Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past! On Tuesdays, I will be reviewing the original Fantasy Island, which ran on ABC from 1977 to 1986. The entire show is currently streaming on Tubi!
We learn a little bit more about Fantasy Island in this week’s episode. It’s a strange place!
Episode 2.5 “I Want To Get Married/The Jewel Thief”
(Dir by George McGowan, originally aired on October 21st, 1978)
You know what the best thing about Fantasy Island is?
The Disco Dancing!
Cindy Barker (Meredith McRae) is a big fan of the disco dancing. That’s because her fantasy is to come to the island and meet the man that she’s going to marry. In fact, she wants to marry the guy at the end of the weekend and she’s already spent $20,000 to reserve the island for her wedding. (Tattoo is excited about that.)
Of course, one possible problem with Cindy’s fantasy is that she already has a boyfriend. She’s been dating Eddie (Ken Berry) for a while now. However, Eddie refuses to get married. Every time that they schedule a wedding ceremony, Eddie finds an excuse to cancel. He can’t even say the word “married” without sneezing. Still, Eddie is in love with Cindy and he comes to the Island to try to convince her to give him another chance. He also tells all of her potential suitors that Cindy is actually a prostitute.
Now, to be honest, that’s not the sort of thing that I could forgive. I don’t care who you are or how much you love me, that’s just not something that I’m going to be able to overlook. However, this somehow convinces Cindy that Eddie really does love her so she decides to teach him a lesson by putting on a slit leather skirt and hanging out on a street corner in Fantasy Island’s red light district.
At this point, I said to myself, “Since when has Fantasy Island had a red light district?” Seriously, last week revealed that the island has a desert where the Egyptians buried their pharaohs. This week, we learn that the island has a red light district. Fantasy Island is a strange place. Stranger still, Eddie lying about Cindy and then Cindy pretending to be a prostitute leads to Eddie and Cindy getting married.
While that’s going on, Jordan Montgomery (Steve Forrest) is living out his fantasy of being an international jewel thief and …. wait, what? What type of fantasy is this? You can commit crimes in your fantasies? This island gets stranger and stranger! Anyway, Jordan steals a necklace from Leslie Tarleton (Leigh Taylor-Young), just to discover that the necklace didn’t actually belong to her and his thievery is going to cause her to lose her job. When Jordan attempts to retrieve the necklace so that he can return it, he discovers that it’s been stolen yet again! This time, crime lord Carl Dekker (Peter Mark Richman) has stolen the necklace and is keeping it on his boat, which is heavily guarded and which is also floating off the coast of the island.
So, for those keeping track, Fantasy Island has a desert, a pharaoh’s tomb, a red light district, and a Mafia. It seems like the island’s kind of gone downhill since the end of season one!
Anyway, this was actually a fun episode. Neither story was particularly deep but the action moved quickly and Steve Forrest made for a properly dashing jewel thief. I still don’t think that Cindy should have forgiven Eddie, let alone married him. But it was 1978 and I guess times were different back then.
Finally, Tattoo tried to start his own greeting card company. He was looking to corner the market on sarcastic and downbeat greeting cards. He was just a few decades too early!