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The Love Boat (simply Love Boat in its final season) is an Americanmarker television series set on a cruise ship, which aired on the ABC Television Network from September 24, 1977 until May 24, 1986. The show starred Gavin MacLeod as the ship's captain, who encourages his customers to find romance. It was part of ABC's Saturday night "one-two punch" along with Fantasy Island until the latter show ended in 1984.

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 The Love Boats by Jeraldine Saunders, a real-life cruise director. Two more TV movies (titled The Love Boat II and The New Love Boat, respectively) would follow before the series began its run.

The executive producer for the series was Aaron Spelling who produced several successful series for ABC from the 1960s to the 1980s.

The sitcom was usually set aboard a cruise liner called the Pacific Princess, whose passengers and crew had romantic and funny adventures every week. Other ships used were twin sister Island Princess, the Stella Solaris (for a Mediterraneanmarker cruise), Pearl of Scandinavia (for a Chinese cruise), the Royal Viking Sky (for European cruises) and the Royal Princess (for a Caribbeanmarker cruise).

Series stars MacLeod, Kopell, and Lange are the only cast members to appear in every episode of the regular series, including the last three 2 hour made-for-TV movies, and stayed throughout the entire run. MacLeod was not the captain in the first two TV movies, however. We are told in Love Boat II that Gopher, Doc, Isaac, and the captain in that movie all served together in Vietnam, but no reference to this is ever made to their shared history again. However, when McLeod's character was introduced, there was mention of him being "The new captain." Though Grandy was given an appearance in every episode and stayed throughout the entire run, he missed the last of the three two-hour made-for-TV movies.

The long-running TV series was finally canceled in 1986 (with the exception of the final three made-for-TV movies), not only because of low ratings, but much due to the fact that actor Grandy wanted to leave the series to work as a Congressman for the Republican Party, in his native, Iowamarker, which he successfully won and served four terms for Congress, just the year after the show's cancelation. After the show's cancelation, the show became immensely-popular in reruns, both in syndication and on TV Land.


  • Gavin MacLeod - Captain Merrill Stubing, "Your Captain" - also played Captain Stubing's father, under the name O. D. Warbux, in 2 episodes, as well as Captain Stubing's brother, under the name Sonny Wilde
  • Bernie Kopell - Dr. Adam "Doc" Bricker, "Your Ship's Doctor"
  • Fred Grandy - Burl "Gopher" Smith, "Your Yeoman Purser"
  • Ted Lange - Bartender Isaac Washington, "Your Bartender"
  • Lauren Tewes - Cruise Director Julie McCoy, "Your Cruise Director" (1977–84)
  • Jill Whelan - Vicki Stubing, the captain's daughter (1979–86)
  • Ted McGinley - Ashley "Ace" Covington Evans "Your Ship's Photographer" (1984–86)
  • Pat Klous - Judy McCoy, Julie's sister and her successor as cruise director (1984–86)

Guest stars

The series' attraction was in the casting of well-known actors in guest-starring roles, with many famous film stars of yesteryear making rare television appearances. Although it wasn't the first series to use the all-star cast anthology format — Love, American Style used the same device seven years earlier — Love Boat perfected the genre and future shows in similar style (Supertrain and Masquerade to name two) were inevitably compared to Love Boat.

Theme song

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.Dave Grohl and Chris Moyles sang a tongue-in-cheek version of the theme tune on Dave Grohl's 2009 appearance on the The Chris Moyles Show.

Laugh track

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).

Writing format

Another unique aspect of The Love Boat was its writing format. Each episode contained several simultaneous storylines, each one written by a different set of writers. Each set of writers worked on one group of guest stars and their story of the week. As a result of this, 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.

There were usually three storylines. There was a pattern to the three storylines: one storyline focused around 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 around a passenger (or a group of passengers). Additionally, 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 show shared much the same premise as the 1956-60 television hit The Gale Storm Show (aka Oh! Susanna).

Sequels and spin-offs

  • A TV movie, The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage, followed in 1990 on the CBS network, four years after the show was cancelled.
  • A second TV series, The Love Boat: The Next Wave aired on the former UPN Network (now The CW network) from 1998 to 1999. It starred Robert Urich as Captain Jim Kennedy, a retired U.S. Navy officer. Heidi Mark was cast as the cruise director. Several members of the original show's cast guest-starred on a reunion-themed episode, where it was revealed that Julie and Doc had been in love all along.
  • In Germany, the TV series Das Traumschiff started in 1981 as a German-made version of The Love Boat. It airs as 90-minutes-specials instead of a weekly basis, traditionally with an episode airing each Boxing Day (Dec. 26) and New Year's Day on the ZDFmarker network. In 2005, the 50th episode was broadcast. Contrary to the original American series, all episodes of Das Traumschiff are shot entirely on location aboard the ship and in the ports of the ship's stopovers. No scene was ever shot in a television studio. Due to this lavish production style, each season consists of only four to six episodes. The ships used for the series were MS Vistafjord (1st season: 1981/1982), MS Astor (2nd season: 1983/1984), MS Berlin (3rd to 10th season: 1986 - 1998) and MS Deutschland (11th season till present: 1999 - present).
  • A 1979 episode of another Aaron Spelling series, Charlie's Angels, had that show's characters trying to recover a stolen statue while aboard the Pacific Princess on a Caribbean cruise. All of the Love Boat regulars had cameo appearances in the crossover episode.
  • A two-part 1997 episode of the sitcom Martin had the main characters going on a cruise and encountering Isaac, Julie, Doc, and Vicki.

Other airings

ABC also aired reruns of the show in their daytime lineup from 11:00 a.m.-noon (10 a.m.-11 a.m. Central) from June 30, 1980 to June 24, 1983 (with the exception of June 15, 1981 to September 11, 1981 when back-to-back reruns of Three's Company aired instead).

DVD releases

CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) has released Seasons 1 & 2 of The Love Boat in four volume sets. [50462]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
Season 1, Volume 1 12 March 4, 2008
  • No Bonus features
Season 1, Volume 2 12 August 12, 2008
  • The New Love Boat (pilot TV-Movie)
Season 2, Volume 1 13 January 27, 2009
  • No Bonus features
Season 2, Volume 2 12 August 4, 2009
  • No Bonus features


! Country
! Foreign title
! Translation
! Network(s)
! Notes
| Lemmenlaiva
(Ship of love) | Subtitled | MTV3 | |- | | Kärlek ombord
(Love on board) | Subtitled | TV4 | |- | | La croisière s'amuse
(the cruise is having fun) | Dubbed | FR3 | |- | | Love Boat
| Dubbed | Sat.1
Tele 5
Premiere and Anixe | The show was shown originally on Sat.1 and later on Tele 5, 9Live, Premiere and Anixe.
Also the laugh track was omitted in the german synchronisation which made this a romantic telenovela like series rather than a sitcom. |- | | Love Boat | Dubbed | Canale 5 | |- | | The Love Boat | Subtitled | VARA | |- | | Statek miłości
(The Love Boat) | Dubbed | TVP2 | |- | | Barco do Amor
(The Love Boat) | Subtitled | RTP 1 (first run) in 1980s
Sic Gold (reruns)
Sic Comédia (reruns) | |- | | Vacaciones en el mar
(Sea Holidays) | Dubbed | Televisión Española (first run)
Telecinco (reruns) | * In Latin America known as "El Crucero del Amor" , dubbed |- | | Aşk Gemisi
(The Love Boat) | Dubbed | TRT 1 (first run)
Show TV (reruns) | |- | | To ploio tis agapis
(The Ship of love) | Subtitled | CyBC | |- | | Die Plesierboot

(The Pleasure boat)
| Dubbed in Afrikaans | TV2 | |- | | ספינת האהבה
(The Love Boat) | Subtitled | IBA | |}

See also

External links

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