TV… Spelling it out with three Ginger Rogers’ Final Flings

 

Ginger Rogers adds some spice to some Spelling series…

 

On Ginger’s guest appearances on TV in Hotel, Glitter, and The Love Boat.

 

GINGER ROGERS ON THE LOVE BOAT – LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER, mchris65

 

Aaron Spelling production appearances are like buses, with many of those big names having consecutive appearances in his all-star ensemble casts in his TV series. These productions included the likes of Hart to Hart (1979–84), Dynasty (1981–89) and Charlie’s Angels (1976–81) where many Golden Hollywood, future Oscar-winning stars and headlining Hollywood and British names appeared and reappeared in many a series.

After I read that Ginger Rogers appeared in a trio of Aaron Spelling television productions my interest was piqued immediately. These roles were in her final three on-screen appearances in Hotel, (1983-88) Glitter (1984) and The Love Boat (1977-87). Although sadly, none of her appearances was with her dance partner and co-star of ten movies, Fred Astaire. However, she did star with a few blasts from the pasts…

 

The Love Boat,  The Love Lamp Is Lit / Critical Success / Rent a Family / Take My Boyfriend, Please / The Man in Her Life, Se 3 Ep 10 and 11 (1977-87)

Love Boat – Captain’s step dance, Altagracia58

This series told of a cruise boat where many of the established cast and guest stars found love in every episode. Ginger Rogers starred in a two-parter episode, in a storyline named The Critical Success (1979). In this episode, she was reunited with her co-star of Having A Wonderful Time (1938), Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. The episode also starred the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders en masse, John Hillerman and Jackie Earle Haley.

Ginger starred as Stella Logan, who was an actress and singer – with sunglasses a 1970s Elton John would be proud of – who organises a charity cruise in this boat. She’s introduced in a comic scene where we also meet a critic, playwright and her one time fiance, Elliott Norman (Fairbanks Jnr). It’s clear he still has a bit of a soft spot for her character, and apparently, she doesn’t feel the same way after he wrote a scathing review on her. He, however, wants her to star in his new play.

In this double bill, Ginger Rogers dances with series regulars, Captain Stubing (Gavin MacLeod) and his on-screen daughter Vickie (Jill Whelan). Ginger – in a stunning Nolan Miller frock – also belted out the song, Love Will Bring Us Together with those groovy Love Boat dancers. Her performances in both these scenes are pretty mesmerising and these performances are all the more wonderful with this actress then in her late 60s. Her guest appearance on the show was also spoken about fondly by both Whelan and McLeod who both have spoken enthusiastically about dancing with her.

 

Glitter, In Tennis Love Means Nothing, Se 1 Ep 3

GINGER ROGERS STILL GLITTERS in 1984, LimeVid2

The series tells about the writers for Glitter, a celebrity and showbiz magazine and again it has an all-star guest list. In this episode, Ginger Rogers appeared with another Golden Hollywood name who danced with Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse. In her role, Ginger stars as a soap star regular, Margaret Davis. We learn that there is some animosity between Margaret and the show’s producer Ethel Woodley (Charisse) and the other cast members.

Two reporters visit this soap set as the soap is celebrating its 35th anniversary. They discover that Margaret is distraught as she believes her beloved character is going to be killed off in the show’s live 35th anniversary episode. Only her nemesis Ethel has access to the script for this episode and only she knows the full storyline.

The reporters learn that Margaret’s character is due to be killed off in a car “accident”, but can Margaret find a way to continue in the soap on live TV? This storyline is a fun part of the drama episode with this soap playing out with some familiar tropes of this television genre which will bring a smile to your face.

 

Hotel (1983-88),  Hail and Farewell, Se 5 Ep 1

Ginger Rogers – HOTEL, GingerPeachyMe

This aptly named episode was Ginger Rogers’ last television role. The Hotel series was initially based on the Arthur Hailey novel. It features the St Gregory hotel regulars and had guest stars in every episode. Ginger Rogers stars in a role as a fake psychic, Natalie Trent who is hired by a grieving widower, Richard Anderson (Ted Shackelford) to verify his wife Linda’s death.

