In Aaron Spelling’s wonderful autobiography A Prime-Time Life, the producer extraordinaire comments that he owes a lot to O. Henry, whose short stories were an inspiration for many of Spelling's projects. “We didn’t steal from O. Henry,” Spelling writes, “but we did use his form.” Shows like The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Hotel (and earlier Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater) were “short O. Henry-style tales with a twist at the end.”
O. Henry must have been an inspiration for Douglas S. Cramer too, who worked behind the scenes at Love, American Style as Executive Vice President in Charge of Production. He loved the romance anthology format and it spurred Cramer to find another venue to use this type of short form relationship-driven storytelling. He had acquired the rights to Jeraldine Saunders tawdry and fun novel The Love Boats and created two pilots based on the book. The TVMs garnered OK ratings but were not picked up for a series. Cramer asked Spelling to help him get a third pilot off the ground and they fine-tuned the cast, which included bringing aboard the beloved Gavin McLeod who’d recently found himself out of work with the cancellation of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Both Cramer and Spelling also agreed that they would produce the pilot film under a much tighter budget. The third time was a charm, and as romance on the high seas set sail, the rest as they say, is television history.
|Behind the scenes on The Love Boat: Bernie Kopell prepares for his closeup.
|Apparently, John Ritter had just seen Tootsie right before he boarded The Love Boat!
|A promo still for The Love Boat: Joanie Loves Chachi Loves Isaac and Gopher
|Olivia de Havilland and Joseph Cotten find romance and yellow shirts on The Love Boat
|Eleanor Parker = Perfection
|Boy, did she get the wrong number!
|Julie wonders why her love life is so doomed
|Buddy and Portia share a laugh
|You guessed it, Julie is still wondering about her tragic love life!
|Looking good Lorne!
|Young love is also welcome on this cruise
And check out my post on the Love Boat episode that pits Robert Mandan against Randolph Mantooth in the game of love.
You can also Smash It with Deacon Dark here.