Some of you old enough to know better forgot what television’s original “Fantasy Island” was really about.
The ABC Saturday-night television show running seven seasons from 1977 to 1984 was about “a magical island resort” that rich and not-so rich folks sought out to have a so-called fantasy fulfilled… usually turned upon their heads as moral plays with the timeless lesson “be careful what you wish for.” There was also a rule: once begun, a fantasy must play out to its conclusion… no matter the cost.
Most viewers often forgot the second rule: do not cross Mr. Roarke.
Ricardo Montalbán portrayed the cultured white-suited host with Hervé Villechaize as his sidekick Tattoo (known for his familiar “Da plane! Da plane!” excitement and ringing a bell whenever new guests would arrive). The price paid to reach the island wasn’t only for the rich; it was a meaningful personal cost that could be hundreds of thousands or your last ten dollars in the world.
While guests often dismissed their own eyes, there was something supernatural going on, and Mr. Roarke was ever at the center of it, from mystical powers to time travel. Hints were often dropped the host was an immortal, and even beating the Devil himself (played by guest-star Roddy McDowall) regularly at his own game. While specifics were never given in the show, Montalbán reportedly revealed after it ended his motivation was playing a fallen angel (over the sin of pride) and that the island was Purgatory… long before “Lost” swiped that idea.
Sometimes a fantasy was fulfillment of a dying request (the original “Make a Wish” foundation)… and oh yes: people did die.
Reportedly there’s no Tattoo character in the Blumhouse remake, but the cast includes Michael Peña as Mr. Roarke (nice), Nathalie Emmanuel as Julia (the new Julie?), Maggie Q, Portia Doubleday, Ryan Hansen, Michael Rooker (yay!), Charlotte McKinney, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Austin Stowell, and Lucy Hale.
“Smiles, everyone… smiles.”
And Happy Valentine’s Day.
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