The never-ending pandemic. Monkeypox. Inflation. Partisan politics. Those are enough to turn the cheeriest optimist into a grump. But now comes the ultimate summer bummer:

full story is here

No one is more disappointed than this guy:

The article got me to thinking…

who would win a Hairy Chest Contest on The Love Boat?

(Yes, I’m aware that the Pacific Princess was part of Princess Cruises, not Carnival… but I’m not going to let the facts get in the way of a fun post.)

Rules of the game:

  1. Staff isn’t eligible (sorry Doc, Isaac, Gopher and Captain Stubing).
  2. Hairiest Chest wins.

Then, I combed (see what I did there?) through the list of Love Boat guest stars, from A to Z… or more accurately, from Aames to Zmed.

I actually checked not one, but two lists (my diligence in researching cheesy 70s TV knows no bounds – you’re welcome!). There’s the list of guest stars on IMDB – 552 names in all! But this site has a more exhaustive list as it includes every person billed as a guest star (meaning they got the “your face in a porthole” treatment in the opening credits).

Place your bets

Guest starOddsExpert commentary
Ken Berry99-1This guy was the epitome of “clean cut” on F-Troop, Mayberry RFD and in pretty much every other role he played. No chance.
Ernest Borgnine5-2A swarthy man’s man and a real-life friend of George “Goober” Lindsey. Also starred in a TV show with “wolf” in the title (Airwolf). Definitely a contender.
Tom Bosley9-1Does the “C” in “Mr. C” stand for “chest hair”? Only Marion knows for sure.
Patrick Duffy25-1Had a perfect 70s hairdo… but we think his chest was a hair-don’t.
Jamie Farr4-1Based on his past performance (hairy legs in pantyhose), he looks primed to M*A*S*H the competition.
Erik Estrada15-1Might not have what it takes when the CHiPs are down and the shirts are off.
Don Knotts70-1Probably Knott the best bet, but was a Furley down the stretch.
Al Molinaro and Pat Morita10-1Entry featuring both owners of Arnold’s could be a threat, but Morita might give his chest hair a “wax off.”
Nipsey Russell20-1Russell shows hustle, but his chest ain’t the best.
Charo80-1Not a legit entry, but by law every Love Boat-related document must contain at least one reference to her.

Dark Horse candidate

During my deep-dive (ha!) research, I found this photo:

I guest a post-Grizzly Adams (but pre-cocaine bust) Dan Haggerty didn’t merit the porthole treatment. But the dude went toe-to-toe and pelt-to-pelt with a bear. Definitely a favorite to win it all.

And the winner is…

The winner, by a whisker, in the mother of all upsets, is:

Wow, from perpetual Hollywood Square to the toast of the coast… congrats!

Well, that certainly was exciting, wasn’t it? I’m parched from my exhaustive research, so if you’ll excuse me, I need to get a Piña Colada from the hardest working bartender in show business (he worked the Lido Deck AND Pirate’s Cove… amazing!)

You really owe it to yourself to spend some quality time with the list of all the guest stars and their plot lines.

It’s filled with fun facts and funny photos. In short, it’s as fabulous as Nanette Fabray AND Shelley Fabares. Then, curl up with some popcorn and feast your eyes upon this supercut of every Love Boat guest star ever. Both the list of guest stars and this video are from the blog Gr8er Days, which celebrates the stars of yesteryear.