Hey, Isn't That....? #6: The Love Boat
Without fail, if I watch an old movie with friends or my wife, we spend half the time pointing out celebs. It usually goes something like this: "Hey, that's.... no, it can't be.... hell yeah, it is..... it's the lovely Bonnie Franklin!!!"
Or this: "Oh my Lord. That's that dude from Damien: Omen.... the guy that worked for his uncle and was helping him become the Antichrist!"
"You know. The dude from Ants with Suzanne Somers.... the dude from Prophecy that gets attacked by a rabid racoon!"
"Not ringing any bells."
"Dammit, what's his name?!?!.... Robert something.... Robert Conrad....no, that's not it.... Robert Foxworth!! That's it, I got it! Bow down and kneel before me, for I am your lord and redeemer and I demand your everlasting obedience!"
You get the picture. How did we end up this way? Why do we turn every movie or TV show into a mental exercise in actor identification?.... I blame it all on the Love Boat.
Yes, that's Mike Brady (Robert Reed) and Hot Lips (Loretta Switt). The Love Boat did it to us week in and week out. There was always a handful of passengers that needed identification. Sure, their names were announced at the beginning of each show... but that fact remained that you were about to see a lot of familiar faces, and you better be on your toes.
The Love Boat was by no means the first. They say the trend really got going with Around the World in 80 Days when Frank Sinatra made a surprise appearance at the end. Then came It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with countless familiar actors and actresses... which then led to the disaster movie which were always heavy on celebs and light on disasster.
I am thankful that many of these shows are getting a second wind on places like Hulu, Netflix and, in the case of The Love Boat, CBS online. Nick at Nite and TV Land may have abandoned us in favor of total shite like The George Lopez Show and Home Improvement, but you can never keep the 70's down.