The Love Boat bartender picked up some mixology skills for the role
Ted Lange is everyone's favorite bartender on The Love Boat. His character, Isaac Washington, could be seen slinging drinks of all kinds for everyone aboard Princess Cruises during The Love Boat's 10 seasons.
"Nobody leaves my bar happy or drunk," Lange said in a 1985 interview with The Kansas City Star. "The stuff the actors drink usually consists of iced tea or colored water along with real mixers such as ginger ale and Coke."
"Whenever I use real alcohol served straight from the bottle, the actors do not drink it because they'd be under the table by the 10th take."
Despite Lange's non-alcoholic drink menu on The Love Boat, he still knew a thing or two about bartending. He made a big impression as The Love Boat's top bartender, and with 10 seasons under his belt, he had plenty of time to practice.
According to the interview, Lange was a stickler for realism. In order to relate to his character, Lange attended the Major School of Bartending in Los Angeles to help him prepare for the role.
He became so good at it, The National Bartenders Association named Lange "Bartender of the Year" at one of their annual conventions. The members even made a drink named after him called: The Theodore.
"I learned how to make every cocktail by memory," Lange said. "But more importantly, I learned the artistry of the trade. You don't just slosh the ingredients together. One should always mix and pour with a definite style and sophistication that becomes a trademark."
Lange said most bartenders at the time wore flashy rings or watches in order to help establish identities with their customers. He said that's why Isaac wears a pocket watch and gold chain.
The Love Boat allowed Lang to further his career not only as an actor, but as a writer and director. However, this was not Lange's first role. He played the role of Junior in That's My Mama in the 1974 season. He also played the role of Harvard, the hip handyman, in Mr. T and Tina.
Lange said The Love Boat was the best part of his acting career at the time. We bet spending two to four weeks at sea during filming wasn't so bad either.
"You're dealing with the stereotype of a bartender... which might not be the greatest job in the world," Lange said in a 1980 interview with San Angelo Standard-Times. "You have to give a dimension to the character to show that's not as high as he can rise. If he wants to go somewhere else, it's possible for him to do it. I think it's necessary to show that aspect, because I think it's true of everybody."
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