All aboard! It was indeed exciting and new when I had the chance to meet the cast of “The Love Boat” as they gathered to decorate Princess Cruises’ first-ever float, the Regal Princess, in the 126th Rose Parade. The float, which features more than 24,000 flowers and celebrates Princess’ 50th anniversary, also pays tribute to the TV show that, in a lot of ways, put the famed cruise line on the map.
Although “The Love Boat” originally ran from 1977 to 1986, it has become a TV classic that endures to this day. Despite the near-freezing temps in Pasadena that morning, the entire cast was there and couldn’t have been nicer … even when I kept referring to them by their character names!
Julie! Isaac! How long has it been since the cast of “The Love Boat” reunited?
Lauren: We saw each other at the beginning of November because we all got together to christen the Regal Princess for Princess Cruises.
How fun! It’s also the first time the Love Boat is in the parade.
Lauren: Yes, this is the first time that Princess Cruises has put a float in the parade. It’s a great idea isn’t it?
“The Love Boat” was such a great show. To this day it’s still on the air with reruns and I love watching it. What are your fondest memories?
Ted: Well, thank you. I would say that as a young actor coming up, ‘cause back then I was a young actor, it was that I got a chance to meet my heroes, meet actors that I admired and to be in scenes with them.
Lauren: I have many fond memories, most of all the cruising because I really like to cruise.
Wait, so you guys were actually cruising on the boat? I thought it was just a set.
Lauren: Yes, we used to go out on the ship at least once a year. In the very beginning we took like one two-week cruise. And then as the show got more and more successful we went on more and more cruises. We went to Fiji, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, China, Japan, Australia … all on a Princess Cruise ship!
You had so many great guests on the show. Florence Henderson, Joan Collins …
Ted: Oh man, so many! Ralph Bellamy, Dorothy Lamour, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Yvette Mimieux. I mean, it goes on and on. Part of my fun was meeting the old timers and Fred Grandy and I used to take them out to lunch and just have them reminisce, so we would get wonderful stories about Hollywood. And then the other thing was that we got to meet other young actors who were having their careers happen. We had people like Martin Short, Billy Crystal, Tom Hanks … all those guys on their way up. So that was the fun of our show.
Did you know in advance which stars would be on the show?
Ted: No! We would get the script the day before and it would be like, ‘Oh my God, Gene Kelly is gonna be in this?!’
Is there a Love Boat movie in the works?
Lauren: Nooo! (Laughs.) Oh gosh, no! I think that ship has sailed!
You know, watching the show now, I’m actually surprised at how much you all were able to away with back then. I mean, whether it was the Captain or Doc, they were always chasing the girls.
Lauren: You know what’s interesting about it is at the time people were very aware … I mean, the show was about free love. It was about finding love. It was about getting on board the ship and somebody like me, the cruise director, would help you find a date. And if that didn’t work out, I’d find you another.
Or maybe you’d be the date!
Lauren: Right! Right. And it went on and on. People remember it as this sweet family show, but the truth is there was a lot of hooking up going on.
There was a lot of hooking up and a lot of the crew members were really horny!
Lauren: Yeah! (Laughs.)
Ted: Yeah, shame on them!
But Isaac was smooth and cool, just doing his thing, mixing drinks.
Ted: Yeah, I definitely learned how to mix drinks ‘cause you wanna look like you know what you’re doing.
Do people still come up to you and call you by your characters’ names?
Ted: Yes. It’s OK, you can call me Isaac.
Lauren: They do, they do. But that’s a real pleasure because we’re associated with Princess Cruises and we’re associated with a good time and with a loving time and that’s a nice thing.
And you all have remained friends after all these years.
Ted: Yes, absolutely!
For more info on Princess Cruises visit: www.princess.com