In 2021, the entire cast of “The Love Boat” got together for a reunion and appeared on YouTube’s “Stars in the House.” This is a daily, live-streamed series to support actors and the entertainment industry and has featured several actor interviews since 2020. “The Love Boat” reunion made it the oldest TV show in which all of the original cast members were recently seen together on screen.
The YouTube episode garnered millions of views and comments from fans all over the world. It was a treat to see their favorite actors from over four decades ago get back together onscreen.
Critics Didn’t Like It at First
During its first summer of production in 1977, “The Love Boat” adhered to a new formula; episodes had to be written quickly and had to be a mix of three stories that all had happy endings – the romance, the comedy, and the drama. The soundstages and set design were the most expensive to ever be built for TV back then, costing over $1 million, not to mention when it shot on the actual Pacific Princess.
They often needed a crew of nearly 20 people just for the pool decoration. So logically, the producers were expecting rave reviews for all their effort. Unfortunately, critics didn’t like the show when it premiered. Some called it “dreadful porridge,” and “shows like this pull the median level of mediocrity down to unfathomable lows.” Yikes!
A “Mary Tyler Moore Show” Reunion
One of the many hit TV show casts to guest-star on “The Love Boat” were the actors from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which debuted in 1970. In fact, Gavin MacLeod, who landed the role of Captain Stubing, made his acting debut on “Mary Tyler Moore,” as head writer Murray Slaughter. It was this role that made producer Aaron Spelling call him in the first place.
Most of the cast of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” reunited with their friend and cast member MacLeod to appear as guest stars on “The Love Boat,” among them Valerie Harper, Betty White, Ted Knight, and Cloris Leachman. In the same way, Fred Grandy and Bernie Kopell appeared as guests on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
Dick Van Patten Was the Original “Love Boat” Doctor
Before famous actor Dick Van Patten turned down the role of Dr. Adam Bricker and passed it on to his friend Bernie Kopell, he did play “The Love Boat” doctor in the 1976 TV movie pilot of the same name. Patten played Dr. O’Neill, which was a similar role to the future Adam Bricker, a funny, cute, and dynamic cruise ship doctor that charmed everybody.
Producer Aaron Spelling wanted Van Patten to keep playing Dr. O’Neill for the actual show, but he turned him down since he had been offered a starring role in the other hit show “Eight is Enough.” So, Spelling turned to Patten’s friend Bernie Kopell and wrote a similar character for him, that of Dr. Adam Bricker.
The Long Friendship Between MacLeod and Marion Ross
The award-winning actress Marion Ross has had a stellar acting career that began way back in the early 1950s. Best-known for her role as Marion Cunningham on “Happy Days,” Ross went on to star in some of the era’s most popular shows and films, such as “Lust for Life,” “Sabrina,” “Teacher’s Pet,” “Honky,” and “Operation Petticoat,” on which she starred alongside Gavin MacLeod.
Ironically, Ross would be a recurring character on “The Love Boat,” playing Captain Stubing’s (Gavin MacLeod) wife. The two actors worked together for so many years that they became great friends, collaborating onscreen even to this day.