Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past! On Wednesdays, I will be reviewing the original Love Boat, which aired on ABC from 1977 to 1986! The series can be streamed on Paramount Plus!
This week, Vincent Price comes aboard for a special Halloween episode!
This is actually, the second time that I’ve reviewed this episode. I also watched and reviewed it back in 2021. I enjoyed it the first time that I watched it and my opinion remained the same the second time I watched it. Still, I’m glad that I rewatched the episode as opposed to trying to write a second review from memory. There were a few details that I had forgotten.
Anyway, it’s time for…. SHIP OF GHOULS!
Episode 2.7 “Ship of Ghouls”
(Originally aired on October 28th, 1978, dir by Roger Duchowny)
It’s time for the annual Halloween cruise and Captain Stubing is super excited because he has hired The Amazing Alonzo (Vincent Price) to provide the cruise’s entertainment. Alonzo is a master illusionist and hypnotist, who can trick people into seeing just about anything. The episode really doesn’t explain just how exactly Alonzo is able to hypnotize people by just saying a few words to them but no matter. This is The Love Boat and Vincent Price is …. well, he’s Vincent Price. Vincent comes across like he’s having the time of his life in this episode and, as such, we accept that Alonzo can cause a bunch of people to think that Gopher and Doc have been turned into two donkeys. We accept that he can fool the Captain into thinking that the ship’s pool has been turned into a giant ice cream sundae. We even accept that he can make Isaac’s head appear in a glass of beer. We accept all of it because it just feels wrong to get hung up on logic when Vincent Price is involved.
The Amazing Alonzo is having so much fun flirting with his elderly groupies and casting spells that his long-suffering fiancé, Ramona (Joan Blondell), dumps him and instead moves into the Captain’s quarters. At first, Alonzo is jealous of the Captain but he soon comes to realize that the Captain is not romantically interested in Ramona and is just letting her stay in his quarters because she needs some place to stay. Alonzo also discovers that he can no longer hypnotize people without Ramona’s support. At the big Halloween party, Alonzo freezes time and apologizes to Ramona. He also confesses to her that his real name is Wendell. They walk out of the ship’s ballroom, hand-in-hand. Yay!
Needless to say, Vincent Price was the highlight of this episode. However, as was always the case with The Love Boat, there were other passengers on the cruise.
For instance, nine year-old Bobby Diller (Charlie Aikman) is a habitual liar and prankster. His behavior may be bratty but that’s largely due to the fact that his parents (Gary Collins and Mary Ann Mobley) are getting back together after previously getting a divorce and he’s worried that they’re going to split up again. Fortunately, Bobby’s lying comes in handy when he spots Karen (Barbara Anderson) preparing to throw herself overboard. Bobby tells Karen that his mother committed suicide and that he’s never gotten over it. Karen changes her mind about committing suicide. Once Karen is safely back on deck, Bobby admits that he lied but then adds, “It’s the last lie I’ll ever tell!”
Why was Karen suicidal? Karen was a model until a car accident left her with a scar on her face. Karen is convinced that no one will ever find her to be beautiful again. Of course, Gopher and Doc both find her to be beautiful and they spend the entire cruise hitting on her and arguing over which one of them has the right to dance with her and have dinner with her. (As I’ve said in the past, The Love Boat really was a floating HR nightmare.) Karen, unfortunately, thinks that they’re just doing this as a favor to Karen’s best friend, cruise director Julie. Fortunately, Bobby’s lie convinces Karen that people can sincerely care about one another. Also, Karen realizes that she’s too good for either Gopher or Doc. Good for her!
This was a good episode. Vincent Price was a delight as always and Barbara Anderson was sympathetic Karen. All Halloween cruises should be as entertaining as The Love Boat‘s!