmed on two real cruise ships - The Pacific Princess and The Island Princess - during their regular voyages from the Virgin Islands to Alaska. Actual passengers were often invited to play as extras, getting a raffle ticket for each day they "worked". Most passengers were delighted to take part and cruises on which filming was planned were always booked solid long in advance.

Voyages to more exotic locations took place in later seasons - Australia in 1981, the Mediterranean in 1982 and China in 1983. In 1982, a shipboard musical extravaganza featuring the regular cast plus guest appearances by Cab Calloway, Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, Della Reese, Van Johnson and Ann Miller became known as the "Love Boat Follies".

The shows ' ratings began to dwindle as time passed and a number of changes were implemented in the fall of 1985 in an attempt to revive the sagging series. In addition to a new time period and a new theme singer, A group of eight singer/dancers ("The Love Boat Mermaids") were added to the cast, appearing in a weekly musical number and working in the casino that had been added to The Pacific Princess. It didn't help. In the spring of 1986, at the end of the original series run, Captain Stubing romanced and married Emily Heywood, played by Marion Ross, and Gopher left to operate a resort ( Fred Grandy had been elected to Congress from Iowa).

The Love Boat returned in 3 two-hour specials broadcast during the 1986-1987 season. Julie had replaced Judy as the Cruise Director and Ace had replaced Gopher as the Purser. Several of the regulars ( McLeod, Lange, Koppell, and Whelen) were reunited for " The Love Boat: A Valentine's Voyage" which aired on February 12, 1990 on CBS. Many things had changed. The music was just instrumental, the opening credits had been updated; the ship was The Sky Princess, Gopher was missing ( and rumored to be in Congress) and Vicki had certainly grown up into a woman.

Aaron Spelling and Douglas S. Cramer were the executive producers. Many episodes were directed by Richard Kinton, who succinctly described The Love Boat's format as " romance and pap."

To read some articles about The Love Boat go to and and and and and and and and and and and

To watch some clips from The Love Boat go to

For an episode guide go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to

For a website dedicated to The Love Boat go to

For an interview with Gavin McLeod go to

For a tribute to Aaron Spelling go to

For some Love Boat-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to
Date: Mon April 4, 2016 � Filesize: 61.8kb, 404.3kbDimensions: 1068 x 1600 �
Keywords: The Cast of Love Boat (Links Updated 7/10/18)


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