As I kid in the late 1970s, I religiously watched the TV double shot of Love Boat and Fantasy Island. Though both series were created by Aaron Spelling and had the biggest celebrities at the time as weekly guest stars, the two hour-long shows were really nothing alike — although they were often lumped together. Love Boat was more of a campy eye-roll-inducing rom-com (though, I did love that episode when Kristy McNichol and Scott Baio hook up!), while Fantasy Island usually had a serious story to tell and a lesson to be learned.
On Fantasy Island, Ricardo Montalban, who passed away this morning at age 88, starred as the suave Mr. Roarke, the white-suit-wearing host of the tropical paradise Fantasy Island. Together with his sidekick Tattoo (diminutive actor Hervé Villechaize), each week, the duo would welcome the visitors to the island who were there to have a specific fantasy fulfilled. As the guests arrive at the mysterious island, Mr. Roarke would introduce himself and tell them all, “Smiles, everyone, Smiles!”
Unfortunately, hardly anyone ended up smiling, because there was always a “careful what you wish for” consequence to pay, but at least they all learned valuable lessons and were thankful to Mr. Roarke for helping them.
This month, Amazon has Fantasy Island – The Complete First Season as part of their Buy 1 Get 1 Free TV on DVD sale. This is the only season of the show available for purchase, but luckily Hulu is streaming full episodes from Seasons 1-3 and also has minisodes from Seasons 3-7, all for free (in the U.S. only).
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