Monday, September 6, 2010

The Love Boat: The Deacon Dark Files



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 a bad ass performing his hit song Smash It:




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!

Deacon Dark has not left the building!

10 comments:

dan said...

I totally had a 10-year-old-boy-crush on Julie. What a dazzling smile.

And how suprised was I to re-watch the old Hawaii Five-O series and see Gavin MacLeod (much heavier, blonder but nearly as bald)playing a convincingly psychotic con with a score to settle with McGarret....

KaBluie said...

Great clips, but it's Artie Johnson not Shaw.

Amanda By Night said...

KaBluie, Whoops! Thanks I fixed it!

Dan, I have read that Gavin played a lot of heavies before Mary Tyler Moore, and I saw him once on Ironside, but it's so hard to picture! What an awesome actor!

Thanks guys for stopping by!

Pam@GoRetro said...

OMG - THAT'S Sonny Bono?!? Too awesome! The Deacon Dark character reminds me very much of a scary late 60s singer named Arthur Brown, who had a hit with "Fire." I plan on writing about him come Halloween time.

I had forgotten what an enjoyable show The Love Boat was; thanks for piquing my interest in it again.

Amanda By Night said...

Love Boat is awesome. I have a bunch of episodes we taped of TV Land when it aired a few years ago. And of course, the few actual DVDs that were released. It's a great show, with lots of wonderful faces...

I remember "Fire," but wasn't aware of the singer. I'll have to look him up!

Anonymous said...

I just came from the Deacon Dark fb page. I like your site and in the words of Deacon, find me something now, and need to "Smash It"!!!

Axel Kyster said...

I always thought that Deacon Dark was the older "musical brother" to Donny Most's Moloch on Chips...

Axel Kyster said...

I LOVE Love Boat, Deacon Dark, the song, and especially Sheila Lenham!!

I always thought that Deacon Dark was the older brother (Musically) to Donny Most's Moloch on Chips...

Amanda By Night said...

Hi Axel! Always nice to meet another fan of the Dark! :)

Anonymous said...

Just watched this episode and had to find out who that beautiful girl was "Sheila Lenham". If I had only lived another time....