Okay, neither of those shows has been in production for a couple decades, but I think it’s true that a lot of actors were able to keep working thanks to ABC’s Saturday evening lineup.

Last weekend, my one brother and I started looking at the Love Boat on imdb.com to see which TV shows were the best represented on the program. As Gilligan’s Island and Brady Bunch fans, we focused on those two and wondered which show’s cast played on the Love Boat more

Well, thanks to Excel, I was able to put the cast list of both Love Boat and Fantasy Island into a spreadsheet and crunch the numbers. I came up with some very interesting figures.

First, though, I want to say that imdb.com only lists the actors who were on these shows at least twice. Also, I did not look up every actor who worked on the shows because there were literally hundreds, and that’s way too much work for me, so the numbers I have are not absolute but approximations.

First some other interesting figures:

  • Bernie Kopell, Fred Grandy, Lauren Tewes, and Jill Whelan, all regular cast members of Love Boat, also guest starred on Fantasy Island two or three times each.
  • Ricardo Montalban, Hervé Villechaize, Gavin MacLeod, and Ted Lange never worked on the other show.
  • Fantasy Island was only on for 7 years but 7 people appeared on the show more than 7 times,which means they were on more than once in a year. The Love Boatwas on for 10 years, and no guest stars appeared more than 10 times.

    charo and gavin macleod

    Charo coo-chi-cooed her way through 10 episodes of Love Boat.

  • Other than regular, or semi-regular, cast members, Barbi Benton was on these shows the most with a total of 14 appearances. David Hedison, Florence Henderson, and Charo come in second with 13 appearances each.
  • Carol Lynley (11 times), Christopher Hewett (10 times), Stuart Whitman (7 times), and Ken Berry (7 times) appeared on Fantasy Island more than almost anyone but never appeared on Love Boat. Why?
  • Tori Spelling appeared on both shows twice. Coincidence?

Okay, now down to the meat of the matter: which TV shows were best represented on Love Boat and Fantasy Island?

Well, technically, it was the Mary Tyler Moore Show with 270 total appearances, but I can’t really count that because 250 of those appearances were Gavin MacLeod, who was the star of Love Boat.

After that, it’s Happy Days (with 98 appearances), but again, Marion Ross (14) and Ted McGinley (60) were semi-regular cast members on Love Boat, so that would reduce the total down to 24, which is not bad, but hardly the top performer.

Tattoo and Mr. Roarke

Mr. Roarke had the biggest lei on the island.

Those shows are followed by Dallas (62) and Knott’s Landing (42), which were both long-running shows with huge casts. Of course they’re going to do well in a competition like this.

But after that? The Brady Bunch with 38 total appearances. Florence Henderson (13), Robert Reed (8), Maureen McCormick (11), and Eve Plumb (6) carry the family over the finish line without the help from the other 5 cast members. Really? Ann B. Davis never did either show? Unbe-freaking-lievable!

Sadly, Gilligan’s Island comes in 11th with only 22 appearances. Interestingly, though, all but one of the castaways (Russell Johnson) worked on these two shows while only half the Bradys did.

I was impressed by Three’s Company’s showing too. This is due primarily to Audra Lindley (Mrs. Roper) and Jenilee Harrison (Cindy Snow), who clock in with 8 appearances each.

Of the 7 MASH cast members who appeared, Larry Linville was on top with 7 credits to his name. And I was surprised at how well Soap, Vega$, and Falcon Crest did. These are all shows that I completely forgot about—probably because I never watched them. Were they all ABC shows? Hmmmm.

Here’s a good chunk of the list. There were also two shows I had never heard of on the list (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Felony Squad).

What do you think?

    1. Mary Tyler Moore                              270
    2. Happy Days                                        98
    3. Dallas                                                   62
    4. Knott’s Landing                                  42
    5. Brady Bunch                                       38
    6. Three’s Company                              32
    7. MASH                                                 31
    8. Soap                                                   31
    9. Vega$                                                 30
    10. Falcon Crest                                      28
    11. Laugh-In                                             25
    12. Dynasty                                              24
    13. Eight Is Enough                                 24
    14. Gilligan’s Island                                 22
    15. Mission Impossible                           21
    16. Golden Girls                                       20
    17. One Day at a Time                            20
    18. F Troop                                              18
    19. Fall Guy                                              18
    20. Maude                                                18
    21. Alice                                                   16
    22. Carol Burnett Show                          16
    23. WKRP in Cincinnati                         16
    24. Batman                                              13
    25. Father Knows Best                          13
    26. Operation Petticoat                          13
    27. St. Elsewhere                                    13
    28. Too Close for Comfort                      13
    29. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea    13
    30. Angie                                                  12
    31. Charlie’s Angels                                12
    32. Felony Squad                                     12
    33. Nanny and the Professor                   12
    34. Trapper John, M.D.                            12
    35. Hawaiian Eye                                      11
    36. Good Times                                         10
    37. Rhoda                                                   10
    38. Welcome Back Kotter                         10