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November 06, 2014

Love Boat cast, guest stars reunite on Regal Princess in Fort Lauderdale


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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).
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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.
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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: 
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Loni Anderson,
whom we met heading into the ladies' room looking a little lost
Joyce DeWitt, who brought a little Regal Beagle to the Regal Princess
Florence Henderson and Christopher Knight, Brady mother and son who, as far as we know, unlike Gregg and Mrs B, have never hooked up
A bearded Lorenzo Lamas bickering with his umpteenth wife
Carol Lawrence, a musical theater actress who was married to Robert Goulet for a few decades
Kristy McNichol, aka Buddy from Family, sitting next to Eight is Enough patriarch, a puffy, but cuddly Dick Van Patten (discussing reality TV)
A stunning ex Miss America, Lee Meriwether
Doris Roberts, best known for her latter role on Everybody Loves Raymond, but a Pacific Princess regular
Love Boat theme song singer Jack Jones who indeed sang it
One Day at A Time and Mamas & The Papas spawn Mackenzie Phillips looking and, she told me, feeling good and taking it --er, never mind;
Don(ny) Most, aka Ralph Malph from Happy Days, who asked where in New York I was from, Happy Days matriarch Marion Ross
Knots Landing's Joan van Ark, who declined a photo because she told me she was in the hospital all day with "kidney stones"
Frank Sinatra, Jr., who may have had a bit of his legendary dad's swagger, but was completely, like most people, eclipsed by the highlight of the night, none other than Charo.
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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. 
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Above photos by AP
Below photos by Lesley Abravanel
Charo before the private elevator show
Charo during the private elevator show
Selfie with Don(ny) Most
Doc about to do the Heimlich on Frank Sinatra, Jr. Kidding.
Kristy McNichol and Dick Van Patten
Lee Meriwether
Carol Lawrence with Joyce DeWitt in the background