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Fantasy Island

By Wikipedia

Fantasy Island was a fantasy television series which ran from 1978 to 1984 on ABC television. It starred Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Roarke, the enigmatic overseer of a mysterious island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean where people from all walks of life could come and live out their fantasies... for a price.

Roarke was known for his white suit and cultured demeanor, and he was initially accompanied by an energetic sidekick, Tattoo, played by the diminutive Hervé Villechaize, who shouted "The plane! The plane!" to announce the arrival of a new set of guests at the beginning of each episode. From 1980 to 1982, Wendy Schaal joined the cast as another assistant named Julie. Villechaize quit the series prior to the 1983-1984 season (its last) and Tattoo was replaced by a more sedate butler type named Lawrence, played by Christopher Hewitt.

In the early seasons, it was noted that each guest had paid $50,000 in advance for the fulfillment of their fantasies and that Fantasy Island was, at its heart, a business. In later seasons, this aspect was downplayed and there were often supernatural overtones suggesting that Mr. Roarke was an angel, or perhaps a space alien or something else other-worldly, and that his powers to fulfill fantasies were the result of a supernatural being or beings needing to correct things that had happened in the past. Roarke's ability to create almost any environment on the Island with literally a snap of his fingers was never explained. In one notable episode late in the series, Roarke battled a character who appeared to be The Devil (played by Roddy McDowall).

The usual format of each episode consisted of an introduction in which Roarke would describe to Tattoo (or another assistant) the nature of each person's fantasy, usually with a cryptic comment to the effect that the person's fantasy will not turn out as they expected. The episode would then alternate between two or three independent storylines as the guests experienced their fantasies and interacted with Roarke. Often, the fantasies would turn out to be morality lessons for the guests, sometimes to the point of (apparently) putting their lives at risk, only to have Roarke step in at the last minute and reveal the deception. It is mentioned a few times that a condition of visiting Fantasy Island is that guests never reveal what goes on there.

Prior to the long-running TV series, Fantasy Island was introduced to viewers through two highly-rated made-for-television films in which Mr. Roarke and Tattoo played relatively minor roles.

In 1998, ABC attempted a revival of the series. The role of Mr. Roarke was filled by Malcolm McDowell and, unlike the first series, the supernatural aspect of his character and of Fantasy Island itself was emphasized from the start. The supporting cast was also expanded for the new series. There was no attempt to replace Tattoo, so instead Roarke had a team of assistants—one of whom was a beautiful female shape shifter—who were assigned to help create and maintain the various fantasy worlds created on the island. Apparently these assistants were imprisoned on the island in order to pay off some debt, but the series was cancelled midway through the first season and this subplot was never resolved. In an attempt to contrast this series with the original, the new Mr. Roarke usually wore black.

The revival series also featured another subplot involving the travel agency that actually books the fantasies, and the two elderly travel agents played by Fyvush Finkel and 1930s silver screen leading lady Sylvia Sidney (in her final acting role).


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Your Memories Shared!

Wow great to find your site ! Fantasy Island - my favourite programme EVER !! So much to enjoy - through those early episodes where they flirted with making Mr Roarke a "dark" character through to where he became everyone's favourite uncle - with just that hint of mystery ! Plus of course Tattoo- a character worthy of being remembered for SO much more than just "The Plane, The plane" - and the guest stars - where do I begin - Joan Collins, Britt Ekland, Sammy Davis Junior, Tom Jones, through to the character actors such as Stuart Whitman, Dennis Cole, Diana Canova, who just kept cropping up again and again and again in SO many different roles. There were the lighter plots and of course the more sinister, notably Roddy McDowall's three appearances as Lucifer - but neither he nor the selection of other villainous characters who got off the sea-plane could ever quite outdo the man in the supremely suave white tuxedo. Michelle Phillips too as the feisty sometime wannabe human mermaid was a welcome regular fall-back plot device, and while it was never quite the same after the departure of Tattoo ,Lawrence the butler (Why didnt Mr Roarke ALWAYS have one ?) added an extra edge of dry humour to the concluding episodes . The lamely unsatisfactory revival with Malcolm MCDowell scarcely warrants mentioning in the shadow of such a classic - all I'll say in remembering it is "Smiles Everyone, smiles !"


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Aired: January 28, 1978 - August 18, 1984

Cast: Ricardo Montalban, Herve Villechaize, Wendy Schall, Christopher Hewett

Network: ABC

Genre: Drama

Theme song

Image courtesy of ABC

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

With the exception of the Wikipedia article above, everything else is...

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