The Love Boat (TV Movie 1976) Poster

(1976 TV Movie)

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2/10
Stay ashore
wwgrayii17 August 2011
TV Movie featuring several stories about passengers on a Mexican cruise.

This is the first of the three "Love Boat" pilots and is pretty much a disaster on every level.

The biggest problem here is the casting. Quite frankly the regular cast is just terrible. They have no chemistry as a group and of the bunch, only Dick Van Patten (the doctor) and Theodore Wilson (Isaac the bartender) turn in what I would consider decent performances. Ted Hamilton is a total stiff as the captain. And Terri O'Mara, playing the cruise director, has a perfectly pleasant screen presence, but her acting leaves a bit to be desired (although, my understanding is that ABC saw "The Love Boat" as a star-making vehicle for her and specifically requested her casting).

The production seems to have had some significant problems: Director Alan Myerson appears to have been fired mid-production, since he is credited as co-director along with Richard Kinon in a couple of the stories while Kinon receives sole credit on the rest. And there's a fairly prominent end credit for separately written and directed (by Kinon) "Special Material."

The one thing I did kind of like, though, is the overall tone of the movie. Unlike the other pilots and the series, this movie is (by 1976 TV movie standards) fairly risqué. O'Mara's cruise director tells Doc that she's bored with being all goody-goody and may just "do it in the purser's lounge" to shake things up a little. You'd never hear Julie McCoy say that.

Still, despite everything, ABC liked the format enough to green light another TV movie/pilot the following year.
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5/10
A Pilot Run For A Successful TV Show
Desertman8425 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This happens to be the pilot run of a successful TV shown simply entitled,The Love Boat.It was show almost forty years ago. This was based on the nonfiction book The Love Boats by Jeraldine Saunders, a real-life cruise director. The TV movie has a star-studded guests as well which has become the feature of this successful show.On this TV movie,Ted Hamilton is the Captain, Teri O'Mara is the cruise director, bartender Isaac is Theodore Wilson, the ship's doctor is Dick Van Patten, and Sandy Helberg is Gopher, the purser.

On this maiden voyage of the Pacific Princess from California to Mexico,the story focused of four different sets of passengers.There is the goofy salesman who fell in love with the model.A businessman finds himself attracted by a fellow beautiful passenger.Finally,a passenger who is to undergo an expensive divorce and plans to get away from his wife at all cost.

As described above,the pilot TV movie has already the elements of what the successful show would be in the years to come.It has a star- studded guests.In this case,it includes Don Adams,Tom Bosley, Florence Henderson,Gabriel Kaplan, Harvey Korman,Cloris Leachman,Hal Linden and Karen Valentine.It also has multiple stories that are funny,silly,humorous and most of all,romantic.Finally,the setting is on an expensive cruise which deals with both the boat's crew and the passengers.

While the producers got it right on this TV movie,it was definitely a good decision that they did not hang through the cast of boat's crew as they don't have the same chemistry as that of the regular cast and the show would not have lasted one season with it.As for this TV movie,it maybe considered dated by today's standards but it is still good to watch especially when looking at how the show evolved from being an average TV movie into a successful show that ran for a decade.
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10/10
Why not?
Tracy_Terry_Moore19 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This was the beginning of the long running TV show.

Captain Stubing was cool because he knew all about life which was far out because he was just a freaking sailor; Julie was the cruise director who made good money at the bars picking up johns late at night; Doc was a laugh-riot since he considered himself a ladies man...pffft!; Issac was the jive bartender who liked to dance and time permitting, he even made a few drinks for the customers; and Gopher was a screw-up, but he was a lovable one, so its OK.

