W. L. Baumes
First episode date
5 May 1977
No. of seasons
9 + 4 specials
The Love Boatsby Jeraldine Saunders
Gavin MacLeod Bernie KopellFred GrandyTed LangeLauren TewesJill WhelanTed McGinley
"The Love Boat" sung by Jack Jones, seasons 1–8; by Dionne Warwick in season 9
Ben LanzaroneDuane Tatro
Gavin MacLeod, Ted Lange, Lauren Tewes, Bernie Kopell, Jill Whelan
The love boat
The Love Boat is an American television series set on a cruise ship which aired on the ABC Television Network from May 5, 1977, until May 24, 1986; three-hour specials aired in 1986–87 and 1990. The show revolves around the ship's captain (played by Gavin MacLeod) and a handful of its crew, with several passengers – played by different guest actors for each episode – having romantic and humorous adventures. It was part of ABC's popular Saturday night lineup that included Fantasy Island until that show ended in 1984.
- The love boat
- The love boat tv show opening theme season one 1977
- Writing format
- Laugh track
- Theme song and title sequence
- Sequels spin offs and crossovers
- DVD releases
The original 1976 made-for-TV movie on which the show was based (also titled The Love Boat) was itself based on the nonfiction book Love Boats by Jeraldine Saunders, a real-life cruise director. Two more TV movies (titled The Love Boat II and The New Love Boat) would follow before the series began its first season in September 1977.
The executive producer for the series was Aaron Spelling, who produced several TV series for ABC from the 1960s into the 1980s.
In 1997, the episode with segment titles "Hidden Treasure," "Picture from the Past," and "Ace's Salary" (season 9, episode 3) was ranked No. 82 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. The Love Boat ran for nine seasons plus four specials. A made-for-TV movie, titled The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage, starring four of the original cast members, aired on February 12, 1990.
The love boat tv show opening theme season one 1977
Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, and Ted Lange are the only cast members to appear in every episode of the series, including the last three made-for-TV movies. Fred Grandy was in every episode throughout the run of the series, but was not in the last of the TV movies. MacLeod was not the captain in the first two TV movies, however. However, when MacLeod's character was introduced, there was mention of him being "the new captain."
Among the series' attractions was the casting of well-known actors in guest-starring roles, with many famous film stars of yesteryear making rare television appearances. It was not the first comedy series to use the guest-star cast anthology format—Love, American Style used the formula seven years earlier, but The Love Boat had such success with the formula that future shows in similar style (such as Supertrain and Masquerade) were inevitably compared to The Love Boat. The show was followed on Saturday nights on ABC by Fantasy Island, which was also produced by Aaron Spelling, and had a similar format.
The one-hour sitcom was usually set aboard a Princess Cruises cruise liner called Pacific Princess. Other ships used were twin sister Island Princess, Stella Solaris (for a Mediterranean cruise), Pearl of Scandinavia (for a Chinese cruise), Royal Viking Sky (for European cruises) and Royal Princess and Sun Princess (for Caribbean cruises). In 1981, P&O Cruises' Sea Princess was also used for the special two-hour episode "Julie's Wedding", set in and around Australia, and guest-starring Lloyd Bridges, Katherine Helmond, Harry Morgan, Patrick Duffy and Anthony Andrews, among others. The series was filmed primarily on sets in California—20th Century Fox Studios for seasons one through five and Warner Hollywood Studios for the remainder of the series. After being renamed the MS Pacific and spending its golden years owned by a cruise line in Spain, the Pacific Princess was retired to Turkey in 2013 where it was scrapped by a ship breaking company because no buyer could be found.
Another unique aspect of The Love Boat was its writing format. Every episode contained several storylines, each written by a different set of writers working on one group of guest stars. As a result, episodes ended up with ungainly titles like "Disco Baby/Alas, Poor Dwyer/After the War/Ticket to Ride/Itsy Bitsy: Part 1." This also led to notorious continuity errors, most notably in Julie's outfits during boarding and disembarkation, which were often inconsistent between storylines.
Even though the cast of Charlie's Angels had been on separate episodes of the show, there was a crossover episode of the show in which the lady detectives had a case on the ship.
On rare occasions there would be crossovers between the stories. In one episode actors Robert Reed and Florence Henderson, formerly of The Brady Bunch, guest starred in separate segments. In one scene, the two pass each other in a corridor, exchange a "Do I know you?" double-take, and then continue on their separate ways without talking.
In a one-time Fantasy Island crossover episode, the cruise ship makes a detour to deliver a troubled woman (played by Loni Anderson) to the mysterious island, and her storyline continued on that show.
There were typically three storylines. One storyline usually focused on a member of the crew, a second storyline would often focus on a crew member interacting with a passenger, and the third storyline was more focused on a single passenger (or a group of passengers). The three storylines usually followed a similar thematic pattern: One storyline (typically the "crew" one) was straight-ahead comedy. The second would typically follow more of a romantic comedy format (with only occasional dramatic elements). The third storyline would usually be the most dramatic of the three, often offering few (if any) laughs and a far more serious tone.
The series was also distinctive as being one of the few hour-long series ever made for American television that used a laugh track (Eight is Enough, on the same network and produced at the same time, being another example).
Theme song and title sequence
The Love Boat theme song was sung by Jack Jones (except for the last season, where a cover version by Dionne Warwick was used). The lyrics were written by Paul Williams with music by Charles Fox. The song has since been recorded and released commercially by Charo in 1978 and Amanda Lear in 2001.
The opening sequence for the series underwent three changes over the years. From seasons one to eight, the opening sequence began with a long shot of the ship before the camera slowly zoomed in onto its bridge area. This was followed by posing shots of the crew members (updated several times due to cast additions and changes throughout all seasons) at different points on the ship set. The long shot footage of the ship was used for the credits of the celebrity guest stars. For only the first season, the guest stars were credited by having their names appear on the screen while the show's logo, a radar/compass style circle with four hearts, wrapped around them. Beginning with season two (and originally experimented with in the fifteenth episode of the first season), the compass was graphically put in place and at its center, the guest stars were shown posing for the camera on different parts of the set (or a city spot used in on-location episodes) while their names appeared at the bottom of the screen. For the final season, the compass was replaced by a crescent wave and the long shots of the ship were replaced by a montage of the various locations traveled to on the show. At the center of the wave graphic, the guest stars were shown posing for the camera wearing their formal outfits against different colored backgrounds.
For its first seven years, The Love Boat was very successful in the ratings. During that time it ranked among the top 20, and even the top 10. For the 1980–81 season it posted its highest rating at No. 5. By the beginning of the 1984–85 season the ratings were beginning to drop, and at the end of the following year, The Love Boat was canceled after nine years on ABC, although four three-hour specials aired during the 1986–87 season.
Sequels, spin-offs and crossovers
CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released Seasons 1, 2 & 3 of The Love Boat on DVD in Region 1 & 4. Each season has been released in two volume sets.