It was a 70s-era pop culture fanatic's dream come true Wednesday as the entire cast and over 20 guest stars of the seminal, iconic TV show The Love Boat reunited on board Princess Cruises' Regal Princess as part of the cruise line's year long 50th anniversary celebration. Love, definitely (of the obesessive fangirl kind, that is), exciting, oh yeah, new? Unless you count some of the star's faces, not so much. The 70s definitely threw up on the Lido Deck at this spectacluar, which seemingly missed nothing other than, perhaps, appearances by The Landers Sisters, Lola Falana, and Lyle Waggoner (Google it, millennials).
There was Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (Gopher, turned politician), Ted Lange (Isaac the bartender), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lauren Tewes (Julie the Cruise Director), and Jill Whelan (Vicki), all decked out in their Pacific Princess finest, helping to christen the new ship and supping with the puppetmaster who paid for all of this---Princess owner Micky Arison.
And while the spirit of The Love Boat brainchild Aaron Spelling indeed was present, his daughter Tori was not, bailing from her master of ceremonies duties a day before the big extravanza because of, cough, a cough. Tori's absence wasn't even noticed as the ship took on a decidedly retro fab, nostalgic theme thanks to a stellar supporting cast, a circus of the stahhhs that included appearances by--throw the life preserver out right here:
Charo, as usual, at 63, was on fire. She gave a full blown, rousing performance, showing off her guitar skills, and then somehow, cough, ended up in an elevator with this writer, giving us a private show, a hyped up, hilarious rendition of her catchphrase, 'cuchi, cuchi.' During a photo op with the Latin spitfire, she turned to me and said, "Smile, you leetle beetch." Was this The Love Boat or Fantasy Island? A little bit of both, for sure.