Monday, February 27, 2012

The Rabbit Ear Test_ (7 out of 12) "Ask Gemisi/The Love Boat""

Yes, as a supposedly high-brow film snob, I should probably be moaning over how unjust it is that "The Artist" won the Best Picture Oscar last night as opposed to the four much-better films, "The Tree of Life," "Midnight in Paris," "The Descendants" and "Hugo."

But, as it is, we are going to stay focused on "The Love Boat," which a silly, though at times entertaining hour-long comedy which would feature cameos of sitcom stars of the time, such as the late John Ritter ("Three's Company") and Sherman Hemsley ("The Jeffersons") though according to Google the kitschy Latin singer Charo had the most number of guest appearances.

Tonight, we are asking about a regular cast member though.

As Gopher, Fred Grandy who try to make for chuckles, but then Grandy decided to run for Congress as a Republican in Iowa, and he actually got elected in 1986, the same year that "The Love Boat" (1977-86) concluded a cruise trip that lasted way, way too long.

I first became aware of "The Love Boat" during the two years we lived in Turkey (1977-79) where it was known as "Ask Gemisi," which does in fact mean "The Love Boat."

I checked Vikipedia, the Turkish-language version of Wikipedia to see when "Ask Gemisi" aired on the TRT (Turkish Radio Television), and I was unable to find out. But, Charlie's Angels, which has a "Love Boat" connection in that both shows were produced by the late Aaron Spelling, did first air in Turkey on Oct. 16, 1977, just a little over a year after its first airing on ABC in America on Sept. 22, 1976. In Turkey, that show was called "Charlie'nin Melekleri," which means (well) "Charlie's Angels."

For today's question, we are going to ask just how long Grandy,63, a native of Sioux City, represented the 5th and 6th districts of Iowa. According to Wikipedia, his office is now held by Cong. Steve King (R-Iowa), who is ironically just one year younger than Gopher.

Before we get to our question, here are some other nifty things we learned about Grandy, whom I saw perform on stage as Captain Heller in a production of "The Miracle Worker" by Arena Stage in Washington, DC, in 2000:

_ In 1982, Grandy suffered severe burns when a balloon filled with hydrogen exploded while visiting Turkey to film scenes for an episode of "The Love Boat.

_In recent years, Grandy decided to become a talk show host for 630 WMAL in Washington, DC, and while we assumed (since he was an actor, I guess) that he was a 'moderate Republican,' he apparently made statements that Muslims in America were going to implement Sharia law, and this ultimately lead to his resignation (there is a dispute between the two parties as to whether it was forced or voluntary) from the station.

But, right wing nuts still have the likes of Bill Cunnigham, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to listen to, while Democrats work to pay for their Medicade scooters (forgive the center-left political humor, admittedly Matt Taibbi of "Rolling Stone" who is more progressive than I am is better at this sort of thing!).

_ According to "Mother Jones," a very liberal magazine, Grandy endorsed Newt Gingrich ahead of the Iowa Caucus. Gingrich finished well behind Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney. Ironically, Gingrich soundly defeated another tv star turned member of Congress when he defeated the incumbent Democrat Ben Jones, who played Cooter on "The Dukes of Hazzard" during an election in Georgia.

Jones is the focus of our entry today on our sister blog "Politics, Culture and Other Wastes of Time."

So, just how long was Gopher/Grandy in Congress?

A) 6 years

B) 8 years

C) 10 years

D) 12 years

The winner gets a free subscription to "The Daily Worker" (that is a now-defunct American socialist magazine, we couldn't resist).

Amazingly enough, the entire regular cast of "The Love Boat" is still alive, some 30 years after it has been off the air.

Ted Lange, who played Isaac the bartender, is now a successful playwright. Last year, he performed in "Four Queens_ No Trump," which he himself wrote, at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC.

No comments: