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On the road to success for 40 years

On the road to success for 40 years

From left: The crew of the 1983 “Ship of Dreams” Horst Neumann is the ship’s doctor, Heinz Weiss is captain, Hyde Keeler is stewardess, and Sasha is stewardess © APA / dpa / Klar

Marking its 30th anniversary ten years ago, producer Wolfgang Rademann said the world is slowly running out, because the “Traumschiff” crew must actually aim for exotic destinations in order to excite viewers’ passion for a tour of Germany. Inventor Radmann died five years ago at the age of 81, but his popular TV series “Das Traumschiff” lives on. Today, it’s been 40 years since the first episode aired on ZDF.

90 times on the high seas

This makes the series, along with the formats “Tatort”, “Polizeiruf 110” and “Der Alte”, one of the oldest German fantasy TV shows. There was also a large number of viewers on ORF. 90 episodes of “Traumschiff” have been aired since 1981. On the anniversary, ZDF has put dozens of old episodes in its media library – and of course there are new episodes for Christmas and New Years Eve, Seventh and Eighth with Florian Silberisen as team leader Max Barger. They drive to Sweden (December 26) and Namibia (January 1) and are available in the Media Library on Christmas Eve.

love boat model

At the end of November 1981, the TV ship set out on the maiden voyage to the Caribbean. The TV format was created not only under the influence of the American series “Love Boat”, but also under the influence of the GDR TV series “Zur See” from the 70s. Heidi Keeler, who died at the end of August at the age of 81, was part of the regular crew for many years. Until the end of 2017 – more than 35 years old – she played the good hostess Beatrice. In 2019, she called the relatively young Silbereisen captain a “complete mistake,” but later adopted a more conciliatory tone. Barbara Wussow joined the board as Keeler’s successor.

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The Dream Ship has been operating without major changes for decades. About 40 percent play on the ground, and 60 percent are on board. Three stories are told: a love story, a funny story, and a thriller. Many find the episodes too predictable and the dialogues too wooden, and fans love them. But not everything remained the same: at first the “ship of dreams” was the cruise ship “Vistafjord”, then “Astor” and “Berlin”, then “Deutschland” and, since 2015, “Amadea”. What has remained – for 35 years now – is the theme of music composed by James Last (1929-2015). The captain’s cap has been passed on several times: from Gunter König (Captain Brask 1981/82) to Heinz Weiss as Captain Hansen (1983-1999) to Siegfried Rauch as Captain Poulsen (1999-2013) to Sacha Hen as Captain Burger (2014-2019) and finally by Florian Silbereisen.

From Hape to Schmidt

Actors who have had a slew of guest roles in four decades are Gela von Wetterhausen, Maria Siebaldt and Gaby Dom, as well as Sigmar Solbach, Gunther Maria Halmer and Dietrich Matusch. Also on board were stars such as Thomas Gottschalk, Happy Kirkelling, Joachim Fuchsberger, Peter Wick, Hannelore Elsner, Otto Sander, Til Schweiger, Otto Walkes, Klausjurgen Wisseau and Udo Jürgens.

German matchmaker “Bauer sucht Frau” Inka Bause has been working as a fitness instructor for a few episodes. Television satirist Harald Schmidt has always served as crew member Oscar Schefferle. He once told Spiegel, “When it comes to engagement, the motto for me is: site comes before content.”