Saturday, December 07, 2013
Waiting for The Love Boat Captain
The Coachella Valley is home to scores of ancient showbiz celebrities, who make occasional public appearances for special events.
Capitalizing on this, Palm Springs has a Walk of Fame modeled on the Hollywood Boulevard version...
...and this morning's honoree was to be Gavin Macleod, whose major claim to fame was playing the "stern yet compassionate Captain Stubing" on Aaron Spelling's 1970s-1980s television cheesefest The Love Boat.
In the early 1980s I was partnered with somebody who was a nurse at a San Francisco mental health crisis clinic, where he would wrestle the schizophrenics away from the frightened, often violent police who had dragged them in. He usually worked the 3-11 shift and when he arrived home from work late at night, he would shower, put on a robe, get into bed and turn on the television to reruns of The Love Boat, where there were nothing but happy endings.
The punchline is that the show would invariably put him to sleep within 20 minutes while I would be ushered into insomnia, needing to finish the dumb narrative just to see how it all ended happily. Plus, Lauren Tewes as Julie the Cruise Director was obviously a cocaine addict and watching her play the innocent ingenue while gumming her way through scenes with wildly spinning eyes was perversely fascinating.
The 82-year-old Macleod is currently in poor health and had a fall which required an immediate trip to the hospital, so the event this morning in downtown Palm Springs was canceled at the last moment. This did not stop a few of us who were not in the know from showing up at the installation. When I asked the woman above if she had dressed in honor of The Love Boat Captain, she enthusiastically agreed. "And also, for, you know, what day is it today? The military thing?" she asked. "You mean Pearl Harbor Day?" I responded. "Yes, that's it."