Fantasy Island, the ultimate escapist show of the 70’s and 80’s, was actually seen as two made-for-TV movies before it was a series. The first movie, Fantasy Island, originally aired in January of 1977 and introduced Aaron Spelling’s concept of an exotic island where fantasies come true with the help of a mysterious man who serves as host. It wasn’t until a year later that the second film aired. Return to Fantasy Island served as a pilot, with the regular episodes starting a week later.
As in the films, Ricardo Montalban—taking a break from touting the luxuriousness of “fine Corinthian leather” in car commercials—played Mr. Roarke, the man who could make wishes come true. Helping in this task was Herve Villechaize as his equally strange assistant Tattoo. Roarke, who appeared sinister in the first film, was softened up for the series. That is not to say that he became any less mysterious; Mr. Roarke’s history was never revealed. Neither the audience nor the visitors ever learned how Mr. Roarke came to be on the island or through what power he was able to grant these fantasies. This element added an underlying subtext that knowledge is not necessarily a good thing.
Supporting this theory was that the fantasies often ended with the realization that what the fantasizers had before their arrival was far more precious than that with which they left. A typical fantasy might have a homely woman wishing she were prettier or an old man wishing to go back in time and reconnect with a lost love, only to find that the fantasy still left something to be desired. The episodes generally featured two stories, with the action going back and forth between the two (a technique also used on Spelling’s The Love Boat).
Each episode opened with the diminutive Tattoo ringing a bell and yelling, “De plane! De plane!” This would signal Mr. Roarke to come out, and the two (always dressed in matching white tuxedoes) would greet their expectant guests as they deboarded the plane. While the guests were being given leis, Mr. Roarke would briefly explain to Tattoo (and the audience) what each person’s fantasy was. This would always conclude with Mr. Roarke’s customary line, “Smiles everyone, smiles.”
Like The Love Boat, Fantasy Island featured an array of famous guest stars, among them Peter Graves, Cyd Charisse, Phil Silvers, Larry Storch, Roddy McDowell (as the devil), Sammy Davis Jr., LeVar Burton, Sonny Bono, Donny Most, Annette Funicello, Julie Newmar and Adam West. And, as if they hadn’t spent enough time on an island, Gilligan’s Island‘s Bob Denver, Jim Backus and Tina Louise all made appearances as well. Regular characters included Roarke’s goddaughter Julie, and Tattoo’s replacement, Lawrence, who appeared in the final season.
The show was remade in 1998 with Malcolm McDowell as Mr. Roarke, and while this incarnation had some interesting elements, it did not garner as much interest or viewers as the original.
“De plane! De plane!”
See also Classic TV Revisited: Fantasy Island.
|1/2/8/78 – 8/18/84 ABC|
| Sub Categories
Clochmerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)
Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochmerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm
Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)
In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986
Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)
Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017
THIS JUST IN
NCIS: Double Down (CBS Dec 12, 2017 with James Morrison)
Double Down: As Torres and Sloane run protection detail for U.S. Senator John Phillips (James Morrison) in Afghanistan for the...
Bancroft Episode 2 airs Tues 12 Dec on ITV
In the second of four episodes Bancroft helps Katherine and Anya with the Fraser case, but they are struggling to...
Ferne McCann: First Time Mum Premieres Tues 12 Dec on ITVBe
Former Towie star Ferne McCann’s journey towards motherhood is documented in Ferne McCann: First Time Mum premiering on ITVBe on...
Look Back in Anger (Woodfall 1959, Richard Burton, Claire Bloom)
Influential British kitchen-sink” drama Look Back in Anger, directed in gritty black and white by Tony Richardson (Tom Jones) and...
Three Coins in the Fountain (TCF 1954, Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGuire)
In handsomely photographed romance Three Coins in the Fountain, three American women (Jean Peters, Dorothy McGuire, Maggie McNamara) pin their...
The Middle: The Christmas Miracle (ABC Dec 12, 2017 with Jen Ray)
The Christmas Miracle: It’s Christmastime, and Frankie and Sue are devastated after Axl informs them that he’s not going to...
Lethal Weapon: Wreck The Halls (Fall finale Fox Dec 12, 2017 with Kristen Gutoskie)
Wreck The Halls: It’s Christmas time and the Murtaugh family are supposed to be headed to Hawaii. However, Murtaugh’s vacation...
More to View
TV1 week ago
My Christmas Prince (Lifetime 2017, Alexis Knapp, Callum Alexander)
Previews1 week ago
How To Spend It Well At Christmas With Phillip Schofield Episode 2 (ITV 5 Dec 2017)
Previews2 weeks ago
Great Canal Journeys: Portugal Premieres Thurs 30 Nov on Channel 4
TV3 days ago
Runaway Christmas Bride (ION 2017, Cindy Busny, Travis Milne)
Previews3 weeks ago
Ugly House To Lovely House With George Clarke: Heathfield, East Sussex (Channel 4 23 Nov 2017)
Episodes2 weeks ago
American Housewife: Gala Auction (ABC 29 Nov 2017, with Julia Butters)
Previews2 weeks ago
Jamie And Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast: Joanna Lumley (Channel 4 1 Dec 2017)
Previews2 weeks ago
How To Spend It Well at Christmas with Phillip Schofield Premieres Tues 28 Nov on ITV