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.


  1. I think my favorite of that type was Love, American Style. No idea why. I barely remember it.

    I think Lost is the new hiding place for out of work character actors. Half the cast of Deadwood is on it now.

  2. That's why I loved the great 70's shows like "Fantasy Island" and "CHiPS". They always had plenty of celebrity cameos. Remember Ed McMahon and the heroin-hooked Leif Garrett hangin' out with Ponch and Jon? Those were awesome TV shows. That was half the fun, trying to see how many celebs you could name while watching the show.

  3. Kudos on a great post! I do this, too, and you are right, must come from shows like The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. I also do this a lot when I watch Murder, She Wrote. I am always rushing to IMDb to see who that is and where I have seen them before.

  4. Imagine...Robert Reed thought the Brady Bunch was beneath him, but the Love Boat...well, that's close to Shakespeare!

  5. Nice shot of Mike Brady and Hot Lips, if Frank finds out, he'll hit the roof!

    Love Boat was one of a kind, shame you don't see quality on television like that anymore

  6. Hollywood was a MUCH smaller place then!

    Al Bigley

  7. This could be a scarring thing too; I mean, I grew up with the Brady Bunch (I'm talking primetime, not syndication!) so when it went off the air in '74, and a year later they announced Robert Reed was going to guest-star be on some medical show (Medical Center?) I was so excited to see "Dad Brady" again--turned out he was playing some guy who wanted to get a sex change operation. So there I am, 13 years old & watching Robert Reed wearing lipstick & a dress and whispering "Thank you doctor, I'm finally a woman now..."

    Fortunately, by the time Eve Plumb did "Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway", I was a couple years older & was better equipped to handle seeing poor Jan Brady get slapped around by some pimp!

  8. HEY! I was going to do a post on this. My wife and I watch a lot of old TV shows on Netflix and IMDB.com. We are always IDing people in those shows. Did you know Debra Winger was Wonder Woman's little sister?