Monday, February 8, 2016

Bizarre TV Tie-Ins: "The Love Boat"

One of the biggest hits of the 1970's was the adult themed dramedy The Love Boat, which followed a cruise ship crew as they navigated the seas. The show featured an all-star guest cast every week who typically had romance related issues that they hoped would be resolved after a relaxing cruise.

The Love Boat, brought to you by Poligrip.

The guest stars were typically of "hasbeen" quality- actors and actresses whose careers had seen better days. The tepid romantic storylines and ancient guest starring casts, coupled with a Saturday night time time slot was a perfect storm for attracting elderly audiences, shut-ins and dateless wonders. If one were wondering what sort of merchandise the show's audience might enjoy, things like Depends, Poligrip, International Coffees or dating services would probably come to mind. Certainly they wouldn't think a toy line would succeed, right?

Yeah, WTF, Right?

Mego Toys, the long defunct toy manufacturer, was always looking for movie and TV properties that it could turn into toy lines. With the more obvious properties taken or too expensive for Mego, the company sought more unusual franchises to mine. Enter its Love Boat line of toys.

Possibly assuming that a portion of The Love Boat's audience were children watching with their grandparents or that grandma might choose gifts for her granddaughters based on her own viewing habits, the company threw caution to the winds and released the line of toys. Taking a closer look at the action figure packaging, one sees that the action figures, originally priced at $2.99 were unceremoniously marked down to 3 for $2.00. The toys were a huge disaster, helping to weaken the toy company, which eventually went out of business.