What a motley group, but we loved them because they were always there when we didn't have anything better to do on Saturday night. Good show.
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4/10
mindless TV
mm-3915 July 2004
Before reality TV they had sitcom's from *ell. Other mindless TV I liked as a child. With TVland and Deja vu channel in Canada viewers see what once was. I can not believe some of the crap I watched as a kid. This show was a big deal on Friday night with my sister and I eating popcorn. Some of it is funny, but the rest is just mindless. At least it is done on a higher budget than today's who is gonna get voted out of the toolshed. Watch them make a reality TV show out of that idea also. I believe this is another part of the 70's and the early 80s that is forgotten. How could they make these shows last so long. This show like Happy Days was on so long, I could not believe it still was on the air when they ended it. I find TV could end a few TV series about 3 years earlier.
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10/10
An interesting side-light
islater-125 June 2006
I not only saw this film, I was a still photographer on the three day cruise to Ensenada, Mexico when they shot most of the film. One little known incident happened when Hal Linden joined the company in Ensenada. To everyones surprise and chagrin he came limping down the dock with a broken leg he had suffered in a skiing accident. However Jeraldine Saunders the author was aboard and they were able to rewrite the script and carry on so that's "showbiz". After that I went on most of the following trips except the one to Panama and consider Gavin and crew good friends. On one trip,Aaron Spelling, his wife Candy, and Tori (then just a baby) joined us in Hermisillo and I was able to meet them. I want to extend my sincere sympathy to the family with Aaron's passing...
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9/10
Been So Long
richard.fuller12 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I had to look over the cast for this movie, New Love Boat and Love Boat Book II, to see what I did recall from where.

I really vaguely recall the other two, but this one, the first one, I do remember.

Remember nothing about the crew. Didn't know we were supposed to be watching them or what a 'pilot' was.

And I didn't know Tom Bosley and Cloris Leachman were from this one either. I thought they were in one of the other movies. Don't know what their story was. I think they were more just part of Karen Valentine's and Hal LInden's.

The stories. Like so many episodes of the TV show would have.

It began with Gabe Kaplan, a letch on the ship, out for a good looking babe. He finally gets her, this blonde.

"Love it." All she would say.

He wines her, dines her, then he gets her alone.

She speaks with a voice on helium (oh, it wasn't her real voice. It sounded like a cartoon). She said she would eat all the chocolate she wanted now that she found love and it would make her break out, but she knew he loved her.

Story two would be Hal Linden and Karen Valentine. She was a bit of a klutz. They actually married on the ship, and as he went to put the ring on her finger, she drops it and dives to the floor after it.

I miss Karen.

Story three was a totally unrecognizeable Florence Henderson with a slimy Don Adams. They were an unhappy couple. He sought to have her accidentally killed in a stage act where the performer would shoot a gun with blanks at a certain bar stool, and Adams would get Henderson in that chair.

He switched bullets, got her to the chair and waited. As he waited, Flo confessed she knew all to him, and she wanted their marriage to work.

The performer, thinking the gun had blanks in it, aimed at Florence.

At the end of the movie, Karen went off with Hal, Florence and Don . . . departed (won't say how it turned out, tho I loved Florence's last line to Don in that cabin!) and then we see Gabe.

Running. Fleeing. Trying to escape from the pursuing blonde.

"And my mother will move in with us, and we will be so happy!" KNowing nothing about the show, or the following movies (which again, I remember nothing about them) this movie stood well on its own. I wouldn't mind seeing it again sometime.

But I sure don't recall if that song was on it either, tho I do remember the final music with Gabe running was by and large the actual theme music.
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1/10
Step Aside 'Cop-Rock', We Have a Winner!
seanvales19 January 2001
Like everyone alive in the 70's, I was forced to watch 'Love Boat' from time to time by inconsiderate family members with a penchant for this kind of sap. To this day, 'Love Boat' stands out in my mind as justification for never watching dramatic TV unless 'Twin Peaks' or 'Miami Vice' reruns are showing. I know some folks enjoy this show today for its "camp value". I've never understood that rationale; why would you want to watch garbage just so that you could laugh at it. Do yourself a favour and read a book instead, and no, Cloris Leachman's biography doesn't count.
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