Breaking down the best guests on 'The Love Boat,' by the numbers
Who appeared more often, dogs or Florence Henderson?
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The Love Boat cruised along on TV lineups for nine seasons, and that's not even counting the specials and movies. Over 250 episodes, we saw a lot of familiar faces all dolled up to rock the boat however the episode's plot required.
In all that time, it's easy to lose track of what actually went down on the unsinkable hit show, so we put together a handy chart that answers your most burning Love Boat questions.
Which of the shows many celebrity guest stars appeared the most? What's the most common job held by ship passengers? How many times did dogs make it aboard? And even: Is The Love Boat haunted? All of this and more is answered in the chart below that tracks everything you love about The Love Boat, by numbers.
The chart starts off with the top 10 passenger jobs, with writers in the overwhelming lead. From tabloid reporters to bestselling novelists, 12.8% of episodes featured at least one writer in the plot. Next most common was musicians, with famous guest stars including country stars like Tanya Tucker, soul acts like The Temptations and rockers like Sonny Bono. Of course, The Love Boat also saw its share of pro athletes, movie stars, CEOs and models, too. There was even a whole episode devoted to fashion in the fourth season, with guest star fashion designers Gloria Vanderbilt, Geoffrey Beene and more.
Although The Love Boat was incredible at keeping things fresh, there were times when certain situations would repeat. For example, there were two episodes where ghosts were a key part of the plot. We were twice as likely to see dogs, though, especially in the adorable sixth season dog show episode, where the whole ship was overrun by pups.
The Love Boat also believed in family fun, with three episodes featuring twins in their plots and five episodes where famous real families portrayed fictional families onboard. Our favorite family snap from The Love Boat is this scene featuring mother-daughter duo Janet Leigh and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Perhaps the most often repeated plot, though, involved someone from a crew member's high school visiting the ship. This happened seven times over the course of the series, with cruise director Julie McCoy the most visited crew member. Another repeated theme was a literal take on "love is blind," which happened five times, seeing to it that blind characters learn to trust the companions they've encountered on the open seas.
Finally, we were curious to see which famous classic TV stars turned up on The Love Boat during the series run the most (not including movies and specials), and hands down the trophy goes to The Brady Bunch's Florence Henderson (appearing 9 times!). In fact, we saw many of the Brady family members hop on board, with both Robert Reed (5) and Maureen McCormick (5) cracking our top 10 classic TV stars who appeared the most on The Love Boat list. In fact for The Love Boat special "Who Killed Maxwell Thorn?" Florence Henderson and Robert Reed appear in character as Carol and Mike Brady. There's also Eve Plumb, who appeared three times, and both Christopher Knight and Ann B. Davis, who showed up once each. That leaves only Greg, Bobby and Cindy off the boat.
Behind Florence Henderson was Linda Evans, who appeared 7 times, and after that, it's a tie between Rue McClanahan, Ted Knight, Ethel Merman, and Erin Moran, who all appeared six times. All this helped make The Love Boat the unique classic that it is, steering the ship to tug hearts at home just as much as those onboard.