Gavin MacLeod Has a Princess Cruises Brainwave

Longtime global ambassador gets inspired in the desert

For a little over 30 years, actor Gavin MacLeod has enjoyed a lively and highly successful run as Princess Cruises global ambassador. At one point for example, he met his company namesake, a third officer who hails from Inverness, Scotland.

MacLeod calls Palm Springs, Calif. home and earlier this month, together with Mariette Hartley and several other veteran actors, starred in a fourth annual edition of On the Air!, a theatrical revue that lovingly pays tribute to the golden era of American radio comedies and dramas. The setting for the one-night-only stage presentation is fictional 1940s radio station KDZT and features the cast reading from various scripts. For example, this year’s opener was a game show spoof called It Pays to be Ignorant.

Off-Ramp, a weekly arts and culture program on Southern California public radio station KPCC, has a fun behind-the-scenes look at the making of this year’s revue. Reporter RH Greene spoke to several cast and crew, gathering along the way this tidbit from MacLeod:

The Golden Age shows of On the Air! offer glimpses of a vanished world. But one that may not be so lost after all. At least one company member has dreams of bigger things. He’s Gavin MacLeod, age 86 and–for his roles on Mary Tyler Moore and The Love Boat–perhaps the most familiar face in the show.

This year’s revue has given him an epiphany: “I just had the dream this morning when I was looking at the script before I came in to rehearsal. I said, `Why don’t I tell Princess [Cruises] about this? Why don’t we do radio shows? We have all kinds of shows.’ So I made a call—cause I think it would be wonderful. A 7-day cruise, do 6 or 7 shows. I think people would eat it up.”

We agree. On the Air! on the high seas seems perfectly suited to a thematic horizon that recently added–on Princess and with MacLeod’s participation–a seaborne version of hit reality TV series The Voice.