US tv series (1978-1984). Columbia/ABC. Pr Don Chaffey, Michael Fisher, Don Ingalls, Arthur Rowe, Skip Webster, Don Weis. Exec pr Leonard Goldberg, Aaron Spelling. Dir Earl Bellamy and many others. Writers Ingalls and many others. Starring Samantha Eggar (Helena Marsh), Christopher Hewett (Lawrence 1983-1984), Roddy McDowall (Devil), Ricardo Montalban (Mr Roarke), Michelle Phillips (Mermaid), Wendy Schaal (Julie 1981-1984), Herve Villechaize (Tattoo 1978-1983). 152 60min episodes. Colour.
After the two successful Fantasy Island Movies, this weekly series enjoyed a six-year run. Each week, Mr Roarke and Tattoo (famous for his greeting arriving guests by excitedly yelling out "The plane! The plane!") would welcome their guests at the dock. Nattily dressed in a white suit, Roarke was the epitome of charm and grace as he greeted his guests. Usually two different stories were interwoven in each episode; story titles included "The World's Most Desirable Woman", "The World's Greatest Escape Artist" and "Charlie's Cherubs", the latter tale focusing on women who fantasized about being glamorous private detectives. Each fantasy was made more exciting by the fact that the guests were totally immersed in the experience, and that the dangers presented were apparently real. For example, a story set in World War II Germany featured Nazis bearing machine guns and other deadly weapons; the implication was always that the guests could indeed perish if their fantasy went awry.
Exactly how Mr Roarke managed to stage these elaborate fantasies was never explained, although in later years there were increasingly strong hints about Talents – indeed, in the final year Roarke himself became involved in a battle with the Devil for his Soul. Most stories ended with the guests realizing their real lives were far better than they had known, and that their fantasies could safely be left behind. [BC]