In 1984 Luise Rainer took her first acting role in 19 years when she joined the crew of The Love Boat, the popular drama-comedy series. The episode hasn’t been available publicly for years, but I was alerted to it’s sudden and unexpected appearance on YouTube this week (thanks to @AlexInMovieland on Twitter for the tip-off).
It was in 1982 when Luise was first approached to appear on the show by the producer Henry Colman, whom she met at the Governer’s Ball following her appearance at that year’s Academy Awards ceremony (she presented the award for Best Foreign Language Film, with Jack Valenti). Luise admitted she did not know what The Love Boat was but she was coaxed into accepting when he offered her a dual role, as twin sisters, one a maid and one a socialite who meet on board for the first time in 40 years. She was paired with another special guest, Don Ameche, making his third appearance on the series, with whom she had not worked before (Ameche was a player at Twentieth Century Fox during the 1930s) and with whom her character was rekindling an old romance. Once aboard the mischievous sisters decide to swap places for a while and ‘Maggie’, the maid, falls for her sister’s suitor. Luise was 73 when she filmed her part and she was as determined as always to get it right; in an article by Bob Thomas (1983), he reports that she complained about one scene which was “being played completely wrong. We’ll have to shoot it all over again,” only for Colman to persuade her otherwise.
Enjoy this rarely seen episode while you can!