The Force was with the “Love Boat” on Thursday as the 41-year-old TV series was honored Hollywood-style.
Princess Cruises and the original cast of the “Love Boat” series received an honorary star plaque on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but they also had to share the spotlight with a model of the Millennium Falcon starship being constructed nearby in advance of the Thursday evening premiere of “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
One of three premieres of the movie is at the Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., where the star plaque is.
The indomitable original cast of “Love Boat” took it all in stride and proved to the hundreds of fans who watched that they’re their own force to be reckoned with.
Despite the four decades that have elapsed since the show began its run in May 1977, they were there to celebrate, dressed in the costumes they wore as cruise ship crew members.
The “Love Boat,” which aired until May 1987, was a series of romantic and comic vignettes based on the lives of the passengers and crew of the cruise ship Pacific Princess. It starred Gavin MacLeod (Capt., Stubing), Jill Whelan (Vicki), Ted Lange (Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Fred Grandy (Gopher).
“We were called mindless television,” MacLeod said during the ceremony, adding that critics also said “we’d sink like the Titanic.”
But the show became one of the most popular and highest-rated series of its time. It’s still in syndication and has been seen in 96 countries.
“We’re still out there doing it,” MacLeod said.
Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said the line was credited with “introducing people to the concept of a vacation at sea” because viewers became familiar with cruising while watching the Pacific Princess in its role as the Love Boat.
When the show launched, Princess consisted of two cruise ships. It now has 17 ships that sail throughout the world.
Besides lauding the show’s cast, Swartz had special kudos for Jeraldine Saunders, whose book, “Love Boats,” was instrumental in the creation of the show. Saunders’ book was based on her days at sea as a cruise director.
Now 96, Saunders had a front-row seat for the event. “I was so excited, I could hardly sleep last night,” she said.
Saunders, one of the first women cruise directors, plans to do another book called “Confessions of a Cruise Director.”
The Princess/"Love Boat” star plaque is honorary. Unlike other Walk of Fame stars, it is on private property near the entrance to the Dolby Theatre instead of on public property.
It was given to the cruise line to recognize its “contribution to the history of television and support for the preservation of the Walk of Fame,” said Leron Gubler, president and chief executive of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which supervises the Walk of Fame.