As you may or may not know, I am a huge fan of The Love Boat. I am such a big fan, I even watched Love Boat: The Next Wave. Yes sir, it's true. If I had to narrow down my favorite episodes, I'd be hard pressed because I just adore them all. However, there is one that keeps popping up in my forever clouded childhood memories that I think is probably the best episode. Ever.
On March 17th, 1979, Love Boat unleashed Deacon Dark on an unsuspecting audience. The Deacon is a culmination of Alice Cooper and KISS mixed with a whole lot of TV sensibility towards the then-current pop culture crazes. In effect, Deacon is thought to be a dark rock and roll soul, but underneath his satanic pantomime makeup, he's just dying to write a ballad.
Deacon Dark is in fact, just a character played to the hilt by his far gentler counterpart Phil Backstrom (Sonny Bono!). His manager (Artie Johnson) wants Deacon to keep it crazy cuz it's all about the gimmick, but when Backstrom falls for a deaf girl named Sara (Sheila Lenham, who apparently only appeared in this one episode of Love Boat before disappearing into obscurity) he decides it's sappy love songs all the way.
And you know what? He's right.
Why on God's green earth would Deacon write a love song for a deaf girl? Because she can feel the music! I was about 8 when this episode originally aired and I distinctly remember being blown away by that revelation. Other shows and films have used the device of deaf people feeling music (Crazy Moon is the first to come to mind), but it's here you get to see Deacon's soft side when he finds that Sara gets his style! **sniff sniff** The Deacon of Dark is a big ol' softie!
That sappy love song called "Now That I've Found Sara" has gone on to become one my favorite songs ever written for a schmaltzy television show or movie (with "Sensitive You're Not" in This House Possessed taking top honors). I love every second of it and apparently I'm not the only one. Just today I discovered a Deacon Dark fan page on Facebook! The Deacon lives folks!