Fantasy Island

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents




From Wikipedia:

Before it became a long-running original television show, Fantasy Island was introduced to viewers in 1977 through two highly-rated made-for-television films in which Mr. Roarke and Tattoo played relatively minor roles. Airing from 1978 to 1984, the original series starred Ricardo Montalbán 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, albeit for a price.

Roarke was known for his white suit and cultured demeanor, and was initially accompanied by an energetic sidekick, Tattoo, played by Hervé Villechaize. Tattoo would run up the main bell tower to ring the bell and shout "The plane! The plane!" to announce the arrival of a new set of guests at the beginning of each episode. This line, shown at the beginning of the show's credits, became an unlikely catchphrase because of Villechaize's spirited delivery and French accent (he actually pronounced it, "Ze plane! Ze plane!"). In later seasons, he would arrive in his personal go-kart, sized for him, and recklessly driven to join Roarke for the visitor reception while staff scrambled to get out of his way. From 1980 to 1982, Wendy Schaal joined the cast as another assistant named Julie. In a highly unpopular move with both fans and the cast, the producers fired Villechaize from the series before the 1983–1984 season (which ended up being its last) and Tattoo was replaced by a more sedate butler type named Lawrence, played by Christopher Hewett. Lawrence's personality was exactly the opposite of Tattoo's in many ways. For instance, Lawrence was also responsible for the bell ringing, but instead of climbing to the tower he simply pushed a button outside to have the bell ring automatically.

The actual aircraft used in the series, a Grumman Widgeon seaplane, was rented from a local charter company and almost all of the footage of the plane used throughout the series and films was shot in one day and recycled over the entire run. It is speculated that Tattoo never actually saw the plane; during the filming of the actual episodes, the guests climbed out of a paper-mache and plywood mock-up of the back of the plane. It is sometimes apparent that that number of people could not have all arrived in the plane at the same time. For example in one episode, seven adults and two children come out of the six-seat seaplane. In another episode, there is a sizable pile of luggage on the dock which viewers are to believe came out of the plane.

Roarke would then welcome his guests by lifting his glass and saying: "My dear guests, I am Mr. Roarke, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Island." This toast was usually followed with a warm smile but sometimes (depending on the nature of a guest or their fantasy) his eyes would show concern or worry for a guest's safety.

Roarke's personal vehicle was an orange Dodge Aspen station wagon with a Safari top with the stance of a modern-day sport utility vehicle.

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 a business. Later, it became clear that the price a guest paid was substantial to him or her, and for one little girl whose father was one of Roarke's guests, she had emptied her piggy bank—less than ten dollars—to have her fantasy about her father fulfilled.

Ricardo Montalban on his Fantasy Island character "Mr. Roarke"
Aaron Spelling on the development and casting of Fantasy Island
Hugh O'Brian on appearing in the pilot of Fantasy Island
Jayne Meadows on writing and starring in an episode of Fantasy Island
Leonard Goldberg on the success of Fantasy Island on Saturday night
Who talked about this show

Cyd Charisse

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Cyd Charisse on guest-starring on Fantasy Island

Elinor Donahue

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Elinor Donahue on a guest appearance on Fantasy Island

Julian Fellowes

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Julian Fellowes on his life as an actor in Los Angeles, leaving the city, and almost being cast on Fantasy Island

Ron Friedman

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Ron Friedman on writing for Fantasy Island, and working with Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize on that show

Leonard Goldberg

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Leonard Goldberg on the success of Fantasy Island on Saturday night
Leonard Goldberg on the concept for Fantasy Island
Leonard Goldberg on casting Fantasy Island
Leonard Goldberg on guest stars, favorite episodes, and production of Fantasy Island

Sherman Hemsley

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Sherman Hemsley on his guest appearance as the world's strongest man

Leslie Hoffman

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Leslie Hoffman on the stunts she performed on Fantasy Island and her reflections on the cast

Elodie Keene

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Elodie Keene on editing various Aaron Spelling shows, including Fantasy Island

Gene LeBell

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Gene LeBell on stunt work on Fantasy Island

Leslie H. Martinson

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Leslie H. Martinson on directing Fantasy Island

Jayne Meadows

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Jayne Meadows on writing and starring in an episode of Fantasy Island

Ricardo Montalban

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Ricardo Montalban on his Fantasy Island character "Mr. Roarke"
Ricardo Montalban on the way of doing exposition on Fantasy Island
Ricardo Montalban on the genesis of Fantasy Island
Ricardo Montalban on the character of "Mr. Roarke" and how Fantasy Island changed for him after the first season
Ricardo Montalban on the Fantasy Island character "Tattoo" and actor Herve Villechaize
Ricardo Montalban on Herve Villechaize's departure from Fantasy Island
Ricardo Montalban on the decision to end Fantasy Island after seven seasons
Ricardo Montalban on the production aspects of Fantasy Island
Ricardo Montalban on directing two episodes of Fantasy Island
Ricardo Montalban on the guest stars on Fantasy Island
Ricardo Montalban on location filming on Fantasy Island 
Ricardo Montalban on the last day of shooting Fantasy Island and the importance of the star in creating a good atmopshere on the set
Ricardo Montalban on the opening sequence of Fantasy Island

Hugh O'Brian

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Hugh O'Brian on appearing in the pilot of Fantasy Island

Fred Silverman

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Fred Silverman on developing Fantasy Island as a companion to The Love Boat at ABC, and on beating out the CBS Saturday night lineup which included The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, and on critical reaction to the programs

Aaron Spelling

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Aaron Spelling on the development and casting of Fantasy Island
Aaron Spelling on storylines on Fantasy Island

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