Original Air Date: February 17th, 1978
Two of my favorite television formulas mixed and matched in Three on a Date: The game show and star studded one hour episodics like Love Boat! Seriously, does it get any better than that?!? It’s a rhetorical question, but feel free to yell out “No, it doesn’t!” if that gives you some closure.
Three on a Date, a whimsical little romance comedy, takes several contestants from The Dating Game and puts them on a chaperoned trip to Hawaii with hapless production assistant Stephanie Barrington (Forbesy Russell, quite possible the greatest name ever!). Real life game show host Geoff Edwards plays… a game show host! He’s only at the beginning, but as you know, I’m coming hot off the heels of my Hawtest Game Show Hosts list, so I was pleased to see I had chosen to watch a movie about game shows featuring a hawt game show host (regardless of whether or not he made the list)!
The couples are all odd matches indeed – pin-up Loni Anderson and nerdy comedy writer John Byner, ordinary secretary Meredith McCrae and famous heartthrob Patrick Wayne (whoa! Now this guy is HAWT!), down-home charismatic writer Ricky Nelson and shy Didi Conn and freewheeling June Allyson and uptight Ray Bolger are all fixed up and sent out on a trip full of hijinks and guffaws! The plane, which is actually two floors (question: did those ever actually exist?) features a runway show for hot new bikinis! OK, so we’re about 20 minutes in and we have an actual game show host and a fashion show! Oh, and I almost forgot… Gary Crosby as a potential bad guy.
At this point, I decided heaven does exist!
From losing luggage to luaus to Loni’s apparent abduction, this movies is fun, fun, FUN! I loved every second of it. A lighthearted, capricious goodtime, Three on a Date is meant to be nothing more than fluffy romance and scores at just about every turn. The great Bill Bixby directed this sweet little ditty with effortless flair. The jokes don’t always work, but do most of the time, which is more than you can say about a lot of romantic comedies (yeah, I’m talking to you Maid in Manhattan!). And aside from that, Three on a Date presents really likeable characters who are fun to watch and who you will find yourself rooting for. Maybe because this movie was based on the autobiographical book by Stephanie Buffington, there’s a lot of thought given to the characters and what could have been a bunch of cardboard sketches (the pin-up, the actor, the shy girl…) ends up being much more.