When “The Love Boat” producers thought of the character of Dr. Adam Bricker, they had one person in mind: iconic actor and comedian Dick Van Patten. Patten was a star of the 70s and ’80s and had an incredibly successful for over seven decades.
When he was approached by the show’s producers to play Bricker, he had to decline because he was involved in filming his iconic role as the patriarch of the Bradford family in the hit sitcom “Eight is Enough.” Instead, Patten suggested the producers let his best friend audition for the part. It turns out his best friend was Bernie Kopell!
It was Modeled After “Love, American Style”
When it first aired, “The Love Boat” was a very unique type of TV show, its format was unlike any other shows being broadcast at the time. The fact that it had separate segments and storylines within a single episode made it very particular. Its producer, Aaron Spelling, wanted the dramatic, romantic, and comedic mishaps of the boat’s crew and passengers to be enjoyed simultaneously. Every story was written by a different writer, yet each intertwined with the others in a seamless way.
To achieve this, Spelling modeled the show’s format after a very popular comedy show from 1969 called “Love, American Style.” This ABC show followed a variety of stars doing comedy sketches on relationships and love. “The Love Boat” was very similar but aimed at a more mature audience, which made it an instant success.
It was the Last of its Kind
Nowadays, comedy shows are filmed in front of a live studio audience that provides that signature laughter after every joke. But this only started to come about in the mid-1980s, as before, comedy shows and sitcoms used a prerecorded laughter track.
Created by American sound engineer Charles Douglass, the laughter track was used for most sketch comedy shows and prime-time sitcoms in the United States from the late 50s to the early 80s. “The Love Boat” was one of these shows, and when it ended in 1986, it was the last of its kind to use the iconic laughter track.
Other Ships Were Also Used for Filming
The luxurious Pacific Princess was as important as a main character on “The Love Boat;” after all, a series about a cruise ship can’t be done without the ship. But being that the Princess also operated as a regular cruise ship when it wasn’t used for filming, this would sometimes mean that there were scheduling conflicts. So, the producers of the show had a few backup options.
For some longer episodes, “The Love Boat” would be shot onboard the Island Princess, the Pearl of Scandinavia, the Royal Viking Sky, and the Stella Solaris, among others. Every one of these ships was as breathtaking and luxurious as the Pacific Princess.
The Cast of “Psycho” Appeared on the Show
Among the many impressive guest stars to appear on “The Love Boat,” one of the most famous were actresses Janet Leigh and Vera Miles, and actors John Gavin and Ted Knight. All stars from the iconic Alfred Hitchcock film “Psycho,” each actor appeared in a separate episode. Janet Leigh appeared in the ninth episode of the second season, as Gail, the mother of a young woman named Linda, who is played by 20-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis.
Vera Miles appeared in several episodes of the show between 1982 and 1984, and John Gavin played ex-convict Dan Barton in an episode of the show’s first season. Ted Knight appeared in two episodes of season five, as a rival cruise ship captain.