‘The Love Boat’ 40th Anniversary: 12 Facts You Never Knew About The Long-Running Show

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

After a successful made-for-TV movie, the nautical themed The Love Boat made its series debut on May 5, 1977, exactly 40 years ago!

The quirky series followed the lives of the staff onboard, helmed by Captain Merrill Stubing played by Gavin MacLeod. For nine seasons, and a few specials following, folks tuned in to see what antics he and his crew would get into on a weekly basis.

Each episode was usually broken down into three segments: One that was purely comical, another that typically followed a romantic comedy format, and a final more serious storyline.

Even if you made sure to catch every single episode, though, chances are you still don’t know all of the Love Boat trivia facts listed below!

Take a look to hear more about all your favorite characters from the show and the cast and crew behind each delightful episode.

And don’t forget to SHARE all of the fun facts with your friends and family to reminisce about the nostalgic show!

1. Fred Grandy Left Showbiz For Politics

fred grandy from love boat

After leaving his role of Gopher behind, the actor returned to his home state of Iowa and represented as their congressman from 1987 to 1995.

2. Bernie Kopell Passed His Character's Name Down

bernie kopell from love boat

Bernie dubbed his real life son Adam after his character Dr. Adam Bricker.

3. It Was A Book First

love boats

Former cruise director and hostess Jeraldine Saunders published her firsthand account of her time at sea in 1974, Love Boats, and the series was based on the bestseller.

4. Fans Were Invited To Set Sail

love boat extras

As documented in a People magazine story back in 1983, the show would occasionally leave their California studios to film across the globe and invite their fans to join them for the ride after paying the price of anywhere between $3,370 and $8,550.

5. Ted Lange Reprised His Role On 4 Other Shows

ted lange from love boat

As Isaac the bartender, Ted appeared on Charlie’s Angels, Martin, Weird Science and the show’s revival Love Boat: The Next Wave.

6. They Replaced The Theme Song For The Last Season

love boat logo

Though lounge crooner Jack Jones belted out the amorous lyrics for most seasons, legendary songstress Dionne Warwick was brought in to give the tune a makeover with her impressive pipes in an attempt to boost their dwindling ratings.

7. They Are Ranked Among The 100 Greatest Episodes Of TV

love boat cast

The third episode of their final season cracked the official TV Guide rankings at #82 back in 1997. It featured the segment titles “Hidden Treasure,” “Picture from the Past,” and “Ace’s Salary.”

8. The Boat Was Scrapped In 2014

pacific princess from love boat

The actual cruise liner used for filming, Pacific Princess, lasted pretty long considering the show went off air in 1986.

9. The List Of Guest Stars Is Enormous

charo on love boat

Over 1,000 celebrities made their way to the fictional cruise liner as guest stars featured at the beginning of every episode’s opening credits, including several who only found fame after their appearances like Tom Hanks, John Ritter, and, of course, Charo.

10. Teri Hatcher Got Her Start As A Love Boat Mermaid

teri hatcher

The Desperate Housewives actress started portraying the Love Boat Mermaid named Amy at just 21-years-old throughout the nautical series’ last season.

11. The Multiple Storylines Led To Continuity Errors

love boat cast

With each hourlong episode usually split into three sections with separate stories written by different writers, there were several moments where, for instance, Julie’s outfits would change inexplicably between scenes while boarding the ship.

12. Gavin MacLeod Wasn't The Actor's Birth Name

gavin macleod from love boat

Born Allan George See, he decided on a stage name because he felt his birth name would be confusing to those casting roles. He took his new last name from his drama coach at Ithaca, Beatrice MacLeod.

Did you learn anything about the classic show you hadn’t heard before? Be sure to SHARE all the fun facts with your friends!