The "Love Boat" promised something for everyone and a course set for adventure. Indeed, the show's line producer, Henry Colman, led an adventurous life, with a career spanning more than half a century and TV credits that included the hit shows "Green Acres" and "Hawaii Five-O."
Colman, an Altoona native who died earlier this month, began working in commercial television when the medium was just coming into its own. He began as production coordinator on the musical show "Easy Does It," before going on to series like "Robert Montgomery Presents" and "Colgate Comedy Hour."
And while "Love Boat" made many runs, both as made-for-TV movies and a long-running TV series, the veteran producer ended his run last week, dying Nov. 7 in Los Angeles at age 89.
Hollywood knew him for his work, but to friends back home, he was known as Henry Cohen, a handsome, lively man who never missed a class reunion.
After graduating from Altoona High School in 1941 as president of his senior class, he served in the Air Force during World War II, then went on to earn a theater arts degree from Columbia University. Next came TV.
Colman's cousin, Fay Schmitt of Altoona, said she remembers him most for his handsome features and generous spirit. Her favorite memory of Colman was when she visited him in New York in the early 1950s, and he asked her to accompany him on a photo shoot. Its subject? Charlton Heston.
Schmitt said she was immediately smitten and gladly followed the actor and crew around the city all day.
After the shoot was over, Heston shook her hand - a hand she didn't wash for a month afterward. Soon after, Heston was a star.
Schmitt may have been starstruck, but another childhood friend, Brooks Kaufman, 89, of New Hope, said Colman wasn't affected by celebrity life.
"He was a great guy," Kaufman said. "Friendly and interested in everything, as I'm sure you can see from his career. He worked in TV, radio, movies."
And despite a busy career and life on the West Coast, Kaufman said Colman visited frequently to see friends and attend his high school reunion.
In 2002, Altoona Area High School gave something back to Colman in the form of a distinguished alumni award. The award is given out every other year to as many as five living and one deceased alumni.
It began in 2000 and is based on an individual's accomplishments after high school.
Tom Bradley, the district's retired community relations director, said he met Colman when the producer visited for the awards banquet dinner. He said Colman was a "wonderfully kind person, and he had great stories to tell about his career."
In one, Colman described a phone call he received one night from Elizabeth Taylor. The actress was desperately in need of a date for an awards ceremony and asked him - even knowing he was married.
"His wife was gracious and let him go," Bradley said, adding that of all the stories he'd heard, that one stuck with him most.
Bradley also said Colman was impressed with the high school, and that its students were equally impressed with Colman.
"Students are always impressed that somebody of his background got his start in Altoona," Bradley said.
Colman's career spanned well into the '90s, but he dedicated time in his later years granting interviews to the Archive of American Television for its oral history collection. He completed more than 33 interviews, and even conducted a number of interviews himself on behalf of the Archive, talking with such stars as Aaron Spelling, Ernest Borgnine and George Carlin.
He is survived by his wife, Donna Brainard, and two children, Cathy and Richard.