As Episode one of “The Golden Bachelor,” which premiered Thursday night on ABC, begins, Gerry Turner narrates over footage of him tying his bowtie and fastening his cuff links while “The Wind” by Cat Stevens plays.

“Today is the first day of the rest of my life,” he says, then gazes lovingly at a framed photo of his late wife, Toni. Toni died suddenly and tragically of a bacterial infection, Gerry says through tears. Then he explains that the love of his daughters and granddaughters pulled him out of a very dark place. It was, in fact, those daughters and granddaughters who encouraged him to apply for “The Golden Bachelor.”

“I yearn for the second chance in life to fall in love again,” he says.

So here we are. Gerry, age 72, is our first-ever “Golden Bachelor,” and last night’s premiere set the tone for what promises to be an enjoyable ride.

Host Jesse Palmer greets Gerry outside the Bachelor Mansion, as he does every “Bachelor/ette” season, then the first limo pulls up. One after another, gorgeous, mature women in tasteful dresses exit the limos and introduce themselves to Gerry.

Edith, Roberta, Sandra, Leslie, Marina, Christina, Joan, Natascha, Peggy, Pamela, Kathy, Nancy, Theresa, April, Renee, Maria, Anna, Susan, Patty, Sylvia, Jeanie, Concetta “Chippy,” and Faith make their entrances with a variety of attention-grabbing gimmicks. A cheer routine complete with pompoms, the chicken dance performed by a chicken farmer, a motorcycle ridden by a woman who calls herself a “funmonger,” and all sorts of double entendres. One woman tells Gerry she couldn’t breathe for two hours after seeing him on “Good Morning, America,” which is concerning.

These novelty acts are not too wildly different from what we see on a typical (younger) season of the franchise. But in their pre-taped intros, it’s clear just how much more life these women have lived than their counterparts in their 20s and 30s.

One of them dated the singer Prince and claims he wrote a song about her. Most have been married at least once. Some of those marriages ended in divorce and some ended in death. One spends her time talking about her friend Roberta who is struggling to beat cancer. Many wear hearing aids.

Once they are all in a room together, a number of them remark on how fortunate they feel to be among so many beautiful, self-assured senior women, which could not be more opposite than the first-night vibe of most seasons which usually end in someone crying alone in a bathroom, someone making out with the lead, and someone starting a rumor about at least one of the other contestants.

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The only whiff of smack-talking among the golden crowd is when someone says, “There’s no way she’s over 60,” and that’s actually a compliment so it doesn’t count.

Host Jesse asks Gerry about his first impressions, and Gerry reveals that more than a couple of women caught his eye. Gerry then walks into the mansion to mingle with the women.

But not without making a speech first.

“In this room, there is beauty and poise and intellect,” he says. We love a man who appreciates brevity. Then he proposes a toast and immediately April, the chicken farmer, whisks him away for a private conversation and a quick kiss. This is the first of a series of private conversations, all of them very sweet. Faith plays the guitar and sings for him. Leslie pulls him for a quick dance in the living room, and soon all the other women join. Again, I cannot emphasize enough how refreshing this camaraderie is, and how different it is from the behavior of the usual cast members who are barely older than children.

The women seem to be having the time of their lives. “This is my best day in 20 years,” one says. And they are all in on Gerry. And Gerry is all in on them. “I believe my forever partner is in this house,” he says.

Jess delivers the first impression rose, and Theresa decides it’s time to make her move. She waits for her turn to talk with Gerry, because these women are too smart to play the typical “Bachelor” interrupting game. I will be thrilled if we go an entire season without hearing “Can I steal you for a minute?”

Gerry delivers the rose to Faith, and they share a kiss — in front of a number of other women, which is awkward but then again, so is the premise of the whole show.

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Finally, it’s time for the rose ceremony. By this time, everyone is very tired, having stayed up hours past their bedtime. But they muster the strength to stand and smile as Gerry explains how much he is dreading having to send some women home.

Gerry sheds a few tears as he says goodbye to the women to whom he does give a rose, but reiterates to the remaining women how hopeful he is about finding love.

The whole thing is done in under an hour, another refreshing change from the bloated two-hour runtime of a typical season’s episode.

My only regret at the end of episode one is that there isn’t a Gerry for every woman on this season. They all deserve every happiness, and I’m very much looking forward to watching at least one of them find it.

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