It’s revealed that Linda’s body was never found, and Natalie holds a convincing “seance”. But are things as they seem with Linda also seemingly alive and well, as it’s seen that she’s a guest of this hotel and then Natalie is revealed as Linda’s aunt Natalie? After Richard discovers his wife is alive things get much darker…

UPI archives quote Ginger’s thoughts about this role:

 ‘I’ve never played a psychic before,’ she said at the time. ‘It was a phony psychic. That’s why I took it. One of the problems is they always want me to play an actress. I’m so sick of it. I’d do anything else.’

Connie Sellecca, a Hotel series cast member also spoke fondly of Ginger saying (in The Morning Call)…

I’ll be sitting in that makeup room and realize that Ginger Rogers is in the chair next to me and it’s wonderful.

Other familiar faces in this episode include James Brolin, Dack Rambo, Valerie Landsberg and Kathryn Leigh Scott.

But on reading about Ginger Rogers, it was sad to learn, that she could have had one further appearance in an all-star cast and reunited with Fred Astaire. It appears she was considered – albeit momentarily – for the disaster movie, The Towering Inferno (1974) as Astaire’s on-screen love interest, Lisolette.  The Towering Inferno Information, quotes an email from one of the film’s storyboard artists who stated:

And yes Ginger Rogers was suggested, but we were told that Fred should co-star with someone else. I honestly don’t know if that was Fred’s decision or that the studios feared it would seem like a cliched parody to the critics.

But either way, it’s sad that Ginger and Fred weren’t reunited for this role, which would have included one last dance for the pair where not just the tower would be set alight. But also the dance floor.

 

The Third Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Blogathon 2020, No 30

This post was added to For Love Letters to Old Hollywood and In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood‘s Third Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Blogathon. Other reviews with these Spelling productions are found HERE. A The Love Boat episode was reviewed HERE. Ginger Rogers was also reviewed HERE with Fred Astaire. Her co-stars in these episodes were reviewed here. The Love Boat guest stars include Jackie Earle Haley (Shutter Island), Dina Merrill (Batman) and John Hillerman (in his tribute HERE and in Magnum PI). Hotel stars included Ted Shackelford (Dallas and Knots Landing), Kathryn Leigh Scott (Dynasty and Space 1999), Valerie Landsburg (Fame) and Dack Rambo starred in Fantasy IslandGlitter stars reviewed here include Morgan Brittany HERE (in her Dallas role), Arte Johnson (Fantasy Island) and Jack Coleman (Dynasty).

 

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9 thoughts on “TV… Spelling it out with three Ginger Rogers’ Final Flings

  1. I don’t remember Glitter at all, but that storyline appeals to this soap fan.

    I didn’t watch The Love Boat regularly, but those shows that featured a musical turn and someone as revered as Ginger Rogers always grabbed my attention.

    I liked Hotel and thought it should have had a longer run. I love that Ginger never lost that feisty side to her personality and was tired of being cast as an actress.

    It would have been grand to see Ginger and Fred together in another movie, if not in Towering Inferno. I can be happy that what we have is perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I saw the episode of Ginger on Glitter a few months ago! I loved it! It’s so fascinating to me how these big stars of the ’30s and ’40s adapted to new mediums and kept themselves working well into the ’80s and ’90s (in some cases)!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a delightful post! As Jess mentioned in her comment, it is always fun to see how Golden Age stars found ways to stay relevant with these TV shows from the ’80s and ’90s. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Aaron Spelling show before (I know them, just haven’t seen them). Now I’ve got even more shows to add to my watchlist!

    Thanks for contributing to the blogathon!

    Liked by 1 person

Love your thoughts... but only if they are spoiler free!

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